Earlier this year, the Administration called for an investment of $135 million in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its contribution to the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

The human brain was once thought to be so complex as to be beyond our ability to understand.  Its 100 billion nerve cells and their 100 trillion connections to each other is almost unimaginable.  But this Initiative creates the opportunity to produce a clearer, dynamic picture of the brain that can demonstrate, for the first time, how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in time and space.  This will require the development and use of technologies that do not presently exist.

NIH’s funding priorities for this project have been guided by a high-level working group, composed of expert scientists from around the nation.  Its planning process sought input broadly from the scientific community, patient advocates, and the general public.  Through a series of reports, this project has moved forward to the release of a plan carrying the Initiative through FY2025, with specific goals, milestones, and deliverables.

Ultimately, the technologies developed through the BRAIN Initiative may help reveal the underlying pathology of a vast array of brain disorders and provide new therapeutic avenues to treat, cure, and even prevent a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric conditions that afflict up to 50 million Americans.

This is an ambitious project – comparable to going to the moon or to the Human Genome Project – and will need a sustained commitment over many years.  It is essential that this money be appropriated so that NIH can continue to move forward.

Congress is now at work putting together a budget for FY2016 and it is important that they hear from you now! Ask your legislators to show their support for the Administration’s request of $135 million to sustain NIH’s work on the BRAIN Initiative by signing a Congressional letter to the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee.   Please visit the following site to send an action alert:

The above message was sent to the CNS by Katie Sale, Executive Director, American Brain Coalition