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U.S. Plans Billion-Dollar Project to Study the Brain
Date:2/18/2013

ill also help us develop better technology."

Scientists hope that the effort will have the same wide-reaching effect on brain research and knowledge that the Human Genome Project had on genetics. When it was completed in 2003, the 13-year Human Genome Project had mapped all of the genes in human DNA. The project cost $3.8 billion, but had returned $800 billion by 2010, the Times said.

George Church, a molecular biologist at Harvard University involved with both projects, said of the brain mapping project: "We probably won't spend less money, but we will probably get a lot more bang for the buck."

Scientists discussing the brain project said they hope Congress would allot $3 billion or more over the length of the initiative, the newspaper said.

One Alzheimer's specialist voiced enthusiasm for the project.

"Unbiased approaches such as this and such as the Human Genome Project are most useful in revealing 'unknown unknowns' -- information that we would never learn through standard logic and hypothesis-testing because these connections would never cross our minds," said Dr. Sam Gandy, associate director at the Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in New York City.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about brain basics.

SOURCES: Sam Gandy, M.D., associate director, Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, New York City; Ashesh Mehta, MD, head of the Laboratory of Multimodal Brain Mapping, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, NY; David Fitzpatrick, M.D., scientific director and chief executive officer, Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience, Jupiter, Fla.; The New York Times


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