To observe the Brain Awareness Week, NMS organized two neuroscience fairs in two schools in Lisbon and one "pop-up" science center at Museu da Saúde, between March 13th and 17th.
Brain Awareness Week, promoted by the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) and the Dana Foundation, took place between March 13 and 19, 2023, and NOVA Medical School promoted activities for the community for five consecutive days.
With the financial support of a grant from FENS and the Dana Foundation, the Science Communication officers at NOVA Medical School brought together dozens of researchers from the most varied areas of neurosciences, to visit two public schools in Lisbon, Escola Secundária Pedro Nunes and Escola Secundária Filipa de Lencastre, and the Health Museum, located in the Hospital Santo António dos Capuchos.
At the neuroscience fairs set up at the two schools, the researchers contacted with more than 500 students from 11 to 18 years of age, from the 6th to the 12th grade. The neuroscientists spoke about the research they carry out at NOVA Medical School, represented by the research groups led by Cláudia Almeida, Conceição Calhau, Sílvia Conde, César Mendes, Hugo Vicente Miranda, Cláudia Nunes dos Santos, Miguel Seabra and Sandra Tenreiro. The researchers not only gave informal lectures, but also developed interactive activities in science exhibitions that ranged from preventive nutrition to neurodegenerative diseases, a demonstration on the role of the nervous system in locomotion and the electricity that makes this interaction possible, and conversations with scientists, where participants spoke with NMS researchers about their scientific journeys and curiosities of the themes presented.
At the Health Museum, with the support of the museum itself and the Junta de Freguesia de Arroios, NMS set up a pop-up science center for senior citizens, including a participant who is almost 100 years old, from several Senior Academies in Lisbon. In both activities, the contents were adapted to the participating public. While in schools the approach to young people focused on prevention, with the senior public there was a discussion concerned with mitigating the effects of neurodegenerative diseases caused by ageing.
Although the Brain Awareness Week 2023 has ended, the work continues: the NMS Science Communication team will present the activities in one of the ten open sessions of the SciComPt Congress 2023, which will take place in Bragança between May 3rd and 5th, and will also assess with researchers the impact of these activities on the young people who participated in them, through questionnaires given to students before the activities and a week after they took place.
It was a week where NMS fulfilled its mission of giving science back to the community and promoted scientific literacy on brain health and the consequences of aging, an increasingly pressing topic with the increase in life expectancy of citizens.
This week was only possible thanks to the involvement of several people outside the NMS who supported the activities and who agreed to host the NMS activities. Thanks to all of them, especially to:
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