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Noteworthy Breakthrough for Neuroscience

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McNERNEY. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize an important breakthrough in statistics and neuroscience research. Neurological conditions are caused by the brain's communication networks, and these conditions can be studied at a systems level. Functional MRIs capture 3-D images of the brain over time, resulting in millions of measurements per subject and billions of possible connections.

A Rice University statistics professor, Genevera Allen, and her collaborators recently developed statistical methods to model how each individual's brain is wired and then applied these methods to synesthesia, a condition in which individuals automatically associate specific colors with numbers and letters. The team discovered that areas of the brain responsible for processing colors are functionally connected to areas that process letters and numbers in synesthetes. This breakthrough is relevant to other neurological diseases, such as autism and Alzheimer's, and demonstrates how statistical science is vital to neuroscience research.

I urge my colleagues to support critical science funding so that this type of work may continue.

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