2012 Brain Awareness Lecture Series begins Feb. 20

“Big Issues and the Brain — The Brain and Society” is the theme for this year’s Brain Awareness Lecture Series, beginning February 20, 2012. Cutting edge neuroscientists and researchers will share their expertise on topics concerning the brain. The 2012 lineup is:

Monday, February 20, 2012 – “Alzheimer’s and the brain: What can we do?”

It’s true that we have no “cure” for Alzheimer’s, but Gary Small, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the UCLA Center on Aging, explains how multiple, large scale studies have found healthy lifestyle choices lower risk and may delay the onset of symptoms sometimes for years.

Monday, February 27, 2012 – “Law, ethics, humanity and the brain: How do they get along?”

Neuroscience increasingly allows us to explain, predict, and even control aspects of human behavior. The ethical issues that arise from these developments extend into philosophy of mind, psychology, theology, public policy, and the law. Henry Greely, J.D., Director, Stanford Law School Center for Law & Bioscience, specializes in the ethical, legal, and social implications of new biomedical technologies, particularly those related to neuroscience, genetics, and stem cell research.

Monday, March 12, 2012 – “The brain on fire: Can inflammation cause diseases that destroy the brain?”

Chronic inflammation in the brain is thought to play a role in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Much of the scientific work that is discovering the causes and potential treatments for such neuroinflammatory diseases is being done by the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Story Landis, Ph.D., Director of the NINDS, will share findings on brain inflammation and its impact.

March 19, 2012 – “New understandings of the brain: Why do we need them and what do we do with them?”

With each development in neuroscience comes the re-examination of traditional boundaries forcing us to question social values and conventions according to Alan Leshner, Ph.D., Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

April 10, 2012* – “Creativity and the brain: What is it, who has it, and how do we achieve it?”

Jonah Lehrer, the journalist whose writings on neuroscience—for Wired, The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, among others–shows us that creativity is not some near-mystical trait that some people seem to possess and that we can learn how to be more creative.

April 26, 2012* – “Addiction and the brain: What is the toll it can take on the brain and society?”

Through neuroscience we know more about addiction today than ever before. Nora Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), will explore how addiction starts, what it is, and what can be done about it.

Lectures will be held at 7 p.m. at the Newmark Theater (111 S.W. Broadway) except for starred lectures which are being held at the Oregon Convention Center, Oregon Ballroom. View ticket information.

Additional Brain Awareness events include a teacher workshop on January 21 with Gary Wenk, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience & Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics at Ohio State University, and a Brain Fair at OMSI on March 3, which is free and open to the public.

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