‘Maps’ of Albert Einstein’s brain on display

In this image, colored pencils were used to highlight various parts of Einstein's brain. (OTIS HISTORICAL ARCHIVES, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE)
April 15, 2013
‘Maps’ of Einstein’s brain on display
“What Can We Learn from a Brain?” at the National Museum of Health and Medicine through May 31

In 1955, pathologist Thomas Harvey performed an autopsy on one of the most revered scientists of the era: Albert Einstein, the German-born theoretical physicist whose general theory of relativity made him a household name.

In the course of the autopsy, Harvey decided to preserve Einstein’s brain for future study. For years, he kept slides containing microscopically thin sections of Einstein’s brain matter in his personal archives. Now, these slides are on display in an exhibit at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring.

“What Can We Learn From a Brain?” features “maps” and photographs prepared by Harvey before, during and after the sectioning process. The combination of these archival materials and the slides may offer insights into what made Einstein’s brain so unusual, according to the museum.

The exhibit includes an iPad application called “Einstein Brain Atlas,” developed using more than 350 images of the brain, that is shown on a 60-inch interactive display.

The exhibit also displays examples of trauma and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer whose effects on the brain can be seen by the unaided eye. And it has the brain of Charles Guiteau, who assassinated President James Garfield in 1881 and was considered insane.

This undated file photo shows famed physicist Albert Einstein. Slides containing microscopically thin sections of Einstein’s brain matter are on display in an exhibit at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring. (The Associated Press/AP)

If brains aren’t your thing, the April edition of the museum’s “Organ of the Month Club” is intestines; a special event will be held on April 19.

The museum is located at 2500 Linden Lane in Silver Spring. For more information, call 301-319-3300 or visit www.medicalmuseum.mil.

Tips for dining out while dieting
“The Digest Diet Dining Out Guide” by Liz Vaccariello

Navigating restaurant menus while trying to lose weight can be confusing and nightmarish. From hidden ingredients to calorie-laden temptations, the challenges quickly pile up.

To help people stick to their goals, Reader’s Digest has published the pocket-size “Digest Diet Dining Out Guide,” which includes tips for ordering healthful meals and spotting the best options on a menu. The book is searchable by type of cuisine, from sushi to deli sandwiches, as well as by restaurant, with specific recommendations for dining at such national chains as the Cheesecake Factory, Five Guys and Starbucks.

The guide also includes portable snack ideas, suggestions for eating at fast-food restaurants and a comparison chart to estimate portion sizes.

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