Neuroethics Society Meeting: Science Communication

Tali Sharot, Alan Leshner, Joseph Fins, and Ed Yong

Gone are the days when science communication mainly consisted of publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Instead, there’s a “hunger” among scientists, and particularly young scientists, to communicate their work to public, said Alan Leshner, CEO emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI).

But just because the enthusiasm is there doesn’t mean that communicating science to a lay audience is an easy feat for scientists. “It’s not an innate skill, it’s an acquired skill,” Leshner said during a panel discussion at the International Neuroethics Society annual meeting yesterday in Washington, DC.   Continue reading

Dana Press Offers Cerebrum Anthology 2015

CerebrumBookCover15In the last ten years, we have learned more about neuroscience than in all of recorded history, writes Alan Leshner in the Foreword of the new Cerebrum: Emerging Ideas in Brain Science 2015, an anthology that became available in paperback this week. Leshner, chief executive officer, emeritus, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and former executive publisher of the journal Science, comes to that conclusion based on his 40 years in the neuroscience field.

The anthology consists of articles and book reviews featured each month during 2015 on the web. As the editor of Cerebrum, the online research-based journal published by the Dana Foundation, I’m confident that this year’s stories are examples of that kind of progress. Our goal is to take complex research and explain its importance in simple and understandable language to anyone interested in the brain.

Continue reading

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

“Prison should not actually do things that are knowingly going to make people worse,” replied Hank Greely when asked about the ethical issues of solitary confinement. Greely, who is director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University, pointed out that the United States houses 25 percent of the world’s prison population. “So in that sense,” he quipped, “we’re number one!” Sitting alongside a panel of experts, Greely was one of three speakers to open up the discussion of mental health and safety for prison inmates at the annual International Neuroethics Society (INS) meeting.

From left to right: Hank Greely, Alan Leshner, James Blair, James Giordano. Photo credit: Gillian Hue

From left to right: Hank Greely, Alan Leshner, James Blair, James Giordano. Photo credit: Gillian Hue

The panel addressed prison system policy in the U.S., as well as the world’s growing mental health crisis. Alan Leshner, chief executive officer emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Dana Alliance member, introduced the topic as a “criminal-justice issue, a human-rights issue, and a neuroethics issue of the highest order.” The prevalence of mental illness in criminal justice is tremendous, he added, and rhetorically asked if it can be seen as a direct consequence of incarceration.

Continue reading

The Arts and the Brain: Oct. 24

Please join us in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, October 24, for a free public event about arts and the brain. Part of the Neuroscience and Society Series co-sponsored by the Dana Foundation and AAAS, speakers “will address the neurobiology of how we respond to music, and how the brain processes form, symmetry, color and stereoscopic depth perception.” During the reception, attendees will also have access to a special art exhibit, “Beauty and the Brain Revealed,” and to a musical performance.

Continue reading

Exploring the Adolescent Brain

Neuroscientists say adolescence is “a wonderful time.” Beleaguered parents may disagree.

“The adolescent brain isn’t broken or defective,” Dr. Jay Giedd told an audience at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) on Wednesday. “It’s different from the child’s brain, and it’s different from the adult’s brain, but those differences have many upsides.”

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: