21. BRAIN AWARENESS WEEK

14. – 20. March 2022.

The manifestation of this year’s 21st Brain Awareness Week in Croatia is part of the global campaign of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiative organization with the goal of fostering public enthusiasm and support for brain science and treatment of brain disorders. Croatian Society for Neuroscience and the Croatian Institute for Brain Research of the University of Zagreb School of Medicine are fulfilling their mission in our society with the organization of the Brain Awareness Week in Zagreb.

The activities related to the Brain Awareness Week are becoming more intensive every year worldwide, given that brain research is one of the permanent priorities of research in the developed countries of the world.

Data from the European Union states that more than 45% of the total costs and burdens in the EU health system are attributed to the treatment of brain disorders. 179 million people in Europe suffer from some form of brain disorders. This represents a pervasive problem for every society; however, the collaboration of scientists and clinicians can help expand education, prevention and provide new scientific knowledge.

The first topic in our Brain Awareness Week is:

THE BRAIN AND POST-COVID SYNDROME

Which will be presented at a public forum attended by:

  • Professor Marijan Klarica (President of Croatian Neuroscience Society, Croatian Institute for Brain Research)
  • Academician Ivica Kostović (Honorary Director of the Croatian Institute for Brain Research)
  • Professor Neven Henigsberg (Vrapče Psychiatric Clinic)
  • Professor Milan Radoš (Croatian Institute for Brain Research)
  • Professor Ivan Begovac (Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychological Medicine, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University Hospital Center Zagreb)
  • Assistant Professor Marija Santini (Clinic for Infectious Diseases “Dr. Fran Mihaljević”)
  • Professor Fran Borovečki (Clinic of Neurology, University Hospital Center Zagreb)

The forum will be held on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at 16:00h and can be accessed via the following Zoom link: (https://zoom.us/j/93836327769?pwd=SUtsaXJzVDNnTzZZWkpLaXgrTjZ6UT09 Passcode: 133651). It was quite soon after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that it was proven that the virus not only affects the respiratory system but can also be the cause of numerous brain injuries. The forum discussion “The Brain and Post-COVID Syndrome” will focus on those consequences of brain damage that are chronic in nature, and which, if not treated in time, can leave significant and long-lasting dysfunctions impacting the daily functioning of patients. Examples of such consequences include cognitive deficits (difficulties in concentrating and remembering, impairment of decision-making) mood swings, increased levels of anxiety and disruption of normal sleep cycles.

Neurocognitive rehabilitation programs that are necessary for the effective treatment of those consequences should include not only medical specialties, but a far broader interdisciplinary cooperation of many professions in various fields of education, science and should provide direct complementary services until complete recovery of all functions preceding the disease is achieved.

The second topic in our Brain Awareness Week is:

THE PANDEMIC LESSON: HOW TO TEACH THE ADOLESCENT BRAIN “VIA REMOTE”

The coronavirus pandemic has suddenly brought the important topic of the impact of digital technology on brain development to the forefront of societal discussions. Over the past 2 years, the applications of digital technology have been entering our lives at an incredible rate. Pupils and students of late adolescence, during which sensitive processes of psycho-emotional development take place, spend a substantial part of their day in front of screens. During this period, final developmental changes occur  in the neural network that operate the complex cognitive, emotional, and social functions are being completed, while these young people simultaneously make major life decisions concerning college enrollment and employment. We felt that there was a need to discuss how the transition of teaching to a virtual environment affected the well-being of pupils and students and the difficulties encountered in this process. Therefore, as part of this year’s Brain Awareness Week, we organized a panel discussion named “The Pandemic Lesson: How to teach the adolescent brain “via remote”, where we will address this very current topic and point out the possible effects on brain development.

The panel will be attended by experts from various fields: psychology, child and adolescent psychiatry, neuroscience, and education systems, and will be useful not only to teacher and students, but also to the general public. Through the discussion, participants will present their findings and experiences about the “new normal” in education from different perspectives and will also focus on the possible consequences for the final psycho-social maturation. Special emphasis will be placed, from a neurobiological point of view, whether adolescents are ready to successfully master the given tasks and which didactic approaches (brought on by the advent of digital technology) have proven to be the most successful. Since the pandemic required a quick reaction from teachers, part of the panel will be dedicated to the discussion of the challenges and benefits of teaching in a virtual environment from the perspective of teachers. The experience of teaching in a virtual environment was very instructive for all participants in this process and we will share our findings what could be implemented going forward when regular teaching resumes.

The forum will be held on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at 16:00; and can be accessed via the Zoom link (https://zoom.us/j/99439267735?pwd=Tk1Ic1ByVnFxRUNpQW5Md1hIRFJxQT09 Passcode: 608402).

The panel will be attended by:

  • Professor Zdravko Petanjek – Department of Anatomy and Clinical Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb
  • Professor Goran Šimić – Croatian Institute for Brain Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb,
  • Assistant Professor Slavica Šimić Šašić – Department of Teachers and Preschool Teachers Education, University of Zadar,
  • Iva Radoš, MD – Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Center Zagreb,
  • Ivan Banovac, MD, PhD – Department of Anatomy and Clinical Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb,
  • Mihaela Pravica, M. sc. educ. biol. and chem. – Assistant, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb
  • Moderator: Mihaela Bobić Rasonja, MD, PhD – Department of Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb

Contact information:

Croatian Institute for Brain Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb and the Croatian Society for Neuroscience,

Šalata 12, 10000 Zagreb

Phone: 01 / 45 96 902, 01 /45 96 801

Fax: 01 / 45 96 942

e-mail: hdn@hiim.hr http:www.hdn.hr/en