AAAS and Learning & the Brain Conferences

This weekend, Dana Foundation staff are traveling to opposite coasts to exhibit at conferences in San Francisco and Boston, and we hope to see you there!

In California, we’ll have a table at the Learning & the Brain conference (February 17-19), “The Science of How We Learn: Engaging Memory, Motivation, Mindsets, Making and Mastery.” Stop by for free publications, puzzles, brain-shaped erasers, and our ever-popular squeeze brains (they go fast!). For those interested in Brain Awareness Week (March 13-19), you’re in luck, as the director of the campaign, Kathleen Roina, will be there to answer any questions you may have.

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Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts

In the United States, someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every minute; around the world, it’s every four seconds. “It is the biggest epidemic we have in this country,” says Harvard University’s Rudolph Tanzi, “I’m shocked that people aren’t panicked about what this disease is going to do to the country or to their families.”

This Wednesday (January 25) at 10 pm ET, PBS is premiering “Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts,” an urgent wake-up call about the national threat posed by the disease. The documentary includes interviews with doctors, caregivers, and longtime researchers of the disease, such as Dana Alliance member Tanzi.

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Sleep Disorders as Prologue to Disease: From the Archives

What a (incremental) difference seven years make. In 2009, when we wrote about Dana Alliance member David Holtzman’s work, the headline was “Could Sleep Disorders Contribute to Alzheimer’s?” This month, Scientific American describes the work he and colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are doing using the headline “Why Sleep Disorders May Precede Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.” We’ve gone from “maybe take a look” to “what’s the mechanism” on evidence for a link between sleep troubles and risk for neurodegenerative disorders has come.

Scientific American’s Simon Makin calls the Holtzman lab’s 2009 discovery the “best evidence for a causal relationship” From our story:

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New Brain Connections

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Part of the Dana Foundation’s mission of educating the public with the latest in neuroscience research involves providing a better understanding of the brain and its functions. Brain Connections is a newly refashioned feature of the Foundation’s website, where you can find answers to your questions about common neurological diseases and disorders.

The page currently offers validated resources for 30 common brain diseases, and links to sites that have been reviewed by our scientific advisors. Brain Connections is suitable for students, educators, families, and caregivers, as well as patients experiencing any of the listed conditions.

Visitors can find:

  • Descriptions of conditions
  • FAQs
  • Background for speaking with physicians
  • Treatment options
  • Support information for families and caregivers
  • Organization contacts
  • Sources for more information

Our knowledge about the brain is constantly progressing as science and technology advance, so it’s important to stay well-informed. The information provided in Brain Connections is not a substitute for medical advice, however. So be sure to consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Ways to Participate in Brain Awareness Week

Organizing and promoting events is a wonderful way to promote Brain Awareness Week (BAW) in your community, but did you know that you can also submit a request for a BAW proclamation? Your local city and state official(s) may be receptive to issuing one in honor and in celebration of BAW. A proclamation is a “time-honored vehicle for securing government recognition of your program and further promotes BAW’s core mission: to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.”

On the BAW website, you can find instructions for how to request a proclamation, as well as see sample proclamations awarded to select cities–and one signed by the United States President in 2002!

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Kathleen Roina, BAW Campaign Director, and Laura Reynolds, Director of the Cognitive Fitness Initiative, hold a proclamation issued by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer in celebration of BAW 2016. 

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