More than a dozen presentations are planned in Surrey’s Health and Technology District for Brain Awareness week, which runs from March 12 to 17.
“This is a really exciting week,” said renowned neuroscientist Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, sitting inside the HealthTech Innovation HUB which will play host to the numerous events this week, as part of the international week of awareness.
“We’ve got scientists from Simon Fraser University, Fraser Health and Surrey Memorial (Hospital) talking about all the latest advancements in brain technology, brain care, brain innovations,” noted D’Arcy, who is one of several doctors set to present at the event.
“We’ve got on-going activities for youth from school to learn more about the brain, for people in the community to learn more about how right here in the Health Tech District we’re leading the world in innovations for brain care,” he added.
D’Arcy said many current projects, including medical imaging research, state-of-the-art labs, as well as helping Captain Trevor Greene to recover his ability and rewire his brain — and to climb to the highest heights of the world to tackle the Mount Everest base camp.
Greene was hit in the head with an axe while on duty in Afghanistan and is working to retrain his brain with the help of D’Arcy and other specialists (see Greene’s amazing story of determination in Friday’s issue of the Now-Leader).
Brain awareness “really matters,” said D’Arcy, who founded both the Surrey Neurotech Lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital and Innovation Boulevard.
It’s a critical issue, he elaborated, because “we all know people who have challenges with or concerns about dementia, brain injury, mental health, Alzheimer’s, the list goes on and on, ADHD, epilepsy,” he said.
“And right here, we’re trying to innovate technologies and the way we do things to bring care to us faster, solutions more quickly. And that’s what Brain Awareness Week is all about. Just getting a feel for what’s going on here.”
The events in Surrey, which run Tuesday to Thursday at the HealthTech Innovation Hub, will showcase leading-edge technologies and include talks on a variety of topics.
Tuesday’s line up kicks off with the yoga program Love Your Brain, led by Kevin Pearce, as 12:30 p.m.
That day’s events will conclude with a screening of The Crash Wheel at 3:30 p.m., a film that highlights Pearce’s near traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 winter Olympics.
Also that day is a demo of MyndMove Technology relating to functional electrical stimulation and a talk by Michael Coss, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a catastrophic crash on the Coquihalla Highway in 2006.
A Lokomat machine helped Coss learned to walk again with a cane, and a fundraising campaign has been launched to bring one to Surrey.
Then, on Wednesday, several presentations are planned with doctors speaking about a variety of topics ranging from childhood trauma, Alzheimer’s and dementia, technology tackling mental health, brain injury and more.
On Thursday, both elementary and high school students will be at the hub for “brain games,” science and virtual reality demos, brain health talks and special guests from Science World.
All of these events aim to “change the way we think about our brain health,” according to organizers.
Rowena Rizzotti, who is vice-president of Healthcare and Innovation at the Health and Technology District, said much of the province and country are not aware that “we are surrounded here in Surrey by some of the world’s leading neuroscientists and resources that can make immediate changes to how we all think about our brain health.”
Surrey is innovating not only in brain care and technologies, but health care more broadly, noted D’Arcy.
“Surrey’s leading not only in the province, (but) the country and the world in one of the most advanced models to start tackling our major health care problems,” he said. “We do that across all health spectrums. We do that by bringing from the hospital, our clinicians, together with people form the university, our scientists and researchers and people form the business world to come up with solutions that can actually get out in the world to help us as quick as humanly possible.”
Surrey, said D’Arcy, is “where everyone comes to find out how to make these sort of innovative changes in health care.”
The events at the HealthTech Innovation Hub (13737 96th Ave., second floor) are free and open to the public (excluding Thursday’s lineup for students).
Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit healthandtechnologydistrict.com/BAW.