Community Neuroscience: How to Build an Outreach Organization

The latest episode of Community Neuroscience is out and all about how to build an outreach organization from the ground up. Neuroscientist Bill Griesar, Ph.D., and artist Jeff Leake, M.F.A., are faculty members of Portland State University’s psychology department, and together they are the brains behind NW Noggin (Northwest Neuroscience Outreach Group: Growing in Networks).

Founded in 2012, the arts-influenced outreach group is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization with a mission to turn kids on to the wonders of neuroscience. Bill and Jeff have since traveled all across the country to schools, displaced youth shelters, correctional facilities, and even the White House to promote learning about the brain. You can learn more about them and their work in a past Dana Blog interview.

Pediatricians’ Group Says Spanking is Ineffective, Potentially Harmful

Guest blog by Brenda Patoine

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Photo: Shutterstock

It’s official: spanking is out. Time-outs are in.

That’s the lead message of a new policy statement from the largest pediatricians’ group, in its strongest warning yet against the use of spanking or other harsh punishments–ever–by parents and others charged with caring for children. It’s the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) first update to its policy guideline on discipline since 1998, when it discouraged but did not specifically proscribe spanking. This time, the message is clear: spanking doesn’t work and may cause harm. Ditto for harsh verbal reprimand that shames or humiliates.

The policy, which is intended to guide clinicians in their interactions with parents, cites 20 years of scientific research it says overwhelmingly demonstrates that corporal punishment is not only ineffective as a disciplinary measure, but may be harmful. Spanking in and of itself is associated with adverse outcomes that are similar to those seen in physical child abuse. Continue reading

Community Neuroscience: How to Teach Brain Science to Kids

In the newest episode of our “Community Neuroscience” video series, Eric Chudler, Ph.D., offers his advice on how to make neuroscience fun and engaging to young kids. Chudler is executive director of the Center for Neurotechnology at the University of Washington, where he conducts research related to how the brain processes information from the senses. Outside of the lab, he works with teachers to develop educational materials to help K-12 students learn about the brain and its functions and has been involved in neuroscience outreach for more than 20 years.

In addition to his longtime running Neuroscience For Kids website, Chudler’s most recent outreach endeavor is a video series called “BrainWorks” (produced with partner support from the Dana Foundation). The second episode, on exercise and the brain, landed him a Northwest Emmy Award!


Check back for next week’s episode, featuring two outreach all-stars from the west coast who created their own robust, neuroscience non-profit to excite young people about science, art, and learning about the brain.

Brain Awareness Week 2019 is Coming

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 2019 (March 11-17) is only three months away, so it’s time to start planning your BAW activities and taking advantage of the resources we offer on the BAW website! Every March, BAW, the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research, unites the efforts of partner organizations worldwide in a week-long celebration of the brain.

During BAW, partners organize fun and fascinating activities in their communities to educate and excite people of all ages about the brain and the promise of brain research. From brain fairs to symposiums to classroom visits and film screenings, the variety of events is almost endless.

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Brainy the Robot has been making the rounds during events organized by the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania since 2010.

Continue reading

New Report Finds Current Strategies Insufficient for Preventing the Most Preventable Cause of Mental Illness

Guest blog by Brenda Patoine

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Image: Shutterstock

Childhood maltreatment is recognized as the No. 1 preventable cause of mental illness – and some experts argue, of all stress-related diseases – yet science still has no clear answers for how to best prevent the spiral of neglect and abuse that threatens millions of infants and children in the U.S. alone.

In a report published this week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPTF), a U.S. Public Health Service committee charged with recommending action to thwart preventable health conditions, conceded that there was “insufficient data” to recommend any particular strategy that has been tested as a means of preventing childhood maltreatment, which encompasses neglect as well as physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. Preventive interventions initiated in primary care focus on preventing maltreatment before it occurs, as opposed to identifying children who are victims of abuse or neglect. Continue reading

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