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D.C.-Area Middle School Students Explored Neuroscience During Brain Awareness Week 2014 at the Medical Museum

By: Shannon Sarino, NMHM Public Affairs

April 29, 2014, Silver Spring, Md.: Nearly 500 middle school students took in the 15th annual Brain Awareness Week, held March 10-14, 2014, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine. The students learned about traumatic brain injuries, brain anatomy, neurons, how brain cells communicate and more. Brain Awareness Week at NMHM was presented in conjunction with the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, and includes partnership from Department of Defense agencies including the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (an element of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command).

NMHM's Brain Awareness Week activities took place over the course of five days at NMHM. After a brief introductory talk, students rotated through hands-on activity stations to learn about different brain functions, influences on the brain and brain disorders. A complete list of NMHM's Partners in Education is below.

Andrea Schierkolk, NMHM Public Programs Manager, said: “Students were provided with a life-impacting opportunity to interact one-on-one with area neuroscientists. They saw how nerves are being utilized to control prosthetics; they learned innovative ways that patients with speech disorders are being rehabilitated; and they even had an opportunity to hold a human brain specimen. Hopefully they will be inspired to pursue a career in the sciences, perhaps even the neurosciences!”

The Department of Defense (DoD) has a demonstrated commitment to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Proper management of TBI cases has become a military medical standard of care and is returning injured service members with mild TBIs back to active duty in just days. DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs are engaged in a $100 million research initiative to improve diagnosis and treatment of mild TBIs. The U.S. Army recently teamed up with the National Football League to improve awareness of TBI and increase research into its causes, prevention and treatment.

NMHM Partners in Education for the 2014 Brain Awareness Week:


A student from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (right) lead students through an exercise building neuron models during Brian Awareness Week. Brain Awareness Week was recognized March 10-14, 2014, with hands-on educational activities for Washington, D.C.-area students at NMHM, in Silver Spring, Md. (Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo/ Released)

Michael Addis, from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, demonstrates to students the basics of neurophysiology by stimulating cricket legs. Brain Awareness Week was recognized March 10-14, 2014, with hands-on educational activities for Washington, D.C.-area students at NMHM, in Silver Spring, Md. (Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo/ Released)

Staff from the Audiology Clinic, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (far left), demonstrate effects of hearing loss on balance to local area students, during Brain Awareness Week activities at the National Museum of Health and Medicine on Friday, March 14, 2014. (Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo/ Released)