Look out for a
festival of brain-science news in the next couple of weeks. The Society for Neuroscience annual meeting starts on Saturday
in New Orleans, with auxiliary events starting as early as Wednesday. More than
30,000 scientists, government and industry folks, and reporters will share
and opinions on the cutting edges of the field.
We will be there starting on Thursday, with the
two-day meeting of the International
Neuroethics Society [see our earlier preview
by meeting chairman Paul Root Wolpe]. Also look for our take on SfN's
"Dialogues Between Neuroscience and Society" session, featuring
iconic portrait artist Chuck
Close, and, of course, the special session on Brain Awareness Week.
This year, we're leaving the "deadline
news" science reporting to the major news outlets and science bloggers;
we'll be looking for the bigger-picture stories, especially in translational
science, and will post those later in the month. But this week and next, we'll
point out some good stuff by others via our Twitter feed, @dana_fdn,
and also will live-tweet from some sessions. This conference is huge,
though—dozens of concurrent sessions, over days and days—so if you want a wider
hashtag #sfn12; if you prefer lists, try this one by Nature editor Noah Gray. SfN has a team of volunteer "neurobloggers," too.
As always, take
all this news with a grain of salt. A lot of the research presented at SfN is not yet published (which means not yet peer-reviewed); some of it is early
results from studies that are not yet complete. Beware the headlines that
assume too much: A result in three mice with mutated genes probably can't be
applied directly to explain your brother-in-law's failure to sing "Happy
Birthday" on-key during your party. Or even why he ate all the rest of the
cake in one sitting.