US President Barack Obama speaks during an event at the Decatur Community Recreation Center February 14, 2013 in Decatur, Georgia. Obama is traveling to Georgia to promote economic and educational initiatives he spoke about in this week's State of the Union. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
The Obama administration is preparing to unveil a decades-long project to map the inner workings of the brain.
As The New York Times points out, the project is designed "to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics."
The Times said the "Brain Activity Map" project could be part of a budget proposal to be released in March, though details -- including the costs -- are still being worked out.
Obama referenced the brain-mapping project during his State of the Union speech while advocating federal spending on research and development.
"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy -- every dollar," Obama said on Feb. 12. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."
From the Times:
"The project, which the administration has been looking to unveil as early as March, will include federal agencies, private foundations and teams of neuroscientists and nanoscientists in a concerted effort to advance the knowledge of the brain's billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness.
"Scientists with the highest hopes for the project also see it as a way to develop the technology essential to understanding diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as to find new therapies for a variety of mental illnesses.
"Moreover, the project holds the potential of paving the way for advances in artificial intelligence."