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The popular Science in Society lecture series kicks off its sixth season Thursday, Oct. 18 at Okanagan College with an expert look at the aging, and changing, brain – and what can be done to keep it sharp.
Canada Research Chair Dr. Lara Boyd, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia’s Brain Research Centre, will highlight key discoveries in neuroscience that explain how the brain changes and how its function shapes behaviour.
“The Changing Brain: promoting brain function and healthy aging” lecture gets underway at the Vernon campus at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $10. Advanced tickets are $7 and available at the Okanagan Science Centre.
Boyd, who is also a Michael Smith Scholar, is a physical therapist and neuroscientist who is leading the effort to understand what therapies positively alter patterns of brain activity after stroke. Her group uses a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation to map changes in brain activity.
Boyd’s studies are among the first to comprehensively examine the patterns of brain activation as they relate to motor learning and parameters of practice after stroke.
“Although we are still discovering precisely what changes in the brain are associated with specific motor behaviours, the concept of a dynamically changing or ‘neuroplastic’ brain that supports learning is now unquestioned,” affirms Boyd.
In Boyd’s UBC lab, researchers want to know if they can accelerate a patient’s recovery from stroke by stimulating the brain. “I’m preparing the brain to learn,” said Boyd.
The Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and Okanagan College) is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Sweet Caroline’s Bakery, and the Vernon Morning Star.
For more information, visit the Okanagan Science Centre at www.okscience.ca or call (250) 545-3644.