NIH adds $220 million in funding for BRAIN research, support for imaging technology

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently awarded more than $220 million in funding through more than 200 new awards as part of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The move is supported by Congress through the regular appropriations process and the 21st Century Cures Act.  

The latest financial expansion to this trans-agency effort is aimed to help researchers better understand neural circuits in the brain and brings the program’s total support for this year alone to more than $400 million, according to an NIH news release published Friday, Nov. 2.  

“Brain diseases are some of the greatest mysteries in modern medicine. These projects will provide new tools and knowledge needed to discover answers for some of the most difficult neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders,” NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, said in a prepared statement.  

Since the initiative was launched in 2013, more than 100 U.S. institutions have received awards for related projects which have included everything from medical imaging technology to brain circuit mapping. Recently awarded projects include:  

  • A wireless optical tomography cap for scanning human brain activity.  
  • The development of a noninvasive brain-computer interface system for paralysis patients.  
  • Testing of noninvasive brain stimulation devices for treating schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and other brain diseases.  

Additionally, the NIH is trying to take advantage of BRAIN Initiative funded projects to help find new, non-addictive treatments for pain in response to the national opioid crisis and as part of the NIH’s HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, according to the release.   

The BRAIN Initiative is managed by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Eye Institute, National Institute on Aging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders, National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.