Cerebral journey for all ages at annual Brain Day

14 March 2011

The University of Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research will hold its annual public Brain Day at the University on Saturday 19 March.

Presented in association with the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, the free open day aims to raise awareness of brain research and disease through a series of public lectures, hands on activities, research displays, workshops and a community expo featuring displays from more than 30 neurologically linked community groups or organisations.

“The Centre for Brain Research has over 200 researchers all exploring brain health and making groundbreaking discoveries,” says CBR Director Professor Richard Faull. “The open day is a chance for the people of Auckland to learn about some of the most exciting discoveries emerging in the field of brain research over the last decade.

“For instance our research has shown that people can grow new brain cells, no matter what their age or condition; we have learned that regular exercise can improve the memory of older adults, and we now have the ability to observe changes in the brain such as the physical effects of singing,” says Professor Faull.

Seminars and lectures are scheduled at half-hour intervals from 9.30am and continue through the day until 3pm. In these, leading scientists will challenge long-held views about what makes us unique, how we think and will unveil the magic of mood, personality, consciousness and perception.

Speakers include neuroscientist Professor Winston Byblow who will discuss how physical activity can maintain brain power, and clinical neurologist Professor Alan Barber on stroke, its causes and what can be done. Psychologists Professors Ian Kirk and Suzanne Purdy and Associate Professor Karen Waldie will talk about: memory, consciousness, personality and what it means to be human; music and the role of conversation in speech therapy; and the growing child’s brain respectively. Dr Edward Mee, Clinical Director of Neurosurgery at Auckland District Health Board, will give the final talk of the day on the history of brain surgery.

Community support groups will run seminars on Parkinson’s disease, ADHD and dyslexia, the neuromuscular register, epilepsy and seizures, aphasia and the effects of brain injury throughout the day. Visitors will also be treated to a performance by the CeleBRation Choir, a singing group for people with neurological conditions.

Younger minds can grow their own brain cells by taking part in tours around different regions of a model brain and conducting experiments along the way.

Entry to Brain Day is free and all ages are welcome to come and learn about this most complex and vital part of our bodies. A full programme of Brain Day events is available at www.cbr.auckland.ac.nz

Contact Megan Fowlie, Communications Adviser Phone 09 373 7599 ext. 83257 or 021 802 143 m.fowlie@auckland.ac.nz

Brain Day March 19th 2011 9am-4pm Owen G Glenn Building Auckland Business School The University of Auckland 12 Grafton Road Auckland www.cbr.auckland.ac.nz