What is the BRAIN Initiative?

The NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.

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Posted on May 7, 2013

Welcome to BRAINfeedback.nih.gov!

Welcome to the launch of BRAINfeedback.nih.gov! Here you’ll hear from me and the co-chairs of my Advisory Committee’s Working Group on the bold new BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative. This Initiative, launched by President Obama on April 2, focuses on accelerating the development and application of innovative new technologies to enable scientists to create a dynamic picture of brain function. This picture will show how circuits involving large numbers of neurons interact with each other over time and space, and will ultimately advance understanding of brain diseases like epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. While ambitious, this goal has never been more within our reach!

Photo of Dr. Collins and President Obama a White House event.

Dr. Collins introduces President Obama at the White House

I hope that this new site will serve as the place for the broader community to discuss this exciting new effort and provide important feedback regarding the BRAIN Initiative’s scientific agenda.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health

69 comments to Welcome to BRAINfeedback.nih.gov!

  • Joshua Vogelstein

    this is fantastic!
    thank you so much for opening up the discussion to the greater community.
    we really appreciate this gesture.

  • John Hewitt (@jhewitt123)

    Great work so far.
    Will be publishing comments and criticisms later today at phys.org Previous comments on BRAINI and BAM can be found here:
    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/152395-obamas-brain-initiative-is-a-huge-boost-for-new-neurotechnology
    and here:
    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/148671-obama-confirms-neuroscience-is-coolest-most-important-technology-on-earth

  • Jason Pipkin

    If people are interested in reading through reactions to the Brain Activity Map Project from its announcement until it became the BRAIN Initiative and since then, I’ve been compiling links to various blogs and such:

    http://empiricalplanet.blogspot.com/2013/03/bam-links.html

  • Gholson Lyon

    I hope very much that you will incorporate much more feedback and advice from clinical investigators in the fields of psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery and neuropathology. Unfortunately, the artificial split between neurology, psychiatry and neurosurgery has made it incredibly difficult to develop teams that can easily push forward the re-emerging field of neuromodulation, mainly due to the fact that most neurosurgeons and neurologists do not obtain sufficient training or expertise with these severe psychiatric phenotypes, and conversely most psychiatrists get very little training or exposure to neurosurgery and even in some cases neurology. This is something that should be addressed on a policy level. Nonetheless, the recent development of an injectable class of cellular-scale optoelectronics paves the way for implanted wireless devices, and I hope that there will be more brain-machine neural interfaces used in humans in the future.

  • Vu Nguyen

    Greetings,

    We applaud your enthusiast, efforts and team work. However, to significantly strengthen and complement the efforts while further advance and speed up well being and the common good such as quality life, social essentials, science, humanities, life mysteries and meanings of existence; meaningful and essential expertise, efforts and resources to collaborate on the study of consciousness and mind (subjective experience and perception of reality) should also be part of the research and analysis rather than just or mainly the objective or mechanic analysis of brain connections, interactions, functions and behaviors. In other words, mind and matter should be mindfully analyzed as the whole rather then just studying the matter part or brain.

    Please mindfully and seriously consider suggestions, inspirations or aspirations from diverse global communities such as science, humanities and spiritual along the way.

    Again, another round of applause. And best wishes and much successes to the team and collaborators !

    Sincerely,

    Vu Nguyen

  • Lance Stewart

    Thank you for the BRIAN Initiative. Reminds me of the early days of the Protein Strcture Initiatve. Where did that word “Initiatve” start to take on the meaning of Bold!?

  • Dan Bumbarger

    I have a blog post with my thoughts about the recent meeting in Arlington here: http://wp.me/pGrIc-c3

    In short, at least at this meeting people focused too much on the technology and not enough on defining questions and goals.

  • Dr. Allison L. Stelling

    I feel that a lot of this initiative- admirable though it is- is deeply linked to Congress’ legitimate fear of getting older and dying slowing from currently incurable diseases of the brain. I am personally terrified of the thought of my parents being diagnosed with a diffuse astrocytoma, one of the most malignant brain tumors.

    What my politicians must understand is that curing these diseases is going to require a massive amount of people, funds, and collaboration. We have much to discover about the fundamental workings of our brains, and these discoveries will be essential for diagnosing and curing mental disorders and illnesses.

    Putting a man on the moon was cheap, easy, and fast compared to mapping neural connectivity. Heck, so was sequencing the human genome.

    I am a 3rd generation American chemist. I do brain tumor diagnostics, since I knew, looking at the current brain tumor literature, that we need to “see” tumors clearly before we can efficiently cure them. (For my latest paper I did with some lovely German neurosurgeons, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604012/ . I’m back in the States now, though I am considering moving to China with this research.)

    These worthy goals will require a substantial amount of highly skilled technical staff, who deserve stable jobs. They will require interdisciplinary communication and collaboration on a Federal level. We shall need many more “research-only” scientific institutes (like the Fred Hutch in Seattle, where I worked as a 15 year old girl as a lab tech)- trying to get the poor universities to do everything is currently resulting in poor quality STEM teaching in the larger USA labs.

    These ambitions will also require public education and outreach so that my fellow Americans understand what we scientists are spending their hard earned tax dollars on. Transparent budgets, and an even dispersal of federal money across all the States will also help increase public support.

    $100 million is a good start, but my government must recognize that solving these complex challenges will cost much more.

    My Grandpa Stelling was a chemical engineer out of Purdue. He worked all his life for the USA nuclear energy program as a civil servant.

    My nation needs to remember that massive government programs, like the nuclear energy program, are what once made us great. As my parent’s generation starts to age and die, we must recall these programs and seek to emulate and expand on them in a transparent fashion. No single State will “cure cancer” or “map the brain”- it is a fight that will require unity and dedication from everyone.

  • Atif

    Think it is a great initiative. Wish could be a part of it…

  • Scott Gu

    Thanks for the opening of this website.

    Dr. Collins, you said:”This picture … will ultimately advance understanding of brain diseases like epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease”.

    You used the word “will”. Humans are not God. What types of evidences could support this “will” ?

    Observation of activities sometimes could be misleading. Such as humans based on Earth noticed that Earth is at rest, but the Sun is moving which led to the geocentric model.

    Also I notice in the advocation of Brain Activity Map project, an anology with Human Genome project is repeated talked. The theories and experiments of genes were already very mature when Human Genome project started.

    However, little is known about the functional principles of brains and the main brain functionality intelligence so far. Is this anology misleading ?

  • Dan Bumbarger

    Another thought… If you want a revolution, direct a reasonable portion of funding to less established risk-takers. People at the periphery of the community are more likely to be the sources of insight, and risk taking should be encouraged. Don’t focus all of the energy on “safe” work done on a bigger scale.

  • Paul H. Patterson

    If this initiative involves new funding for NIH – great. On the other hand, if it involves shifting funds away from the already extremely challenged RO1 mechanism, then it’s more bad news for all neuroscientists who don’t work in this particular area. Given the climate in Washington fomented by the debt-hawks, I’m guessing that this initiative does not involve new funds for NIH, so this is likely bad news for most neuroscientists, and for advocates for research on the many tragic diseases of the brain. The idea promoted by some of the sponsors of this brain mapping initiative that this program will lead to cures for these diseases in 10 years is ludicrous. Also, comparing this initiative to the human genome project is very misleading – the latter had a well defined goal, whereas this new program is totally open ended, with no well defined goals, or even hypotheses.

  • Timothy Mastroianni

    Small labs should be granted funding, as well as the larger institutions. My personal evolution as a scientist started in the 1980′s working with non-invasive methods for turning patterns into predictions on complex gaming devices, and consequently I developed a unique cognitive architecture for machine behavior and discovering vulnerabilities within these sorts of systems. At Carnegie Mellon University in 2002, Pawel Opalinski -a gifted programmer and mathematician – and myself as a student of cognitive science, finished modeling this mental architecture (HiLoClient) in an “application of machine learning using object recognition in computer vision for detecting and extrapolating patterns.” I presented our software and methodology in a Computational Analyses of Brain Imaging Psychology class in 2003. This was instrumental in the development of the 2009 release of Dr. Marcel Just and Dr. Tom Mitchell’s Mind Reading project using fMRI brain scans to accurately detect what a person is thinking about.

    My point: Let’s remember that simple beginnings and crude methods can often eventually evolve into very complex technologies. In my case, tinkering and hacking around in a garage and basement in the early 1980′s with a storm of creativity, energy, perseverance and imagination led to an excellent strategy for mapping the human brain. My team at Cognition Engineering would be ecstatic over being able to contribute to the BAM Project.

  • Dr. H. Chapin

    I’m in the process of writing yet another journal paper in which I am reporting an arbitrary set of fMRI results (arbitrary because of the disturbing number of roughly “equivalent” multiple comparisons corrections I can use that give me notably different results) and must reference other papers in which the same arbitrary reporting has been done along with also disturbingly arbitrary naming of certain areas that have apparently been so named to match previous arbitrary reports (and therefore make a better “story” so that the authors can meet the demand to publish publish publish, even when what they are trying to publish is not necessarily useful or meaningful). In order to move neuroscience forward, there needs to be some way to cut through the pile of mess that this arbitrariness in the reporting and interpretation of neuroimaging results causes. Please put some funding towards efforts to provide and maintain a place where just the methods and statistical maps (just the facts!)from ALL neuroimaging studies can be compiled (similar to Neurosynth, but better.) I think reducing the noise produced from premature and forced interpretations will further our understanding of what is happening in brain faster than anything else.

  • Jonathan E. Freedman, Ph.D.

    I agree with much of what Paul Patterson and Timothy Mastroianni said above. I strongly urge that the Initiative include funding for investigator-initiated projects (including those that are higher-risk than typical NIH-funded projects), rather than divert funds away from them, because that is where you may well find the biggest breakthroughs.

  • The NIH Brain Initiative to map the entire brain in detail is a welcomed and incredible scientific endeavor. Of course, we understand that the brain operates as a complex system and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It seems that the trick will be to resolve and integrate the large amount of microscopic information to macroscopic systematic dimensions found in nature. Indeed, we may require systematic knowledge that resolves how language, human brains, and the world work together as a whole on a grand scale. But we appear to be perplexed by the cryptic systematic encoding. Finding the key to the encoding may represent the greatest challenge for understanding human brains and the accompanying human minds that reside there.

  • @radiology_ninja

    Great initiative. I hope many fields collaborate to make this endeavor fruitful. Radiology, informatics, neuropharmacology, neurology, neurosurgery, etc. Collaborating on shared data sets many be useful for some projects. Publication of both positive and negative studies should be encouraged so we know what is happening and how the funds are being allocated.

  • David H. Haase, MD

    Kudos to the well-deserved attention to this realm of human functioning. AND as we endeavor to map the brain, let us not focus upon the highly expensive and not-very-clinically-exportable findings of functional MRI and draw our attention to quantitative EEG with LORETA current source density analysis as a cost-effective way to not just study the brain, but to quickly assess and study the application of qEEG based neurofeedback so that we may benefit a great number of people over a short period of time. These investments by the US taxpayer need to be thought of as such – and we need an appropriate ROI. This field of neurotherapy is not new – neurofeedback has a long history of good data, but unfortunately it has not enjoyed adequate funding of research in this pharma-dominated medical-treatment system so that it may present GREAT data. http://www.isnr.org is a good site to review the relevant data on quantitative EEG and neurofeedback. Given the fact this treatment modality already produces results I highly recommend that funds be appropriated not only to primary research entities, but also businesses focused upon improving our dataset and quickly implementing clinical results. It is only by implementation that we will actually bring benefit to the health of our nation.

  • Matt Boersma

    While I think it is an excellent idea to try and push our technology and focus toward brain connectivity. I am worried that these funds would be better spent, not from this top-down approach, but from the bottom-up. We need to make sure that we do not loose sight on the great advances that come from truly basic research.

  • Renee Ren-Patterson

    President Barack Obama’s announcement of the BRAIN initiative is a great gift for all neuroscientists. It’s a new step to produce insights into brain disorders, which will help us to really understand better how complex genetic disorders develope. Also it will make us have better diagnoses, prevention, and treatment. As neuroscientist has been working with various brain disorders for many years, its so exciting to have an opportunity to contribute something to this America cutting edge project. I have some suggestions: First, I support creating a noninvasive version of optogenetics for use on human brain, allowing functional dissection of neural circuits and more accurate diagnostics and treatment for brain disorders. Specifically scientists recently have published novel methods including powerful light source for two-photon excitation of deep tissue, which is faster scanning strategy. Second, neuroscientists will create nanoscience tools to record not only neurons but also astrocytes. because recent new findings tell us that neuroglial cells modulate complex brain circuits , which mediate behaviors like memory, learning, and sleep. Final, in order to test all these new tools, neuroscientists can combine many of these novel methods, which may allow simultaneous 3D imaging of neurons located in many different regions of the brain in awake animal (such as knock-out animal models).

    • Dorothy

      I sincerely hope the BRAIN initiative helps those with severe Epilepsy have a team that looks at the neurological, emotional, psychological, and physiological parts of seizures, medication side effects, and confusion and other mood changes that allow people to waste time in jail or long-term mental institutions because no one understands the brain, even though they do surgeries without assessing long-term effects that require all the disciplines to work as a team. Because we don’t have that, my daughter is in jail for a crime that according to the ADAA she shouldn’t have even been arrested for committing. She tried to get help by having psychiatrist confer with her neurologist and was refused. The wonderful young boys waiting for her to come home break my heart every day. I pray President Obama’s initiative combined with health care improvements prevent other families from dealing with this heartache.

  • Peter Muller

    I am very excited about the brain initiative. As a member of an organization that advocates for a little-known neurological disorder, Essential Tremor, the initiative should expediate the understanding of this disorder. This in turn should lead to real improvements in treatments for the condition.

  • Scott Gu

    I emphasize again Brain Activity Mapping could bring misleadings to those researches Dr. Collins mentioned. Exploring in these brain research areas should be driven by issues and problems, rather than assertions and ambitions…

  • sj

    As I understand it, mindfulness is a very powerful practice that can transform lives. It can shift internal dialog, it’s fundamental to understanding our own internal powers of self-control, which can shift biological processes within the body, create health or create sickness in both people and groups.

    Study of the processes of the brain are fundamental to mindful good health practice. Mindfulness is a concept spilling over from Buddhist philosophy that has stood the test of time, and become more important today in the face if so much rapid change to our daily attention requirements computers have brought.

    Mirror neurons, neuroplasticity, the GAPS (gut and psychology) connection, all work to influence our mind vs brain connection, I’ve read in some of the research over the past two years.

    Studying a wide range of brain-related data gives data insights that humans have never had before. It can illuminate a framework for approaching the nuances surrounding our own emotions, our choices, or blocks and drives. We can know more about our own thinking and physiological and external factors effecting our thinking. And we can change our minds with that knowledge.

    Studying the brain from as many vectors as possible, combined with our ability to extract from big data, can help humans understand the computer that runs them. This can empower everyone to modify their thinking and behaviors to be more in line with their ultimate goals and desires, and maybe to let go of things that interrupt healthy growth toward a goal.

    Of course studying the physiological processes of the brain will help sickness of all kinds in unimaginable ways, especiallly with the ability to change a person’s skin cells into their own stem cell therapy.

    But, it would seem that studying the brain using all the latest connectome visualizations, mris, etc, can also give humanity a boost toward knowing how to have more of a champion mind/peaceful mind, or whatever mind they should choose.

  • rex

    In order to move neuroscience forward, there needs to be some way to cut through the pile of mess that this arbitrariness in the reporting and interpretation of neuroimaging results causes. This is something that should be addressed on a policy level.

  • tommy

    i am so happy to hear this news. i think and i hope this working group will be grown and makes so much great things to other people. Barack Obama will launch?? i think this fact that Obama will launch this working group prove that this working group is so good.

  • kurniawan

    I am very excited about the brain initiative

  • ketoles

    a new hope for the world of science, especially to the BRAIN Initiative’s scientific agenda

  • Vrinda

    I have to admit it that I do really excited with this BRAIN Initiative. Considering I had experienced with someone need special treatment. Just hope fund raised will be better spent, because there will be many more people need to be help.

  • john smith

    I have some suggestions: First, I support creating a noninvasive version of optogenetics for use on human brain, allowing functional dissection of neural circuits and more accurate diagnostics and treatment for brain disorders. Specifically scientists recently have published novel methods including powerful light source for two-photon excitation of deep tissue, which is faster scanning strategy. Second, neuroscientists will create nanoscience tools to record not only neurons but also astrocytes. because recent new findings tell us that neuroglial cells modulate complex brain circuits , which mediate behaviors like memory, learning, and sleep.

  • Berita Terbaru

    President Barack Obama’s announcement of the BRAIN initiative is a great gift for all neuroscientists. It’s a new step to produce insights into brain disorders, which will help us to really understand better how complex genetic disorders develope. Also it will make us have better diagnoses, prevention, and treatment.

  • Scott Gu

    The BRAIN initiative is in wrong order and wrong ways. The methods it uses are not truly non-invansive as claimed. The data and pictures it provides are actually biased.

    For such pioneering researches of brains, people need understand scientific philosophy better. Philosophy is related to brains.

    Fairness is critical to sciences and good judgements. Socratic method asks for direct questioning and answering…

  • Jual Jersey

    It seems that the trick will be to resolve and integrate the large amount of microscopic information to macroscopic systematic dimensions found in nature. Indeed, we may require systematic knowledge that resolves how language, human brains, and the world work together as a whole on a grand scale.

  • aris reza

    I am very very excited about the brain initiative, nice work

  • charlie

    I strongly support the discussion about the dynamic picture of brain function, I will follow the progress of these discussions. I hope this is the next step for the development of brain science..

  • Bromo Tour

    I agree.Thank you for Initiative

  • Pieter T

    “I hope that this new site will serve as the place for the broader community to discuss this exciting new effort and provide important feedback regarding the BRAIN Initiative’s scientific agenda.” Agree..

  • Laura Wells

    I salute the launch of the BRAIN Initiative. This project brings focus to the critical need for collective investment in brain research to find answers for some of our most devastating, and hardest to treat, illnesses. As the Vice President of Communications for the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research over the past 25 years, I am heartened by the unified approach this initiative proposes. It acknowledges the weightiness of the challenge at hand and the need to pool our resources to successfully unlock the mysteries of the brain.

  • elizabeth Bonney

    This is a hugely ambitious project that will help to destroy science in the United States. Why? It will prevent funding of thousands of smaller laboratories that are doing important work– that when placed together would far outweigh the importance of the work done by one or two big labs and conceived of by one or two big minds. This “big science” is a travesty to those small labs that do go work and in addition train students, post doctoral fellows and others. This “big science is also racist and sexist, because it completely leaves behind laboratories run by minority scientists and women. This “big science” is the result of faulty logic and big egos. In 10 years and billions of dollars this project will yield one or two important findings and will be put in the political spin machine and made out to be “game changers”, “fundamental feats of science”, etc. However, there will be no one around to judge it. True science will be dead.

  • Roger Gietzen MD

    This research will also have an impact on chronic pain disorders. New research is suggesting that they too are due to a disorder of brain function:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22094191

  • andrei

    i still searching about brain diseases like epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. why these symptoms happen and what will we do to decrease it.

  • Dwayne Godwin PhD

    Some suggestions:
    1) Please use the Request for Information (RFI) mechanism that you have used to good effect for other initiatives;
    2) Rather than emcumbering resources by one or a few large projects, use a range of funding levels (R21 to PPG) to support the initiative;
    3) Please consider providing more opportunities for interaction with the larger neuroscience community by sponsoring a symposium and Q&A at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting – and invite some science journalists to ask questions.
    4) Continue fighting for more funding to offset the real concerns that this will further erode paylines.

  • George Brown

    I have Parkinsons Disease in the early stage. I am encouraged that The BRAIN Initiative will lead to a better understanding of rare brain disorders, like Parkinsons Disease, which can ultimately be of help to researchers in developing better treatments and even cures for these diseases.

  • Edie Dickinson

    I believe it would be beneficial to do brain mapping on family members of ET patients who have not exhibited ET symptoms as a baseline in the event these non symptomatic family members develop symptoms in the future. There may be identifiable changes in the brain function which could be definitive.

  • Imaging Researcher

    I hope the Committee/Working Groups will give greater consideration to advanced imaging tools. This top-down approach will yield translational results much faster than the bottom-up approaches currently dominating the conversation. DTI imaging is often used to “sell” the BRAIN Initiative in presentations and websites, yet it appears that only a tiny percentage of the NIH’s BRAIN funding will be devoted to imaging. The neuroimaging/neuroradiology community should be engaged hand-in-hand with their colleagues in neuroscience, and represented to a much greater degree on planning committees.

  • Betty Edelman

    Begin with my son’s condition. Blind, autistic. Highly intelligentand acadedemically did A average in High School. Stress ladened became bipolar and now schizoaffective. How come? I know. Lack of good knowledge of treatment and commonsense usages of drugs. What will happen from now on? Better approaches to diagnosis and the directness of causes of the illness. Whole job approach to caring and full needs for the illness encompassing alternative and less hazardous medicines.
    Who can add to this. Thank you.

  • L. Jakeman

    BRAIN would greatly facilitate treatment options and translation in spinal cord injury, stroke, and motoneuron diseases by including studies of the spinal cord in the search for signals of functional connectivity and interneuronal activity.

  • Joseph A. Salmon, Jr.

    I have been researching the White Houise Brain Initiative. I want to be a participant. Please inform me of the headquarters of the brain research effort–outside of the White House…

  • Android APK Games

    In other words, mind and matter should be mindfully analyzed as the whole rather then just studying the matter part or brain. I agree we encouraged that The BRAIN Initiative will lead to a better understanding of rare brain disorders, like Parkinsons Disease, which can ultimately be of help to researchers in developing better treatments and even cures for these diseases.

  • Antony

    I hope this project will be realized and rewarding. salute to President Obama

  • The Green Coco Island

    Given the climate in Washington fomented by the debt-hawks, I’m guessing that this initiative does not involve new funds for NIH, so this is likely bad news for most neuroscientists, and for advocates for research on the many tragic diseases of the brain.

  • Bang Somad

    All knowledge about brain health is very important. I hope this site can publish knowledge and new findings on the brain that can add to our knowledge.

  • Womens Lifestyle

    Is the female brain and the male brain works the same way? I hope this site can give to all of us new knowledge about it.

  • Devont Malta

    This discussion is very interesting for me…cause i interest with brain…. I use Yoga To make Health and Smart Brain…

  • Martha Widra

    Any initiative to further knowledge and technologies about any scientific discipline has enduring benefits to the present and future. The technology to better understand the function of the human brain has advanced to the point where it is possible to begin to map this complex organ. I am personally interested in this on many levels. I have worked in scientific research as a technician and now manager for over 40 years. So I understand the need to explore this undiscovered country of ourselves.

    On a personal level, I can feel a need because I can no longer perform “bench science” due to my Essential Tremor, which began in childhood. It has finally progressed to the point where I cannot pipette accurately and safely, and placed me on the sidelines. It continues to progress, and is effecting my ability to function in everyday life. Eating everything with a spoon is now my only choice, and on a “bad hand day”, I have a hard time writing legibly. This initiative could help find a cure for me.

    But a journey of basic discovery would not be limited to these kind of functional disorders to be cured, but could help us better understand and utilize the special differences of individuals whose learning abilities are very different from us “normal” folks. My son was identified as being profoundly learning disabled, yet his different style of thinking enables him to find new and innovative solutions to problems. If we better knew how the thought processes of those who are like him work, we could design a learning style to match the processing style, and foster a source of creativity that could benefit humanity.

    Understanding the brain patterns of people who have the disorders that are behind mass killings may help those people learn to cope with society, and prevent future tragedies. Perhaps we could learn now to block the disorders in the future, and finally answer the nature vs nurture question for a cause. This initiative has great potential.

    Better knowledge of the brain could bring humanity to a better place.

  • Jeremy Berg

    This month’s President’s column for ASBMB Today is a NIH-style critique of the BRAIN Initiative. See http://www.asbmb.org/asbmbtoday/asbmbtoday_article.aspx?id=47927 . I feel that it is a potentially highly significant project, but I have concerns about the approach to date.

  • Alice Soden-Weber

    So very happy to hear that someone is finally looking into E.T.
    I have been plagued with this since I was in high school at age 13, my nursing instructor used to tell me I gave her a complex because I would shake so. It has finally ended my career. I can’t even do the computer work without having to go back and continually correct my double clicks.
    I sincerely hope we can find some answers. I hate the medication as to use it in a high enough dosage to work it makes my vision go crazy and I feel sleepy and high! Don’t think that’s the way I want to feel so I don’t take a high enough dosage to completely get rid of the shakes.
    This plagued my father, my sister and brother also have it and possible a niece. I know of several cousins with it to. It’s a horrible thing to live with.
    My old Dr told me “you know it’s related to epilepsy”. That’s not something I wanted to hear.
    Please help

  • Heidi McGhee

    In 1985, during a Demerol induced semi coma during labor with my first child, I had a bilateral thalamic stroke. In 1993, I had another child. I am now a college student at the University of Wisconsin Stout. For my final paper for Assistive Technology I wrote on the Brain Plasticity Cognitive Therapy. I aced the paper. I would really love to wake America up and make them understand about the neuroplasticity of the brain and that a pill will not make dead neurons come back to life. Please contact me, I have a story that needs to be told and I would like to develop a relationship in case there is any information that I may be able to use in the future.

  • Shwan

    Congratulation for the launch of BRAINfeedback.nih.gov. Hopefully scientists can increase their knowledge on brain diseases and find the right treatments for many people who suffer from these diseases.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Rjlabs

    With the intention of spending $30b on original research one would expect a substantial effort at the outset at collecting, collating and reviewing all that is already known about the brain thus far. That broad and deep, up front, “secondary research” project (to be reviewed by project managers passing out funding) will be a huge leg lift to the original researchers pressing forward. Intelligent review of the past history prior to darting out in bold new research directions would help deliver the biggest bang for the taxpayer’s investment buck. Wikipedia has an article that attempts to cover the waterfront: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_topics_related_to_brain_mapping

    After launching that broad scope article one question came to mind. What good is it to know a neuron’s exact track through the grey matter housed within the cranium, even if you map exactly where every interconnection (in that bound space)exist? You are missing what’s connected on the other end, out in the body.

    To understand the brain, don’t we need a nerve map of the entire body? The brain is compact, dense with neurons and interconnections are all packed in tight. The rest of the body should be so much easier to map because it has a relatively sparse nerve net.

    Also, we need much more disciplined information of receptor cells and their capability to encode information that is ultimately sent on to the brain. There are quite a few fundamental receptor cell types located out at that “far end” from the brain, understanding those information gateways is critical.

    Lastly we need to consider motor output. If we are creating a wiring diagram inside the brain and are mapping a neuron that ultimately connects down to a contractor muscle in the small toe don’t we need to know all about that too?

    Input – processing – output. Best look at it all together.

    Would like to see secondary research compilation and review first (with international scope), then clear objectives, annual milestones, and thick, thoughtful and independent audit reports. GAO would be perfect to set up and run a good financial control system. $30b is a lot of debt to saddle our kids with. Lets be darn sure our kids get great value for the dollars we spend on their behalf.

  • Samuel

    Yes, very well with the study of the brain, meaning that not only are studied Einstein’s brain, but the brain of the terrorists, criminals, drunks and others

  • Walter D. Clapp J.D. Candidate

    As the intersection of law and neuroscience widens, I would like to ask for one technological advance. A fMRI device that will scan one’s brain while sitting over a table in a typical studying posture. As I delve into the neuroscience behind language acquisition,and legalese as a dialect or language, I find it hard to imagine scanning myself while reading briefs laying on my back. In the words of one great legal scholar, “reading judicial opinions is like stirring cement with your eyelashes”. I would add, it is best done sitting down looking over the material, and not lying under it. Likewise, as we work in the field of contracts, and the process inherent in the composition and reading of contracts, if I want to design a study with thousands of lay persons reading a test contract, how can I do so in a comfortable setting. To date that is not possible, and seems to me the greatest barrier to good and generous amounts of data. I presume there is a greater mental block among potential volunteers and their willingness to lay down and have magnets tossed around their head. I have not the data to prove it, but you certainly have the capacity to do so. Would a machine which reads the brain while a human is sitting be more comfortable and reliable than one that requires the human to lay down? How about the future of a semi-portable machine? Big data is where this needs to go, no?

  • Dave Crowley

    According to whitehouse.gov,

    50% of this money is going to DARPA. To fund “breakthrough applications” that are based on “understanding dynamic brain functions.” In other words, development of brain-machine interfaces with military applications. What a bait-and-switch bit of BS.
    In the preceding comments, I see there are a lot of starry-eyed dreams about what can/might/ought to be done. Sorry Charlie, most of this money’s for the Generals.

  • Kristen

    I am not a doctor, nor do I know much about the brain, but I am glad this research is happening. My son Cameron is nine years old, and was born normally functioning. About one year into his life he got lead poisoning. Only a couple doctor’s used Autism as a scapegoat. He has developmental and cognitive disabilities. I live in Maryland about one hour from Bethesda, and I would be glad to join any testing’s or trials just to get more information on his functioning brain. The key to educating a special needs child is not for them to become a doctor or a lawyer, but a functioning human being!

  • Kaos Muslim Anak

    Wow, launched by President Obama, I’m very exited! ;)

  • Maggie Clarke, Ph.D.

    Essential tremor seems to run in my family and I’ve noticed that I am following in my mother’s steps. She’s 95 and has had it for decades. Primidone is only partially helpful to her. I’m 60, and wanting to know how to keep it from getting worse and, better yet, reverse the effects. Is it a dietary deficiency? In what I’ve read, there is a long way to go in understanding its causes. Mom and I have migraines. Is this being studied? She has dementia. I sure don’t want that. Her side of the family lives a long time (her sister, 97, their mother died at 100). I have a big stake in this brain research being thorough, successful, and speedy. How can I participate in research? How can Mom and I contribute DNA? I’m not finding answers to these on this or other sites.

  • Ryanna

    My son Cameron is nine years old, and was born normally functioning. About one year into his life he got lead poisoning. Only a couple doctor’s used Autism as a scapegoat. He has developmental and cognitive disabilities. I live in Maryland about one hour from Bethesda, and I would be glad to join any testing’s or trials just to get more information on his functioning brain. The key to educating a special needs child is not for them to become a doctor or a lawyer, but a functioning human being!Thanks a lot..

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