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How to save a brain

June 2, 2016

brainImagine getting lost in your own home or neighborhood. Imagine feeling disoriented, unsure of where you are or how you got there.

For individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders or trauma – and more Americans than ever are diagnosed with these conditions each year – this “spatial disorientation” can be a daily occurrence and something that causes significant distress.

At the next STEM Café, called “Saving the Brain,” NIU Associate Professor of Psychology Doug Wallace will discuss the science of what happens to the brain during these diseases and the possibility of life-changing therapies that alleviate the symptoms.

The free talk and discussion will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21, at Giovanni’s Restaurant, 610 N. Bell School Road in Rockford.

Wallace’s research focuses on the neural networks we use to navigate the world. By understanding how these networks develop, he argues, we can learn how they might be repaired. Spatial disorientation, for example, could become a thing of the past.

Doug Wallace

Doug Wallace

“The human brain is extraordinarily flexible. It is capable of adapting to all sorts of setbacks,” Wallace says. “I’ll be talking about how ongoing research into the brain’s adaptability can help doctors encourage the highest level of adaptation, ensuring that people with Alzheimer’s and other brain conditions can recover as much functioning as possible.”

“More and more of our senior citizens are suffering from diseases like Alzheimer’s,” says NIU STEM Outreach Associate Judith Dymond. “Doug Wallace’s talk will shine a light on how that suffering might be reduced and on the vital role to be played by research at state-funded universities like NIU.”

This event is part of NIU STEM Outreach’s series of STEM Cafés, all of which are free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Giovanni’s.

For more information, call (815) 753-4751 or email [email protected].