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Focus on neuroscience and mental health

What can brain scans tell us about what is going on in our minds, why are the teenage years so special (and so difficult!), how can our immune system affect our behaviour, what are the benefits and risks of sport and how can modern technology be used to understand our inner lives, all discussed and debated at this year's Cambridge Science Festival.

Monday 13 March

Sex, lies and brain scans: can brain scans be used to reveal what really goes on in our minds?
Professor Barbara Sahakian, Professor John Pickard, Professor Molly Crockett and Julia Gottwald discuss what brain scans can tell us now, what they will be able to tell us in the future and what the impact of this technology will be on society.

Monday 13 March, Wednesday 15 March, Friday 17 March

See your baby's brain learn
Mothers and babies (8-15 months) are invited to visit the Baby-LINC Lab and take part in a 1 hour hands-on EEG-and-play session as part of our study into social learning in infants.

Wednesday 15 March

Exploring your mind and brain
The Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit is a leading research centre for advancing understanding of human cognition and brain function such as memory, attention, perception, language and emotion. Join them for hands-on experiemnts, demonstrations and talks.

Thursday 16 March

Losing and finding the self in the brain 
Our personal identity depends on an intact brain. Dr Jane Aspell discusses how the study of rare neurological and psychiatric disorders of self contributes to our growing understanding of the neuroscience of self.

Friday 17 March

Build a neural knitwork
Craft a healthy brain with Makespace and Neural Knitworks as you create gorgeous neurons and discover some of the mysteries of the human mind from brain experts.

Saturday 18 March

Zits, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - all human life is here
Dr David Bainbridge uses anthropology, physiology, history and psychology to argue that the teenage years should instead be seen as a unique human innovation – the very phenomenon, in fact, which has allowed us to achieve our unique success.

Tuesday 21 March

Exploring the teenage brain
Dr Kirstie Whitaker takes us on a journey "under the hood" to learn how researchers are studying the teenage brain. She discusses what we can (and can not!) learn from brain scans in understanding this sensitive period of brain development.

Wednesday 22 March

Odd behaviour, strange ideas and the immune system
Professor Alasdair Coles, scientists and people affected by psychosis discuss how the immune system can affect our behaviour and thoughts.

Living well with psychosis
We all want wellbeing, but what does this mean for someone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia? Professor Mike Slade, University of Nottingham, discusses how research into mental health recovery can change our world.

Thursday 23 March

Parents as partners in research
Professor Lucy Raymond discusses IMAGINE ID. a large scale study designed to assess how genetic causes of intellectual disability affect the long term mental health of 5,000 children and young adults.

Friday 24 March

Sport is good for exercise and teamwork but what about your brain?
We all know sport is good for developing teamwork and exercise is good for cognition and physical health but what about the negative effects? Professor Barbara Sahakian, Professor Peter Hutchinson, Dr Michael Hart, Dr George Savulich and Mike Crofts discuss the benefits and risks.

Saturday 25 March

A roller-coaster guide to exploring the mind with technology
Modern technology offers unprecedented ways in which to understand people, their inner lives and overt behaviours. Dr Sharon Morein discusses some of the ethical, legal and social issues arising from modern research into the mind.

Image copyright: Govind Bhagavatheeshwaran, Daniel Reich, National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke, National Institutes of Health