Blank brain competition

31.10.2012 – Exciting news an article about our blank brain competition is in the Pharmaceutical Journal!

We were so pleased with the blank brains we have received over the last few months (see entries 1-11 here) that we wrote an article about them and sent it to the Pharmaceutical Journal to see if they would publish it. They have and it went online this lunchtime!

The article can be read here

Blank Brain Competition for Pharmacists No. 2 – submit your entries!

In honour of this article we are re-opening our competition so if anyone would like to enter please see the information below. The next closing date will be the end of the projects so 28th February 2013. I will update the documents below tomorrow to reflect this, but the same prize is on offer as before a £50 Amazon voucher for one lucky entrant (chosen at random from a hat). All the entries bar the one that won the last round of the competition will be re-entered so if you have already sent one in you may have another chance to win!

If you would like to enter a brain then read all the info below and download the templates! I look forward to receiving lots more entries!

What is the blank brain competition?

When I first started my PhD (a year and a half ago now!) I drew a picture of a community pharmacists brain. This was a quick way to illustrate all the things that a community pharmacists may be thinking about or doing when they are at work.

My supervisors and I have had a lot of fun with this image – thinking what our own versions of these brains would be like.

This led us to coming up with the idea for a blank brain competition. We realised we had spent a lot of time discussing this image of the brain and we are sure many pharmacists will either agree or disagree with our image. So we are inviting all the community pharmacists and pharmacy students who have been approached to take part in this study to take part in our blank brain competition. You are eligible to take part even if you decide you would rather not take part in the study itself.

Blank brain template

Everyone who send us a completed blank brain will be entered into a prize draw at the end of our two data collection periods. There will be two prize draws, one for University of Bath pharmacy student entrants (prize draw on 10th December 2012) and one for community pharmacist participants (prize draw 1 on 28th September 2012 prize draw 2 28th February 2012).

The prize we have to give away is a £50 Amazon gift voucher to one pharmacy student and one community pharmacist entrant!

What you need to do to enter:

1. Download the “blank brain template” in either word or PDF format

Pharmacy Student blank brain template – word document

Pharmacy Student blank brain template – PDF

Community Pharmacist blank brain template – word document

Community Pharmacist blank brain template – PDF


2. Print it and fill it out with everything that’s going on in your brain

3. Send it back to us via e-mail or our FREEPOST address (for details see the blank brain template)

4. Visit the blank brain entries page to see your entry uploaded to our website (all entries will be anonymised before they are uploaded so you will not be able to be identified by your entry)

Good Luck!

27.02.2012 – My blank brain entry

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 above (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!

An example blank brain entry based on my own (Hannah's) brain at the time.
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 because I have some, and I think they are cool here 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! I got these images for taking part in a research project when I was studying for my masters a few years ago.

An fMRI 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). The reason it is magnetic is because when brain areas are active they are thought to be using more oxygen from the local blood stream and so this changes the magnetic properties of your blood and so it responds to the magnets differently.  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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