Books on the Brain: Summer Reading List 2019

Summer’s arrival—time for outdoor gaiety, vacations, and unearthing the unfinished tube of sunblock from last year (it’s hiding by the one from two year’s prior, truly). It also heralds longer days … and that means more sunshine to read by! If you’re normally the type to have books on the brain, then venture forth, dear reader, and acquaint yourself with the following authors, a collection of neuroscientists and brain investigators across various disciplines, sure to entice all stripes of brain enthusiasts!

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Photo: Shutterstock

For introspective readers and dredgers of the deep: Continue reading

Brain Awareness Week 2019 in Photos

Brain Awareness Week 2019 may have concluded in March, but since April, nearly 300 partners from around the world have submitted Partner Reports detailing results of their events and activities from the campaign. In these reports, Brain Awareness Week partners share their successes as well as what they would do differently next time. They also describe the activities they organized, details of how they publicized their events, and offer advice on planning future Brain Awareness Week events.

Many partners also submit photos of their brain awareness festivities. Below is just a sampling of some photos we received, which will be featured in our new Brain Awareness Week Photo Gallery in the coming months.

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Kids love playing with mascot, Brainy the Robot, and learning brain structure/function by playing the Brainy game at an event organized by Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.

Continue reading

WSF19: Can We Cure Deafness and Blindness?

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Marlee Matlin. Photo: World Science Festival

When Marlee Matlin won an Academy Award for “Best Actress” in 1987 at age 21, it was groundbreaking for a few reasons. Not only was it her first role in a movie, but Matlin was (and still is) the youngest nominee to receive an Oscar in the Best Actress category. She also made Hollywood history that year for being the first deaf person to ever receive the award, which set her on a path of activism and advocacy for the deaf community for years to come. Fast forwarding to this year’s World Science Festival, Matlin remains an active member of the community and was prominently featured on a panel that examined recent advances in eliminating deafness and blindness, and the way society labels and treats people who are hard of hearing or blind.

The festival’s final program, held at the New-York Historical Society, was moderated by former broadcast journalist Emily Senay. Matlin was joined on stage by biophysicist Jim Hudspeth, neuroscientist E.J. Chichilnisky, and perceptual navigation specialist Daniel Kish, who lost his eyes to retinal cancer at 13-months-old. The speakers talked about cutting-edge research and how scientific advances can sometimes be unexpectedly controversial. Continue reading

Three Science Contests to Enter Before Summer

Are you looking for ways to challenge yourself or stay involved in neuroscience research? If so, the Society for Neuroscience and the International Neuroethics Society are hosting a number of opportunities to share your work, network with experts, and even win cash prizes. The various deadlines are closing in, so don’t wait! Check out the following contests and presentations and learn how to enter:

Science Journalism Student Award

This year, the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will award the Science Journalism Student Award to two ambitious undergraduate or graduate students who are pursuing a science or medical journalism degree. Award recipients will not only get complimentary registration to this year’s SfN Annual Meeting from October 19-23, they will receive four nights’ lodging in Chicago (where the meeting will take place) and a $750 stipend for meeting expenses. Additionally, the winners will be assigned a mentor who is an experienced professional journalist covering the annual meeting. The deadline for this competition has been extending to May 31—visit their website for details on how to apply.

Brain Awareness Video Contest

Another contest hosted by the Society for Neuroscience is the 2019 Brain Awareness Video Contest. You don’t have to be a scientist to enter—just someone with a great idea on how to share the wonders of science through a short animation, song, or skit. The first-place winner will receive $1,000 plus travel, two-nights lodging, and registration to the annual Neuroscience 2019 in Chicago. Second and third place will also receive cash prizes, and there’s even a chance a to win $500 as the “People’s Choice” prize. The submission deadline is June 13, and be sure to read the rules and regulations before entering.

Neuroethics Call for Abstracts

Over the next few weeks, the International Neuroethics Society (INS) is expecting to receive upwards of 100 abstracts from researchers around the world. The abstract presentations are a vital feature of the INS Annual Meeting, where a diverse group of scholars, scientists, clinicians, and professionals gather to share their dedication to the responsible use of advances in brain science. Presenting your abstract provides a great opportunity to showcase your work with international colleagues. Don’t wait too long; the deadline to submit your neuroethics research is June 24. Review the call for abstracts for full details.

Below, see the first-place winner for last year’s Brain Awareness Video Contest by Bradley Allf, a laboratory technician at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Rise in Youth Suicide After Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why

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From the 2001 Cerebrum essay, “Suicide in the Young” by Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.  Illustration © Kristina Swarner

On March 31, 2017, a controversial series called, 13 Reasons Why premiered on Netflix. The show tells the story of a young high schooler who commits suicide and leaves behind a series of 13 cassette tapes for the people she held responsible. In the month following the show’s 2017 release, mental health experts, superintendents, and school counselors criticized the series for its glorification of suicide and worried it would lead to an increase in copycat behavior of self-harm among vulnerable individuals. After researchers examined data from the past five years, the show was found to be linked to a spike in suicide rates among US youths aged 10-17.

The National Institutes of Health published the study earlier this week, conducted by researchers at universities, hospitals, and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). They examined whether the show’s release impacted rates of suicide, based on annual and monthly data on suicide-related deaths of individuals between ages 10 and 64 that occurred between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017—a time span encompassing the period before and after the show’s first 13 episodes. Continue reading

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