Taking a Deep Dive Into the Brain
A new program was launched in 2013 to help scientists explore the intricacies of the human brain. Dubbed the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, its mission was to discover exactly how the brain works.
Researchers have learned a lot about neuroscience in the past 100 years, according to an interview conducted with the co-chair of the BRAIN Initiative working group earlier this year. We know that the brain is composed of biological material and consists of approximately 86 billion neurons, but there are still a lot of gaps in our understanding. How do you take those billions of neurons and turn them into a single set of coherent response to the world around you? That’s what the BRAIN Initiative is exploring.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 100 million Americans suffer from a brain-related disease at some point in their lives. In understanding and mapping out neurons in the brain, researchers hope to learn more about and ultimately treat brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease.
The BRAIN Initiative, which is supported by the Epilepsy Foundation and other organizations, has sponsored scientists studying how different areas of the brain talk to each another, how brains regulate decision-making, and how brain-based implants can improve the quality of life for patients with certain chronic conditions. It has also funded studies that examine areas of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and spatial orientation.