SA neuroscientist to build digital brain

2013-03-24 22:09
BRAIN SCAN: A patient is examined during a scan at the University Hospital in Liege, Belgium. (Yves Logghe /AP Photo)

BRAIN SCAN: A patient is examined during a scan at the University Hospital in Liege, Belgium. (Yves Logghe /AP Photo) (Yves Logghe)

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Johannesburg - A South African neuroscientist hopes to uncover new information on mental disorders by building the world's first digital brain, the Sunday Times reported.

"What we are developing is a new foundation, a new instrument - a telescope - that will allow one to look deep into the brain, offering a more systematical approach to any disease," Professor Henry Markram told the newspaper.

He has been given a R12bn grant from the European Union for the project which is being created in a supercomputer at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Markram - who has an autistic son - said he believed the project would "help us find new ways to treat autism".

More than 200 researchers will work under Markram on the project which is expected to take about 10 years to complete.

It should also shed new light on disorders like Alzheimer's Disease.

The project aims to map all 100 billion neurons connected by 100 000 billion synapses of the human brain on a single computer system.

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