Optogenetics: Controlling the Brain with Light

Photo source/credit: Ed Boyden/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT

Photo source/credit: Ed Boyden/McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT

What if we could suddenly cease cravings caused by addiction or turn off feelings of depression with the flip of a switch? To better understand “one of the hottest areas of neuroscience research,” the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) welcomed three guests to discuss the latest developments in the field of optogenetics. The June 9th event was the latest in a series of luncheon briefings on Capitol Hill, hosted by AAAS and funded by the Dana Foundation.

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From Birth to Two: the Neuroscience of Infant Development

Photo courtesy of AAAS

Photo courtesy of AAAS

“There are many misconceptions about child development,” said Pat Levitt, Provost Professor at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California at the latest Neuroscience and Society lecture convened by the Dana Foundation and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Some of the most prevalent myths include that humans are born with a blank slate; children are sponges; 80% of development takes place by 3 years old; and that a child’s outcome is predominantly self-determined. Moreover, many consider the mixture of fate, free will, parenting, genes, and environment a mysterious “black box” that ultimately decides a child’s success.

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World Science Festival Focuses on Language

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Last week’s World Science Festival event, “Planet of the Humans: the Leap to the Top,” opened with a contemporary dancer and a small, three-foot robot sharing the stage in a dance duet. The robot, which stood on its own two feet, “learned” as it went, with the dancer lifting its arms and giving it direction, support, and “love,” in the form of reassuring head nods and slight touches to keep it steady. Its progression was impressively quick, and soon enough it was mimicking the human dancer’s every move, from splits to rolls and beyond. The dance was an excerpt from choreographer Blanca Li’s “ROBOT,” an avant-garde performance currently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Continue reading

Free Staying Sharp Program in Kansas City

Are you going to be in the Kansas City metro area this weekend? If so, please join us Saturday morning, June 13, for our free Staying Sharp forum. The program includes a panel discussion from 10 am to 12 pm with Anne Arthur, ARNP, BC; Jeffrey Burns, MD, MS; and Russell H. Swerdlow, MD from the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center, as well as Anne L. Foundas, MD, MS, Professor and Chair of the Neurology and Cognitive Neuroscience department at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. They 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 your questions as part of the Q&A.

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2015 Brain Awareness Week Photo Gallery

Brain Awareness Week has come and gone and BAW 2016 (March 14-20) seems light-years away. But raising awareness about the brain is a yearlong effort, and we’ve got just the thing to reignite that BAW 2015 excitement: the 2015 Brain Awareness Week Photo Gallery.

Brainy the Robot at a BAW event in a mall hosted by Edinboro University of PA, PA 2015

Brainy the Robot at a BAW event in a mall hosted by Edinboro University of PA, PA 2015

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