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Hands On Brains

Langley High School students had the opportunity to learn about the human brain via hands-on activities with neuroscientists Monday, March 12 at the National Museum of Health and Medicine on the campus of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. The field trip was part of the eighth annual "Brain Awareness Week," and more than 800 students from Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. are participating in the program which runs everyday this week.

Six stations were set up in the museum, each of which was designed and operated by collaborating "Partners-In-Education" institutions. This year's Partners-In-Education included the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, Georgetown University, George Mason University, Howard University, Rutgers University, the National Institutes of Health, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Museum of Health and Medicine. The stations highlighted different aspects of the brain and demonstrated various brain functions and disorders.

Monday's program was hosted by Georgetown University and focused on brain injury, cranial nerves, parts of the brain and its functions. In addition, the National Museum of Health and Medicine hosted the special "Brain Collector" station which allowed students to don latex gloves and hold a real human brain under the supervision of museum curator Archie Fobbs. Fobbs also showed the students slides of diseased and damaged brains.

"This is a wonderful program that gives the students an opportunity to meet scientists with a unique perspective and distinct and beneficial information about the brain," said Adrianne Noe, Ph.D., director of the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

The annual Brain Awareness Week program is sponsored by the Dana Foundation for Brain Initiatives.