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Brain Sciences on Tap for 11th Annual Brain Awareness Week at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC

March 8, 2010, Washington, D.C.: Nearly 1000 middle school students will learn about traumatic brain injuries, brain anatomy and pathology – and see actual human brains – during the upcoming eleventh annual Brain Awareness Week at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. Brain Awareness Week at NMHM is sponsored by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) activities take place at the Museum over the course of five days -- March 15-19, 2010. After a brief introductory lecture, students rotate through hands-on activity stations to learn about different brain functions, influences on the brain and brain disorders. Those activity stations are managed by the Museum's Partners in Education (listed below).

"Advances in brain sciences are taking place at such an accelerated rate today and the prospects for amazing new ventures in this field are astounding," said Adrianne Noe, Ph.D., Museum director. "Our innovative program brings these sciences to students in informative, interactive ways. We hope that students visiting us this week are inspired to pursue a scientific discipline as a future career."

Examples of hands-on activities include:

  • "The Brain of a Snail": By exploring the brain of a snail, learn about neurons and how they communicate with each other and the ways we can "trick" a neuron with drugs.
  • "The 'Seat of Personality' – The Frontal Cortex and Mental Function": Students understand the role of the frontal cortex in emotion, judgment, empathy, humor by learning about Phineas Gage, whose frontal cortex was damaged in a 1848 railroad accident.
  • "Building the Brain": Build a model of the brain using modeling clay and learn about the different functions of each lobe of the brain and the detrimental effects that traumatic brain injury can have on specific areas of the brain.

Brain Awareness Week 2010 Partners in Education

Background

National Brain Awareness Week programs were first established by the Dana Alliance in 1996, linking scientists, clinicians, journalists, and other educators in an annual effort to raise public awareness about the brain and brain science. In 2000, Dana joined forces with NMHM to develop a program designed especially for middle school students. Brain Awareness Week has helped instill a sense of excitement of science, while bringing awareness and understanding of current research and its translation into clinical practice to young audiences.

Media Availability

Media representatives are invited to cover Brain Awareness Week activities. Advance notice is required to allow for proper security processing.

Contact Tim Clarke, Jr., NMHM Deputy Director (Communications), phone (202) 782-2672, email timothy.clarke@afip.osd.mil

About the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a nonprofit organization of more than 265 leading neuroscientists, is committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and promise of brain research and to disseminating information on the brain in an understandable and accessible fashion. Supported entirely by the Dana Foundation, the Dana Alliance does not fund research or make grants.

About the National Museum of Health and Medicine

The National Museum of Health and Medicine of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, established in 1862, inspires interest in and promotes the understanding of medicine—past, present, and future—with a special emphasis on tri-service American military medicine. As a National Historic Landmark recognized for its ongoing value to the health of the military and to the nation, the Museum identifies, collects, and preserves important and unique resources to support a broad agenda of innovative exhibits, educational programs, and scientific, historical, and medical research. The Museum is an element of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), a tri-service Army, Navy and Air Force agency of the Department of Defense with a threefold mission of consultation, education and research. The Museum is located at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. Visit the Museum Web site at www.medicalmuseum.mil or call (202) 782-2200.

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