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CBN Encourages Georgians to Celebrate the Brain

March 2008 - Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue has proclaimed March Brain Awareness Month (BAM) in Georgia, and members of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience are encouraging teachers, students and families in Georgia to join them in celebrating the brain.

“The brain is small enough to hold in our hands, yet controls every aspect of our thoughts, perception and behavior. Even a small malfunction in the brain can have a huge impact on the lives of individuals and those around them,” said Kim Maguschak, a CBN Graduate Scholar, member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and a graduate student in the Emory University Neuroscience Program.
“It is important to inform people about the brain and let them know what is being done to diagnose, treat and prevent brain disorders.”
Activities and events in celebration of BAM include:

K-12 Classroom Visit
The CBN and the Society for Neuroscience are continuing their tradition of K-12 classroom visits. During the visits, scientists encourage students to participate in fun neuroscience related activities such as building a brain out of Play-Doh and touching a real brain.


“Neuroscience is generally not covered in the curriculum of Atlanta schools, therefore we recognize the need to help supplement science education and inspire children to think about careers in neuroscience,” said Michael Black, Ph.D., a CBN Postdoc Fellow of Georgia State University, who works with Kim Maguschak to coordinate Atlanta’s classroom visits.


“Brain awareness is so important because it involves all of us in our daily lives, whether it is the effects of sleep deprivation, jet lag or even how we respond to advertisements,” he said. “It is imperative that future generations have an understanding of how the brain works so they can make informed decisions.”


Last year, the group visited more than 65 different schools and 7,600 students in four counties including Cobb, Gwinnett, Dekalb and Fulton. Teachers who are interested in scheduling a classroom visit, can fill out an online request form at www.atlantabrains.org. All requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.


Brain Expo at Zoo Atlanta
The CBN’s Brain Expo will take place on Saturday, April 5, from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at Zoo Atlanta. The Expo is a fun, interactive, K-12 and community education program for children and adults that features more than 30 hands-on education stations exploring various topics related to the brain and behavior. Each year, thousands of Expo take part in activities such as building brain art, playing mind-boggling games, and taking their turn at the famous prize wheel.


“The Expo has become the largest educational event of its kind in the country,” said Kyle Frantz, Ph.D., Expo Director, CBN Science Educator and an Assistant Professor of Biology at Georgia State University. “Members of the public seem enthusiastic about gaining knowledge in new areas, as well as, piecing together tidbits they hear on the news with scientific evidence they explore at the Expo.”


In addition to Expo favorites such as touch-a-brain and the giant neuron, this year’s visitors will enjoy visiting new stations. The Amazing Story of Phineas Gage will be featured this year. Gage was a railroad worker who suffered severe brain damage in an accident. Changes in his behavior after the damage provided insight into the role of the frontal cortex in emotion, decision-making, and other complex behaviors. Kids who like to visit the brain art station will enjoy creating “brain bling” to wear home.


Participation in the Expo is free with paid Zoo admission.

 

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