LUCOM-SIGN hosts public brain outreach, educates local youth on brain health

Asa Keimig | LUCOM Marketing | Sep 26, 2017

LUCOM public brain outreach during Amazement Square's Amazing Mile Children's Run.LUCOM-Student Interest Group Neurology (SIGN) participated in Amazement Square's Annual Amazing Mile Children's Run this past Friday, Sept. 22, in downtown Lynchburg, Va., and educated local youth on the complexity of the brain.

LUCOM-SIGN’s main mission was to promote awareness about neurology and the human brain to the Lynchburg community by providing a Brain Outreach for children and adults. “I began this type of outreach in my undergraduate years and ever since I wanted to implement something similar here,” said Kirsten Consing, LUCOM-SIGN Vice President, Class of 2020. “Studies have shown that many individuals do not learn about the brain and its functions until college and so, we definitely focused on the children at the event while adults learned about the brain also.”

LUCOM public brain outreach during Amazement Square's Amazing Mile Children's Run.SIGN members had several stations for children to explore and learn. One station featured a sheep’s brain that visitors could touch and hold. Local youth were full of curiosity and insight with instant reactions to the texture. Student-Doctors also challenged children to critically think about the structural differences between sheep and humans based on behaviors and lifestyle. “I was surprised by the intrigue and curiosity of families who stood in line to make pipe cleaner neurons and interact with the sheep brains,” said Consing.

Common questions that SIGN members asked visitors were in comparison to the size of the olfactory bulbs (sense of smell) and where visual processing was in the brain. Visitors both young and old were fascinated with the brain’s softness and its design. “Adults commonly brought up their personal experiences with brain,” said Consing. “We were able to discuss with a family about memory and dementia and were able to point out where that function occurred in the brain.”

LUCOM public brain outreach during Amazement Square's Amazing Mile Children's Run.The student interest group sought to dispel myths about the brain and direct people towards an osteopathic approach with the hope of being a medium between the public sphere and the brain’s clinical functioning as well as nervous system. Events such as this one provide student-doctors with the opportunity to learn how to communicate in a relatable matter and gain interpersonal skills. For example, children were able to understand the structure of a neuron when student-doctors implemented the metaphor of neurons as phones sending messages to each other.

LUCOM-SIGN hopes to continue its collaborations with Amazement Square and plans on hosting a Lumbar Puncture Workshop in late October for LUCOM student-doctors.

Digital images available on Facebook.