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Brain Day proves a voyage of discovery

October 10th, 2017

The world of brain science provided a stimulating and fascinating day’s discussion for psychology and biology students in Monmouth.

Dr Guy Sutton from Medical Biology Interactive delivered the thought-provoking Brain Day programme to A level students at Monmouth School for Girls and Monmouth School for Boys.

Students heard how recreational drugs can affect the brain and even an everyday product like Marmite can have an impact on brain function.

“Even something that is relatively innocuous like Spice, the artificial cannabis substance which is doing the rounds, can be harmful and please don’t go anywhere near it,” warned Dr Sutton, an honorary consultant assistant professor at University of Nottingham School of Medicine.

The tutorials took place at Monmouth School for Girls and were directly linked to the psychology and biology syllabi.

The sessions provided students with an overview of how the mammalian brain worked, illustrating elementary principles of neuroanatomy and brain function.

Dr Sutton revealed that male and female brains are ‘wired differently’ and he also gave an insight into common neurological and psychiatric conditions.

“We took the students into the field of neuroscience – the wonderful world of brain science and developments within it,” said Dr Sutton.

“We talked about nerve cells and how drugs work on the brain, how functions are localised in the regions of the brain and how the brain as a whole processes different functions.

“We took a look at neurological conditions, Alzheimer’s disease and psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia.

“We also used a sheep brain to illustrate how similar animal brains are to human brains.

“The students put some gloves on and handled the brain to look at some of the structures from a human brain perspective.”

Dr Sutton, who suffered a brain injury in 2001, explored contemporary issues in neuroscience, such as methods for investigating the brain, behavioural genetics and the neurobiology of memory.

Year 12 student Sofia found the discussions very useful for her studies.

“We talked about the different parts of the brain and what they were responsible for,” she said.

“We learnt a lot of new terms which will help with our psychology studies, particularly when it comes to explaining why behaviours are formed.

“Most interesting of all was how technology, like the robot arm, has changed through time. It means we can now look into the brain and see more closely how the different parts are responsible for thinking and reactions.”

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