February 24, 2006

Brain Awareness events highlight research advances

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March is the month for getting to know your brain and how it works.

Brain Awareness, sponsored by the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, aims to teach the public about the importance of brain research to understanding, treating and ultimately curing brain-related diseases.

The international Brain Awareness program was established in 1995 by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of brain function, and the Society for Neuroscience, an international community of more than 25,000 brain researchers.

Upcoming events during March include:

• March 2 — The Path to Autism — Catherine Lord, Ph.D., director of the Autism and Communication Disorders Center at the University of Michigan, will discuss early diagnosis and follow-up of children with autistic spectrum disorders. 4:10-5:10 p.m., 241 MRL/Kennedy Center. Parking is available in Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170.

• March 4 — Brain Blast! Family Fun at the Adventure Science Center — Enjoy a variety of hands-on activities led by Vanderbilt neuroscience undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. Brain Blast is included in the science center entry fee. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Adventure Science Center.

• March 9 — A New View of Alzheimer's — John G. Csernansky, M.D., director of the Silvio O. Conte Center for Neuroscience Research at Washington University, St. Louis, will describe using brain scans to detect Alzheimer's Disease. 4-5 p.m., 202 Light Hall. Parking is available in South Parking Garage, 2200 Children's Way.

• March 15 — Brain Awareness Keynote Address: Tracking Schizophrenia — Stephan Heckers, M.D., chair of Psychiatry at VUMC, will describe efforts to understand if there is a neuroanatomy of schizophrenia. 4:10-5:10 p.m., 103 Wilson Hall. Parking is available in Wesley Place Garage, spaces 52-170.

• March 23 — Meeting Addiction Head On — Mary Jeanne Kreek, M.D., from the Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at The Rockefeller University, will discuss endorphins, stress and addictions. 1:15-2:15 p.m., 214 Light Hall. Parking is available in South Parking Garage, 2200 Children's Way.

• March 30 — You Snooze, You Lose! — Eve Van Cauter, Ph.D., from the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago, will describe the national sleep debt and whether it has a role in the epidemic of obesity. 6-7 p.m., Adventure Science Center, Jack Wood TEC Auditorium.

All Brain Awareness events are open to the public. For more information, contact the Vanderbilt Brain Institute: 936-2637, brain.institute@vanderbilt.edu or visit the Web site http://braininstitute.vanderbilt.edu.