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New BRAIN initiative announced at White House
Date:4/2/2013

we move, how our emotions work. These abilities define us, yet we hardly understand any of it," said Miyoung Chun, vice president of science programs at The Kavli Foundation. "An interdisciplinary network of scientists and engineers working together could make new, powerful prosthetics, lead to new treatments of devastating brain disorders, create improved educational strategies, and smart technologies that mimic the brain's extraordinary abilities." Dr. Chun worked closely with the scientists and was a co-author of subsequent papers on relevant topics. The efforts of the scientists would be crucial to propelling the thinking and proposal processes that are today supporting scientific work advancing the BRAIN Initiative.

Current techniques allow neuroscientists to capture live signals either from just a few hundred neurons at a time or from large swathes of brain topography at once, but neither scale is sufficient to yield a comprehensive picture of brain activity. Instead, researchers believe that the activity generated by large assemblies of thousands or millions of neurons holds the key to understanding how the brain's physiology gives rise to cognition and consciousness. Charting the activity of entire networks of neurons "is the major thing to be done to make a breakthrough in our understanding of how the brain works," according to proposal proponent John Donoghue, director of the Institute for Brain Science at Brown University, a neuroscientist who studies how the brain encodes information and develops prosthetic devices for patients with paralysis.

The idea of mapping the functioning brain -- a concept that has been described by some as "the Holy Grail" of neuroscience -- was discussed by scientists at the very end of the 2011 symposium, which also covered topics such as tool and technology development for measuring and instigating brain cell activity, and the incredible amount of data that such efforts would generate.

Scientific
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Contact: James Cohen
cohen@kavlifoundation.org
The Kavli Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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