While considering whether to go to medical school, Dana Alliance member Reisa Sperling, M.D., noticed her grandfather had started to act strangely. She only later realized that he had symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. His death when she was a neurology resident, along with her father’s diagnosis, influenced her decision to focus her research on the early detection of Alzheimer’s. She is now the director of clinical research at the Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Sperling discussed her personal experience with the disease, and her ongoing research, in a fall interview for the Harvard Medical Labcast.
When Mara Dierssen started her career as a neuroscientist, she often encountered gender discrimination. Working in a male-dominated field, she had to combat stereotypes about passivity and leadership. Lacking a female role model, she now realizes that she was unaware of many of the scientific community’s “unwritten rules,” like how to receive funding for projects, do interviews, and publish findings.
Years later, Dierssen’s strong drive to succeed, intense passion for neuroscience, and work ethic have helped her become a senior scientist at the Centre for Biomedical Research, president of the Spanish Society for Neuroscience, a member of the European Dana Alliance, as well as a mother of four children. Dierssen, who recently talked about gender and neuroscience in an interview with the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), has become a role model for today’s young female neuroscientists, not only because of her achievements as a neuroscientist, but also through her dedication to public outreach and gender equality.
The Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 2016 website has officially launched! Gearing up for BAW 2016, March 14-20, US partners can now order free publications and materials and international partners can access several new and spiffy downloadable materials (some available in multiple languages).
This year, our new Staying Sharp: Successful Aging and the Brain booklet debuts as a more condensed and updated version of the previous three Staying Sharp booklets. It answers questions such as “How do learning and memory change with age?”, and “When is memory loss a sign of dementia?”, and delves into topics such as memory formation, neuroplasticity, and living a brain-healthy lifestyle.
Can consciousness continue after the brain stops working? Why do we seem to let emotions outshine reason during the decision-making process? Which neural impulses trigger laughter?