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This free public event showcased some of the brain research going on at the University of Oxford and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Over 250 people came along to the Mathematical Institute to find out more about what is being done to tackle dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, and epilepsy. All the speakers were from our Department, which was also well represented among the interactive stands.

You can watch videos of the talks here:


The evening started with the opportunity to browse ten stands run by researchers and charities. A team from Oxford Dementia and Ageing Research, which was set up by the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre to co-ordinate Oxford’s response to the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia, carried out some cognitive assessment with vistors to their stand, using iPads. Their stand was also popular due to the jelly brain sweets!

Very reassuring to attendees to know about the remarkable research, findings and clinical trials going on within Oxford.
- Event attendee

Epilepsy research was well represented by the Oxford Epilepsy Research Group and the charity Epilepsy Action. Visitors enjoyed a quiz about famous people who have epilepsy and the various treatments for the disease since medieval times.

Representatives from Join Dementia Research and the NIHR Clinical Research Network explained how people could get involved in research.

Researchers from the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain demonstrated some special glasses which they are testing as a potential rehabilitation tool for people who have had a stroke. This involved getting people to wear the glasses (which make them look slightly to the right) and throw beanbags into a target bucket. At first they miss it, but eventually the brain adapts.

People also had a chance to learn more about the work of two local charities: Headway Oxfordshire, which supports people who’ve had a brain injury, and Healthwatch Oxfordshire, which is all about local voices being able to influence the design and delivery of local health services.


After the stands, people moved into the lecture theatre to hear four ten-minute talks from speakers who work at the University’s Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. Claire Sexton spoke about her research on the benefits of physical activity for the ageing brain. Arjune Sen explained some of the ways in which his group is tackling epilepsy, and Sarah Pendlebury talked about how strokes and acute illness affect thinking and memory. Michele Hu gave a presentation about the latest breakthroughs in understanding Parkinson’s Disease.

The evening concluded with a Q&A session chaired by Heidi Johansen-Berg, where the speakers answered a range of questions from the audience.