Brain Day 2017
Going to Brain Day was by far one of the most insightful and fascinating experiences I have had the opportunity to attend.
We did a few activities with a very enthused Dr Guy Sutton, a man who was so passionate about neuroscience (I have literally never met anyone as enthralled by the brain as he is) that it inspired me instantly. During the day, we listened to two engaging lectures regarding the brain and how different things affect it and therefore us, in different ways. For example, one lecture had us exploring how drugs actually affected neurochemical aspects of our body and how some drugs are much more harmful than one would initially think. In addition to the lecture for this, we were also asked to participate in some online activities looking at the specifics of drugs with animations of mice, which I admit was amusing to watch.
Easily the best part of the day though, was the brain dissection we watched and our handling of a sheep’s brain. Being able to visually examine the different parts of a brain and relate it to how we operate in our everyday lives was surreal. We don’t tend to consciously think about the way our brain functions in order for us to live the way we do, but honestly, listening to Dr Sutton and looking at the brain allowed me to appreciate everything that our organ and its complex parts in our skull does for us. The brain dissection was also a learning experience as we witnessed just how fragile our brain is in the physical sense, especially since Dr Sutton seemed to cut through different parts of it as if it were a small meat chunk.
Holding the brain, well… That sure was interesting. A sheep’s brain is notably smaller than our own, but the structure of the brain is near symmetrical to our own so identifying the different parts of the brain and where they were really excited me and I didn’t expect it to feel the way it did. It’s outside and protective layer, known as the meninges, was incredibly tough and tugging on it emphasised that, you genuinely couldn’t rip it apart which none of us expected. Though it seems quite weird to hold an actual organ in your hands, I can’t emphasise how riveting the experience was. The core aspect of life itself in your hands, it’s something that I’ll never forget.
Overall, the whole point of Brain Day I felt, was to recognise that our brain is a wonderfully small yet intricate organ (with so many different parts given seemingly difficult Latin names), and that we tend to overlook how influential it is in our everyday lives. I most certainly would attend more brain sessions with Dr Sutton, I cannot thank him enough for the amount he taught me and the others, it’s something that’ll stick with me, even more so because I in particular wish to work in the field of neuroscience in later life. All of you current and future psychology students definitely have to go when you get the chance, it’ll open up your mind.
Banita Chander 13B