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Vital Directions from the National Academy of Medicine
October 25, 2016

Research Into Brain Disorders as an Example of Targeted Science

Author Affiliations
  • 1Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • 2National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland (retired)
  • 3American Association for the Advancement of Science, Potomac, Maryland (retired)

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;316(16):1673-1674. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.12412

Science and technology can play a key role in addressing many of the nation’s most pressing problems. It is rarely the case, however, that the appropriate technical solutions are available and waiting for application; most often, a significant scientific gap must first be bridged. Thus, science-based solutions require consideration of tractability and of whether the necessary trained personnel and technological resources exist. However, now is the right time for a substantial science-based assault on disorders of the brain. This thesis is based on the conjunction of a large and still growing societal burden of brain disorders,1-4 with significant scientific opportunity resulting from the growing maturity of neuroscience and related disciplines; the recent emergence of relevant tools and technologies, eg, from the Human Genome Project and the US BRAIN (Brain Research Through Advances in Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative; and the quality and number of personnel in the field.