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NIDA Home > Publications > NIDA Notes > Vol. 20, No. 1 > Research News

Brain Awareness Week Teaches Kids How Their
Brain Works
Research News
Vol. 20, No. 1 (August 2005)

The fifth annual Brain Awareness Week took place March 14-18 at the National Museum of Health at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., as part of a worldwide series of coordinated events designed to teach young people about the brain. NIDA, along with other participating NIH Institutes, presented short lessons on brain health and neuroscience to area students.

Photograph of Brain Awareness Week

NIDA Science Education Coordinator Dr. Cathrine Sasek asks students a question as part of the "Who Wants To Be a NIDA Neuroscientist?" game at the Brain Awareness Week program in Washington, D.C.

Brain Awareness Week mobilizes an international partnership of government agencies, scientific organizations, universities, and volunteer groups organized by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, a nonprofit organization of more than 200 pre-eminent neuroscientists dedicated to advancing education about the brain. The Week is designed to communicate the progress and promise of neuroscience research to an ever-larger worldwide audience.

NIDA's portion of the Washington-area event was "Who Wants To Be a NIDA Neuroscientist?" Patterned after the popular TV program "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire," the game encouraged students to test what they know about how illicit drugs and nicotine act in the brain. If they were unsure of an answer, a NIDA neuroscientist was on hand to serve as their "lifeline." Winners received a certificate, and everyone received NIDA publications designed for students and parents.

NIDA Science Education Coordinator Dr. Cathrine Sasek said, "As in the past, this year's Brain Awareness Week activities were wonderfully successful. The students had a great time playing the game, and those who won received a certificate signed by [NIDA Director] Dr. Nora D. Volkow declaring them a 'Neuroscientist for the Day.' In addition, NIDA gave out bags of our many publications for kids to each student."

The Dana Alliance hosts a Brain Awareness Week Web site for the public at, which includes an international calendar, education resources, downloadable graphics, puzzles, publications, and general information about the Week.


Volume 20, Number 1 (August 2005)

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