Look out for a festival of brain-science news in the next couple of weeks. The Society for Neuroscience annual meeting starts today in New Orleans; I arrived on Thursday to attend the International Neuroethics Society meeting just before SfN, as well. More than 30,000 scientists, government and industry folks, and reporters will share data and opinions on the cutting edges of the field for the next five days.
I’m here in my role as Web editor for the Dana Foundation, scoping out the news and the research and researchers that we should keep an eye on — and, I hope, meeting Twitter friends IRL.
If you want to get a taste of the conference and you like Twitter, follow hashtag #sfn12, especially the ones marked @dana_org (that’s me!); if you prefer using lists, try this one by Nature editor Noah Gray. If you prefer to read blogs, SfN has a team of volunteer neurobloggers, too. If you’re not in that much hurry, just wait for the regular news outlets to start streaming out their stories–and impress your friends by saying, “Yeah, they got that from SfN.”
BUT, as always, take all this news with a grain of salt. A lot of the research presented at conferences like these is not yet published–which means not yet peer-reviewed, or cleared by editors. Some of the research is early results from studies that are not yet complete. Beware the news and blog headlines that assume too much: A result in a couple of mice with mutated genes probably can’t be applied directly to explain why your sister is so controlling, or why your brother is color-blind. But then again…