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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National Recovery Month: Drug and Alcohol Addiction

OBrien_Charles_featThe month of September is dedicated to raising awareness about recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. This month, we interviewed Dana Alliance member Charles O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D., who founded the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Addiction Treatment. For more than thirty years, O’Brien has worked to improve addiction treatment and has made many breakthroughs regarding the clinical aspects of addiction and the neurobiology of relapse.

In your opinion, what is the most common misconception about drug and alcohol addiction?

Most physicians learn very little about addictive disorders in medical school or residency. Rather than being considered a disease of the brain, most see it as bad behavior. They don’t know that there are FDA approved medications and that patients do respond to treatment, even though “cures” are rare.

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Dana Launches Expert Videos for the Public

The Dana Foundation is happy to announce a new resource available on its YouTube channel–a compilation of brain science videos featuring Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI) neuroscientists on their fields of expertise.

DABI members are prominent neuroscientists from around the world, who have pledged their commitment to advancing public awareness and education about the progress and promise of brain research. With over 350 Alliance members, it can be hard to keep track of the latest in their areas of research. This collection of videos will make the information more accessible to the public.

In this series, there are 87 playlists dedicated to a diverse range of topics in neuroscience (i.e. dementia, stress, neural plasticity, etc.), and each is populated with videos featuring DABI members. The videos are dated from 2010 to the present day, and new content will be posted as it becomes available.

In addition to being a comprehensive resource for brain science information, this series serves as a celebration of the work done by neuroscientists around the world.

Free Staying Sharp Program Saturday, August 29 in Gainesville, Georgia

Are you going to be near Gainesville, Georgia this weekend? If so, please join us Saturday morning, August 29 for our free Staying Sharp forum. It will be an exciting and informational morning that includes a panel discussion from 10 to 11 AM with Swati Gaur, MD, the medical director and owner of Senior Care Office LLC, and Patrick A. Griffith, MD, FAAN, a professor of clinical medicine at SABA University and a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.  As an added bonus, the session will be moderated by Dr. Griffith’s wife, Marcia Griffith. The panel will discuss the latest information on the aging brain, memory, Alzheimer’s disease, brain health, and more. For the last thirty minutes, they will take questions from the audience.


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Tackling the Issue of CTE in Sports

football CTEWith another football season on the horizon, coupled with last week’s induction of legendary linebacker Junior Seau into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the controversial topic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is back on the front burner. CTE is a type of degenerative brain disease that has become a hot button issue in the world of contact sports.

Following Seau’s retirement in 2010 after an extraordinary 20-year career, his family began to notice bouts of insomnia, depression, extreme mood swings, and emotional withdrawal. “It was hard,” his daughter, Sydney, told Yahoo Sports. “[W]e were all reaching for someone that wasn’t exactly reaching back, even though…we knew that he wanted to.”

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