Obama's brain project 奧巴馬的大腦計劃

更新時間 2013年 4月 5日, 星期五 - 格林尼治標準時間15:07

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Brain diagram

How much do we know about the human brain?

美國總統奧巴馬最近斥資一億美元發起了一項旨在研究人類大腦所蘊藏的「巨大奧妙」的科研計劃。奧巴馬總統希望這一「大腦計劃」能夠幫助世人了解和學習到人類大腦的運轉方式以及一些如老年癡呆等不同的腦部疾病。BBC 記者 Paul Adams 從美國華盛頓報道:

The president's advisors call the BRAIN project ambitious, even audacious. It aims to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show, in the words of a White House statement, how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought. Announcing the programme, Barack Obama said humans could identify distant galaxies and study subatomic particles, but still had a limited understanding of the brain.

Barack Obama:

"There's this enormous mystery waiting to be unlocked. The BRAIN Initiative will change that by giving scientists the tools they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action and better understand how we think and how we learn and how we remember."

That knowledge, he said, would be transformative: families no longer helpless at the onset of Parkinson's, and war veterans able to reverse the effects of traumatic brain injury. The administration reckons it costs around $500bn a year to treat the various conditions this project hopes to address. It believes that technological advances, in data processing and revolutionary new techniques like optogenetics mean that, for the first time, this hugely ambitious research is actually possible.

Quiz 聽力測驗

What does Obama hope the pictures of the brain will show?

He hopes they will show how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.

Which word does Obama use to describe the problem of our lack of understanding of the human brain?

He calls it a "mystery".

Does Obama think the project will have any real effect on people's lives?

Yes. He thinks the knowledge gained will transform the lives of people with diseases like Parkinson's, and their families.

True or false? The Obama administration believes this research could have been done long ago, but they didn't have enough money.

False. The Obama administration believes that reseach is only now possible for the first time thanks to new technological advances.

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