Dementia, you thief
Leaving so little behind
All is forgotten.
1 This haiku-style poem by Max Natick was a winning entry from last year’s Neuroscience for Kids Poetry Contest, for ages five to 17. Winners from 2008 wrote haikus, limericks and rhyming poems about the brain—how it works and what happens when it’s impaired. Contest entries are accepted through February 1, 2010, and prizes include educational neuroscience books and games.
2–5 Pathological gambling, sex and shopping are a few of the headlining topics that will be discussed at the four-day U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress. Physicians will come together to learn about cutting-edge research in these fields and about mental health issues, including depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
4 Sigmund Freud, the famous Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, first published his book Interpretation of Dreams on this day in 1899. Although many of Freud’s ideas have since been modified or rejected, researchers in the emerging field of neuropsychoanalysis have started to argue in favor of his theories, pointing out brain structures relating to Freudian concepts such as libido, the unconscious, and repressed desire.
19–22 How do you cope with unemployment? What can you do to worry less before bedtime and sleep better? Experts will tackle these questions and more at the 43rd annual convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, with the goal of improving treatment and prevention methods for depression and anxiety disorders.
New York City
Alzheimer’s disease affects five million Americans—and the number is growing. Remember loved ones lost and raise money for a cure by joining a Memory Walk, just one of the many fund-raising and educational events taking place in cities all over the country during the months around National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month (which is November, but events continue until the end of the year).
10–12 To what extent are our mental processes hard-wired into the brain? And how does that brain produce individuality? These are two of the intriguing questions psychologists will address in the Mini-School of Neuroscience, hosted by the Neuroinsight Foundation for Brain Research Initiatives. The intensive course is open to the public, with a curriculum based on Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz and Thomas M. Jessell’s book Principles of Neural Science.
BRAIN AND BODY
Several museum exhibits, aimed at children but fun for adults, explore the science of what makes us human.
Although we may look different, human beings are more genetically similar to one another than the members of any other living species are. In fact, no single gene or group of genes supports the idea of race. At the California Science Center, the new exhibit RACE: Are We So Different? explores the biology of race as well as our personal and cultural experience of it. Hands-on activities, including a three-dimensional computer-animated video of our genes, encourage guests to challenge and discuss their thoughts on the controversial topic. The exhibit is scheduled to tour the U.S. through the end of 2012.
How do odor chemicals trigger the sensation of smell in the brain of humans and animals? Computer simulations and hands-on displays allow visitors to Marvelous Molecules—The Secret of Life at the New York Hall of Science to peek inside the molecular structure of living things to see how chemicals affect the brain and how DNA passes on genetic traits. Marvelous Molecules is one of the first ever interactive exhibits to explore such questions about human chemistry.
New York City
Challenge your mind by solving a medical mystery. Learn how to diagnose patients with different infectious diseases and also explore how illnesses spread and how our body fends them off. The Cell Lab at the Science Museum of Minnesota allows kids from kindergarten to 12th grade to play science detectives while introducing them to human physiology, genetics and cell biology.
St. Paul, Minn.