Obama to propose $100 million brain-mapping project

The president hopes scientists can unlock the answers to diseases like Alzheimer's

By Nedra Pickler

Published April 2, 2013 12:48PM (EDT)

     (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is proposing a new investment into research to map the human brain in hopes of unlocking some of its mysteries.

The president planned to propose a $100 million investment for next year during remarks Tuesday morning, the White House said.

Obama mentioned the idea in his State of the Union address, comparing the potential to the Human Genome Project that mapped DNA.

"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Every dollar," Obama said in the address to Congress in February. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."

Obama wants the research to involve private institutions as well as government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation. It will require the development of new technology that can record the electrical activity of more neurons in the brain and a study of the ethical implications of the advancements.

A White House statement said Obama would announce the brain research project, known as BRAIN, intended to "revolutionize our understanding of the human mind," as well as create jobs.

Obama's top science advisers would elaborate on the project's details later Tuesday, the White House statement said.

Nedra Pickler

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Alzheimer's Disease Associated Press Barack Obama Brain-mapping Human Genome Project