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March 17, 1993

Scientists Chart Course for Brain Map

JAMA. 1993;269(11):1357. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500110021006

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THE MIND-BOGGLING task of mapping the human brain equals, if not surpasses, the importance of mapping the human genome, say proponents of the Human Brain Project.

Brain mapping, they say, probably will reveal invaluable clues to understanding, treating, and preventing diseases like Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and others.

It may provide a more substantive basis for exploring some of science's most nagging questions, such as how nature interacts with nurture, and how much of behavior and personality are due to biochemical destiny, they add.

'Last Biological Frontier'  The Human Brain Project "seeks to define the structure and function of the last major biological frontier—how do we think, create, improvise, learn, [and] how do diseases cause a breakdown in these functions such as dementia, mania, memory loss, hallucinations, and delusions," says Joseph Martin, MD, PhD, dean of the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine.Martin chaired the Institute of Medicine's Committee