450 'Excite Their Neurons' at DIBS Discovery Day

Free event brings out record number of attendees

Monday, April 16, 2018
Picture of Dr. Len White showing a brain to a young student
Professors Len White, left, and Minna Ng, center (in blue shirt), point out different brain parts to young visitors

More than 400 children and adults of all ages attended the 2018 Discovery Day at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences. Youngsters crowded around tables featuring preserved brains and brain slices, eager to touch an actual human brain. Others learned how to mimic emotions with the help of staff from the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development. Graduate students helped people learn how the brain accommodates changes in vision, using special goggles and bean bags to throw at targets. (Hint: Changing your field of vision makes it tough to hit the target -- but the brain adapts quickly!

Lots of attendees sported cardboard brain "hats," put together with the help of Neuroscience undergraduate students, while younger visitors enjoyed the coloring corner. Bass Connections teams exhibited their projects for the year, including work in Uganda to improve neurosurgery patient outcomes; how to tell medicines from candy; what changes in eye movements may indicate early traumatic brain injuries; and how exercise can improve mental health and cognition.

Other popular stations provided microscopes to view brain cells and showed how nerve impulses help cricket legs move.

Thanks to all faculty, students, and staff who made such a successful day possible! Thanks, also, to Discovery Day co-sponsors: Duke A+ Study, NIH Autism Center of Excellence; Bass Connections.