What you need to know about the BRAND-new Brain Exhibition at the Science Centre and a few other things you probably didn’t know…
Who isn’t curious about the inner workings of our brain?? New-on-the block is the ‘Tuning in: Brain and Body’ Exhibition at the Science Centre Singapore, created in partnership with BRANDs. Here’s an exclusive with the Key Research Panel Advisor for the Brain Exhibition from BRANDS, telling us what’s so special about this new exhibition.
The focus previously has been, especially overseas, on the brain itself. People tended to take the brain as an exhibit, or specific areas of the body as separate exhibits. In this case the concept was to show the links there are in the brain to the rest of the body. We’re especially interested because it allows you to see the connectivity and the impact one way and the other and the vice-versa effect.
You mentioned earlier that you don’t have one single favourite exhibit. But what would be the take home message you’d wish visitors to leave with, if they got to see only one exhibit in the entire exhibition?
If I really wanted them to have only one message out of this whole exhibition, it would be to recognise the brain as a changing organ and it is this change that causes all the positive and negative effects on the body so if you really force me to choose one, I’d say to focus on synaptic plasticity.
Could you tell us a bit more about the circadian rhythm: if we disrupt its pattern it impacts negatively our body. But could we tweak it to improve our performance?
The short answer is yes, but to a certain limit. Our genes will limit us to how much more improvement we can do. So the amount of improvement is very small, which is why no matter what you take, you don’t suddenly have a surge in your IQ. But the sudden change downwards is more drastic, so there is a whole continuum from normal to disease which we call suboptimum health, which is where you can make your life worse by taking up all the wrong lifestyle choices in things you do. So upward improvement is small, but downward is a long slide into ill health.
What would be the future opportunities that this discovery of the plasticity of the brain is going to open up for new discoveries in medicine and more generally in science?
I think the first impact will be when people, scientists recognise that the brain can change. It gave us hope that we can now overcome a lot of things we thought were dead ends in brain health, as in dementia. So the ability to change means we have the potential to accelerate this change to allow improved recovery from defects, whether its dementia, amnesia, or other kinds of degenerative diseases. So there is a lot of efforts being made in accelerating these changes to get a therapeutic edge.
So there you have it, some insights to kindle your curiosity, whether you’re a student, teacher, or someone simply curious about how mind and body works together in perfect unision – there’s something for everyone.
Dr Paramjeet Singh joined Cerebos Pacific Limited in April 2010 and was promoted to his current position in 2012. He leads the Regional Scientific Research team and is responsible for formulating Cerebos’ scientific research directions, as well as driving scientific discovery research of BRAND’S® products. He reports to the Group CEO. Dr Paramjeet holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the National University of Singapore.