White House Unveils $100 Million Initiative for Alzheimer’s-Related Research

The White House on Tuesday unveiled a new, approximately $100 million research initiative designed to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and prevent brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

Launched with about $100 million in President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) initiative will “accelerate the development and application of new technologies that help researchers produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought,” says the announcement.

The technologies are expected to increase exploration into how the brain records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves vast quantities of information, and gain new understanding of the complex links between brain function and behavior. 

The National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science Foundation will support about $100 million in research beginning in fiscal year 2014, with allocations or investments of about $40 million, $50 million, and $20 million, respectively. 

Through the initiative, the National Institutes of Health will establish a “high-level working group” co-chaired by Dr. Cornelia Bargmann of The Rockefeller University, and Dr. William Newsome of Stanford University, to define detailed scientific goals for the NIH’s investment, and to develop a multi-year plan to achieve these goals.

There will also be partnerships with the private sector, including The Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies under its Dynamic Brain Initiative, with further monetary investments and allocations. 

Find out more about the BRAIN Initiative. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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  1. says

    We to here at the Alzheimer’s Research Association also applaud the Presidents bold new research initiative designed to revolutionize our understanding of the human brain. Nothing we could do as a country would be of greater importance in the fight against Alzheimer’s, and other Dementia's.

    The Initiative ultimately aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and traumatic brain injury.

    This is serious research that must be done, and not used for making political points.

    At the same time we have to remember that this $100 Million dollars that is requested for this research must still be appropriated by congress. The president chose to make a political statement when he said “At the same time”, Obama acknowledged the tough road ahead, as much as the challenge facing scientists to "crack the code," as getting Congress to go along with the appropriation, and he pointed to the “damage to research because of the sequester”.

    He chose to make this a political football, which makes us think that this was his way of getting his shot in against his opposition, and makes us wonder if he is as serious as he says he is. Was this just a photo shoot? Was this just an opportunity to score political points? A chance to take a shot at his opponents?

    We hope not, but there was absolutely no need to bring the sequester up in his remarks. He chose to use this as a way to undercut his adversaries.

    No matter what side of the isle you are on, no matter how you feel about the sequester and its effects on the research that needs to be done, we cannot as a nation play political games when we are talking about something as important as this.

    He also said "That's the future we're imagining. That's what we're hoping for. That’s why the BRAIN Initiative is so absolutely important. And that’s why it’s so important that we think about basic research generally as a driver of growth and that we replace the across-the-board budget cuts that are threatening to set us back before we even get started. A few weeks ago, the directors of some of our national laboratories said that the sequester — these arbitrary, across-the-board cuts that have gone into place — are so severe, so poorly designed that they will hold back a generation of young scientists."

    Mr. President, if you really believe this, then get an agreement with your opponents in congress, stop the grandstanding, and get a deal done so we as a nation can move forward and get the Initiatives we really need funded. We don’t need to hear about one side or the other. Get a deal done. that is why we hired you.

    Joe Lucido
    Alzheimer’s Research Association. <a href="http://www.alzra.org” target=”_blank”>www.alzra.org

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