Neuroscience club starts off campus activities for Brain Awareness Week

By on March 11th, 2013

Candy Ganyo participates in the Mindflex Duel by using her brain waves to keep the ball afloat.

Brain Awareness Week kicked off Monday with activities by the UF Neuroscience Club.

The UF Neuroscience Club is hosting activities on the university’s Plaza of the Americas Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Participants can taste African miracle berries, which are dissolvable tablets that trick taste buds into thinking sour foods are sweet.

The berries are often used for patients undergoing chemotherapy. The treatment alters patients’ taste buds, and the berries improve food taste, said UF Neuroscience Club Brain Awareness Week Co-Chair Ana Galvan.

Tony Sadiku contributed audio reporting.

Other activities include optical illusions and a Mindflex Duel game.

Wearing a headband that clips to the ears and places a sensor on the forehead, the Mindflex Duel senses EEG waves and brain activity. It uses the activity to power a fan and lift a little blue ball. The more brain activity used, the stronger the fan blows and vice versa.

Kevin Nguyen holds a sheep brain.

Kevin Nguyen holds a sheep brain.

“It’s not actually super complex,” Galvan, a UF psychology sophomore, said. “It’s something you can visually experience with brain activity.”

Participants can also look at a sheep’s brain, which is significantly smaller than a human brain.

Candy Ganyo used the Mindflex Duel. Her brain waves were working strongly, and she was able to keep the ball in the air. Unfortunately, the levitating didn’t last long because of the wind.

Ganyo also tried several of the optical illusions.

“I could see the number five, so I know I’m not color blind,” she said referring to the colorblind test optical illusion.

The week, held in honor of the only organ that named itself, is part of an international campaign to increase public awareness of brain research. The Dana Foundation, a private organization that supports brain research through grants, publications and educational programs, started the week in 1996.

The ‘90s was the decade for the brain, said Neuroscience Club Advertisement Chair Stephen Tapia-Ruano. He said the field flourished with the mapping of the human genome.

But still, Tapia-Ruano said brain research has hardly scratched the surface.

“It’s the most complex thing in the known universe and there’s plenty more to learn and understand,” he said.

Four ways to increase brain function, according to the Dana Foundation:

  • Increase your levels of mental activity. This could be done by playing games like chess or looking at optical illusions.
  • Increase your physical activity.
  • Increase your level of social engagement.
  • Eat well and control vascular risk factors, like blood pressure, cholesterol and stress.

Five facts about the brain:

  1. Dreams are a result of the brain’s cortex region trying to interpret random electrical activity
  2. Caffeinated drinks and decongestants stimulate some parts of the brain and can hinder sleeping.
  3. Déjà vu sensations happen in the medial temporal lobe. There is a misconception that these sensations happen before an event, when in actuality, it occurs during an event.
  4. The brain accounts for only 2 percent of a person’s body weight, yet it consumes about 20 percent of the oxygen person breathes.
  5. Hallucinations can be produced naturally by depriving the body of sensory input. For example, people who deprive themselves of oxygen in a dark room might end up seeing lights and colors.

This entry was posted in University of Florida and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

More Stories in University of Florida

Around 700 UF students participated in the 13th Annual Fast-A-Thon at the Stephan O'Connell Center. Islam On Campus organized the dusk-to-dawn event to teach others about the reasons behind fasting.

13th Annual Fast-A-Thon Benefits Local and National Charities

Islam on Campus hosted its 13th annual Fast-A-Thon at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Tuesday and rewarded about 700 attendants with a free meal. The event featured guest speaker Ustadh AbdelRahman Murphy and will benefit Project Downtown Gainesville, a local charity, and Islamic Relief USA with a goal of benefiting Nepal earthquake survivors.

$50 Million Wertheim Donation Kickstarts New Future for College of Engineering

A $50 million donation by Dr. Herbert Wertheim helped to jumpstart a 5-year, $300 million funding project for improvements to the college of engineering and a new Engineering Innovation building.

Amanda Shuey (left), campus recruiter for Saks Fifth Avenue, interviews with Haley Doyle, a 21-year-old UF marketing senior, at the University of Florida's fall Career Showcase. Photo by Griffin Horvath.

UF Career Showcase Attracts Record Turnout

This semester’s Career Showcase hosted 378 businesses and organizations, the largest number since 2008, and in each fall semester there has been a 10 percent increase in student turnout since then.

Chi Omega House at University of Florida

Chi Omega “Trap Queen” Photo Sparks Controversy Over Race

A controversial photo taken by the UF chapter of the Chi Omega sorority makes rounds on campus, sparking debate and discussion of racial stereotypes. The four women pictured in the photo wore T-shirts with “Trap Queen” written on them.

Florida Gators football

Gator Band Will No Longer Use Penalty Chant

During this past Saturday’s Tennessee game, Gator fans expected a cue from the band to play a familiar chant, “You Can’t Do That.” However, complaints about the chant morphing into “Move Back You Suck,” has forced the University Athletic Association to ask the band to no longer play the tune to accompany it. The change has garnered complaints from UF students who see the chant as tradition, but applause from those who viewed it as vulgar and unsportsmanlike.

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments