UBC neurobiologist probes brain function and recovery in public talk

How can we assist the brain to relearn lost cognitive and motor skills after a brain injury or stroke? Dr. Lara Boyd, associate professor at University of British Columbia’s Brain Research Center,  will highlight key discoveries in neuroscience that explain how the brain changes and how its function shapes behavior.  This public talk, entitled ‘The changing brain: promoting brain function and healthy aging’ is part of the Science in Society Speaker Series and will be presented on Thursday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Okanagan College’s Kalamalka campus. The focus of the talk will be on activities and health behaviors that promote brain function and healthy aging.

Canada Research Chair and Michael Smith Scholar, Dr. Lara Boyd, is a physical therapist and neuroscientist who is leading the effort to understand what therapies positively alter patterns of brain activity after stroke. Her group uses a combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation to map changes in brain activity. Her studies are among the first to comprehensively examine the patterns of brain activation as they relate to motor learning and parameters of practice after stroke.

“Although we are still discovering precisely what changes in the brain are associated with specific motor behaviors, the concept of a dynamically changing or ‘neuroplastic’ brain that supports learning is now unquestioned”, affirms Boyd.  In Boyd’s UBC lab, researchers want to know if they can accelerate a patient’s recovery from stroke by stimulating the brain. “I’m preparing the brain to learn,” said Boyd.

The Science in Society Speaker Series (a joint project by Okanagan Science Centre and the Okanagan College) is sponsored by the Best Western Vernon Lodge, Starbucks Coffee, Sweet Caroline’s Bakery, and the Vernon Morning Star.

 Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets and more information, visit the Okanagan Science Centre at http://www.okscience.ca or call (250) 545-3644.

 For more information, contact:

Carl Doige, Okanagan College (250) 545-7291 ext. 2286

Sandi Dixon, Okanagan Science Centre (250) 545-3644

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