Which Healthcare Startups Will Benefit from Obama’s Brain Mapping Initiative?

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The announcement of a $100 million government research initiative to map the human brain has been compared to the human genome project and the Apollo space mission. Not only will it deepen our understanding of degenerative neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease as well as traumatic brain injuries, but it will also impact other areas of science. That’s partly because to do the research that is required, new tools will need to be developed such as more sophisticated imaging systems that can pick up some of hundreds of millions of neurons that will be studied.

BrightFocus Foundation, which is dedicated to funding research to develop cures for Alzheimer’s Disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma, is one group that stands to benefit from the Brain Research for Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative. In an interview with MedCity News, Guy Eakin, vice president of scientific affairs at the foundation, shared his thoughts about which areas will likely benefit from the research project.

Space exploration, for example, led to the development of GPS, CAT scans, advances in Internet technology. He added that the computational needs of the project will spur big data companies to develop more advanced tools.

“We will have a phenomenal amount of work going into the area of neuroscience that will create new technologies and create new ways of doing research that will have relevance far outside neuroscience. They were very careful to create a project that has benefits far beyond neuroscience, although the benefits will start there.”

Regenerative medicine

Companies focused on neurodegenerative disorders such as Knopp Biosciences such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

Data analytics

Companies that are developing effective ways to use big data such as healthcare data mining business Apixio and predictive analytics companies Predilytics, PanGenX, RxAnte and GNS Healthcare.

Imaging devices

The capabilities of MRIs will need to increase to get a better read of neuron activity. A couple of years ago, a team of physicists and neuroscientists developed a way to do MRI scans seven times faster than the current generation of MRI scanners allow. Startups that use MRI or high level imaging technologyas part of their work certainly stand to benefit.

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