Brain Awareness Week 2013 Recap

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Last week was Brain Awareness Week (BAW), and there was a lot to absorb. Five hundred and twenty eight registered partners held a total of 942 events in 58 countries and 42 U.S. states. Six out of seven continents were represented in this mix, as seen in our Across the Continents blog posts.

To spotlight the great work and the diversity of our BAW partners, we posted a new partner interview each weekday to our homepage. These Q&As offer a lot of practical advice, useful to current partners and to those planning to participate next year. Among the things we learned this year were the value of volunteers and how to recruit them; why middle school students are an important demographic to target during the week, and what types of activities they enjoy; and that how you present is just as important as what you present, particularly when your event is child-focused.

Perhaps BAW future partners, high school seniors Charltien Long and Jordan Meltzer were awarded first and second-place for the Dana Design a Brain Experiment competition. Long proposed to test the effectiveness of acteylcholinesterase inhibitors in treating hallucinations in schizophrenia on both a clinical and neurobiological level. Meltzer proposed to map the development of myelin-generating neural progenitor cells. Really impressive work from both students. 


In addition to delivering features and announcements, Dana staff got in on the BAW action by attending several of the many events organized in New York City this year as part of braiNY (the NYC celebration of BAW). We went to an evening of brain awareness storytelling in Brooklyn, an interactive lab workshop on brain imaging at the American Museum of Natural History, and a panel discussion on the state of science reporting at Rockefeller University. Read more of our coverage, here.

Our reporting was in good company as media from around the world highlighted BAW events and important neuroscience topics. The Seattle Times captured some amazing facial expressions of young girls at an event, as one of them holds a real brain in her hands. The Ontario Brain Institute Blog emphasized the health benefits of exercise. The Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC) featured a discussion with performance artist Marina Abramovic about her new art and neuroscience inspired performance. And, the NIMH Director’s Blog, written by Dana Alliance member Tom Insel, gave us several brain statistics to mull over. If you prefer your news in snippets, search the hashtag #brainweek on Twitter to find at least 2,300 tweets by more than five dozen different tweeters.

If you’re a more visual person, be sure to check out this Pinterest page for an initial sampling of images from this year’s celebration. As partners submit their reports, Dana’s own BAW photo gallery will also feature photos from around the world.

Brain Awareness Week 2014 will take place March 10-16.

– Ann L. Whitman

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