Building Bridges – News and Views
One of the challenges when working in a neuroscientific field with young children is getting data from scanning volunteers and patients, for example, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan children’s brains. The issue is that the environment during the scan, i.e. the confined space and loud noise, can be intimidating for patients. As part of the “Building Bridges – News and Views” project at the Science Museum, London, I was able to introduce MRI to about 30 students, aged 11-12, at two occasions in Spring 2015. During my short talk, I presented arguments for and against scanning young children. I then asked the pupils to discuss whether they think we should submit patients to these procedures if it might be uncomfortable and we are not certain that it will help the doctors in their diagnoses. The students split up into small groups for this discussion and worked on presenting their views in a newspaper style poster. During the time they had to prepare their posters, I engaged in discussions with the children and their teachers about the topic I presented and general research Here are two of the posters which the pupils made. (click to enlarge)
Hands up for health
Hands up for Health teaches young children about health, science and health-related careers, by interactively engaging them in hands-on experiments. As part of the programme, I spoke about the topic of diabetes to 20 eight year olds from a local Lambeth school who came into St Thomas’ Hospital in December 2014. In small groups, we then tested the glucose level of fake blood samples. During the experiments we discussed the prevalence, causes and effects of diabetes and other diseases and what can be done in order to promote general health. I was able to introduce the students to the idea that health professionals can be more than medical doctors and that researchers can help the public to come up with new and innovative ideas of how medical conditions can be detected and controlled. I ensured that the event was a discussion, rather than a lecture, which allowed me to keep them engaged in the process.