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A Bigger Brain Plan?

We are going to need a bigger brain initiative, or at least a bigger budget than the $4.5 billion, 12-year plan that the US National Institutes of Health proposed a few days ago, says one think tank.

If you want to develop the kinds of innovative, big-ticket technologies that will enable scientists to map and then dive into and investigate the inner workings of the brain and the nervous system and find ways to cure diseases, then what is needed is a program on the scale of another moon shot, according to the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

The leaders of the Potomac Institute's Center for Neurotechnology Studies say they want the government to provide $2 billion a year to expand the BRAIN Initiative plan into a National Neurotechnology Initiative.

The BRAIN Initiative, for which NIH is seeking $100 million this year to prepare the program for launch, "will not deliver on its promises unless it is driven by greater, more robust goals," the institute says.

"The current effort is reminiscent of the modest Human Genome Project that promised personalized medicine from the sequence of human DNA," the institute adds. "Ten years after the project was declared a success, we are still waiting for cures to diseases and individualized medicine."