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Celebrating Bristol’s brain power

School pupils get to grips with the brain

School pupils get to grips with the brain Lee Pullen

Press release issued: 9 October 2013

Ever wondered how your brain controls movement or creates memories? The wonders and complexities of the human brain are being explained at a free festival of neuroscience, organised by the University of Bristol to give a unique insight into the power of our cleverest organ.

The Bristol Neuroscience Festival, held on 11 and 12 October and open to the public, will celebrate pioneering brain research in the city, with the chance to hear from world-leading academics in the field while taking part in hands-on activities and experiments for all ages.

Professor David Nutt, one of the UK’s leading neuroscientists and the government’s former chief drugs adviser, will give an insight into his career and his work at a public lecture on Friday, 11 October at 7pm.

There will also be a series of free shorter talks throughout both days, with experts from the University talking about the research and major discoveries they have been involved with – from how the brain controls hormones and stress responses to how to improve the memory of people with dementia.

Other topics include obesity, blood pressure, pregnancy and emotions, pain, caffeine, sleep, addictions, tumours and depression.

Local schools, both primary and secondary, will learn more about the brain and how it works through a series of interactive exhibits, including a Scalextric racing car game that’s controlled by people’s brainwaves thanks to an electroencephalography (EEG) brainwave monitor.

At-Bristol will be running their Boggling Brain Show for eight to 12-year-olds, with innovative demonstrations showing what this complex organ is made from, before different areas of the brain are explored using a special MRI scanner.

The festival marks the 10th anniversary of Bristol Neuroscience (BN), which was founded by the University of Bristol in 2003 to ensure that all neuroscientists in Bristol could benefit from the wide cross-disciplinary expertise and facilities in the University and its partner hospitals. It has since become a model for other cities across the UK.

Expertise within BN ranges from molecular and cellular neuroscience to clinical, patient-based research, with areas of interest including human cognition, synaptic plasticity, stress and dementia.

Professor Richard Apps, Director of Bristol Neuroscience, said: “The festival will showcase the fantastic range of world-class neuroscience research that occurs at Bristol and is an ideal opportunity to celebrate that work and share it with the public.

“We’ve planned a range of activities to appeal to all ages, from fun hands-on tests to serious talks and the opportunity to learn about complex neuroscience from experts in the field.”  

There will also be a SciArt photographic exhibition, featuring a collection of 36 beautiful neuroscience images, and the opportunity to knit-a-neurone, whilst listening to bespoke music, inspired by neuroscience.

Exhibits at the festival have been developed in collaboration with external partners including At-Bristol, Happy City, Bristol City Council, BRACE, Glenside Hospital Museum and UWE.

The Bristol Neuroscience Festival runs from 10am to 6pm, on 11 and 12 October, in the Wills Memorial Building. All events are free but tickets are required for the talks. For more information, please see here.

Follow @BristolNeurosci on Twitter or see the Facebook page.

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