Neuroscientists Heading to Washington, DC, This Week

sfn2017We’re heading off to attend the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting, which officially starts next Saturday in Washington, DC. Some 30,000 neuroscientists and others will converge in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center – a city’s worth of brain-lovers! Just before that, we’ll be taking in the annual meeting of the International Neuroethics Society (INS), held at the AAAS Building, just down the street. Stay tuned for posts and photos from both. Here’s some of what we’re looking forward to; many of the non-science sessions this year are on aspects of science communication and outreach.

NOTE: If you’re nearby, some of these events are free and open to the public—come by and say hi!

Thursday, Nov. 9

5:30 pm to 8 pm (Eastern time) “To Tell the Truth!,” a public forum where an international group of experts will discuss how we learn to lie, why some people lie a lot, and the limits on our abilities to detect lies—even when we are lying to ourselves. Come on by if you’re in the DC area: This event, part of the INS meeting at AAAS, is free, but please register.

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Free Public Event: The Meditating Brain

Meditation.jpg

Image: Shutterstock

From contemplation to prayer, forms of meditation exist in every society. Now, using up-to-date technologies, these ancient practices are being increasingly studied by neurologists. Although learning to meditate—to turn off all distractions—is no easy task, the advertised benefits claim it to be worthwhile. Such alleged benefits include the “calming” of neurotransmitters, beating addiction, and even building a bigger brain.

Published studies argue that meditation can produce structural alterations in the brain and may even slow the progress of certain age-related atrophy. Similarly, some yoga advocates claim that the practice, which is explored as a treatment for major depressive disorders, expands mental faculties. Further, prayer, according to the Huffington Post, can help dissuade impulsive actions.

Neuroimaging technologies are revealing changes in blood flow to areas of the brain, indicating more activity. This program will explore the neurological bases of these claims, if any, by explaining how the mind and body talk with one another during the acts of meditation, yoga, and prayer.

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The Impact of Aging: June 15 Public Event

Aging

Image: Shutterstock

Growing Older, Cognition, and What Science Has to Offer

A Free Event
Hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Through the Support of the Dana Foundation

Wednesday, June 15
5:30 – 8:00 p.m. (ET)

AAAS Headquarters
1200 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20005

*RSVP: https://www.cvent.com/c/express/84aef939-c5e8-46ef-9b55-68b7323c66b0

If we live long enough, aging is inevitable, and more people in the U.S. are living longer than ever before. Yet, age is a major risk factor for most common neurodegenerative diseases, so its consequences for individuals, families and society are anything but trivial. But how we age is not fixed. There are things we can do to mitigate the harsh effects that aging can have on our brains, on the way we think, understand, learn and remember. Continue reading

AAAS 2016: Hearing for Life

Topics at this year’s annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) ranged from genome editing to the gravitational waves of black holes. Many of the neuroscience-related talks and panels focused on the senses and perception: I heard a lot about hearing this year. Here are some highlights:

Kids: “We tend to think of kids as being the source of noise, not the victims of noise,” said Nan Bernstein Ratner of University of Maryland, College Park, who organized a symposium on effects of noise on children. But not only do small children not have access to the volume control when the TV is too loud, they have not yet mastered the ability to sort out important (speech) sounds from other noise.

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2016 AAAS Annual Meeting: Come Say Hi!

Heading to the AAAS 2016 Annual Meeting in DC this weekend? We’ll be there! Visit us at booth #2024, where we’ll be handing out free publications (for adults and kids) and brain-themed swag.

aaas 2015 san jose

Ready to greet our visitors at last year’s booth in San Jose, CA.

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