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Cambridge Neuroscience at the Hay Festival

The Cambridge series at the Hay Festival 2013 has now been announced. Taking place between 23rd May and 2nd June this year, the Hay Festival brings together writers from around the world to debate and share stories in the staggering beauty of the Welsh Borders. A host of Cambridge academics and alumni will speak about subjects ranging from obesity and smart drugs to US politics and domestic service at this year’s Hay Festival. 2013 is the fifth year that the University has run it Cambridge Series at the Hay Festival, one of the most prestigious literary events in the world. This year for the first time speakers include alumni such as Chris Blackhurst, editor of The Independent who will speak with Professor Simon Blackburn on the current crisis of trust in major institutions including the press, the police and parliament following a series of scandals.

Please visit the Hay Festival website  for further details on the festival – bookings, transport, accommodation etc. Visit the Cambridge Festival of ideas website for details of the Cambridge series and below are details of the Cambridge Neuroscience as part of the festival.

May 25th - 11.30am

Barbara Sahakian, professor of neuroscience, a Fellow of Clare Hall College and Bye-Fellow of Christ’s College: Bad moves: how decision-making goes wrong

Making decisions is such a regular activity that it is mostly taken for granted. However, damage or abnormality in the areas of the brain involved in decision-making can severely affect personality and the ability to manage even simple tasks.

Professor Sahakian will discuss the process of normal decision making – our strategies for making decisions, biases that affect us, and influential factors – and will describe the abnormal patterns found in patients with conditions such as severe depression, Alzheimer’s, and accidental brain damage.

Looking at the ways in which the brain can be manipulated to improve cognitive function in these patients, she will consider the use of ‘smart drugs’ that alleviate these problems and the ethical questions that arise about the availability of these drugs for cognitive enhancement.

May 26th - 7pm

Sadaf Farooqi, professor of metabolism and medicine and a Fellow of  Trinity College: What makes us fat

In an age of obesity where sugary, fatty food is available 24/7, will it ever be possible to control our appetites? Professor Farooqi will describe how the brain and not the stomach controls what and how much we eat and how scientists are working to conquer the many triggers for overeating.

Posted on 12/04/2013

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