Try Some Brainy Pages for National Coloring Book Day

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Image: Shutterstock

Coloring and coloring books have been a popular activity among children for many years and has even re-emerged as a trend for adults. Not only is it fun, coloring can be relaxing and a great way to reduce stress, among other benefits. Today is National Coloring Book Day, and what better way to celebrate than by spending time with your friends, children, grandchildren, or by yourself to sit back and color?

 

Among its many free downloadable materials for kids and adults, the Brain Awareness Week section of our site features a new series of coloring sheets based on the five classic senses: sight, taste, sound, smell, and touch. While these pages are geared for young children, everyone is welcome to fill them with color and learn a thing or two about how the human body receives sensory information.

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Coloring and drawing also have their cognitive benefits: Reward pathways in the brain become active during art-making activities. A team of researchers at Drexel University published a study last summer that found making art resulted in stress reduction and increased positive emotions. The team used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) imaging to measure blood flow in the brain while participants took part in various art-making activities.

“The prefrontal cortex is related to regulating our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It is also related to emotional and motivational systems and part of the writing for our brain’s reward circuit. So seeing increased bloodflow in these areas likely means a person is experiencing feels related to being rewarded,” the study’s authors report.

If you’ve already printed our coloring sheets on the senses and want more, you can download today’s National Coloring Book Day pages for free here. There are also coloring book parties happening at public libraries, museums, and wellness centers all over the US! To share your completed work on social media with fellow colorists, use #NationalColoringBookDay.

– Seimi Rurup

A Guide to Pursuing a Neuroscience Career

The Dana Foundation promotes a lot of resources designed for young students in hopes of inspiring them to want to learn more about the brain as they move up the ranks of grade school. But what if you’ve already been inspired and are now looking for practical ways to prepare for a neuroscience career? While there is certainly no “one way” to achieve this, we want to share a few resources that can help point you in the right direction.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) recently published an article on BrainFacts.org (a great resource in itself) with tips for students on how to jumpstart a career in neuroscience. Here are just a few points mentioned:

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Poland Takes Victory in International Brain Bee

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First place winner Piotr Olesky (center), second place winner Giovanni De Gannes (right) and third place winner Huai-Ying Huang.

The International Brain Bee World Championship took place in Berlin, at Europe’s largest brain research conference: the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Forum. Twenty-five finalists, aged between 13 and 18, represented their countries after placing first in their respective regional and national Brain Bee competitions earlier this year. More comprehensive than the local- and national-level contests, the championship features five sections that explore the student’s knowledge of theory and practice in research neuroscience and medical neurology. After three days of exams on neurohistology (the branch of histology that deals with the nervous system), neuroanatomy, patient diagnosis, and a question and answer session with a live judging panel, the five judges—who are all neuroscientists themselves—declared 18-year-old Piotr Olesky from Crakow, Poland, the grand prize winner. Continue reading

Neuroscience Outreach Champions Honored at the FENS Forum 2018 in Berlin

Today, Roland Pochet, Laura López-Mascaraque, and Université Côte d’Azur were awarded prestigious prizes for their contribution to advancing public education and awareness about the progress and promise of brain research. The awards are sponsored by the Dana Foundation and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), in partnership with the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), and were presented at the 11th FENS Forum in Berlin.

“Reaching out to the public and sharing their passion for neuroscience research is one of the mandates that every neuroscientist should include in her or his activities,” said Pierre Magistretti, vice chairman of EDAB and past-president of FENS. “The recipients of the Dana/EDAB Neuroscience Outreach Awards exemplify such commitment. They have excelled in organizing public events at all levels of society, from primary and high school students to the general public to members of parliament. The commitment and achievements of the awardees reflect the mission of the Dana Foundation and EDAB and the engagement they have provided for more than two decades to support public understanding of neuroscience at the international level.”

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Pochet (second from left) and others speak at the European Parliament

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Brain Awareness Week 2018 in Photos

Three months ago, Brain Awareness Week was celebrated by thousands of people in 43 countries. Activities engaged kids, adults, and seniors in lessons about the brain and its importance in our everyday lives—sometimes through a straightforward talk or a lab tour, and other times through creative endeavors such as a concert or a movie screening.

We collect images of these events from around the world for our Brain Awareness Week Photo Gallery, and today we offer a glimpse into the 2018 campaign through these photos.

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Students crafting neurons during a Brain Awareness Week Open House organized by the University of Washington.

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