Community Neuroscience: How to Organize a Brain Fair

The second episode of our new “Community Neuroscience” series is now up on the Dana Foundation YouTube channel! In this video, Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member Michael Burman, Ph.D., offers tips on how to organize a successful brain fair for the public. Burman is an associate professor at the University of New England (UNE), as well as Neuroscience K-12 Outreach Coordinator at its Center for Excellence in the Neurosciences.

Over the years, Burman has helped lead public outreach efforts to inspire his community about the brain. The hallmark activity at UNE is their annual Brain Fair, where more than 600 kids, teens, and adults can take part in interactive exhibits to learn about memory, the senses, addiction, brain injuries, and more. You can read more about him and his approach in this past Dana Foundation blog interview.

Stay tuned for next week’s video, which will feature an Emmy-award winning guest with advice on how to talk about neuroscience to elementary school kids.

National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: Jan. 22-27

Today marks the beginning of 2019’s National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, a health observance first launched by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2010. In 2016, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism became a partner, adding alcohol as a topic area for the week. Geared towards teens, the initiative helps educate people on what science has taught us about drug addiction and alcohol. It also attempts to debunk myths that teens–and adults–may believe about certain substances due to various influences such as social media, peers, music, movies, and TV shows.

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Taste of Science: Big Human Data

Big tech companies have been in the spotlight with news coverage of how our personal data has been used or abused–and for many people, the lack of privacy is an unavoidable reality. But tech companies aren’t the only ones interested in obtaining our personal information. Health researchers and data scientists are looking to the widespread sharing of personal data as an opportunity to learn more about genetics, diseases, and overall personal health.

Big Human Data,” the first taste of science event of the year, welcomed two experts on the topic: Hannah Bayer, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Data Cubed, and Wendy Chung, Ph.D., director of clinical research at the Simons Foundation.

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Hannah Bayer, Ph.D. Photo courtesy of taste of science.

Bayer compared her view of big human data to the laborious, weather-dependent approaches early astronomers used to gain a base understanding of the stars. The practice was revolutionized about 25 years ago, she said, when scientists discovered that bolting a telescope to the ground allowed them to create a massive library of images while the earth was turning. A database including all the black holes in our universe made it easier for scientists to “go in, and just pick out all the black holes, and do your research that way,” she said. This is what turned astronomy into a data science.

“What if we could do that for humanity?” she asked the audience. “What if we could understand what makes us ill, what makes us healthy, what makes us successful … What if we could create a catalogue in just the same way?” Continue reading

A Lot on the Mind: Autism

In the second event hosted by Caveat NYC of a three-part series dedicated to explaining the most misunderstood neurological disorders, the focus was on autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Of the many neurological disorders that affect the world, autism is one of the most familiar. Affecting 1 out of every 59 people, there are characteristics associated with the disorder that seem to be fairly consistent. However, a running theme at last week’s event, “A Lot on the Mind – Understanding Autism with braiNY and Spectrum Magazine,” was that if you know one person with autism, you know one person with autism. There is a huge range of behaviors that define the disorder and individuals with autism have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

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Lisa Shulman, M.D., gives the audience background on autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

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Dana Foundation Launches Neuroscience Outreach Video Series

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To support and encourage people interested in building an organization or communicating brain science through events, teaching, or writing, the Dana Foundation today launches the first of five “Community Neuroscience” videos. The videos, between 5 and 12 minutes in length, will air weekly on the Dana Foundation YouTube channel starting January 16, leading up to Brain Awareness Week (March 11-17), an annual global event that promotes the promise and benefits of brain research.

Here is a summary of the topics and guests in the order they’ll air: Continue reading

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