Winner of the Community Pharmacist Blank Brain Competition

I am very late in posting this, but a couple of weeks ago – on Friday 28th September to be precise, we held the random prize draw for the winner for the community pharmacist blank brain competition. My fabulous colleague Dr Rachel Charlton (Pharmacoepidemiology Research Officer Extraordinaire) kindly selected one number at random from a hat (well actually a bag – as I didn’t have a hat to hand). Below is a photo of the winning number – entry number 3  (Rachel is a wee bit camera-shy so I promised I would only take a photo of her hand to put on the blog).

 

And here is the winning entry!!

It was a brilliant entry – but I thought they all were – I was so thrilled to even get 1 entry never mind 11! So thank you to all the pharmacists who submitted a blank brain. You have made my PhD that bit more special and exciting and I am so proud of this competition – it just goes to show, research can easily be fun and engaging and relevant to the population it is designed for,  it doesn’t have to be all about statistics and experiments!

Please keep your eyes out for more blank brain competition updates – I hope to have some more exciting news very soon.

The blank brain competition….

27.02.2012

On Friday we received the ethics to run a competition whilst recruiting and testing participants. The competition is just for fun and to make this project a bit more interactive and help us to advertise the project. Hopefully it will take off!
Anyway, now that the ethics has  been received I can finally start advertising the competition – which will be called our blank brain competition. More details can be found out about it here (including what made us come up with this slightly bonkers idea). To get this competition kick started, as promised here is my very own completed blank brain as an example of the kinds of entries we are expecting. This is just everything that I am doing/thinking about today. Some of it uni related, some of it not. I have no idea whether this is a normal amount of thinking and doing! We shall see when we get some more entries. I am hoping I can persuade Jane and Marjorie to do their versions of their brains too!

Whilst my brain looks busy and it is, often things aren’t too bad as our office is very orderly and not too noisy. For me, a busy day is when I don’t have time to think about food because I am too busy to notice that it is almost lunchtime!!

Also as promised below are some fMRI images of my brain. By contrast to my completed blank brain, it doesn’t look like much is happening in my brain whilst it was being scanned!

fMRI images of my brain

For those of you who aren’t familiar with fMRI, here is a quick description of what you can see. fMRI stands for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Often people will have MRIs – Magnetic Resonance Imaging of their brains, following a stroke because it is measuring certain properties of the blood flow in your brain (the idea being that the blood flow changes when regions of the brain are activated / in use). One has a functional MRI when they are put in an MRI scanner for a more prolonged period of time, and the activity in their brain is measured as they are doing different tasks. Where you can see different red and yellow splotches this represents activation in these areas of the brain – the gradient of colour (red through to yellow) tells you how much activation is occurring in that area. I would like to say this is what my brain looks like when I am doing a specific task, but really from my experience of this particular study I think this just relates to confusion, as I had to remember lots of very complex (and random) patterns and consciously I felt like I couldn’t distinguish between those I had seen before and those I hadn’t. So really what you are seeing is confusion – and probably a little bit of anxiety and irritation because the task was so hard!

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