As you know, five years ago, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), working in concert with several government agencies and private entities, launched the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Inititative.
The human brain was once thought to be so complex as to be beyond our ability to understand. Its 100 billion nerve cells and their 100 trillion connections to each other are almost unimaginable. But this Initiative creates the opportunity to produce a clearer, more dynamic picture of the brain that can demonstrate, for the first time, how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in time and space. This will require the development and use of technologies that do not presently exist.
This project has been guided by a high-level working group, composed of expert scientists from around the nation. Its planning process sought input broadly from the scientific community, patient advocates, and the general public. Through a series of reports, this project has moved forward to the release of a plan carrying the Initiative through FY2025, with specific goals, milestones, and deliverables.
Ultimately, the technologies developed through the BRAIN Initiative may help reveal the underlying pathology of a vast array of brain disorders and provide new therapeutic avenues to treat, cure, and even prevent a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions that afflict up to 100 million Americans.
This is an ambitious project and it will need a sustained commitment over many years. Robust funding of the NIH is essential for this Initiative, or any initiative by a similar name, to continue to move forward.
Ask your legislators to show their support for robust funding to sustain NIH's work on the BRAIN Initiative by joining the Neuroscience Caucus Co-chairs on a Congressional letter to the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee.