The human brain is now wired for change

Baroness Susan Greenfield

Baroness Susan Greenfield
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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Modern technology is rewiring our brains at an alarming rate after remaining relatively unchanged for 30,000 years. What impact will this have on society?

According to this year's University of Adelaide annual Florey Lecture speaker and world-leading neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, the human brain is in for a roller coaster ride this century.

This Friday 3 September, Baroness Greenfield will present her thoughts on how technology, neuroscientific advances and designer drugs are modifying our brains as never before.

Regarded as one of the most influential brain experts in the world, Baroness Greenfield will be in Adelaide later this week to help celebrate the University of Adelaide Medical School's 125th anniversary.

Her free public lecture in Bonython Hall will examine the impact of screen technologies on young brains, the effect of drugs and strong sensory messages on the brain, and how nanotechnology will soon provide early-warning signs of brain malfunction.

"Human brains have a superlative ability to adapt to changing environments," she said. "Since the 21st century is delivering a vast range of new technologies that are rapidly transforming our environments, our minds are also undergoing unprecedented changes, from youth through to old age."

"Two new technologies will have a huge impact on our lives in the future - biotechnology and nanotechnology.

"The first will enable us to live longer and healthier lives as we develop more sophisticated pharmaceutical drugs and introduce early screening and regenerative medicine therapies.

"Nanotechnology will break down the firewall between the body and the outside world, with the development of sensors that will detect early warning signs of disease and also directly manipulate the brain.

"Although age-related illnesses will increase due to an ageing society, there will be more effective treatments," she said.

Baroness Greenfield is widely known for her research into Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases and has received a life peerage and a CBE in the United Kingdom.

She was Director of the Royal Institution of Great Britain until January 2010 and is currently Director of the Institute for the Future of the Mind at the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at the University of Oxford.

WHAT: 2010 Annual Florey Memorial Lecture: "Brain of the Future"
WHERE: Bonython Hall, University of Adelaide
WHEN: 5.30pm-7:00pm Friday 3 September 2010
COST: Gold coin entry at the door, with proceeds to the Florey Research Medical Foundation

To register your attendance at the lecture go to


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