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Brain Mapping May Unlock Autism Mysteries

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In a move that could bring major breakthroughs in the understanding of autism and other neurological disorders, the president unveiled plans for a decades-long project to map the human brain.

The effort dubbed the BRAIN Initiative — short for “Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies” — comes with a bold goal of finding new ways to “treat, cure and even prevent brain disorders,” the White House said.

To get the project off the ground, President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $100 million.

“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,” Obama said in announcing the effort on Tuesday. “So there is this enormous mystery waiting to be unlocked, and the BRAIN Initiative will change that by giving scientists the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action and better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember.”

Obama compared the BRAIN Initiative to the Human Genome Project, saying that while the full scope of the project is not yet clear, the potential results of the effort “will be transformative.”

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Comments (2 Responses)

  1. Phillip says:

    In the words of NIKE, “Just do it.”

  2. Yankeegirl says:

    UC Davis MIND Institute studies have shown that many of kids with autism have an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction. Also, researchers at Johns Hopkins dicovered that the microglia in the brain tissue of children with autism appear shriveled looking indicating overstimulation and inflammation. Dr. Mario Capecchi, a geneticist and researcher at University of Utah, found that if the brains microglia are defective, the signaling will be impaired then the brain won’t function right which presents as unusual OCD like behaviors. He said “defective microglia output defective behavior” As far a brain research goes, this is where I would put my $100 million.

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