World Teachers’ Day 2015

For the past twenty-one years, October 5 has remained a significant date dedicated to teachers everywhere, acknowledging their efforts in making education accessible, understandable, and essential for growth. This year’s World Teachers’ Day slogan is: Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies.

Education does not have to be limited to the confines of a classroom; for students who are eager to learn, a good teacher is invaluable. According to UNESCO, “It is recognized that teachers are not only a means to implementing education goals; they are the key to sustainability and national capacity in achieving learning and creating societies based on knowledge, values and ethics.”

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High School Competition Reminder

FB-Icon-FINAL-PNGAutumn is here, which means the countdown for the Dana Foundation’s “Design a Brian Experiment” competition has officially begun. Have you started thinking about ideas to submit for the competition? Don’t worry if not—there’s still time!

If you are in high school and have an interest in science, this is a great opportunity to think creatively and come up with your very own proposed experiment. While the experiment should be well thought-out and thoroughly researched, it does not have to be completed.

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Scientists Weigh in on Special Needs Learning

“Allowing children to fail, to think they’re ‘dumb,’ is no longer acceptable,” said Dana Alliance member Sally Shaywitz at a recent Capitol Hill briefing on what neuroscience can tell us about educating special needs children.

Shaywitz, co-director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, joined fellow panelists Dana Alliance member Martha Denckla and Damien Fair for a discussion that addressed the importance and the difficulty of early detection of learning disorders such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As reported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):

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Mental Illness Across the Ages

Despite some recent improvements, the chance that children or adults in America will get care for their mental illnesses is still critically low.


Nelson Freimer

While around 42 million adults in the US have a mental illness each year, “less than 40 percent of all adults who have mental illness got any treatment at all last year,” said psychiatrist Nelson Freimer during a panel discussion on mental illness across the lifespan at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. Freimer, director of the UCLA Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, also warns of “an epidemic of depression” among people just entering adulthood now, more than in previous generations.

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Neuroethics Seminar Series: Seeing Consciousness

shutterstock_221470261How is new technology helping us gain a better understanding of consciousness in patients with severe brain damage? If a patient is unable to communicate or even blink, does that mean he or she is completely unaware? At what point should the intentions stated in a living will be determined by the patient’s family or surrogate?

These questions were among the issues discussed at Harvard Medical School’s most recent neuroethics seminar, titled “Seeing Consciousness: The Promise and Perils of Brain Imaging in Disorders of Consciousness.” The school’s  Center for Bioethics invited Joseph Giacino, Ph.D., director of Rehabilitation Neuropsychology at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital; Joseph Fins, M.D., chief of the Division of Medical Ethics at Weill Cornell Medical College; and James Bernat, M.D., Louis and Ruth Frank Professor of Neuroscience at The Dartmouth Institute to share the stage and give a brief talk for its Neuroethics Seminar Series.

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