National Brain Awareness Week 2014

The Friedman Brain Institute at Mount Sinai is deeply committed to promoting brain health by sharing our expertise with our partners everywhere. In celebration of Brain Awareness Week (BAW), the Sinai Neuroscience Outreach Program (SNOP) hosted its second annual Brain Awareness Fair for elementary, middle, and high school students and their parents. Also in honor of this year's Brain Awareness Week, The Friedman Brain Institute displayed an exhibition of brain-related photographs, "The Art of the Brain", celebrating the beauty of the brain as seen through the eyes of some of the world's leading researchers at Mount Sinai.

Save the Date

BAW 2015: March 16-22, 2015
BAW 2016: March 14-20, 2016

Brain Awareness Fair

On Thursday, March 13th, Sinai Neuroscience Outreach Program (SNOP) hosted its second annual Brain Fair at Mount Sinai, in association with international Brain Awareness Week.  

This year's Brain Fair was an enormous success!  Approximately 300 participants visited the Brain Fair, more than tripling the number of participants from the previous year.  Participants ranged from age 4 to age 82, highlighting broad interest in learning about the brain, and Mount Sinai as a community hub. The first hour of the fair was dedicated time for a field trip of high school students, though the Center for Excellence in Youth Education at Mount Sinai. Participants also included several Girl Scout troops from Manhattan and the Bronx, adult members of the 92nd Y, local middle and high school students, hospital employees, and other community members.

59 volunteers came together to host 20 stations around the Guggenheim Pavilion.  The volunteers who put on each activity were exceptional and came from all parts of Mount Sinai. Among the volunteers were: 6 faculty members; 49 grad students, post-docs, psychiatrists, lab technicians, and research program managers; 3 representatives from Mount Sinai's Center for Excellence in Youth Education (CEYE); and 1 representative from the Alzheimer's Association.  

Volunteers at each booth prepared visuals and interactive activities to teach their learning objectives to the broad range of participant ages.  Booth topics included:

  • Meet the experts: challenge faculty members on any topic related to the brain! Faculty volunteers included:

    • Dr. Mark Baxter, Professor of Neuroscience, Anesthesiology, and Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
    • Dr. Paula Croxson, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
    • Dr. Miguel Gama Sosa, Associate Professor of Psychiatry
    • Dr. Yasmin Hurd, Professor of Psychiatry, Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and Neuroscience
    • Dr. Mercedes Perez, Fellow, Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center James J. Peters VA Medical Center and Department of Psychiatry
    • Dr. Ting Wang, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience

  • Animal Brains: see brain specimens from different animals to learn comparative neuroanatomy
  • See Inside Your Brain: see human brain sections
  • Decoding Your Brain: learn how your brain codes information and how that affects things like body temperature and heart rate
  • Challenge Your Brain: test your brain's ability to learn and perform a memory task when the rules change
  • Mental Health Jeopardy: win points for answering questions related to Tourette's, OCD, depression, anxiety, and the brain
  • Spinal Reflexes: test your reflexes and learn about the spinal cord and reflexes
  • Map Your Homonculus: learn how the brain represents the sense of touch and why this organization is important
  • Addiction: learn what addiction is, how scientists study it, and how different drugs change your brain
  • Ask a Psychiatrist: learn about mental health facts and myths, learn to recognize facial expressions of emotion
  • Build-A-Brain: color a brain hat and learn what the different brain regions do
  • Dizzy Izzy: test your vestibular system and learn how the brain senses head movement and direction
  • Optical Illusions: see if you're smarter than your brain as you view optical illusions and learn how the brain represents the world around us
  • Taste Test: participate in a taste test and learn how much smell influences what we taste
  • Egg Drop: learn about the way your body protects your brain and try to recreate this as you wrap up an egg and drop it from 3 feet off the floor and try to keep it from cracking
  • Eating Disorders: learn what's fact and fiction about eating disorders and sign up a study

All Brain Fair participants received "Passports to the Brain" to track their visits to each of the booths, and were asked at sign-in whether they had studied the brain before.  Approximately 60% of participants had previously learned about the brain, and 40% were learning about the brain for the first time.  One adult participant wrote that they had not previously studied the brain, "But I learned a LOT here!"  Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive.  One participant even commented the next day, "Went yesterday to the fair in Mt. Sinai, simply wonderful and so informative, thanks for putting up such a great event."  

Sinai Neuroscience Outreach Program hosted the Brain Fair with support from the Friedman Brain Institute and the Center for Excellence in Youth Education at Mount Sinai.  

Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign started by the Dana Foundation to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.  30 events were held across New York City from March 8-16 by institutions and organizations coming together under the umbrella of Greater New York City Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, BraiNY.

The Art of the Brain

Also in honor of this year's Brain Awareness Week, The Friedman Brain Institute displayed an exhibition of brain-related photographs, "The Art of the Brain", celebrating the beauty of the brain as seen through the eyes of some of the world's leading researchers at Mount Sinai.

With the aid of the latest technological advances, as symbolized by these images, scientists are better able to understand how the brain works and accelerate the development of new treatments for many brain disorders including Alzheimer's Disease, Autism, Drug Addiction, Schizophrenia and Parkinson's Disease.

Art of the Brain Image

To learn more about "The Art of the Brain" - please contact Veronica Szarejko at the Digital Media Center: 212-659-5962 or digital.media-center@mssm.edu.

View Digital Presentation of the Exhibition [PDF]
View Digital Flipbook of the Exhibition

Brain Health Achievements 

In recognition of National Brain Awareness Week, we want to share our passion and commitment with you by highlighting some of the many things accomplished at The Friedman Brain Institute to make a difference in the fight for brain health.

  • We are the first in the northeast to use the Amyvid brain scan to identify the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease in a clinical setting. This will produce major changes in how we identify individuals with the disease, measure the effectiveness of treatments, and provide early interventions. To learn more, please visit the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center.

  • Utilizing high-throughput sequencing (HTS), we have identified dozens of new mutations linked to autism. We have established a vast expertise in HTS that is now being used to zero in on new targets for the treatment of Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's, among other conditions. To learn more, please visit the Seaver Autism Center.

  • More than 25 new researchers and clinicians have been brought on since 2012 to improve our strengths and build new collaborations across The Friedman Brain Institute in areas as diverse as stem cells, brain imaging, pediatric headache medicine, cognition, and deep brain stimulation. View Digital Flipbook