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Nov. 30 Human Genome Panel Preview: Common Genetics Myths

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The completion of the Human Genome Project 10 years ago promised a new era of disease treatment and personalized medicine. But have these hopes been realized? On Wednesday, November 30, a panel of experts that includes geneticists, an ethicist, and a legal scholar will engage in a lively discussion on the topic of The Human Genome and Human Health: Will the Promise Be Fulfilled? Discussing where genomics should go in the future, how it might change the doctor’s office in the next decade, and the disparities that exist in the developing world, the panelists will evaluate both the promises of sequencing the human genome and the reality. Below, Rob DeSalle, who curated the Museum’s exhibition The Genomic Revolution 10 years ago, addresses three common myths about genetics.

Tags: Brain, Human Evolution

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SciCafe Returns Oct. 5 To Debunk the Scientific Myth of Race

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On the first Wednesday of every month, the Museum hosts inquisitive minds for cocktails and conversation about the latest science topics at SciCafe. The popular after-hours series returns on October 5 with an evening devoted to scientific evidence about the nature of race and “racial” differences led by Museum Curators Ian Tattersall and Rob DeSalle, who recently co-authored a book on the subject.

Tags: Brain, SciCafe

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The Wired Child Series: Q and A with Media Psychologist

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The wired world is a new frontier for psychologists and neuroscientists, who are starting to discover interesting impacts persistent technology use has on the brain. Navigating the latest science on the subject will be the focus of the Museum’s first fall adult course, The Wired Child: How 21st Century Technology Affects the Brain, which kicks off on Thursday, September 15, in the Sackler Educational Laboratory. Guest lecturers include Dr. Pamela Rutledge, media psychologist and expert blogger for Psychology Today, who will be leading the course on Thursday, October 6.

Tags: Brain, Family

The Inside Story On Summer ‘Brain Drain’

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Is it true that children face an uphill battle at the beginning of every school year to regain ground lost in the lazy days of summer? Yes and no, says Rob DeSalle, curator of the exhibition Brain: The Inside Story.  “The fact of losing what you’ve learned during the school year is fairly well known and well researched,” says Dr. DeSalle, citing a Johns Hopkins University study that showed children in general “lose” one to two months of learning, especially in math, over the summer.  “It’s not a myth. But it’s not as extreme as people think and it’s’ not insurmountable.”

One way to keep brains active before school resumes is to challenge children with a late-summer reading list, says DeSalle, a Museum curator who conducts research in the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics. The John Hopkins study showed, for example, that children in more affluent socio-economic groups fared better in reading because they tended to have more access to books. Games that involve counting and strategy can also stimulate neural pathways. Visitors to Brain: The Inside Story, which closes August 14, can test their ability to strategize and plan ahead, as well as other critical functions, in brain-teasing interactive exhibits, several of which are described by DeSalle in the video below.

Tags: Brain

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