Brain Day video preview now online

Watch our preview of Brain Day to see all the exciting events on the day. We hope you get fired up for next year’s event!

You can also watch the lecture videos on our website:  

Did you miss any part of Brain Awareness Week?

All the lecture videos and photos are now online! See our website:

You can find lecture notes and videos from Brain Day here.

The theme for Auckland Brain Day 2012 was ‘brain fitness’. It featured an exciting range of lectures, discussions and workshops to keep your brain in top condition!

Leading scientists and clinicians from the Centre for Brain Research presented the latest information on topical brain issues. Discussions with community experts provided the opportunity to discover practical tips on living with brain disorders. Meanwhile interactive workshops and hands-on demonstrations revealed the wonders of the brain.

As part of the Mind Reading event, Dr Donna Rose Addis and Associate Professor Brett Cowan were asked to spot which pattern of brain activity looked most like a true memory using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) brain scans.

The event was organised by the Centre for Brain Research and the Centre for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CAMRI) at The University of Auckland. Promising to reveal the science of brain imaging, ‘Mind Reading’ offered an entertaining look at the capabilities of brain imaging thanks to MRI technology. View the event online here.


Winners announced for Brain Day competitions

Children from across Auckland were the lucky winners of fantastic prizes at Brain Day, organised by the Centre for Brain Research.

12 year old Laura Donovan won the Brain Day iPad competition

12 year old Laura Donovan was drawn as the winner of an iPad – her prize for taking part in the science labs passport tour and the Brain Day research questionnaire. The research questionnaire aimed to find out what information people want from Brain Day, as well as public knowledge about stroke. Meanwhile the passport tour weaved around the varied science labs on offer on the day, ranging from anatomy demonstrations to hearing decibel checks for ipods.

Laura says that she found Brain Day fascinating; “The hands on experiments were fun and touching a real brain and listening to the people talk about the brain was very interesting. I would like to come back again next year and take part in some of the workshops.”

Laura lives in the countryside and says she made a special trip to Brain Day. “I hope to be a vet one day and have an interest in how the human body works,” she says. “I attended Brain day mainly because my younger sister is doing a school project on the brain at the moment and also my mum was interested to find out some information about ADHD.” 

Meanwhile 11 year old Amanda Ford was crowned the winner of the children’s drawing competition. Judges PhD students Jerusha Naidoo and Jane Evans thought her diagram of the brain, which children could wear as a hat, was the most artistic. Amanda is from Parnell, and was very excited to win a $50 book voucher.

Honourable mentions for the drawing competition went to 12 year old Jes Godward, 7 year old Jackie Cao and 5 year old Te Mahara Tipuna.

Auckland Brain Day took place on 17th March 2012, and is part of the annual international Brain Awareness Week.

Public given a brain workout at Brain Day 2012

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:

Brain Awareness Week – read all about it!

Over 3000 people gave their brain a workout at Brain Day on Saturday March 17th. It was a fantastic end to an amazing Brain Awareness Week for us!

The Centre for Brain Research revealed the science behind MRI technology, with the promise of ‘Mind Reading’ as a future possibility. You can view the event here:

Brain Day was an amazing opportunity to meet the experts and hear all about the latest brain science. Videos from the lectures will be up on the web in a week, but in the meantime you can learn more about the event in these articles.

NZ Doctor previewed the event:

Drug researcher Dr Trecia Wouldes appeared on BfM in Brain Awareness Week, talking about her research on women using drugs in pregnancy.

Communications Manager Laura Fogg talked about brain fitness on Bfm, discussing how people can keep fit and give their brain a workout throughout life. 

Stroke rehabilitation and exercise researchers Dr Cathy Stinear and Professor Winston Byblow appeared on Good Morning talking about brain fitness and plasticity.

Dr Cathy Stinear’s research on brain plasticity also appeared on 3news online. Our brain is constantly changing, and so technology may influence our ability to concentrate.

Our Changing World is also due to go on air soon. We will keep you updated!

Brain Awareness Week 2012 is here!

We have an action packed week of research presentations and demonstrations ahead of us. Please join us for our Mind Reading event on Wednesday and Brain Day on Saturday! Find out all the information here.

Mind Reading?

Wednesday 14th March 7pm – 830pm
Auckland Museum, $10
You can book tickets by calling 09 306 7048 or online.

Join us for our exciting brain scan event, where we attempt to detect the difference between the truth and a lie.

 Brain Day 2012

Saturday 17th March 9am – 4pm
Auckland Business School, Free

Auckland Brain Day will be held on Saturday 17th March, and will feature neuroscientists and clinicians from the Centre for Brain Research talking about the latest research updates, as well as community groups and science demonstrations.  The event is kindly supported by the Neurological Foundation.

We also have free recordings of the informative lectures given by expert scientists and clinicians in 2011. You can view these lectures on the web.  

Tips for keeping brain-fit at Brain Day

Strong crowds are again expected to attend the brain-fitness themed Brain Day at The University of Auckland on Saturday 17 March.

Hosted by the Centre for Brain Research in association with the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand, Brain Day raises awareness of brain research and brain diseases. The open day at the University is part of International Brain Awareness Week, which is organised by the US-based Dana Alliance for Brain Research.

This year’s line-up of workshops and demonstrations include the CeleBRation Choir and the Brainiac Play performance, as well as demonstrations of the world’s smartest dogs trained to call for lifts, answer phones and read cue cards.

Exercise will be a big theme this year, with specialists on hand to advise visitors on how to become brain-fit, and all attendees are encouraged to take part in science experiments.

Neuroscientist Dr Johanna Montgomery, one of the scientists from the Centre for Brain Research (CBR), says: “We have a range of talks and activities to demonstrate fascinating things about the brain. It is such an amazing organ. We are keen to show how adults and children can keep brain-fit and show them how cool it is to be a neuroscientist.”

Dr Montgomery will be delivering one of six 30-minute public lectures to be held at the Fisher and Paykel Appliances Auditorium. Her talk will discuss brain chatter and how scientists might eavesdrop on brain cell communication. Neuroscientist Dr Cathy Stinear will provide a thought-provoking talk on neural plasticity (the brain’s ability to change in response to input from the environment) and how popular technology might unintentionally change the way our brains function; insomnia specialist and psychiatrist Dr Antonio Fernando will elucidate mysteries of the science of sleep, including common disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnoea, and will outline some practical tips on better sleep. Other speakers will cover topics on “Myths of the brain”, “The science of autism” and “Alcohol, tobacco and P – effects on babies and their brains”. Brain Day attendees can also listen and pose questions to expert panels of audiologists, geriatricians and neurologists.

Community groups from all over Auckland are taking part in Brain Day 2012, with a Community Expo providing information on many different neurological conditions and the treatment and support services available to those with brain disease.

Brain Day is a free event, and will be held at The University of Auckland Business School on the City Campus. The venue is easily accessible from Grafton Road with parking ($5 all day) available under the building, and lifts to every floor. Come along to learn something new and have a great day out.

Day: Saturday 17 March
Time: 9am – 4pm

Venue: Auckland Business School, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland
Facilities: $5 parking under the building, easily accessible and cafes on site

For the full timetable see our website.