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Big Bang Fair 2013

bbf2013.jpgThe MRC Public Engagement project “Use it, don’t lose it!” has been present at Big Bang Fair 2013 as part of the Medical Research Council 100 years of life-changing discovery. Located in the Body Talk Zone of the Big Bang Fair at London ExCel (14-17th of March 2013, attracting 65,000 visitors) the MRC stand presented a taste of the diversity of research funded in its 100 year history such as the art of breathing; viruses’ wars; exercise and emissions.

The MRC Use it, don’t lose it! Team had activities in which participants were able to test their memory agility and explore an anatomical human brain. Participants were presented with ten words on a plasma wide screen and asked to remember as many words as possible in one minute. For the younger participants keen to take the memory test, a card game presenting nine objects (images of different objects such as table, pen, clock, chair, plate, apple etc.) was used, which proved to be very popular.

Dorina Cadar in collaboration with Kate Harvey and Paula Daly prepared the material for this event, and with the help of a large number of volunteers from the MRC Lifelong Health and Ageing Unit (Gemma Archer, David Bann, Valerie Tikhonoff, Elizabeth Wloch and Andrew Wong) engaged with thousands of visitors over the two days.

Science detail:

Mental abilities such as memory, attention and psychomotor speed abilities are an essential part of daily living but are far too often being taken for granted. The common misconception is that clinical cognitive impairment and dementia are natural consequences of ageing and generally a matter of concern only for old age. However, the scientific findings seem to suggest that the pathological changes associated with dementia occur earlier in life, such as the 4th and 5th decade. These are subtle changes of neuro-degeneration and cognitive decline before dementia develops.

Furthermore it is very important for public of all ages to understand that certain lifestyle behaviours such as maintaining high levels of physical activity could potentially enhance cognitive functioning and slow the rate of cognitive decline.

The Public Engagement project ‘Use it, don't lose it!’ emerged from the doctoral research conducted by Dorina Cadar on the role of lifestyle behaviours on cognitive decline based on data from the MRC NSHD mentored by Professor Marcus Richards, Professor Gita Mishra & Dr Hynek Pikhart.

For more information about the public engagement project ‘Use it, don’t lose it! Visit the website pages: