Neuroscience Unchained or How to Make Play-Doh Brains

I just saw a post by Dr. George Dawson that made me think about neuroscience differently. He mentioned the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative (NNCI). I sometimes make fun of neuroscience, but it turns out the joke is on me because the people at NNCI make a pretty decent case for neuroscience being teachable and practical.

They teach you how to make brains out of Play-Doh..among other things.

Maybe it’s just because my blog site is usually pretty cluttered, but I think the NNCI web site is outstanding. The layout reminds me of the templates on the SquareSpace site, about which Psych Practice recently posted. Anything that clean and so easily navigable rates attention.

I suggest starting with the video at the bottom of the home page; it’s only  about 20 minutes long.

By the way, George mentioned  Melissa Arbuckle, MD, PhD; Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Director of Residency Training; Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center. She gave the presentation he attended at the University of Wisconsin 4th Annual Update and Advances In Psychiatry – a conference that has been held for the last 41 years. Her talk impressed him.

It turns out she’ll  be presenting at next month’s Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM) annual meeting in Austin, Texas, for which the theme is “Brain, Mind and Body: Why Every PM Psychiatrist Should Care About Neuroscience.” The title of her 4 hour talk on 11/9/2016 8 AM-noon is “The National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative: Bringing Neuroscience Into the Clinical Practice of Psychiatry.”

Here’s what the NNCI web site says about Translational Neuroscience:

The overarching goal of the translational neuroscience course is to enhance residents’ attitudes towards neuroscience and its applications towards clinical psychiatry.

The supplementary articles chosen for this course demonstrate how current neuroscience work could change the way we think about treating our patients in the future. Through this learning module we are able to think about what’s interesting & exciting about neuroscience and what could have the potential to change the field. As with many of the articles/ideas we will review during the course, the majority will probably not pan out — that’s okay. The goal is to think about the ways in which current neuroscience has the potential to reshape our field.

A lot of what they say “will probably not pan out.” How’s that for frankness without hubris? And I really like the title on the home page:

Integrating A Modern Neuroscience Perspective


I didn’t know Play-Doh could be so practical.

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