Ever think you’d get the chance to hold a human brain in your hands? The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is hosting its annual Brain Health Fair in Philadelphia this year, giving local residents the chance to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the many wonders of the brain.
The fair is part of the AAN’s Annual Meeting, which takes place in a different city each year. As the world’s largest association of neurologists and neuroscientists, the organization hosts the Brain Health Fair as a way of giving back and saying thank you to the community. The free educational event is open to the public and appeals to anyone who’s fascinated with the inner workings of the brain and interested in learning about the latest brain science research. The event is for patients, caregivers, students, and local members of the community who are looking for a fun, out-of-the-box way to spend the day.
“This is an opportunity for Philadelphia residents to learn from some of the best and brightest neurologists in the world who will share the latest advances in the prevention and treatment of brain diseases and the many ways for people to maintain a healthy brain, as well as for students to learn more about the brain through educational and interactive activities,” says Brenda Banwell, M.D., chief of child neurology and professor of neurology and pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.
The Brain Health Fair is very much a hands-on event, inviting folks to enjoy a wide range of interactive experiences, including the opportunity to settle into a dazzling virtual world known as the BrainDome. Attendees can take a 10-minute audio-visual expedition exploring the power, awe and mystery that is the human brain.
Guests will also get the chance to connect with some of the world’s best and brightest neurologists. The “Ask a Neurologist” booths invite attendees to chat up specialists about a variety of neurologic conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), autism, concussion, epilepsy and more. After that, they can participate in the Brain Health Fair’s wheelchair obstacle course. The activity features everyday challenges that many wheelchair-bound people encounter on a daily basis. The goal? To foster a culture of empathy and compassion for those with neurologic conditions. On a similar note, the fair will also feature a home modification experience where guests can put on special glasses to give them an idea of what it’s like to have MS.
Those who swing by the Brain Health Fair are in for an educational and entertaining treat, complete with the opportunity to hold an actual human brain. What’s more, the AAN will also have a real-life display of a brain that has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Witnessing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand like this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
In addition, guests will get the chance to visit the Capitol Health Mobile Stroke Unit, interact with service dogs, and snag a free bike helmet and other free resources. The day will be punctuated by powerful personal stories around brain health. ABC news anchor Gary Hall will be on hand to share his brush with a colloid-cyst on his brain. Susan Schneider Williams, widow of the beloved comedian Robin Williams, will also be there to present an exciting installation called “Life Found Through Art.” All of the fair’s presentations and resources will be available in English and Spanish.
Philadelphia is proud and excited to play host to this year’s Brain Health Fair—so much so that Mayor James F. Kenney has declared May 9, 2019 Brain Health Awareness Day in the city. The fair will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on May 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is free by signing up at BrainHealthFair.org.