Mark Your Calendars!
Brain Awareness Week 2009 will take place from March 16-22
Brain Awareness Week (BAW), created by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, is an international partnership of government agencies, scientific organizations, universities, and volunteer groups. It includes more than 1,700 partner organizations in 57 countries and its purpose is to make the public more aware of the benefits and promise of brain research. In 2008, Brain Awareness Week was the week of March 10th-16th.
Canada is a world leader in neuroscience research. During Brain Awareness Week, there is much media and public interest in the brain and nervous system. Society for Neuroscience chapters across Canada have arranged for graduate students to visit hundreds of local elementary and high schools to talk about the brain and the field of neuroscience. Additionally, prominent researchers will host public lectures at universities and research hospitals on topics ranging from emotions, stroke and cognition, to neurodegenerative diseases and memory loss.
Every year, in an effort to increase the profile of Brain Awareness Week, NeuroScience Canada issues a Media Advisory that compiles a list of activities being organized to mark the week by all of the Canadian chapters of the Society for Neuroscience across the country.
This year, NeuroScience Canada collaborated with the Canadian Space Agency and astronaut Dr. Dave Williams to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the space shuttle NeuroLab. This flight was dedicated to the advancement of neuroscience research and focused on the effects of microgravity on the brain. Dr. Williams spoke at McMaster University, the University of Toronto and at his former high school, Beaconsfield High, to raise awareness about the important research that can be accomplished on a space shuttle mission, while highlighting neuroscience research and its relevance to all Canadians.
Dr. Williams' speaking tour commenced March 11, 2008 with a talk at McMaster University titled “Neuroscience Research in Space from Plasticity to Performance”. This presentation reviewed the results of the 26 scientific experiments conducted during the NeuroLab spaceflight. Ranging from studies on neuronal plasticity, perception, sensory and motor function as well as developmental neurobiology to clinical issues related to human adaptation to space, the experimental results have tremendous application to clinical neuroscience. Organized in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences, the event was attended by more than 100 members of the neuroscience community.
Dr. Williams then went on to give a presentation on March 26 at the University of Toronto titled “My Brain in Space”. Dr. Williams discussed the many neurological changes that take place in astronauts working in space and after their return to Earth. The similarities and differences between the changes seen in astronauts compared with clinical conditions observed in patients with neurological disorders were also discussed. NeuroScience Canada would like to thank the Program in Neuroscience who helped make this event a success.
Finally, Dr. Williams ended his speaking tour at his former high school, Beaconsfield High, on March 31. He spoke to students of grades 9 and 10 about his experience in space and his research on NeuroLab. His talk generated great enthusiasm amongst the students. This was confirmed by the very interesting question and answer period that followed his presentation.
We also hung forty street banners in prime locations throughout the City of Montreal, in order to coincide with the period before and after Brain Awareness Week. The banners featured our logo, website address, and the line “La Recherche Intelligente” (“Intelligent Research” in English).