• Educators & Researchers

Briefing Papers

Briefing Papers and Primers take an in-depth look at basic and timely brain-related topics, like traumatic brain injury and obesity. 

 

Grants 

The Foundation’s current area of research emphasis is in neuroscience. Selected proposals have the potential to improve human health or functioning. Grants also support improvement in K-12 education.

 Lessons and Activities

Science history, lessons, and activities, and news are covered at these sites.

Reports on Progress

Reviews by eminent neuroscientists of specific areas of research, including normal function, disease, and new technologies. 

Neuroeducation 

News, events, and commentary on bridging neuroscience and education.

Neuroethics 

News and analysis on the implications of brain research.

Lending Library 

The Dana Alliance provides brain and neuron models, posters, and related educational materials to neuroscience departments to be used for educational outreach programming at local schools, community centers, museums, summer camps, etc.

Q&As with Neuroscientists 

Interviews with Dana-funded researchers.


Recent Articles 

 

NIH Calls for ‘Sea Change’ Regarding Sex Differences in Research

New policy for US National Institutes of Health funding will require that researchers propose studies that have balance of male and female cells, tissues, or animals.



A Fountain of Youth for the Brain?

Scientists have reported promising rejuvenation experiments on mouse brains-but it isn't clear that such results can be translated usefully into human therapies.



Using Optogenetics and Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs)

Emerging techniques that allow researchers to control the activity of a subset of neurons are revolutionizing our understanding of how the central nervous system works. Whether to use optogenetics (light) or DREADDs (drugs) as a means to control neuronal activity depends on which question you wish to answer.



Uncovering the Mysteries of Myelin

Now that researchers have the technology to test the hypothesis that myelin is a simple, regular axonal insulator, they find it isn’t true. Now the fun begins.



The Neuroprotective Effects of Education

Research published in the past few years suggests that longer years of formal study can strengthen the brain, making it more resistant to the ravages of old age—and perhaps mitigating the damage that occurs after traumatic brain injury.



A Key Defender of the Aging Brain?

The loss of the REST protein from neurons appears to be an important early event in neurodegenerative disease. Researchers now are looking for ways to restore it in the elderly.

 



Neuroimaging Offers Potential for Early Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Using DTI, researchers find brain "biomarkers" that identify who has the at-risk variation of a gene for a late onset fragile X-associated syndrome. Others are using PET scanning to track the plaques associated with Alzheimer's years before symptoms show.

 



Gene Variants May Help Predict Recovery from TBI and PTSD

Researchers investigating the gene that directs the building of protein BDNF find that people with one variation seem to recover more slowly and less well than those with other variations.



Rich Man, Poor Man: Socioeconomic Adversity and Brain Development

With the widening economic gap between the haves and the have-nots in mind, our author examines new research that ties family income level and other factors to helping children develop the language, memory, and life skills that tilts the odds in their favor later in life.



First Language Learned, Hearing Status Affects Brain Structure

Deaf people who learned American Sign Language first show differences in brain structure compared with deaf people who learned to lip-read English first.



Helping Scientists Translate Their Work for the Lay Public

In this Q&A with Dana Director of Communications, Ann Whitman, editor Jane Nevins explains the differences between writing for the lay public versus scientist peers, how identifying the reader helps plot one's narrative course, and why her new book, You've Got Some Explaining to Do, extends to readers beyond those in the neuroscience community.




Glia: Earning Some Respect

Either as “handmaidens to neurons” or as actors in their own right, researchers find glial cells show powerful effects in mouse models of disease.



The Solitary Brain

While the use of solitary confinement in US prisons has grown in recent decades, so has research showing its lasting harmful effects.



Music Offers a Boost to Education in Low-SES Environments

High-schoolers who had only two years of music training got faster and did better at understanding speech in noise than peers who took a ROTC course instead. These skills are important for reading as well as understanding spoken language.

 



Beyond Sentencing: How Neuroscience Has Already Changed the Legal System

Defendants are “blaming the brain” not only to mitigate sentences after conviction, but in their defense, of crimes from homicide to fraud. At the recent Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, Nita Farahany described the types of cases where neuro-evidence is already being used.

 



ADHD: 10 Years Later

Ten years ago a landmark study showed that the structure of the brains of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) differs from that of unaffected children. Since that study, enhancements in imaging have given researchers a better look at key hubs in the brain and how they network—advances that could prove useful in the control and treatment of ADHD in both children and adults.



Why Is Sleep So Important?

Many recent studies have demonstrated that sleep benefits all aspects of neural plasticity. Currently under investigation are the underlying cellular mechanisms, which should explain why these benefits can only be obtained when the brain is off-line. One of our series of Reports on Progress.



Being Mindful about Novel Brain Research

We’ve heard a lot lately about brain-to-machine communication, and now there are first steps toward brain-to-brain communication. How do we prevent news of incremental  discoveries from transporting our imaginations way too far?



Don't Give Up!

Much progress has been made when it comes to dealing with patients in minimally-conscious states, offering more hope than in the past.