Sticker Design Contest: Entries Due October 15

With just about two weeks left to enter our second annual Sticker Design Contest, there’s still plenty of time to submit your design (if you haven’t already)!

The Dana Foundation is calling on artists, graphic designers, illustrators, and brain enthusiasts alike to come up with their own version of an image that captures the essence of our global Brain Awareness Week initiative to promote the promise and benefits of brain research. If chosen, your design could become the face of the 2019 campaign and printed on thousands of stickers for distribution at schools, brain fairs, lectures, and more! Not to mention, the top three finalists will receive a cash prize.

After five finalists are chosen anonymously by Dana staff, we leave it up to you—the public—to vote for your favorite! Last year, after receiving an overwhelming number of entries from people all over the world and of all ages, the public poll declared Canada’s Marianne Bacani our first-place winner.

For more information on how to submit, please read the contest guidelines on our website. We will only consider entries that adhere to these rules. All designs are due by 11:59 pm (EST) on October 15.

Contest entry is free, so what do you have to lose? Just don’t wait too long!

Dana Foundation to Expand Podcasts

CerebrumPodcast_Logo_NEW-01Today is International Podcast Day, which seems an appropriate opportunity to announce that the Dana Foundation plans to expand our podcast platform in the next few months.

I hope you’ve listened to our podcasts, which have been online since May of 2016 and feature the authors of Cerebrum, our monthly, magazine-style series. We think they fit nicely with Dana’s mission, which is to advance brain research and to educate the public in a responsible manner about these advances, and hope our audience finds it valuable to hear some of the top scientists in the field talk about their research and public policy issues.

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National Book Lovers Day


Enjoy your copy of Cerebrum poolside. Available for purchase on Amazon.

Maybe it’s from years of school-encouraged summer reading lists, but this season always ignites a desire in me to read more books and to ask friends for recommendations. And it just so happens that August celebrates National Book Lovers Day–today! For fellow book lovers, and particularly those who want to learn more about the brain, I can point to some Dana Foundation resources that offer suggestions.

Cerebrum, our monthly online journal of timely ideas in neuroscience, has an accompanying podcast and a yearly printed anthology, but did you know it also publishes quarterly book reviews? Recently reviewed books include Howard I. Kushner’s On the Other Hand: Left Hand, Right Brain, Mental Disorder, and History, Matthieu Ricard and‎ Wolf Singer’s Beyond the Self: Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience, and Alan Alda’s If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating. All reviews are written by neuroscientists with an understanding of the chosen topic.

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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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Is Chocolate Good for the Brain?


It’s World Chocolate Day, and what better way to justify indulging in the sweet treat than by reading about its potential health benefits.

A number of studies have pointed to the possible health benefits of flavanols, naturally occurring compounds found in dark chocolate and cocoa that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In 2017, Frontiers in Nutrition published a review of the ways they may benefit human brain function, which is also summarized by Harvard Health Publishing in one of their blogs:

  • Short-term consumption may be helpful. For example, a 2011 study of young adults found that two hours after consuming dark chocolate (with high flavanol content), memory and reaction time were better than among those consuming white chocolate (with low flavanol content). However, other similar studies showed no benefit.

  • Long-term consumption may be helpful. One 2014 study found that among adults ages 50 to 69, those taking a cocoa supplement with high flavanol content for three months had better performance on tests of memory than those assigned to take a low-flavanol cocoa supplement.

  • Several studies demonstrated evidence of improved brain blood flow, oxygen levels, or nerve function as measured by imaging tests or tests of electrical activity in the brain after the consumption of cocoa drinks. But because these changes were not routinely associated with improved performance on cognitive tasks, it’s hard to connect the results directly to better brain function.

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