U of S students offer neuroscience fun during Brain Awareness Week

SASKATOON – Jell-O brains, a mock MRI, Jeopardy and a hands-on laboratory are just a few of the attractions coming to Saskatoon during Brain Awareness Week (BAW) from March 13 to 19, 2017.

Why Jell-O?

“Very few people have actually seen a real brain, but everyone has seen Jell-O,” said Lisa Poon, the co-ordinator of Brain Blast and Brain Wave for the Saskatchewan Neuroscience Network at the University of Saskatchewan. “It’s a fun and simple way to help us get across the idea of just how interesting the brain is and that it’s consistency is similar to that of Jell-O, illustrating that it is important for us to take care of our brain.”

Poon, together with the U of S neuroscience students, will be bringing Brain Wave presentations to selected Grade 4 to 6 classrooms across the city. Activities are focused on teaching elementary students fun facts about the brain, as well as practical advice on preventing injury such as proper adjustment and wearing of helmets.

The week culminates on Sunday, March 19 with Brain Blast in the in the atrium at Saskatoon City Hospital from 12-3pm, featuring a series of activities aimed at the whole family including a mock MRI machine, neuroscience lab, Jeopardy, and other interactive “brain stations.” Visitors are encouraged to bring their snowboard and bicycle helmets for some expert fitting service.

“Brain Blast is aimed at teaching the community about the importance of brain research and some of the exciting work being done right here at the University of Saskatchewan,” said Poon. “It’s a free, family-focused event and a great way to spend part of a Sunday afternoon.”

Poon explained the latest feature of Brain Awareness Week known as Brain Bee, a competition for high school students modeled after a spelling bee. The international program is focused on motivating students to learn about the brain and inspire them to pursue neuroscience careers.

“Brain Bees test your knowledge on a wide variety of topics, from memory, sleep and sensations, to things like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, stroke, schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, addiction and brain research in general,” Poon said.

There are about 150 local Brain Bee co-ordinators in 30 different countries that conduct competitions, and winners can progress all the way to the annual International Brain Bee Championship. This year’s Saskatoon Brain Bee is scheduled at the same time and place as Brain Blast.

Brain Blast will close out Brain Awareness Week - a world-wide campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research and is in partnership with Saskatchewan Central Acquired Brain Injury Outreach Team.

For more information regarding any of the BAW events, please contact:

Lisa Poon
U of S Co-ordinator, Brain Awareness Week
University of Saskatchewan


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