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James Clemens’ population exhibits research findings at Brain Health Expo

James Clemens students Jessica Colsch, at left, and Patrick Callaway show the aftermath to a helmet and bicycle after an accident. Both seniors, Colsch and Callaway work in health science internships at Huntsville Hospital. (CONTRIBUTED)
James Clemens students Jessica Colsch, at left, and Patrick Callaway show the aftermath to a helmet and bicycle after an accident. Both seniors, Colsch and Callaway work in health science internships at Huntsville Hospital. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Neurons, blueberry muffins and a wrecked bicycle were all part of the second annual Brain Health Expo at James Clemens High School on March 11.

This year, more than 150 James Clemens students and 14 teachers researched and then created exhibits and activities. “We worked with all Madison City Schools’ fourth-graders, about 704 students, and their teachers as they participated in activities on three consecutive days,” Leah McRae said.

McRae teaches human body systems, medical interventions and honors biology.

Along with its title purpose, the expo allowed successful school-wide collaboration, teenagers’ participation and promoting good brain health, McRae said.

Dr. Adam Hott from HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology was keynote speaker. Hott discussed neuron’s connections in the brain and their methods of communication.

To demonstrate the brain’s power, Hott had the audience close their eyes and imagine walking into a kitchen with blueberry muffins cooking. With complete concentration, individuals could smell the muffins, McRae said.

Hott also explained the institute’s genetic research to help ALS patients.

Biomedical science and honors biology students prepared exhibits of neurons, the brain, and cell model. Fourth-graders enjoyed a game with racing neurons that James Clemens students designed.

“Healthcare science students set up ‘Vitals and Cranial Nerves’ (to explain) association between the two,” McRae said. “They engaged the participants in checking their blood pressure and various cranial nerve tests.”

Biomedical science students created Styrofoam models of the head and brain parts. “These students took the fourth-grade students a few at a time as they walked them through the parts. Then, they let them play an interactive game that reinforced the functions,” McRae said.

Students in art, drama, education, food and nutrition, The Academy, child development and foreign language collaborated on learning activities within their discipline.

Common-sense practices, like physical activity, learning a foreign language and good nutrition, are excellent methods to maintain a healthy brain, McRae said.

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