Every March, one week is dedicated as Brain Awareness Week, sponsored by the DANA Foundation. For 2014, that week is March 10-16.
The celebration of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) began in 1996, and was developed to provide a place for academics, researchers, government agencies, and advocacy groups to come together to promote awareness of the progress—and benefits—of brain research.
The DANA Foundation
The DANA Foundation is a private philanthropic organization based in New York that promotes brain-related research through grants, publications, and education. It hopes to demonstrate the potential of research into the brain in order to develop a better understanding about the brain and its various functions, to facilitate and expedite discovery of treatments for different brain disorders, and to educate the public about brain disorders in order to decrease the associated stigma.
Organizations can easily participate in Brain Awareness Week by becoming a BAW Partner. There are BAW Partners educating the public about the brain and nervous systems, including their influence on health, in 51 countries in six continents. To become a BAW partner, an organization just needs to sign up on the DANA BAW website, organize an activity, promote it, and distribute BAW campaign materials (provided for free) during the event.
What Organizations Participate In Brain Awareness Week?
Organizations that have participated in the past include hospitals, schools (primary, secondary, and post-secondary), advocacy groups, medical research facilities, outreach and educational organizations, professional organizations, libraries, senior centers, community centers, government agencies, corporations, and local chapters of national organizations.
Partners can contribute and be involved in any way they want. Activities can include open days at neuroscience labs, exhibitions about neuroscience, lectures about the brain and other related topics, displays at community centers or libraries, classroom workshops, or social media campaigns. The DANA Foundation provides examples of activities, as well as resources, to make it easy for organizations to participate in BAW, but an organization can create any type of activity that promotes brain awareness.
What Are Some Brain Awareness Week Activities?
BAW activities help to spread the word about brain research, its importance, and the critical role it plays in helping people live full, healthy, and productive lives. It also imparts knowledge and information to the public to help them be able to make more informed decisions about their health. BAW activities will also hopefully inspire children to become future neuroscientists. Partners also increase their visibility through becoming part of this global education initiative.
Brain research helps the scientific and medical communities learn more about neurological disorders and disease. Scientists are conducting research related to hundreds of neurological disorder. Common neurological disorders include ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, dyslexia, migraines, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, epilepsy, and muscular dystrophy.
There are also other health problems in the brain, including those associated with infections (e.g. meningitis), trauma (e.g. concussions), and cancer (e.g. tumors). With so many brain disorders and diseases, it is important to research the brain and nervous system and find ways to treat and prevent these problems. It is only through research that medical professionals will be able to better understand these problems and find a way to cure them.
What Does The Brain And Nervous System Do?
The brain and nervous system dictate how the entire body functions, so neurological research also plays an important role in discovering causes of, and treatments, and preventative measures for psychological and medical disorders. Knowing how the different systems in the body correlate and what constitutes normalcy in the brain structure and chemical balance can help to find ways to treat a number of conditions, whether neurological, psychological, or physical.
The brain has a delicate chemical balance, and when that balance is disrupted, it can cause mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. There are also studies that have shown that people with mental health disorders, including post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia, have physical abnormalities in their brain. Understanding the neuroscience behind these disorders can help diagnose and treat the conditions.
Likewise, researchers have found abnormalities in the brain that correlate to various medical illnesses affecting different areas in the body. For example, research has found a correlation between a problem in the brain system that regulates blood sugar and the development of type 2 diabetes.
The brain is complex and plays a significant role in the overall health and well being of a person, so it is important to continue to engage in and further neurological research. Knowledge about the brain will help foster the prevention, accurate diagnosis, and treatment of many conditions and keep people healthy. That is why Sovereign Health Group supports brain research, and Brain Awareness Week.
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