• By Dartington SRU
  • Posted on Monday 31st May, 2010

Live from Denver: what we don’t know about the brain can hurt us

There’s the world as it is where practitioners struggle to deliver day-to-day services. Then, there’s the world as it could or should be. That’s the domain of scientists and policy makers at work on a new generation of ideas. There’s always a healthy tension between the two and it’s on full display at the Society for Prevention Research (SPR) annual conference in Denver this week. The conference is the 18th since SPR’s creation in 1991. The focus this year is on connections and contradictions in neuroscience and intervention design. In other words, what do we know about how our brain works, and what should that mean for public policy?More than 700 researchers, policy makers and practitioners will take part in the four-day event and tackle a wide range of questions. For instance, are there cellular changes that happen in childhood that can lead to depression or suicide later in life? Are there therapies that can be introduced in utero to help prevent diseases that only appear in adulthood? The Keynote speaker this year is A. Thomas McLellan, the Deputy Director of the 
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He will discuss how developments in prevention science are being incorporated into the Obama Administration’s drug policy. Themes from previous meetings will also have a place such as Type I translation—how to turn scientific results into effective programs—and Type II translation—embedding effective programs into daily life. In addition to over 300 presentations, the meeting is the venue for the more lighthearted SPR Cup. Competing research teams have analyzed the same dataset and literature released two months before to the meeting. The SPR Cup is awarded to the best team presentation at the conference.Prevention Action coverage will include news from the day’s presentations, as well as blogs and videos from leading figures in the prevention world.

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