The National Institutes of Health announced funding of more than 200 new awards, totaling over $220 million, through the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, an exciting trans-agency effort to arm researchers with revolutionary tools to fundamentally understand the neural circuits that underlie the healthy and diseased brain. Supported by the Congress through both the regular appropriations process and the 21st Century Cures Act, this brings the total 2018 support for the program to more than $400 million, which is 50 percent more than the amount spent last year. Many of the new awards explore the human brain directly. Furthermore, the NIH is trying to leverage some BRAIN Initiative advances to help tackle the pain and opioid crisis.
“Brain diseases are some of the greatest mysteries in modern medicine. These projects will provide new tools and knowledge needed to discover answers for some of the most difficult neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Examples of these new awards include the creation of a wireless optical tomography cap for scanning human brain activity; the development of a noninvasive brain-computer interface system for improving the lives of paralysis patients; and the testing of noninvasive brain stimulation devices for treating schizophrenia, attention deficit disorders, and other brain diseases.