On April 2, 2013, President Obama launched the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative  to revolutionize our understanding of the brain in the hopes of uncovering new ways to treat, prevent, and cure disorders like Parkinson’s. The Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) applauded this initiative and has been closely monitoring the planning and implementation.
After holding a number of public meetings over the span of four months, on September 16, 2013, the Advisory Committee to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director presented an interim report  of the BRAIN Working Group. The working group was charged with creating the interim report to identify high priority research areas that should be considered for the BRAIN Initiative in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. The following research areas were identified as high priority for FY 2014:
The NIH has chosen not to be disease specific in setting research priorities, and instead has decided to focus on bold and ambitious goals that will have the broadest impact on neuroscience. On a September 16 conference call discussing the interim report, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins, reiterated the fact that the BRAIN Initiative is just a small portion of the approximately $5 billion in neuroscience research that the NIH funds every year, and focusing on understanding the basic functions of the brain will allow for advances is many neurological diseases.
The final report of the working group is scheduled to be released in June 2014. PAN is looking forward to the group’s recommendations on collaboration opportunities, especially with patients and patient advocacy organizations. While the working group has taken public comments in the drafting of the report, PAN will be advocating for a more formal plan for collaboration and input.
BRAIN Interim Report Executive Summary 
BRAIN Interim Report Presentation 
BRAIN Initiative website 
Date originally posted: September 20, 2013.