A wonder-filled week of the brain

This week, learning becomes more exciting as Montreal neuroscientists join forces to reveal the wonders of the human brain during the 15th annual Brain Awareness Week (March 12 – 16). The week sees neuroscience students give over 350 bilingual presentations across Montreal providing 10,000 elementary and high-school students the chance to learn more about the brain. Youngsters will learn about the five senses while adolescents will be learning about the effects of drugs on the brain. The public is invited to participate in a Café Scientifique, titled ‘Brain Myths: Truth or Lies’ (details below).

Every year, as a part of Montreal’s Brain Awareness Week, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital – the Neuro opens its doors to 150 elementary students. On March 16, the students will have the chance to participate in fun, hands-on workshops designed to captivate young students, where they will learn about the brain and how it is studied. In plain language and with plenty of humour, the Neuro’s researchers will take students on a trip through the nervous system. In a workshop on brain anatomy, students will have a chance to observe and even touch a real human brain. Students will get to see some of the most sophisticated neuroscience machines – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used for diagnostics and for scientific discovery; positron emission tomography (PET) for tracing brain functions; electroencephalography (EEG) for pinpointing brain lesions, and more.  The keynote lecture ‘The Joy of Science’ will be delivered by Dr. Ariel Fenster, an award-winning lecturer at McGill University, and a dynamic science promoter and communicator who has appeared on TV and radio hundreds of times. The day culminates with an exciting game show and prizes for the students.

Brain Awareness Week is an international initiative created by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to increase public awareness about the brain, new research, and inspire the next generation of scientists and clinicians. The Montreal campaign is organized by Brain Awareness Montreal (BAM) www.BAWMontreal.com, a volunteer organization consisting of neuroscience graduate students from schools across Montreal, which offers a variety of programs for people of all ages, including the Montreal Brain Bee and Café Scientifiques on fascinating topics related to the brain. Montreal has one of the largest concentrations of neuroscientists in the world. BAM brings together students from the Neuro, Concordia University, Douglas Hospital Research Centre, McGill University, the Université de Montréal, and the Université du Québec à Montréal.

Café Scientifique: Brain Myths: Truth or Lies

March 14, 7:00 PM, La Sala Rossa, 4848 boul. St. Laurent, Montreal, free admission

Believe what you see in movies? Can computers really read our minds? Can you ever truly forget your past? Leading neuroscientists will debunk and discuss neuroscience myths presented in movies, including stem cell regeneration and brain-machine interfaces. After a brief presentation by each speaker, there is a question and answer period. Speakers: David Ragsdale, PhD, the Neuro; Edward S. Ruthazer, PhD, the Neuro; Natasha Rajah, PhD, the Douglas; and Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, Toronto Western Hospital.

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital
The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — the Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, the Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre.  Neuro researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. The Montreal Neurological Institute was named as one of the Seven Centres of Excellence in Budget 2007, which provided the MNI with $15 million in funding to support its research and commercialization activities related to neurological disease and neuroscience.

March 13, 2012