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Want to Touch a Brain?

Utah school children learn about the brain during a previous Brain Awareness Week.

March 7, 2013 – Members of the public can touch a human brain or move a ball with their thoughts during Brain Awareness Day on Saturday, March 16 at the Leonardo museum – a free event presented by University of Utah neuroscientists and the museum.

Admission is not required to participate from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the atrium of the Leonardo, 209 E. 500 South in downtown Salt Lake City.

The hands-on activities – meant to educate the community about the wonders of the brain – will be led by 80 Utah neuroscientists brought together by the Leonardo and by the University of Utah’s Brain Institute and the Interdepartmental Program in Neuroscience.

Activities include playing Mindball, a game where electrodes are taped to participants’ foreheads so they can move a ball with their thoughts; looking at brain cells through microscopes; comparing brains of various animals; and touching real human brains donated for educational purposes by body donors.

Meanwhile, as part of Brain Awareness Week from March 11 through 17, volunteers will make presentations to 2,500 school children statewide. As in past years, students will gain a new appreciation for brain health by handling human brains and seeing first-hand how brains are damaged by injury or drugs. School activities will stress the importance that nutrition and exercise have for brain function, wearing helmets to prevent head injury, and avoiding drugs.

News media are invited to cover any of five presentations at Salt Lake Valley schools. They are not open to the public. (See the list of dates, times and locations at the end of this news release.)

During March, the Leonardo also will explore the brain through its “This is Your Brain” program featuring dance, magic, art, psychology and sensory games. Paid admission is required for those exhibits. See for admission prices. The Leonardo is a contemporary museum that explores the unexpected ways that science, technology, art and creativity connect.

Brain Awareness Week is part of a global campaign and is presented locally by the Utah Brain Education Alliance, which is a network of volunteers from the University of Utah, Weber State University and Brigham Young University. The event is sponsored by the Brain Institute at the University of Utah, Henry W. and Leslie M. Eskuche Charitable Foundation, Castle Foundation, Society for Neuroscience and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.

Utah Brain Awareness Week website:

The Leonardo calendar, including “This is Your Brain” events:

Brain Awareness Week school events open to news media:

 Tuesday, March 12, 8:10 a.m. to 3:35 p.m. – Glendale Middle School, 1430 W. Andrew Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah 84104

Wednesday, March 13, 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Salt Lake Center for Science Education, 1400 W. Goodwin Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah 84116

Thursday, March 14, 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. – Bingham High School, 2160 W. 10400 South South Jordan, Utah 84095

Thursday, March 14, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Open Classroom, 134 North D St., Salt Lake City, Utah 84103

Friday, March 15, 12:50 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Glendale Middle School, 1430 W. Andrew Ave., Salt Lake City, Utah 84104