Full House at Oslo Public Lecture on Brain Health
Almost 200 people turned up for the public lecture “Good brain health is important” at the Literature House in Oslo 4th June 2019, filling the venue to the brim.
Lifebrain organized the event together with the Norwegian Brain Council. Four speakers gave short talks on topics related to brain health.
Source: Silje Eide (Hjernerådet)
What is brain health?
Brain health is a relatively new term used to describe our ability to remember, learn, plan, concentrate, sense, and handle challenges. It is also about our ability to be mentally and emotionally in balance.
Professor of neurology Hanne Harbo, from the University of Oslo, talked about brain health as the next biggest public health challenge. Neurological disorders will affect one in three people at some point in life, making it just as important as cancer or heart disease. In contrast to just some decades ago, now it is possible to treat several types of brain disorders like stroke due to blood clots and even some bleedings.
Researcher Monica Aas, from the Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research (NORMENT) talked about the effect of stress on the brain, and explained how it is possible to measure levels of stress by the amount of the hormone cortisol in your hair. She discussed how traumatic childhood experiences (for e.g. abuse, being emotionally neglected as a child etc.) might have long-term effects on mental health in adulthood and contribute to the development of various mental diseases later in life.
Christian A. Drevon, professor of nutrition from the University of Oslo and researcher in Lifebrain, talked about the importance of diet and exercise for brain health. He gave us seven tips for how to keep a healthy brain: Eat a varied and healthy diet, cut out chemical stimulants, exercise, sleep well, give and let yourself be stimulated, protect your head (wear a helmet), act wisely and be friendly! He gave some examples related to brain development being improved by increasing supply of essential fatty acids like omega-3/6 fatty acids (docosapentaenoic acid/ arachidonic acid) and total energy to severely premature infants (birth weight below 1500 g). Exercise is also important for health in general – you keep fit, sleep better, keep the body weight normal, and stimulate important parts of the brain.
Lifebrain researcher Isabelle Ljøsne, from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, ended the session by launching the Global Brain Health Survey. This is an online survey aimed at the public. It includes questions about people’s perspectives on the brain and their interest in brain health. The goal of the Global Brain Health Survey is to learn about people`s views on the brain and brain health, in order to help us develop policy recommendations for brain health.
Anyone interested and above 18 years of age can respond to the survey using a personal computer, tablet or cell phone with an access to internet. The survey is open to all until August 2020 and is available on the Lifebrain website.
90 years and still going strong
One of winners of the evening’s raffle, a lady of 92 years of age, received Kaja Nordengen’s book on brain training. She said: “I have all sorts of things wrong with me - diabetes and heart problems - but because my brain is still in good shape I think to myself; to heck with my problems, I am going to live life to the full! The brain training-book will therefore come in handy.