Over 3000 people took part in brain fitness activities at Brain Day 2012. Expert lecturers, brain health workshops and interactive science labs provided an insight into the latest research on brain health.
The public open day on Saturday 17th March was organised by the Centre for Brain Research in association with the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand. Held at The University of Auckland Business School in the Owen G Glenn Building, the day was packed out from start to finish. The large capacity at the venue meant that over 1000 people attended lectures every hour, on topics ranging from drug use in pregnancy to internet use and our brains.
Centre for Brain Research Communications Manager Laura Fogg says she was astounded by the public interest on the day. “We had children aged 2 years old right up to grandparents in their 80s attending the day – it was fantastic to see. It just shows how much interest there is in the brain, and how keen the public is to learn more about keeping our greatest asset in top condition.”
Over forty different community groups also attended the day, ranging from support groups like the Stroke Foundation to fitness clubs like Laughter Yoga. This Community Expo provided an excellent opportunity for members of the public to find information on many neurological disorders, as well as to learn exciting new ways to exercise their brains.
Children were encouraged to make ‘brain hats’, which they could use to explore brain anatomy. Alongside this, many also took part in the anatomy laboratory demonstrations, where human brain tissue was displayed in a sensitive manner. The anatomy lab was provided by the Faculty of Medical and Health Science Medical Learning Centre, in conjunction with the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank.
New to Brain Day this year were workshops designed to offer interactive demonstrations of brain fitness activities. As well as fascinating science experiments, people also took part in a singing workshop, physical exercise information sessions, and a Mobility Dogs demonstration. School children from across Auckland also showed off their science fair experiments to collect data from the public, as part of a LENScience collaboration with the Liggins Institute.
Science lab coordinator Dr Cathy Stinear is pleased that brain fitness is being highlighted. “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 you can do for your brain is to take it for a walk – so get out and pound the streets for just 30 minutes a day! I think that’s what’s so great about Brain Day, as 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