Sunday, March 11, 2012

What is Brain Awareness Week?

Celebrate your sentience March 12-18.

Gather ‘round, children, and the Dana Foundation will tell you an amazing tale about… the You Man Brain…

Well, that is, the HUMAN brain—and the many ways of increasing understanding and awareness of this little three-pound marvel. Officially the brainchild of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives in New York and the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, “Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research,” according to the BAW website.  

Founded in 1996, Brain Awareness Week is designed to unite partner organizations around the world “in a week-long celebration of the brain.” Partners include universities, hospitals, schools, government agencies, and service organizations. Partner organizations come up with creative and innovative community activities to educate people of all ages “about the brain and the promise of brain research.” For example, on Wednesday the Dana Alliance is sponsoring a “brain bee” at The Rockefeller University in New York City, where students from 21 area high schools will go head-to-head on their knowledge of neuroscience.

To see the full list of partnerships, from 41 countries, go HERE. For a list of events planned for the week, take a look HEREEvents include open houses at neuroscience laboratories, special brain exhibitions at museums, displays and lectures at community centers, and workshops in the classroom.

If you’re feeling cocky, you can test your brain with several challenges at

Sadly, none of this hoopla will necessarily solve certain perennial brain conundrums, such as:

--If you can’t change your mind, how do you know you have one?

--Is that hole in a man’s penis really there to get oxygen to his brain?

--How can we believe that the brain is the most important organ, when the brain is the organ telling us that?

And finally, the one that keeps me awake at night:

-- How did the scarecrow know he didn't have a brain?

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