This past week our Twitter account, @dana_fdn, tipped over 3,000 followers. If you're one of them, thanks and we're glad you're with us! If not, why not dip a toe into the stream? Join us!
For me, the person here who most often feeds the stream, Twitter is a great way to find and share news about the brain from all over the world, and especially to see how scientists and others react to new findings. Twitter was where I first "heard" about potential statistical problems with fMRI research—all fMRI research. And as a reporter, it's been like a graduate course in how to—and how not to—write a science story, thanks to the kudos and takedowns of news stories and blogs across the web.
But the highlight for me so far was spending most of two days watching the live online video of slice-by-frozen-slice dissection of H.M.'s famous brain (Project H.M., at UCSD’s Brain Observatory) and following the Twitter commentary about it. I learned more about the injury and subsequent brain damage that made H.M. (Henry Molaison) so famous in science circles, with links to classic research papers, and I felt excited getting a glimpse of something that might tell us so much about how our memory works. Also, I could contribute to the conversation: Because Dana funded part of this project, when questions came up on Twitter about how and whether someone with memory trouble could actually give "informed consent" ahead of time to this post-mortem procedure, I knew the answer. Yes, the researchers asked him, repeatedly, and Henry agreed, repeatedly, as did the person who held his power of attorney.
When news breaks or a potential advance is announced, Dana also can add background and explanations from our deep and wide archives: Q&As with researchers, briefings on topics ranging from disease to how a healthy brain works, and essays on social and ethical questions that arise from research. The current most popular pieces on that last front are the essay, "Video Games Affect the Brain—for Better and Worse," and the news story, "Playing Video Games May Make Specific Changes to the Brain."
Check us out: @dana_fdn. See you there!