More than 550 children and adults of all ages attended the 2019 Discovery Day at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. Youngsters and their parents crowded around tables featuring preserved brains and brain slices, eager to touch an actual human brain. The event fuels the DIBS education mission, as well as community outreach.
Graduate students helped people learn how the brain accommodates changes in vision, using special goggles and bean bags to throw at targets. Others staffed the popular coloring corner, where children also could make their own cardboard brain "hats.”
Bass Connections Brain & Society teams, including students and faculty, exhibited their findings for the year. Projects included work in Uganda to improve neurosurgery patient outcomes; the challenge of engineering human morality into artificial intelligence; what changes in eye movements may indicate early traumatic brain injuries; and how exercise can improve mental health and cognition.
The event was co-sponsored by Bass Connections and the Duke A+ Study, NIH Autism Center of Excellence, at the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, which brought interactive computer equipment to help attendees understand communications challenges experienced by those on the autism spectrum.
Autism Awareness Month Lecture
The Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development and DIBS co-sponsor an annual public lecture in honor of Autism Awareness Month. The invited speaker offers professional insights and, often, personal observations about family members who are on the autism spectrum disorder. More than 150 faculty, students, and members of the autism community attend the popular event.
- In 2019, the speaker was the Honourable Mike Lake, member of Canada's Parliament and father to a son, Jaden, who is on the spectrum. (See Duke Today story, "Challenging the Way People Think about ‘Normal’")
- The 2018 speaker was Dr. Roy Richard Grinker, Professor of Anthropology, International Affairs, and Human Sciences at The George Washington University and father of an adult daughter on the autism spectrum. Dr. Grinker, at right, offered cross-cultural and historical perspectives on the concept of stigma.
NAMI-Duke, Durham chapters
DIBS works with the campus and local chapters of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, helping promote events on campus and providing speakers to local chapters.