Obama Launches $100m Human Brain Research Initiative
President Obama today announced funding for a $100 million research initiative, aimed at mapping the complex workings of the human brain. According to the President, the aim of the study is to understand what goes wrong in a range of debilitating neurological conditions, from childhood autism to Alzheimer's disease, and consequently provide new treatments and possibly cures for brain disorders that have become the biggest medical burden in the developed world.
The new research initiative – Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Nanotechnologies (BRAIN) – has been awarded a relatively small initial budget compared to other big research initiatives, however Obama said that it would kick start a field of endeavor that has been likened to the $3.6 billion human genome project to map the complete DNA sequence of man.
“As humans we can identify galaxies light-years away, study particles smaller than an atom but we still haven't unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears,” President Obama said at a White House news conference.
“If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy - every dollar. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer'. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the space race,” President Obama said.
The BRAIN initiative is directed at mapping the neural circuits of the brain using sophisticated technology such as tiny nanosensors and wireless fibre-optic tools, in conjunction with more traditional methods such as magnetic resonance.
The BRAIN initiative will be orchestrated by America's federal research institutes in cooperation with the private sector and is intended to grow into what will become the largest collaborative research effort into brain disorders.
This is not the first project launched in recent months focusing on research of the human brain. Earlier this year, the European Commission announced the Human Brain Project, one of two flagship science programs involving more than 80 research institutions from across Europe with a combined budget of €1.19bn over 10 years.
Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.