BAWBrain Awareness Week Initiatives 2016 – A beautiful report from NUI Galway
My Amazing Brain Exhibition
Hosted by NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre as part of Brain Awareness Week 2016
In order to mark International Brain Awareness Week, staff and students of NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre held a public information exhibit entitled “My Amazing Brain” from 15-16th March in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway.
Members of the public and schools from across the city and county including Colaiste Cholmcille (Inverin), Presentation College (Athenry), Mercy college (Woodford), Dominican College (Galway city), Salerno Secondary School (Galway city) had the opportunity to visit the exhibit to learn more about how the brain and nervous system work. The exhibit consisted of interactive displays such as puzzles and tests of hand-eye coordination, visual perception, left/right handedness and creativity, where visitors learnt more about the nervous system in a hands-on way. In addition, visitors had the chance to learn more about the brain and related disorders through a series of large information posters on various prepared by the staff and postgraduate students of NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre. The exhibit was a resounding success and featured on several local and national media sources including UTV Ireland news (http://utv.ie/playlists/default.aspx?tag=News&bcid=4807377522001)
Brain Awareness Week Initiatives 2016 – Beautiful reports from UCC
Event No. 1: “Tús Maith Leath na hOibre”:
UCC Neuroscientists promote healthy brain aging in local primary schools
During Brain Awareness Week, a group of UCC neuroscientists engaged children from five local primary schools (Glounthaune, Greenmount, Glasheen Girls, Glasheen Boys and St Finbarres) in fun activities to promote the importance of brain health during childhood. With the cooperation and enthusiasm of teachers in the participating classes, children eagerly joined in the activities which focused on positive lifestyle choices for brain health. They carried out brain safety ‘egg drop’ and ‘jelly brain’ experiments, prepared healthy ‘brain food plates’, played memory games, danced and exercised to ‘activate their neurons’, enjoyed a ‘brain food’ blueberry snack and relaxed by having a ‘brain break’.
Information sessions in each of the schools were also held for parents to emphasise the importance of early intervention in order to prevent cognitive and mental health issues in later years. Lifestyle habits that affect the developing brain including diet, exercise, sleep, mental stimulation, stress resilience, social interaction and safety were discussed. The feedback from teachers and parents was overwhelmingly positive and schools have suggested that it would be extremely beneficial if more children could be targeted.
The team members of UCC’s Healthy Brain Aging initiative for children are Caitriona Long-Smith, Cara Hueston, Shane Hegarty, Aideen Sullivan and Yvonne Nolan from the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, and Janas Harrington from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.
Funding was provided by Federation of European Neuroscience in partnership with the DANA Foundation. Blueberry snacks were sponsored by Supervalu.
Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research (http://www.dana.org/BAW/).
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Event No.2. Brain Awareness Meeting
Our event involved a one-day seminar that provided an opportunity for members of the general public of Cork city to engage with professionals involved in neuroscience research, mental health services and charities, who together support patients and families affected by mental illness, brain tumours, brain injury and dementia. The meeting provided a platform where attendees learned about a wide range of topics discussed in a friendly atmosphere. Amongst the broad range of brain related themes discussed, were issues such as “De-stigmatising mental illness”, “Cognitive and emotional Consequences of head injury”, “Biomarkers for stress resilience”, “Support provided by charities”, “Brain health in ageing”, “Dementia care and treatments” and “Supporting brain research in Ireland”.
Dr. Barry Boland
Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Room 2.48, Western Gateway Building, University College Cork, Co. Cork, Ireland
Brain Awareness Week 2014
Neuroscience Ireland is keen to communicate the importance of neuroscience research to the general public. Below is a report from an outreach event organised in part by Neuroscience Ireland members in Galway during Brain Awareness Week 2014.
Galway Neuroscience Centre Reaches Out for Brain Awareness Week
As part of the international ‘Brain Awareness Week’ event, staff and students of NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre organised a major public information exhibit in the Aula Maxima, Quadrangle, NUI Galway on Tuesday 11th March and Wednesday 12th March.
Members of the public and children from local schools visited the exhibit to learn more about how the brain and nervous system work. The exhibit consisted of interactive displays where visitors could learn more about the nervous system in a hands-on way. For example, there were various puzzles and tests of hand-eye coordination, visual perception, left/right handedness, creativity and many others.
There was also lots of general information about the brain and visitors had the opportunity to learn more about brain disorders, via a series of large information posters prepared by the staff and postgraduate students of NUI Galway Neuroscience Centre. Approximately 180 million Europeans are thought to suffer from a brain disorder, at a total cost of almost €800 billion per annum. The posters covered a variety of illnesses including: Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Stroke, Brain injury and Spinal cord injury. Information leaflets obtained from brain-related charities and organizations were on display and available for the public to take away, such as the DANA Foundation, MS Ireland, Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland, Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, Aware (relating to depression), Chronic Pain Ireland, Shine (relating to mental health, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Brainwave (the Irish Epilepsy Association).
Microscopes were available to view brain cells and brain tissue sections for those interested in seeing what a brain cell and brain tissue really looks like. Additional features included plastic models of the nervous system, and even Play-Doh and colouring books for the very young!
The Galway Neuroscience Centre acknowledges funding from the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science and from EXPLORE at NUI, Galway, as well as a grant from the DANA Foundation to Dr. Una Fitzgerald, which made this event possible. Dr. Fitzgerald, together with Dr. Karen Doyle (Physiology) and Dr. Muriel Grennon (School of Natural Sciences), played a key role in organising the event. In addition, the Galway Neuroscience Centre’s public outreach exhibition has been selected by an International Brain Awareness Week Awards Committee for presentation at this year’s FENS Forum in Milan. The FENS Forum is Europe’s largest international neuroscience meeting, attracting over 6,000 scientists within the neuroscience community. Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre, Dr. David Finn, said: “This is an excellent achievement and a testament to how our public outreach programme and Brain Awareness Week exhibit has developed. Special thanks and congratulations to our members who have supported and contributed to the development of our outreach programme over the years.”