The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the distribution of the third round of grants to researchers working on projects that support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.

The BRAIN Initiative was launched in 2013 by President Obama to help equip researchers with the insights necessary to treat brain disorders. In this latest round, more than 100 new awards, totaling more than $70 million, will be distributed to more than 170 scientists who are working at 60 institutions. NIH’s fiscal year 2016 investment in research totals just over $150 million, notes a media release from NIH.

Among the NIH Brain Initiative breakthrough projects funded to date by the grant program, per the release, are:

The blueprint for a brain-scanning helmet: Researchers at West Virginia University and University of Virginia developed a plan for making a positron emission tomography scanner to help doctors watch a person’s brain activity during a more natural state.

Non-Invasive Neuromodulation: Non-invasive brain-stimulation techniques include a cap that uses ultrasound waves to control different parts of the brain, and another that enhances limb stimulation techniques to rehabilitate movements in stroke patients.

Next Generation Human Invasive Devices: Researchers are testing new methods for using deep brain stimulation to treat disorders such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Projects from the following categories were also funded: tools for cells and circuits, large-scale recording and modulation (new technologies, optimization, and new concepts and early stage research), next-generation human imaging, understanding neural circuits, and technology dissemination and training.

“In only 3 years we’ve already seen exciting new advances in neuroscience research come out of the BRAIN Initiative,” says Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, director of NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in the release.

“This year, more projects will be based, at least in part, on data from humans,” adds Joshua Gordon, MD, PhD, director of NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health, per the release. “Some of these projects are aimed at fine-tuning brain stimulation and other promising technologies for the treatment of mental illnesses.”

[Source: National Institutes of Health]