Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BEE-AWARE: Brain Aware

Yesterday marked the start of this year's Brain Awareness Week...

At one of the following events is where I could have been:

Students unlock the mysteries of the brain with NIH scientists

NIH celebrates Brain Awareness Week 2014

Hundreds of middle school students from the Washington, D.C., area will visit the National Museum of Health and Medicine External Web Site Policy in Silver Spring, Md. this week for a special brain-bending experience. Alongside scientists from seven institutes of the National Institutes of Health, these students will become neuroscientists for a day as part of the 14th annual Brain Awareness Week celebration at the museum.

Brain Awareness Week (March 10 – 16) is an annual global public outreach partnership of government agencies, universities, hospitals, patient advocacy groups, scientific societies, service organizations, and schools. The event was started nearly two decades ago by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a nonprofit organization of over 300 leading neuroscientists, as a campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.

“Brain Awareness Week is a great opportunity for young people to connect with NIH scientists and explore the human brain in a way that is truly hands-on,” said Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “We hope to make this event a memorable experience that will inspire the next generation of brain pioneers.”

NIH activities will include:

NIMH: See YOUR BRAIN in Action, Students will see how the brain and spinal cord work together to control emotions and physical well-being. They will observe recordings of the electrical activity generated by muscles in their own arms and fingers and gain a deeper understanding of the human nervous system.
National Eye Institute (NEI): More than Meets the Eye, Students will learn how the brain and eyes work together to help us see. NEI scientists will then share the science behind optical illusions to reveal how the complex circuitry in the brain can sometimes fool us into seeing things that are not really there.
National Institute on Aging (NIA): Mysteries of the Brain, Students will investigate how we learn about human brains. NIA scientists will show a video of mice performing a memory task and then engage students in a discussion of how the brain can benefit from a healthy diet, mental stimulation and exercise—some of the interventions being tested today as potential means to delay or prevent memory disorders.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: Cool Spot Carnival, Students will explore how alcohol interferes with brain development, sensory perception, movement, and balance. They will learn that even though teens may not feel alcohol’s effects as immediately as do older individuals, alcohol still affects their functioning and can put them at serious risk.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: Bionics: Creating the “Six Million Dollar Man” Students will learn about the advancement of artificial limbs and assistive technology throughout history. They will interact with state of the art myoelectric control for prosthetic limbs and see how the power of the brain can be used to restore function to the human body after disease or injury.
National Institute on Drug Abuse: NIDA Brain Derby, Students will play an interactive computer-based game called Brain Derby. Teams of students will have the opportunity to earn Brain Scientist certificates by correctly answering questions related to how abused drugs act in the brain and body.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS): Brain Lobe-oratorium, Students will discover the unique features of each of the four lobes of the human brain by interacting with colorful life-size brain models. NINDS scientists will help students learn about how each lobe contributes to perception, thinking, personality and behavior.

Instead I spent my morning, noon, and night remembering my sweet little man, Brayden, and why this brain stuff is such a HUGE part of me... his big light is shining so very bright right now as we kick off the start of our efforts as an official nonprofit organization.

I spent my morning working with a little girl who is an example of why we need to bring greater awareness of the possibilities that exist for those living with neuro-disorders.. everyone should know how amazing she is!

I spent the afternoon and night working endless hours on some awareness campaign efforts, chatting with families who give me more reasons to "Believe in the Impossible!" and feeling motivated by my decision to continue on this crazy obsession with all things brain.

Bee-AWARE: BRAIN Aware! Visit our friends at The Dana Foundation: www.dana.org

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