March 24, 2008
Brain awareness moves into mind of community
By Robin Tricoles
Every Friday, neurologist Jonathan Glass, director of Emory’s ALS Clinic, meets with dozens of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He and his staff of specialists, including physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers and volunteers, carefully attend to the physical and emotional needs of their patients.
“We don’t have a cure. So, when people come here, they get a very high level of care because of the staff and because of the research that’s going on here, and the patients recognize that,” says Glass.
When Glass isn’t seeing patients, he can be found conducting neuroscience research. And he’s not alone. Hundreds of Emory faculty, staff and students in diverse fields such as psychology, chemistry, biology, anthropology, nursing, ethics, and even business are shaping the understanding of the brain and how it works — or doesn’t work — when it comes to disease and injury. Cognitive disorders, neuromuscular diseases, stroke, sleep, neuro-rehabilitation and neuro-oncology are just a few of the areas Emory researchers are focusing on. And neurosciences is one of the key initiatives in Emory’s university-wide strategic plan.
To highlight the importance of brain education and research, Gov. Sonny Perdue met with scientists from Emory and Georgia State University this month as he signed a proclamation declaring March “Brain Awareness Month” in Georgia. In honor of the event, scientists from the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and the Atlanta Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience have created multiple opportunities for the community to meet local neuroscientists and take part in celebrating the brain.
As part of the month-long celebration, Emory graduate student Kim Maguschak and other members of the Society for Neuroscience and the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience will work throughout March and April with more than 100 Atlanta teachers and volunteer neuroscientists to coordinate free k–12 classroom visits. During the visits, students will get to touch a real brain, play brain games and learn about careers in neuroscience. Other educational events include a Brain Expo at Zoo Atlanta on April 5.