The Decade of the Brain came and went quietly. For the promoters who conceive and execute campaigns to raise public awareness and research dollars, duration is measured only in days, weeks, months or, rarely, years--never more than a decade. Any longer would exceed the natural life span of the potential audience and sponsors for the message conveyed: The Century of Kidney Disease Awareness? One Hundred Years of Schizophrenia?
Organizers of the Brain Decade coped with the difficulty of deciphering the world's most complex machine by setting out a series of comparatively modest challenges for the 1990s. A representative of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, which established a series of research objectives for the Decade, assigned generally high marks for meeting the stated goals: the identification of defective genes in familial Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease and the development of new treatments for multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, among other advances.
This article was originally published with the title Ultimate Self-Improvement.