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Actress Glenn Close to address stigma of mental illness at world's largest brain science meeting

Neuroscience 2010, the 40th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), will showcase distinguished speakers and new research findings on the brain, nervous system, and related disorders Nov. 13-17 in San Diego. The Society's annual meeting is the world's largest source of emerging news on brain science and health.

Actress Glenn Close will discuss how science and society can work together to change minds on mental illness during the annual "Dialogues between Neuroscience and Society" lecture at Neuroscience 2010. The award-winning actress and co-founder of a not-for-profit organization dedicated to combating the stigma associated with mental illness will address the crucial importance of reducing the misconceptions and bias confronting those with conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD.

Advocating for public understanding that mental illness is a brain disease, Close will also discuss the role of research in uncovering the biological bases of mental illness and how with these conditions increasingly recognized as a global health challenge and science poised for continued discovery the public discerns fact from fiction to bring positive change for struggling families.

"For individuals and families touched by mental illness, it is crucial to accept and understand what is happening in the brain, and the field of neuroscience is a natural place to foster discussion about the intersection of brain science, treatment, and public advocacy," said SfN President Michael E. Goldberg, MD. "Ms. Close's presentation will be a powerful start to five days of emerging breakthroughs in brain science and health."

Each year, the "Dialogues" lecture features a luminary speaker whose work touches on brain function and the diversity of human experience. Past speakers include the Dalai Lama, architect Frank Gehry, computer entrepreneur Jeff Hawkins, choreographer Mark Morris, and renowned magicians Apollo Robbins and Eric Mead.

SfN presidents also select four top lecturers for each year's meeting, reflecting specific areas of scientific interest. This year's Presidential Special Lectures, themed "Neuroscience from Molecules to Mind," reflect the diversity of the neuroscience field, from cellular to clinical applications:

  • Martin Chalfie, PhD Columbia University, 2008 recipient of Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Chalfie will address genetic factors involved in the development and function of touch.

  • Okihide Hikosaka, MD, PhD National Eye Institute. Hikosaka will speak on the neural circuits involved in motivation and behavior.

  • Pawan Sinha, PhD Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sinha, who helped launchProject Prakash, a humanitarian and scientific initiative to help provide sight to congenitally blind children with treatable illnesses, will provide insights into how people learn to see.

  • Helen S. Mayberg, MD, FRCPC Emory University School of Medicine. Mayberg will address new ideas about the origins of depression and discuss her pioneering research on deep brain stimulation as a treatment for depression.

More than 30,000 neuroscientists presenting 16,000 abstracts cutting across biological, behavioral, psychological, and chemical disciplines are expected to attend Neuroscience 2010. In addition to lectures, symposia, and poster sessions, Neuroscience 2010 hosts press conferences and a working press room. Several public events, on topics from autism to post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury research and treatment, will be held during the week and announced in coming weeks.

For more details, access Neuroscience 2010's preliminary program and media credentialing information at


Contact: Kat Snodgrass
Society for Neuroscience

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