Remember when the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz sang about how wonderful life would be if he only had a brain? Most of us, ironically, don’t give a lot of thought to our brains.
It’s Brain Awareness Week.
Oh, sure, you might be aware that you have a brain, but the purpose of this global campaign is to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. According to The Society for Neuroscience, the human brain is a spongy three pound mass of tissue and the most complex living structure in the known universe.
Scientists who study the brain do so for many reasons. For some, it is an exciting quest because so much is still unknown about brain function and development. For others, the promise of identifying an underlying cause or treatment for a specific disease, whether it is Alzheimer’s disease or schizophrenia, paralysis or epilepsy, traumatic brain injury or autism, drives their daily work.The study of the brain and nervous system is applicable to many facets of daily life, from decisions we make about spending money to the way we view ourselves and others.
Over time, scientists and clinicians have made great progress in understanding how our bodies work and how to improve and repair them. Neuroscientists have done the same with brain research. But there is a lot we don’t know. All kinds of research — basic, clinical, and translational — contribute to this understanding.