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Inside the mind: Cambridge Science Festival gets in your head

Cambridge Science Festival offers a raft of discussions and debates on the human mind.

The mind will be the subject of a number of events at Cambridge Science Festival
The mind will be the subject of a number of events at Cambridge Science Festival

Everything from adolescent mental health to a new type of brain cell with greater potential for repairing the brain will be covered, along with the latest insights into why some people find it hard to break drug addiction.

An international panel of leading psychologists and psychiatrists come together on March 16 to discuss novel interventions that help change the way people think, particularly when it comes to violence and conflict in ‘Thinking the healthy way: does thinking style relate to mental wellness?’

Adolescence is a time when there is a rapid rise in mental health disorders. Around 45 per cent of adolescent mental health problems are attributable to childhood adversity, such as poverty, parents having mental health problems, being bullied, neglect and abuse. Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen discusses mechanisms that may aid resilient functioning in adolescents with a history of childhood adversity in ‘Adolescent mental health: resilience after childhood adversity’ on March 20.

Dr van Harmelen says: “Mental illness often emerges earlier in young people who have experienced adversity and is more severe and less responsive to treatment, so it is vital that we have a better understanding of how we can reduce vulnerability before depression emerges.”

Research into a new type of stem cell that has potential for repairing the brain will be discussed on March 15 by Professor Andrea Brand during her event, ‘In conversation with the Brand Group’ at the Gurdon Institute.

Professor Brand said: “The Brand lab discovered a new type of quiescent stem cell (G2 quiescent stem cell) in the brain with higher regenerative potential than quiescent stem cells identified previously. These results have significant implications for designing therapies to awaken patient stem cells.”

Cambridge Science Festival, supported by the Cambridge Independent, runs from March 11-24.

Download the full programme and book tickets at sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk or call the festival on 01223 766 766 between 11am and 3pm. Keep up to date with the festival on social media via Facebook or on Twitter #CamSciFest.

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