News Release

Melissa Brachfeld
Public Affairs Specialist
(301) 319-3313
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For Immediate Release -- March 8, 2012

National Museum of Health and Medicine to Host Middle School Students During 13th Annual Brain Awareness Week

(Silver Spring, Md.)This year, Brain Awareness Week (BAW) activities will take place at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR), located on the Forest Glen Annex in Silver Spring, Md., over the course of five days (March 12-16, 2012). NMHM recently relocated to the Forest Glen Annex, but is presently closed as the Museum installs new exhibits in advance of its grand opening in May.

During intense 2-hour BAW sessions, students rotate through hands-on activity stations to learn about different brain functions, influences on the brain and brain disorders. Activity stations are managed by the Museum’s Partners in Education. (BAW programs are not open to the public.)

Examples of hands-on activities include:

  • NINDS Brain Lobe-oratorium: Guided by staff from the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke, students will learn about the functions of each lobe of the brain and will have an opportunity to hold a real brain specimen.
  • Brain Pain: Communicating After Brain Injury: The Speech-Language Pathology Clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center will teach students about how traumatic brain injuries impact speech through a collaborative hands-on activity involving no verbal communication.
  • Brain Drop: The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center will educate students about prevention, symptoms and treatment of concussions and will explain their role in caring for service members experiencing these injuries. Students will be invited to participate in a hands-on demonstration, which will involve dropping an egg to the floor (one in a helmet and one not in a helmet) to help illustrate the importance of wearing a helmet.
  • Cool Cockroaches and Crickets: The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research’s Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research will teach students about the electric signals that connect sensory organs with the brain through an electrophysiology demonstration involving cockroaches and crickets. Students can implant probes into the insects and compare signals from photoreceptors in the eyes and mechanoreceptors found in the antennae and legs. These signals are comparable to what is seen in humans when electrodes are attached to skin.

NMHM Partners in Education for the 2012 Brain Awareness Week


National Brain Awareness Week programs were first established by the Dana Alliance in 1996, linking scientists, clinicians, journalists and other educators in an annual effort to raise public awareness about the brain and brain science. In 2000, Dana joined forces with NMHM to develop a program designed especially for middle school students. Brain Awareness Week has helped instill a sense of excitement of science, while bringing awareness and understanding of current research and its translation into clinical practice to young audiences.

Media Availability:

Media representatives are invited to cover Brain Awareness Week activities. Advance notice is required to allow for proper security processing. Contact Melissa Brachfeld, NMHM Public Affairs Specialist, at (301) 319-3313.


About the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives

The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a nonprofit organization of more than 265 leading neuroscientists, is committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and promise of brain research and to disseminating information on the brain in an understandable and accessible fashion. Supported entirely by the Dana Foundation, the Dana Alliance does not fund research or make grants.

About the National Museum of Health and Medicine

The National Museum of Health and Medicine, established in 1862, inspires interest in and promotes the understanding of medicine—past, present, and future—with a special emphasis on tri-service American military medicine. As a National Historic Landmark recognized for its ongoing value to the health of the military and to the nation, the Museum identifies, collects, and preserves important and unique resources to support a broad agenda of innovative exhibits, educational programs, and scientific, historical, and medical research. The Museum is presently closed to the public at its new location: 2500 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, MD, 20910. Visit external link or call (301) 319-3300 for more information.


Last Modified Date: 18-Jan-2013