NIH News Release
National Institute of Mental Health

Monday, March 12, 2001
Constance Burr
(301) 443-4536

Students Brainstorm with Neuroscientists
Brain Awareness Week Programs to be held March 14-15
Local junior high school students will find out just what makes their brains tick in activities co-sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives. An educational brain trust of students and scientists, the program will take place at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, March 14 and 15, 2001, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day.

Students will explore the brain at work with some of the nation's top scientists. They will have the chance to examine real brains, see brain images during thinking, acting, or feeling, and learn how to train their brains. They will play games, solve puzzles, and ask questions like: Why can I remember baseball scores but forget where I put my keys? How does alcohol affect the brain? Are girls' and boys' brains different?

"Brain Awareness Week," March 12-18, is an international event with 46 countries and some 1,250 organizations participating. It was launched by the Dana Alliance in 1995 to inform the public about the importance of brain research. The National Museum of Health and Medicine program is part of a new Partners in Education project to encourage student interest in neuroscience.

During the two-day program, Dr. Steven Hyman, Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), will present "The Promise of Neuroscience." Dr. Enoch Gordis, Director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, will talk about "Understanding Alcohol: What Science Tells Us." On March 15, Dr. Alan Leshner, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, will talk about "The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: What Do We Know?" Dr. Audrey Penn, Deputy Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, will address "Know Your Brain." Students will also meet scientists in smaller groups around the museum.

The program will be given on Wednesday, March, 14, with students from Stuart Hobson Middle School, Hart Middle School, and Backus Middle School; on Thursday, March 15, with students from McFarland Middle School, Capitol Hill Day School, Shepherd Elementary School and Grace Episcopal Day School.

The National Museum of Health and Medicine, founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862 to study and improve medical conditions during the American Civil War, is a division of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. The Museum's Neuroanatomical Collection includes some 37,000 specimens used widely for research and education. Open daily except Christmas from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the museum is located at Walter Reed Medical Center, 6900 Georgia Avenue and Elder Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission is free <>

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives is a nonprofit organization of more than 190 preeminent neuroscientists, including seven Nobel Laureates, who are committed to advance education about the public benefits of brain research. The Dana Alliance is supported by the Charles A. Dana Foundation, a private, philanthropic organization with interests in neuroscience and education.

The National Institutes of Health is the Federal agency dedicated to biomedical research, and the participating Institutes are the premier supporters of research on the brain and nervous system. The NIH is located in Bethesda, MD.

Contacts: NIH - Constance Burr (NIMH) 301-443-4536; Margo Warren (NINDS) 301-496-5751; Anne Decker (NIA) 301-496-1752; Michelle Muth (NIDA) 301-443-6245; Diane Miller (NIAAA) 301-443-3860. National Museum of Health and Medicine - Janet Burns, 202-782-2673; Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives - Karen Graham, 301-951-9177