Brain Disorders Symposium, Part of Local Brain Awareness Activities

March 2, 2007

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A major regional symposium on neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia and dyslexia will be held at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in March.

The all-day symposium, scheduled for March 16 in Babcock Auditorium, is titled “Neuroscience of the Ailing Brain: New Horizons of Mechanism and Treatment.” The symposium is one of several activities scheduled in the city during March that are centered around the international celebration of Brain Awareness Week.

Brain Awareness “Week,” officially an international observance of the benefits and promise of brain research, has grown in Winston-Salem to include at least seven major activities from March 6 to March 26, for participants of all ages and backgrounds. Click here for a listing of local activities.

The symposium will feature nationally recognized experts in brain disorders from several top institutions, in addition to clinicians and researchers from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Click here for more information and registration.

“This symposium is an opportunity for medical professionals as well as the general public to hear about some of the latest cutting-edge developments in the understanding and treatment of these debilitating diseases,” said Dwayne W. Godwin, Ph.D., associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist, secretary of the western North Carolina chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, and an organizer for the event.

Local organizers of the month’s events are Targacept Inc., neuroscience faculty at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and the Brain Awareness Council – a group of graduate and post-doctoral students in neuroscience and related fields.

The council will present a special brain exhibit for students at Southwest Elementary School in Clemmons, which will be similar to programs the council does for school groups several times a year. “Our group really enjoys interacting with young students to tell them about the science of the brain and, hopefully, get them thinking about possible careers in neuroscience and medicine,” said Marc Yelle, a member of the Brain Awareness Council.

Brain Awareness Week, created by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, is an international partnership of government agencies, scientific organizations, universities, and volunteer groups. It includes more than 1,950 partner organizations in 66 countries.

“Building on last year’s successful observance, we are delighted to be able to increase the number of Brain Awareness activities that we’re able to offer locally,” said Don deBethizy, president and CEO of Targacept, a biopharmaceutical firm based in the Piedmont Triad Research Park in Winston-Salem. “This is a great opportunity for people to learn more about brain function and disorders, and what is being done to address those problems.”

“Understanding the brain is part of the big question of who we are as individuals,” said Godwin. “It is also important because there’s a good chance that you either know someone who is afflicted with a brain disorder, or will suffer from one in your lifetime. Remarkable progress is being made in understanding the causes and finding new treatments for many brain diseases. We’re pleased to offer an expanded range of activities that includes kids as well as those whose brains have a few more wrinkles.”
# # #

Media contact: Mark Wright, (336) 716-3382,

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,238 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

Media Relations