Public given a brain workout at Brain Day 2012

22 March 2012

Community enthusiasm was out in force at this year’s Brain Day. The latest brain research and brain fitness activities attracted more than 3000 people into the University for the event organised by the University’s Centre for Brain Research in association with the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand.

Capacity crowds up to 1000 filled the lecture theatres for topics ranging from drug use in pregnancy to internet use and our brains.  Executive Director of Auckland Medical Research Foundation (AMRF) Kim McWilliams, one of the many who attended the day, says: “As a large funder of medical research, we love initiatives like Brain Day, as it brings researchers and the community together in a fun, informative and practical way”.

Pharmacology PhD candidate Jerusha Naidoo organised some of the children’s events. She says she was surprised by the knowledge that even very young children showed. “They were a lot smarter than I expected and knew a much more about the brain and how it works than I did at the same age.

“One of the big hits for them was the ‘brain hats’ activity. The children made and wore hats using cut-out pictures of the different areas of the brain while learning about anatomy and function.”

More than 40 community groups, as diverse as the Stroke Foundation to fitness clubs like Laughter Yoga also attended the day providing public information on many neurological disorders and tips on new ways to exercise the brain.

Senior Lecturer for Applied Clinical Neuroscience Dr Cathy Stinear was delighted that the theme of brain fitness was the focus of this year’s event. “People used to think that your brain couldn’t be changed, but now we know that you can do so much to keep it healthy. One of the best things people can do for their brain is to take it for a walk. That’s what’s so great about Brain Day, we can really get these critical messages across to the public.”

Lectures from the day will be available online at:

www.cbr.auckland.ac.nz/brainweek