Brain Awareness Week (BAW) is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.
Great Bend Pilot Club and Pilot International is considered an outreach organization working with the Dana Alliance to raise awareness on issues about brain safety and injury prevention and brain related diseases. They try to reach out to people in all lifestyles as young as 8 and as old as 100.
In 1993, the founding members of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives pledged their commitment to advancing public awareness and education about the progress and promise of brain research, and to disseminating information on the brain in an understandable and accessible manner. They are celebrating the Alliance’s 20 years of education and outreach. Brain Awareness Week is one of it’s greatest successes. Bringing together disparate entities and having them cooperate to do public outreach –
Brain Initiative 10 GOALS
1. The identification of the genes that are defective in familial Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s diseases.
2. The identification of the genes responsible for manic depressive illness.
3. The development of new medications and therapeutic strategies to reduce nerve cell death and enhance recovery of function after strokes and other forms of brain injury.
4. The development of new drugs and other measures to alleviate the effects of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, motor neuron disease (e.g. ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy).
5. The identification of new treatments to promote nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury and peripheral nerve injury.
6. The development of new and more effective treatments for manic-depressive illness, anxiety disorders and forms of schizophrenia that at present resist treatment.
7. The discovery and testing and application of agents that will block the action of cocaine and other addictive substances.
8. The development of new treatments for pain associated with cancer, arthritis, migraine headaches and other debilitating diseases.
9. The identification of the genes that cause hereditary deafness and blindness.
10. The elucidation of the neuronal mechanism involved in learning and memory.
There has been enormous progress in brain science. In relatively simple animals like worms, flies, and mice, we have begun to understand how the brain processes sensory information and initiates movements, and how simple behaviors are modified by learning. In more complex animals we also have gained insight into the neural basis for cognitive states such as thinking, planning, and decision-making. As these animal studies progress, scientists should be able to begin to tackle the most complex problem of all: the organization of the human brain. * The Dana Alliance member news volume XVIII
Taking Charge of Brain Health
Feeling old is a state of mind, many have said, and the cliché may be truer now than ever. Modern medicine has extended our life span and is now rewriting the old rules of aging. Indeed, “normal aging” may be an outdated and misleading concept, as how people age differs greatly, and many factors influence our quality of life as we get older. Some of the changes to body and mind that are normally associated with aging may not be normal at all but rather the result of treatable health conditions or a lifetime of poor health habits. What may seem like declining mental fitness in older people may actually be symptoms of an illness that should be medically evaluated and treated. For instance, the incidence of depression increases with age. Yet depression, a brain-based illness that can be successfully treated in most people, is often not recognized or treated properly. Many chronic health disorders, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as many of the medications older people may need to take, can cause changes in mental functioning. * Staying Sharp—Dana Alliance
Checklist for a Brain-Healthy Lifestyle
• Exercise your body regularly and get involved in physically active leisure pursuits.
• Keep your mind exercised! Engage in active learning throughout life, and pursue new experiences.
• Stay socially engaged with friends, family, and community groups.
• Maintain a positive attitude and a sense of control over your life.
• Take steps to manage stress.
• Eat a brain-healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, and consider taking a multivitamin supplement that includes antioxidants and folate.
• Mind your numbers: Lose any extra pounds, lower your cholesterol if it is high, and keep your blood glucose and blood pressure under control.
• Get adequate sleep.
• Get proper medical attention and treatment for any underlying health problems.
• Drink to excess, smoke, or use illicit drugs.
• Ignore sudden changes in mental status. However, don’t be overly concerned about normal slips of memory such as forgetting names or where you put the keys.
• Put off going to the doctor if you notice changes in your physical or mental health.
• Overlook the possibility of drug interactions that can affect mental functioning, especially if you are taking more than one prescription medication.
• Become isolated in your home.
• Think you’re too old to take up something new!