Record Turnout for NYC Regional Brain Bee

Twelfth-grader Melissa Cao, from Long Island’s Bethpage High School, took home the grand prize after a close race with two other finalists at Saturday’s Regional Brain Bee at Columbia University in New York City. The local event is part of an annual international neuroscience competition. Winners advance into the national and then international competitions during the spring and summer months as part of Brain Awareness Week (BAW).

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Program moderator Carol Mason, Ph.D., awards Cao her first place prize. Photo credit: Jacqueline Silberbrush

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Celebrate the Brain: BAW Animation

While our brains are always working to keep our bodies running, how often do we stop and think about their significance? Every year in March, one week is dedicated to celebrating all things relating to the brain. What started as a national campaign to promote communication and awareness about the brain has evolved into an international celebration engaging students, teachers, scientists, and the public alike. This year marks the 21st annual Brain Awareness Week (BAW), which will take place March 14-20.

Learn more about BAW in this short animation:

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Sparking an Interest in Science

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Earlier this year, Alda gave a lecture at Columbia University on the importance of accessible science. Photo credit: Eileen Barroso, Columbia University

When actor Alan Alda was 11 years old he asked his teacher, “What is a flame?” Her reply: “It’s oxidation,” which was an explanation that was neither accessible nor interesting to him. It was this encounter that inspired him to create a competition to help 11-year-olds understand science in a way that makes sense to them.

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Dana’s “Design a Brain Experiment” Reminder

The deadline for the Dana Foundation’s “Design a Brain Experiment” competition is January 15, 2016. With Thanksgiving next week, and winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to get busy!

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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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