Psychology human brain

Side view of the brain

In April, President Obama announced a $110 million national investment in new research to better understand the human brain. The aim of the ambitious project — called the BRAIN Initiative — is to learn more about our approximately 100 billion brain cells, the connections among them and how they relate to our behavior and our health.

"As humans, we can identify galaxies light-years away, we can study particles smaller than an atom. But we still haven't unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears, " the president said. Unlocking that mystery, he added, could lead to new treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer's disease, autism and stroke.

The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) will be a collaborative effort among several government agencies: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation (NSF), with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) playing a coordinating role. Some private sector partners will be involved as well, such as the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The funding is part of the president's fiscal year 2014 budget and will require congressional approval.


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