Brain Awareness Week 2016 #BAW

In honor of Brain Awareness Week (March 14-20, 2016), here is a selection of recent news stories, videos, and other resources about NSF-funded basic research related to the brain.

To learn more about the NSF’s “Understanding the Brain” activities and the NSF’s participation in the White House’s BRAIN Initiative, please visit:  http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/brain/

Recently, the NSF announced its participation in the National Research Infrastructure for Neuroscience effort:  https://nsfbiobuzz.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/brain_observatory/

NSF video series: In 2014, NSF awarded a total of $10.8 million to 36 brain research projects. These awards are called Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER). They are part of NSF’s broader efforts to understand the healthy brain. These six videos provide more detail about some of the exciting EAGER award projects:  http://go.usa.gov/cGUse

NSF Radio Documentary: “Explorers of the Brain: Research from the Frontiers of Neuroscience.” This documentary aired on 111 radio stations around the U.S. Listen and access the transcript here:  http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg_disp.jsp?med_id=78672 

NSF/NBC Learn Video Series: “Mysteries of the Brain.” Scientists and engineers have studied the brain for decades, yet there are many mysteries that remain unsolved. New research is underway to develop and use cutting-edge technologies to better understand the brain. Watch this exciting 8-part video series to learn about the brain and the research NSF is funding:  http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/brain/video/

What can fruit flies teach us about social interactions and the brain? Watch this NSF Science Nation video:

To watch this video with captions, click here

Neuroscientists have looked inside brain cells as they undergo the intense bursts of neural activity known as “ripples” that are thought to underlie memory formation. Read more from @CalTech: http://www.caltech.edu/news/studying-memorys-ripples-49860

Scientists decode brain signals nearly at speed of perception: Electrodes in patients’ temporal lobes carry information that, when analyzed, enables scientists to predict what object patients are seeing. Read more from @HSNewsBeat:  http://hsnewsbeat.uw.edu/story/scientists-decode-brain-signals-nearly-speed-perception

Like air traffic, information flows through major neuron ‘hubs’ in the brain. In many cortical regions, 70 percent of the brain’s information passes through only a fifth of the neurons. Read more from @IUNewsroom:  http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2016/01/hub-neurons.shtml

Engineered neural networks show hope for axonal repair in the brain, with minimal disruption to brain tissue. Technology holds potential to benefit patients with damage to brain connections resulting from brain injury or disease. Read more from @PennMedNews:  http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2016/01/cullen/

Researchers uncover “predictive neuron orchestra” behind looking and reaching movements. Read more from @NYUniversity:  http://www.nyu.edu/about/news-publications/news/2016/01/12/researchers-uncover-predictive-neuron-orchestra-behind-looking-and-reaching-movements.html

rat hippocampus,
This image shows a rat hippocampus, a region of the brain critical for learning, memory and emotion. Credit: Elyse L. Aurbach, Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, University of Michigan

Researchers develop new method for analyzing synaptic density: High-throughput, machine-learning tool could help researchers better understand synaptic activity in learning and disease. Read more from @CarnegieMellon:  http://www.cmu.edu/news/stories/archives/2015/december/synaptic-density.html

University study shows first evidence for independent working memory systems in animals. Data could inform new pre-clinical research models for Alzheimer’s disease treatment that goes beyond spatial memory. Read more from @IUNewsroom:  http://news.indiana.edu/releases/iu/2016/01/working-memory.shtml

In experiments with zoo animals, relative brain size was the best clue to problem-solving ability in carnivores. Read more from NSF here and watch this video from the NY Times’ ScienceTake: http://nyti.ms/1NvP95M

Finally, if you are in the DC/MD area on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, attend the National Museum of Health and Medicine’s Science Café from 6-7pm with NSF Assistant Director for Biological Sciences, Dr. Jim Olds, who will be speaking about “Searching for an Elusive Cure to Brain Diseases.” Read more from @medicalmuseum:  http://www.medicalmuseum.mil/index.cfm?p=media.events.2016.03222016

 

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