BrainWorks: The Theatre of Neuroscience


Our production of BrainWorks is about as close
to the bone as it gets for me. How the brain functions and how the brain
doesn’t function is a huge part of my life. With our patients and their families we conversations
that are pretty involved about what’s gonna happen, risks and benefits and the families
become involved in that conversation. They become a part of that process that transforms
them, that heals them. And it’s this kind of conversation we want
to bring to others in BrainWorks. It’s so important to us to make progress
on diseases like cancer, stroke, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. We have so much to learn and you have two
people who are both exceptional physicians but also great teachers and they love what
they are doing. They lived through the stories of their patients
and have learned about the limits of science and technology. When you look at the brain it is by definition
the most complex thing that was created in the universe. And I see speed limit sign, I’m going about
45mph that sign is received through my eyes and goes through occipital lobes where it
is. When they firs told me what they planned to
do I said gosh that is going to be very difficult, good luck with that project. But the more I thought about it and learned
more about what they were going to do. It became clear to me that if ahh two people
around here could do a great job on this it would be those two. Their energy, intensity and creativity kind
of suffused the whole thing. BJH, Washington University and BJC is a learning
organization and this whole thing played right into that sweet spot. And it was a novel, innovative idea and said
yeah let me see what I can do. Through using a story about a patient, these
physicians knew and they knew well, they would be able to convey some fascinating facts about
the brain and how it functions in a way that I ahhh even I, I’m not a clinician, could
talk to my family about or my neighbor about. It’s very hard to imagine the production
until your there and then it becomes really intriguing. It uses humor and storytelling techniques. Those two physicians were so warm
Yeah, I would watch a dozen of those (and the operation)
The production was unbelievably successful. But we were also able to put it on film and
the Nine Network taped it that evening. And now to see how those clips have been used
and I think that made us realize, we got something here. It’s his moment of reckoning
Medicine is incredibly human, medicine determines if we are healthy or unhealthy, medicine determines
if we live or die. To pair those questions with an art form that
deals with human empathy and human behavior is something I’m proud to be bring to the
stage so that everybody can see it. There are those moments when you see something
that you feel something that you feel just has a instant connection with the public television
audience and that’s what I felt with BrainWorks and we can take that to millions of people
across the United States. That’s what I’m very excited about. Part of what I hope BrainWorks accomplishes
is to educate on what is available in the area of neurosciences and advancements in
research and clinical care.

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