MONDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- An unprecedented, 10-year study of the human brain is expected to be unveiled by the Obama administration as early as next month, The New York Times reported Monday.
President Barack Obama cited the need for brain research in his State of the Union address last week, and the Times reported Monday that scientists, government agencies and private foundations expect to team up in an effort to reveal the mysterious inner workings of the brain's chemistry.
The project is known as the Brain Activity Map project, the news report said, and the ultimate goal is to create a detailed map of the brain, which is composed of billions of neurons, and to better understand mental illnesses and brain disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and autism.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health-sponsored research might even lead to breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, the newspaper reported.
Experts welcomed the news.
"This initiative has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of neural circuits, providing the fundamental knowledge that is critical for developing treatments for a host of neurological and psychiatric disorders," said Dr. David Fitzpatrick, scientific director and chief executive officer of the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience.
Dr. Ashesh Mehta, head of the Laboratory of Multimodal Brain Mapping at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y., agreed.
He said the advent of new brain-mapping technologies has brought "an explosion of information in recent years, and the need to coordinate and synthesize this information from the single neuron to the whole brain is upon us now.
"This would not only pave the path toward treating neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, autism, depression and paralysis," Mehta added, "but it w
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