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Tauranga's Café Scientifique unveils brain activity

8 September, 2014

Tauranga's Café Scientifique unveils the electrical activity in the brain

Tauranga’s Café Scientifique will see Dr Marcus Wilson, Faculty of Science and Engineering from the University of Waikato, explain how different patterns of electrical activity in the brain can be seen when someone is sleeping, thinking or under general anaesthetic. This Monday 15 September we can find out what we know about electrical signalling, what this means and how it can be measured.

Dr Wilson will explain what neurons, a form of brain cell, do and how an electrical signal can travel from one neuron to another. How can a population of brain cells show different behaviour than that of just one single cell in the context of sleep and anaesthesia?

He will also talk about recent research on how brain activity can be changed. A good example is the medical technique of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: by applying pulses of magnetic field to the brain we can generate electrical currents in the brain and make certain populations of neurons fire. This can cause desirable (and undesirable) effects. It is sometimes applied to sufferers of stroke to help the brain strengthen new pathways around a damaged area.

Café Scientifique is a forum for discussing science issues, where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. The Café Scientifique series is organised by Julia and Warren Banks and supported by the University of Waikato. It aims to promote public engagement and make science accessible.

The next Café will take place on Monday 15 September, 6.30pm for 7.00pm start at the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, 90 Keith Allen Drive, Sulphur Point, Tauranga. Entry is $5.00 and refreshments are provided. For more information please visit:
or email


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