Today, President Obama announced the Brain Activity Map Initiative, starting with an investment of $100 million in 2014. This broad effort to advance knowledge of the human brain could not only lead to new understanding of the unfathomably complex workings of the normal human brain, but also help to unlock new approaches to treating brain disease. On behalf of The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, CEO Todd Sherer, PhD, issued this statement:
Since its founding in 2000, The Michael J. Fox Foundation has been a champion of collaborative efforts to speed the fruits of our shared investment in brain research. Only through models emphasizing collaboration over competition will we make progress in understanding the human brain and conquering the diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, that attack it, robbing quality -- and years -- of life from countless Americans.
In announcing the Brain Activity Map, the Obama administration signals strong support for models that bring together federal agencies, private foundations and teams of neuroscientists toward a greater and more nuanced understanding of brain biology. This knowledge is essential to the pursuit of medical breakthroughs that can impact countless lives. And there is no time to waste. Today it is predicted that three out of five Americans will suffer from a nervous system disease in their lifetime, a number that will only grow as our population continues to age.
Previous initiatives of this scope and scale, such as the Human Genome Project, have galvanized research and opened new avenues of therapeutic exploration previously undreamed of. Speaking about the Human Genome Project in his State of the Union address in January, the President made note of what is possible when the American people "invest in the best ideas." Today, that means mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to our most complex and devastating diseases.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation supports President Obama and Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, in this ambitious effort to create a future where our only questions about the human brain are how to fully realize its incredible potential.