Obama to announce brain mapping project

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is proposing a new investment into research to map the human brain in hopes of unlocking some of its mysteries, a senior administration official says.

The president planned to propose a US$100 million (S$123.78 million) investment for next year during an announcement at the White House Tuesday morning, the official said.

Obama mentioned the idea in his State of the Union address, comparing the potential to the Human Genome Project that mapped DNA.

"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Every dollar," Obama said in the address to Congress in February.

"Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."

Obama wants the research to involve private institutions as well as government agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation.

It will require the development of new technology that can record the electrical activity of more neurons in the brain and a study of the ethical implications of the advancements.

The official spoke on a condition of anonymity because the president had not yet announced the plan. It was first reported by The New York Times.

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