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NIH Funding and the BRAIN Initiative


bradgphilbrick@gmail.com
NIH symbol
I have always been intrigued with biomedical research.  And I still am.  Of course I am stating what most of us know already; more research and funding is needed to find cures for cancer, better ways to treat diabetes, greater knowledge is needed to halt Alzheimer’s, fighting HIV, and a vast number of lesser known diseases.  There is a long list of these orphan (rare) diseases, from Aagenaes syndrome, a genetic order affecting bile flow in the live and excess lymph primarily affecting the lower limbs; to zygomycosis, simply states is infections caused by bread mold fungi.
The United States has always been an international leader in science, but over the last decade research has been on the decline while other countries have seen increases in research efforts.  It pleases me immensely that this “funding malady” has been observed, diagnosed, and that a “treatment is in order.”  The NIH (National Institutes of Health) is now in the limelight on Capital Hill.  Politicians are not seeking ways to spend less money but more.
Sarah Karlin reported in her Politico article of July 7, 2015,  “NIH Sees Reversal of Fortune with Proposed Funding Boosts,” “‘If anything, said Emily Holubowich, executive director of the nonprofit Coalition for Health Funding, ‘there’s competition among lawmakers of who is going to save NIH first.’”
Furthermore reports Sarah Karlin, “Republicans now talk about curing diseases as a way of also curing government spending.  ‘We can’t solve mandatory health problems without finding cures for Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes,’ said Maryland Rep. Andy Harris.”BRAIN Initiative
One major effort that has been set forward is the NIH BRAIN Initiative.  Actually BRAIN is an acronym for  Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Technologies.  100 million Americans suffer from a brain injury or disorder sometime in their lives.  Disorders such as autism, injuries such as a concussion, anxiety disorders, and three well known neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and epilepsy.  Simply put, if we gain more knowledge of the brain, more people’s lives can be improved.
The brain is the most complex organ in the body.  The human brain has 86 billion neurons along with other cells that make more than 100 trillion connections.  BRAIN Initiative is a 12 year scientific vision.  Its goal and aim is to map circuits of the brain, measure electrical and chemical activity while understanding how these circuits create our cognitive and behavioral capabilities.
“How the brain works and gives rise to our mental and intellectual  lives will be the most exciting and challenging area of science in the 21st century.”
NIH Director Francis Collins June 4, 2014
The BRAIN Initiative is one part of the NIH’s investment in basic, translational and clinical neuroscience.  To learn more about the NIH BRAIN Initiative, please visit:  www.nih.gov/science/brain  brain