IT IS the control panel of the human body. But how much do we really know about the brain and how it controls wellness, disease, or behaviour?
The answer is very little, although that will soon change thanks to one of the most ambitious research projects launched.
In April US president Barack Obama announced the government would allocate $100million in the next financial year to support the Brain initiative also referred to as the Brain Activity Map Project.
The real cost of this project is estimated to be $300million a year for 10 years with other sponsors contributing.
Sometimes compared to the Human Genome Project in its scope and potential impact on medicine, Brainas aim is to map the activity of about 100billion neurons.
What the study finds could assist medical researchers with developing better treatments for autism, clinical depression, schizophrenia, Parkinsonas and other brain conditions.
Apparently scientists are keen to further unravel the brainas workings because of an emerging realisation that thoughts, memories, consciousness and brain disorders result from communication among networks of neurons, …