Get Up, Stand Up: NYU Panel Examines Policy

Guest post by Carl Sherman

Scientists should advocate for what they believe in—and bring their values to work. “Get up, get into it, be involved,” said Clancy Blair, professor of cognitive psychology at New York University. “Be the change you want to see.”

Blair was on an NYU faculty panel at a Brain Awareness Week event, “Neuroscience, Inequality & Social Policy,” organized by the Scientist Action and Advocacy Network (ScAAN) a group of students and researchers who aim “to bridge the gap between science and society, and make science a force for social change,” according to moderator and doctoral student and ScAAN member Stephen Braren.

To the panelists, this clearly and passionately meant fostering social and economic justice.

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Photo courtesy of Stephen Braren

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2018 Brain Awareness Impact Stories

BAW-generalToday is the first day of Brain Awareness Week and we couldn’t be more thrilled with our partners’ commitment to educating the public about the importance of brain research in our daily lives.

Earlier this year, we spotlighted three exceptional partners on our blog, and now the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO) is doing something similar. This week, they’ll feature “Brain Awareness Impact Stories” from their Global Advocacy Initiative seed grant awardees “who have made important impacts in their local communities.”

Visit their website or follow them on Facebook to read these compelling stories, which begin in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. This piece highlights the efforts of neurophysiologist Luis Beltran-Parrazal to address a local public health crisis as the result of a hereditary disease of the central nervous system, spinocerebellar ataxia type 7.

Developing Brains at High Risk from Early Alcohol Use

Guest blog by Brenda Patoine

Underage drinking is a significant public health problem in the United States. While rates of underage drinking have declined steadily in the past decade or so, the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that among US youth 12 to 20 years old surveyed about their alcohol use in the past 30 days, 20% reported drinking alcohol and 13% reported binge drinking. Adolescents account for approximately 11 percent of total alcohol consumption in the U.S., according to a CDC fact sheet on underage drinking.

Because the teenage brain is at a highly vulnerable stage of development, early drinking may set the stage for later alcohol abuse.  The frontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until around age 25, and emerging data suggest that this executive area of the brain is particularly susceptible to damage from alcohol use during adolescence.

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National Health Education Week

This week, join the celebration for National Health Education Week (October 16-20)! The weeklong campaign, sponsored by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), first began in 1995 as an effort to direct national attention towards public health issues and promote a general understanding of the role health education plays in our everyday lives.

Not sure where to start? Each day this week, SOPHE is providing a series of themed events online and on social media to open up discussions on health education, community events, and the impact of advocacy. Public participation is encouraged, and don’t forget to use #NHEW.

As another organization committed to educating the public about brain health and the latest in scientific research, the Dana Foundation offers a vast amount of free, lay-friendly publications and resources year-round, encouraging people of all ages to better understand the brain.

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Resources for Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15th to October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of contributions from people from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. As part of our global outreach about brain science and health, we have a number of resources for adults and kids available in Spanish, now conveniently available on one page.

You’ll find the Spanish language version of our award-winning PSA video on how to live a brain healthy life, and the four steps to keep your brain working well as you grow older. We also have the Successful Aging & Your Brain booklet available to download for free in Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese. For more on that topic, you can watch a recap of our March 2017 Healthy Brain in a Healthy Body event, where we partnered with Telemundo.

We also offer downloadable materials, such as fact sheets and Q&A pages, for kids in grades K-12. These can all be found on our page dedicated to Spanish publications.

For more on Hispanic Heritage Month, visit https://www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov/.

– Blayne Jeffries

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