On July 23rd, the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies hosted Seeing Ins't Always Believing: The Realities of Imaging Technology and Neuroscience. This seminar addressed the various ways in which neuroimaging technology has advanced, and how these new developments can be used to achieve the goals of the BRAIN Initiative. The President’s Initiative has spearheaded an effort to map and understand the human brain, and novel neuroimaging technologies need to be developed in order to accomplish this goal. Neuroimaging encompasses the set of techniques that researchers use to create a structural and/or functional map of the nervous system.
Speakers included Dr. Marvin Chun (Yale University), Dr. Paul Vaska (Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University), and Dr. Jennifer Buss (Center of Neurotechnology Studies at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.)
The panelists discussed the future of imaging, how these technologies can be developed to provide a more in-depth map of the brain and its functions, and how knowledge gained from these technologies impact and affect the lives of everyday citizens. Speakers provided their insight on how neuroimaging technologies improve brain health, spur new research and development, and help to accomplish national science endeavors. Dr. Marvin Chun of Yale University spoke about the progression of neuroimaging in the last 25 years. He primarily uses fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in an effort to develop the capacity to predict attention-related behavior. Imaging research has undergone three phases: mapping (1990s), decoding (2000s), and predicting (present). Dr. Vaska discussed new approaches in multi-dimensional neuroimaging, detailing the benefits of combining temporal and spatial imaging techniques, but emphasizing the extreme difficulty and financial cost associated with such projects.
As this field holds such great promise, it warrants the development of policy options that will make brain mapping with new neuroimaging technology a reality. Following the speakers’ remarks, the panel discussed how to identify when imaging technologies are ready for application, the accuracy and precision of current imaging technologies, and the need for more funding to allow current research projects to reach their full potential.
The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies’ Center for Neurotechnology Studies held a symposium to discuss the biggest mystery to mankind, the mind, through the convergence of neuroscience, biologics, nanotechnology, and the digital revolution. The digital, biologics, and nanotechnology disciplines have all provided their own technological leaps for society, from machine intelligence to nano-scale smart devices. Neuroscience is on the cusp of its own leap forward: it is has great potential to restore and augment human, cognitive, and physical abilities. Enhancing human intelligence through technology will revolutionize business, education, communication, and the way in which society functions. As part of the 2014 Neuroscience Policy Symposia Series, the symposium continued to elaborate on the need for the expansion of the BRAIN Initiative into a National Neurotechnology Initiative. The distinguished individuals at this symposium will draw from their experience in industry, government, and academia to discuss important topics in neuroscience and the future of intelligence. Technology that enhances intelligence and humans will be invaluable to society.