Linking up for brain awareness

University of Otago Brain Health Research Centre director Prof Cliff Abraham and centre communications manager Alexis Poppelbaum with the inflatable brain recently acquired by the centre. Photo by Linda Robertson.
University of Otago Brain Health Research Centre director Prof Cliff Abraham and centre communications manager Alexis Poppelbaum with the inflatable brain recently acquired by the centre. Photo by Linda Robertson.
The University of Otago Brain Health Research Centre has joined forces with the Otago Museum to offer a ''Brain Awareness Week'' at the museum, starting on March 10.

The Neurological Foundation of New Zealand has organised an annual awareness-raising ''Brain Day'', in association with the research centre, for the past eight years.

This year's ''Brain Day'' will be held on March 15.

Members of the public will be able to learn more about the brain by walking into a 5.5m-high inflatable brain, made available by the centre, near the museum on March 15 and 16.

Among the week's highlights will be a Brain Awareness Family Day at the museum on March 16, from 11am to 3pm.

Activities will include mind games and expert talks.

Neurological Foundation professor of neurosurgery Prof Dirk De Ridder will take part, including participating in a panel discussion at 11.30am on ''Brain Day''. The week's events, which are free, are suitable for an adult audience.

The activities start on March 10, with Otago neuroscientist Prof Liz Franz explaining how the brain can be tricked, and the science behind this.

She is one of three participants at a 12.30pm session, which delves into aspects of the subconscious.

On March 11 at 7pm, Otago University vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne and fellow researchers Dr Christine Jasoni and Prof Bob Knight will discuss aspects of the brain and give useful tips for keeping it healthy.

The research centre, which has been operating since 2006, will be formally launched at a university function early next week.