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Understanding the Brain: What Drugs Can Tell Us
All web seminar participants use online tools that allow them to mark-up presenter's slides or share desktop applications in addition to engaging in chat with others online and answering poll questions

This Web Seminar took place on March 24, 2011 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Presenting was Dr. Rochelle Swartz-Bloom Professor of Pharmacology at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Swartz-Bloom gave an overview of the larger parts of the brain and talked about what role they played in body functioning. She then went on to explain how a variety of drugs affect the healthy brain and what science is learning about the brain in light these studies.

The PowerPoint, related resources from the NSTA Learning Center, and web links from the presentation are now contained in the above resource collection. Clicking on the collection link will place it in your Learning Center, My Library, neatly organized under the My Resource Collections tab.

This program was an overview of the functional unit of the brain, the neuron, how neurons use electrical and chemical signals to communicate with each other and larger areas of brain and what they control. Dr. Swartz-Bloom talked about drugs that affect the brain and enhance or disrupt brain signals, changing the way neurons communicate. Finally, she also discussed the molecular mechanisms through which drugs such as nicotine, alcohol, Ritalin™, and Oxycontin™ work and at the same time uncovered molecular mechanisms underlying brain function, especially learning.

Thirty-five (35) participants were present at the live Web Seminar in addition to the presenter and NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia. Two participants attended the Web Seminar from locations outside the United States: Bermuda and Turkey.

Seminar participants received one of the NSTA SciGuides. A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants My PD Record and Certificates area in the NSTA Learning Center for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • “It helps reinforce the idea of the integrated world. Physics occurs on various levels.”
  • “This was one of the most informative, best web seminars that I have attended. I would be interested in sharing with my students the different ways that drugs affect their brains on a cellular level and what that means and how it impacts them. Kids need the personal to understand!”
  • “Medical librarian in rehabilitation center works with brain damage of all kinds. Wow!”
  • “I teach anatomy and physiology so will use information during brain segment.”

Thanks to the participants and the presenter for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

For more information contact

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Underwritten by the National Institutes of Health.