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    River Creek & Lansdowne
    Lansdowne: Dialogues of Discovery
    The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) hosts a series of quarterly lectures at their Janelia Campus adjacent to Lansdowne. As part of this series, Dr. John P. Donoghue will be giving a talk on Wednesday, April 30 at 7 p.m., entitled, “Into the Heart of the Mind: Neurotechnology to Restore Lost Function”

    Donoghue is a professor of neuroscience and engineering at Brown University and leads the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology at the Providence VA Medical Center.

    “His research examines brain mechanisms by which thoughts become actions.” In addition he has developed something called BrainGate involving a “brain-computer” interface, “that uses a tiny chip implanted into the brain to help restore movement and independence for people with paralysis from stroke, spinal chord injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, limb loss or other nervous system disorders.”

    According to the Institute, Donoghue’s research has been published in scientific journals and has been reported on BBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the television show “60 Minutes.”

    To get a reservation, you can call Kimberly Mullen at 301-215-8757 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. when light refreshments will be served before filing into the auditorium.

    Beer fest and summer concert

    From brains to beer: on Saturday, May 3, from 4 to 7 p.m., the Potomac Club in Lansdowne will have their second annual Beer Fest and Summer Concert. Finally after apparently much badgering on the part of non residents, the club will admit guests if they accompany a resident. For a cost of $20 per resident and $25 for guests, you can enjoy beer from local breweries: Corcoran and Old Dominion to name two and a concert by The Significant Others musical group.

    The Others will be doling out music known as classic rock and includes the likes of Paul Simon, Johnny Cash, morphing into Wilco, Ryan Adams and Gnarls Barkley.

    There will be food too: Italian beef sandwiches, sausages by Windy City Red Hots serving also their specialty – the Windy City Red Hot. For the entry fee there will be unlimited beer consumption. You do have to present an ID certifying you are over 21. At our age it would be the ultimate compliment if we had our IDs checked.

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    Lansdowne: Lest we forget
    The annual Operation Homefront (OH) golf tournament will be held on Monday, April 28 at the River Creek Club. Photo Courtesy/Operation Homefront
    The annual Operation Homefront (OH) golf tournament will be held on Monday, April 28 at the River Creek Club.

    Many service members have endured several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have had their lives and that of their families immeasurably changed and they come home where they often have to face more hardships. That’s where Operation Homefront becomes indispensable.

    Jim Knotts, chairperson of OH nationwide, once said, “After the deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American people tend to think our troops no longer need our support.” He went on to explain that food, rent and utilities have been the major difficulties for military families.

    The purpose of the golf tournament is to raise the necessary funds, through sponsorships, so that Operation Homefront can be the essential benefactor for these families. As such the OH is seeking sponsors for the tournament that will provide the resources needed to render that assistance.

    Bill McFadden, chairman of the Metro Chapter, says, “Operation Homefront acts as a conduit of gratitude, helping to connect a grateful community to those military families who are most in need of our help.”

    There are a number of sponsorship levels, ranging from $750 to $12,000 with visible credit going to the sponsor and the knowledge that each dollar raised will be used totally for the intended purpose.

    To become a valued sponsor you can call Bill McFadden at 703-282-7846 or email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

    Easter brunch with Easter Bunny and egg hunt

    On Sunday, April 20, River Creek members and their families can enjoy brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., in half hour increments, with egg hunts at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. It’s an opportunity for those who have grandchildren to bring them and their parents in for the festivities. Reservations are required for the brunch that includes an assortment of choices: eggs, fruit, pastry, pancakes, breakfast potatoes, bacon and sausage. Members can call the club line to not disappoint the grandchildren.
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    Lansdowne: Dialogues of Discovery, Real Time
    Last week, we attended one of the quarterly lectures sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Janelia Farm Campus next to Lansdowne. Dr. Ulrike Heberlein ran through a comprehensive history of alcoholism with explanations of the research that has been engaging her team of scientists.

    The history of alcoholism had its beginning in prehistoric times millions of years ago. Dr. Heberlein showed on the screen during the Cretaceous Period the match-up between common “fleshy fruit” and yeast. When the two are infused and ferment, it apparently simulates a brewery or winery. She showed animals including a pigeon even in this day and age that had eaten some forbidden fruit and was wobbling and falling with drunkenness.

    Later, a mere 1,000 plus years ago, Greek, Roman and Egyptian cultures reveled in the use of wine. She said, “They venerated gods and goddesses of alcohol. Consumption was mostly ceremonial and social.” She projected a map of the world showing relative alcohol consumption in various countries. Russia topped the list with 15 percent of its population being addictive while the U.S. is 4-8 percent. Some 52 percent of addicted Russians between the ages of 25 and 54 die from alcohol-related problems.

    She detailed the effects on the synapse in the brain, described production of dopamine and adrenalin sometimes resulting in binge drinking and serious addiction. She said that the pharmaceutical industry up to now has paid little attention to developing a drug to offset the effects of alcoholism. She indicated, “It could be profitable for them.”

    Dr. Heberlein discussed the relative causes: 50 percent risk is genetic, the other 50 percent environmental.

    Her lab has made progress by studying fruit flies and their behavior after consuming food with alcohol. It seems that these creatures have been indulging for eons.

    They found an inhibitor in the drug Tarceva and have tested it on rats with favorable results. Now, she says, “We need human trials.” It turns out that Tarceva
    Dr. Heberlein is the scientific program director at Janelia. The lectures on various scientific topics are given each quarter. Check with http://www.HHMI.Com for future Dialogues of Discovery. The auditorium is well-suited for fairly large audiences and the building and grounds nothing short of spectacular.



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