Universitywide initiative explores intersection of neuroscience and societal issues
From the WashU Newsroom…
In recent years, research has emerged detailing the detrimental effects of poverty and stress on early brain development. Such societal ills can reshape the human brain and cause lifelong problems in behavior, learning, physical health and mental wellbeing.
To explore these connections, Washington University in St. Louis will host a conference from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Eric P. Newman Education Center on the Medical Campus. “The Developing Brain: New Directions in Science, Policy and Law” is open to the academic community and the general public. The conference is free, but attendees are asked to register.
The conference represents the kickoff of a universitywide initiative to distill and delve into the relationship between the immature brain and social outcomes such as crime and poverty.
“We want to address topics where the fields of neuroscience intersect with emerging issues in our society,” said Anneliese M. Schaefer, JD, PhD, director of the Office of Neuroscience Research in the Department of Neurology at the School of Medicine. “For example, scientific understanding of brain maturity has been an important consideration in determining the appropriate sentence for convicted juvenile offenders. Likewise, social and neuroscience tools are being applied to determine the relationship between brain development and socio-economic status.”
Led by the Office of Neuroscience Research, the collaboration includes researchers at the School of Medicine, the Brown School, the School of Law, and Arts & Sciences. The project is supported by the Office of the Provost through its Bring Your Own Idea program, which provides grants to interdisciplinary faculty teams focused on meaningful topics.