On a warm July evening our members turned up to greet the speaker for the evening Dr Kate Bellamy. Dr Bellamy comes from Edinburgh University`s Department of Cognitive Neuroscience. She specialises in brain diseases and injuries, and the treatment of victims of post traumatic stress disorders.Last year she gave a very interesting talk about false memory syndrome so this evening we settled down to listen to her talk entitled “Busting Brain Myths”after which she proceeded to “bust” five myths.
Firstly we were asked how much of our brain are we using at any one time? Although some of us thought perhaps only 10% it is in fact 100% all the time sleeping and waking as long as we live
Secondly although it is widely believed that one side of the brain is more dominant than the other, in fact they work in unison. The left side of the brain is responsible for logic and language and the right for artistry and creativity but the whole brain works together in these areas
The third myth is that alcohol kills brain cells. Over imbibing does cause people to act in unusual ways but brain cells remain intact. A drunken night out may result in a hangover next morning but the brain will recover completely although it may be a different story for the liver.
The fourth myth is a belief that playing mind games like Sudoku will prevent the onset of dementia. Dementia is a huge umbrella term for failing memory including alzeimas but mind games make no difference as these illnesses are inherited in the genes or can be caused by obesity or smoking. The best way to stimulate the brain is to do something challenging, as in the case of Dr Bellamy taking up Ballet classes in early middle age or learning latin when in to retirement. Something out of your comfort zone!
The last myth is that you can survive on only a few hours sleep a night. According to our speaker everyone needs seven or eight hours sleep a night to be able to function properly.She cited both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Regan who did function on three or four hours sleep when in office but both suffered alzeimas at the end of their lives.
Dr Bellamy`s talks are both informative and entertaining and she does appreciate audience participation.
There is no meeting in August but the summer barbecue is being hosted by one of our members in her garden. The next meeting will be September 13th when Nic Fulcher will talk about “Piecing it together-what to wear in Tudor England”