14th July 2020

Our programme included a series of engaging and topical brain debates under the ‘Bridging the Knowledge’ title. The panel consists of world class mental health professionals and thought leaders and explores the core of the mental health crisis during our times, as well as discussing the effectiveness of mindfulness techniques. The debates were followed by live interactive Q&A sessions accessible by attendees world-wide. The Brain Forum also had a virtual exhibition booth where FENS conference attendees could find out more information and view various additional talks and discussions relating to neuroscience and the brain.

Debate 1

July 14th, 2020
Mental health crisis in a knowledge economy.

Mental health issues affect over 400 million people around the world and is of great cost to the economy due to productivity loss as well as health-related burden. The COVID-19 pandemic has already shown clear evidence of direct and indirect adverse effects on psychological and social wellbeing due to added stresses of unemployment, isolation, infection fears and worsening physical health. The evidence suggests that increased anxiety, depression, loneliness and insomnia are inevitable consequences of a pandemic. 
The panel will discuss the relationship between stress, neuroplasticity and resilience and its relevance to mental wellbeing both during and after pandemics.

Debate 2

July 14th, 2020
Does mindfulness really work?

Mindfulness is the ability of being fully present and aware in the moment. Achieving and practicing this ability has been associated with positive effects on cognition, workplace performance and a generally improved state of mental wellbeing. The potential of these encouraging changes are ever-so-important during current testing times. The debate will focus on evidence of the mechanisms and implications behind mindfulness, the role of neuroplasticity and neuronal changes in mindfulness and whether it can achieve a noticeable impact in our daily lives, particularly amidst a global pandemic that is causing drastic adverse impacts on mental wellbeing.