Health Day – Gallery Stage

This is an event from the 2018 edition

Pop along to one of our free, drop-in health-related talks in the Gallery, with diverse subjects from nicotine addiction to ageing, and from our brains to sperm! First come, first served.

10.30am–11am Women in ground close combat: the science behind the headlines – CANCELLED

11.15am–11.45am The science of nicotine addiction: How can we minimise harm?

Age: 14+

CigaretteTaking a social science approach, Dr Caitlin Notley from Norwich Medical School will discuss how nicotine addiction works, physically but also psychologically and socially. The latest evidence on alternatives, using nicotine in less harmful ways – such as e-cigarettes – will be debated, with discussion on how to help people sustain long-term behaviour change to improve health and prevent cancer.

Dr Notley will draw on diverse theories from across traditional medical approaches, as well as psychological and social medicine, to discuss the concept of addiction to nicotine through cigarette smoking.

Overall evidence suggests that, once a person becomes a habitual smoker, their addiction becomes far more complex than simply the physical need to continue to smoke. Smoking often plays an important role in people’s lives and becomes part of their social identity, making it an extremely difficult habit to break, despite widespread evidence of significant harm to health.

Various approaches to helping people stop smoking, and critically stay stopped from smoking, will be discussed. The latest evidence of the relative harms of vaping in comparison to smoking will also be presented. Tackling addiction to cigarette smoking with ‘reduced harm’ products such as e-cigarettes will be considered, with discussion of how these products might support long-term health behaviour change. Particularly, the potential of e-cigarettes to meet social and psychological needs of ex-smokers will be considered.


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12pm–12.30pm The brain’s potential for change: insights from deafness

Age: 12+

The extraordinary capacity of the brain for functional and structural reorganisation is known as neural plasticity. Understanding neural plasticity gives us insights into not only how the brain works, but also how it can be changed… and maybe enhanced.

Sign LanguageUsing examples from research in congenitally deaf people, Velia Cardin from the School of Psychology at UEA will describe what happens to those regions of the brain that that respond to sounds in hearing people. In deaf people, regions of the brain usually involved in hearing are not dormant, and are instead used for things such as vision, touch, sign language and other functions. This suggests that the function of a brain region can be modified – in this case by early sensory experience – and is more malleable than what we previously thought.


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1.30pm–2pm Understanding trouble with our brains

Age: All ages

BrainIn this talk, Steve Smith from the School of Health Sciences at UEA will discuss how we perceive, think, communicate, plan, remember and control movement; how these functions are affected by neurological conditions including stroke, Parkinson’s disease and dementia; and implications for approaches to care.

Steve Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing, in the School of Health Sciences at UEA. He specialises in care for people with long-term neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease; dementias including Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia; multiple sclerosis; and Huntington’s disease.

In this talk, Steve will outline brain functioning and will draw conclusions regarding some of the most effective approaches to caring. Although problems affecting our brains is a very complex subject, the topic will be discussed in easy-to-follow language and will be understandable to people with no prior specialist knowledge.

It is appreciated that some of the subject matter may be close to home for some attendees. Steve is used to discussing these sensitive matters with people affected by neurological conditions and their family caregivers. Following the discussion, Steve will be available to discuss concerns with individuals.

Given the sensitive nature of the subject, parental discretion is advised regarding children who may have any problems with memory, perception, control of movement and other brain functions, or have close relatives affected by brain disorders such as dementia.


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2.15pm–2.45pm The diseases are fighting back!

Age: 10+

TabletsWhen we go to the doctor for a bacterial infection, we are often given antibiotics to fight it off. The bugs are getting clever however – they are becoming resistant to antibiotics! What does this mean? Will it affect us? What are scientists doing to fix this major global problem that will soon be dominating the headlines? Join Danny Ward from the John Innes Centre and UEA to find out more in an approachable way, accessible for all audiences.

John Innes Centre

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3pm–3.30pm Why do we age? – Please note this talk has been cancelled

3.45pm–4.15pm Every sperm is sacred… or maybe not?

Age: 12+


Sexual reproduction is a fundamental process that occurs in the majority of plants and animals, including humans. Despite being so common we know surprisingly little about the biological and genetic processes involved.

In this talk, Simone Immler from the School of Biological Sciences at UEA will present an overview of what we know – and what we don’t – about sexual reproduction in very general terms, and discuss the wider implications of improving our knowledge for human health.


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Friday 26 October
Venue: The Forum, Gallery
Cost: Free, drop-in