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President Obama Proposes $100-Million Project to Study Brain Function

Statement by Barb Puder, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Basic Sciences and Coordinator of the Brain Awareness Program at Samuel Merritt University (SMU)

On Tuesday, April 2, 2013, President Barack Obama outlined a $100-million project to study brain function to "better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember." He is asking Congress to fund the project as a step toward finding better ways to treat such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, autism, stroke and traumatic brain injuries.

The project will be known as Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or the Brain Initiative. Obama said the initiative could create jobs, and told scientists gathered in the White House's East Room that the research has the potential to improve the lives of billions of people worldwide. (sources: NPR News and The Chronicle of Higher Education)

"This is very exciting for researchers because it means more research projects will be funded," said Barb Puder, Associate Professor. "It should have the same effect as far as advancing neuroscience as when President Reagan announced in the 1980s that it was the decade of the brain."

"This project will be different from the human genome project because of the fact that although some neural connections are very similar from one individual to the next, other neural connections are very unique to that individual," said Puder. "Think for example about personalities, personal behaviors, mannerisms etc. However, I do think with this additional funding it will allow researchers to study diseases such as Alzeheimer's disease or understand the effects of  traumatic brain injury."

To learn more about the SMU Brain Awareness Program, click here.
To contact Dr. Barb Puder, email her at bpuder@samuelmerritt.edu.