Raising Awareness on Brain Health

Raising Awareness  on Brain Health Raising Awareness  on Brain Health

The National Brain Awareness Week will be observed in Iran from February 19-25, ahead of its global celebration from March 13-19.

“The symbolic week is hosted globally every year, and the Iranian Neuroscience Society is observing the occasion for the second time,” said Dr Mohammad Taqi Joghataei, head of the society.

Brain Awareness Week is a nationwide effort supported by the Cognitive Sciences and Technologies Development Headquarters of the Vice Presidency for Science Affairs, to help promote the benefits of brain research.

“Promoting brain health in a society is for achieving two goals: firstly, to help people learn how to boost their brain capacity and secondly, to get familiar with ways to protect their brain against degeneration,” Joghataei was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

The brain is like a muscle and the more it is used the better and stronger it works.

The week serves as a platform for launching the year-round brain awareness activities. It is an opportunity to let people know about the progress done in brain research as well as in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, schizophrenia and depression.

The rate of Alzheimer’s disease is rising in the country, according to the director of Iran Alzheimer’s Association Masoumeh Salehi. 

“Based on the latest data, there are nearly 600,000 people living with the condition in Iran, while it affects 47 million worldwide,” she was quoted by ISNA as saying. 

Given the increasing trends, she warned that the number is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. While genetic factors are 10%-15% responsible for the development of the degenerative disease, engaging in preventive activities such as reading, learning new professions, and trying to learn poetry by heart, are among the practices that help deter the risk.

  Activities & Programs

Every year, the occasion unites the efforts of partner organizations in Iran, and worldwide, in a celebration of brain health for people of all ages. Activities vary but include open days for excursions at neuroscience labs or universities, exhibitions about the brain, lectures on brain-related topics, social media campaigns, displays at libraries and community centers, classroom workshops and more.

“We seek to expose people to the brain, its performance, and function, through a week of educational and edifying programs in cooperation with state organizations such as the municipalities, and the mass media,” Joghataei said.

Noting that cognitive and brain sciences are impacted by advances in NBICS (nano, bio, info, cogno, synthetic) technologies, he said knowing how the brain works opens the gateway into developments in other areas of science and technology.

He said his department has planned educational workshops and seminars for 20,000 students at every level, and familiarize them with cognitive sciences.

Organizing art, essay, poetry, music, or drama competition, distributing booklets on the issue, setting up exhibit tables at hospitals, doctors’ offices, community centers, or shopping malls and giving out promotional materials, coordinating lectures or series of lectures about the brain, and social media campaigns are among other activities planned.

The global campaign was launched in 1995 by the Society for Neuroscience and Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives along with International Brain Bee contest and other efforts. In 2014, 55 countries were involved, and more than 860 events were held.

There is support from neuroscience schools at leading universities, neuroscience publishers and national neuroscience societies in promoting brain health.

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