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Pint of Science 2017

Three days, 11 countries, 150 cities, over 450 events and all for one great cause: making science accessible to the public! Now in its fifth year, Pint of Science is the world’s largest science festival, with talks falling into one of seven categories, including ‘Our Body’, ‘Planet Earth’ and ‘Atoms to Galaxies’.

This year, three PhD students from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) - Emily Smith-Woolley, Yasmin Ahmadzadeh and Ziada Ayorech - organised events under the theme ‘Beautiful Mind’ at Café 1001 on Brick Lane.

Mental Health And Technology

This event offered the chance to find out more about how technology is shaping the way we assess and treat mental health problems and its popularity meant that tickets sold out within a week of going on sale. The evening kicked off with Dr Lucia Valmaggia, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at the IoPPN, who spoke about the use of virtual reality for the treatment of mental health problems, including a number of current projects her group (The Virtual Reality Research Group) are working on.

This was followed by Dr Amy Hardy, Research Clinical Psychologist, also from the IoPPN, who spoke about a new app ‘SlowMo’, which she is jointly developing with academics, clinicians and software developers. The app aims to help people with feelings of paranoia visualise their thoughts and thinking habits to find ways of feeling safer. Audience members were also able to try out VR and give feedback on the app.


Highs And Lows Of Drugs

This sell-out event aimed to give an insight into the uses and potential effects of drugs, both recreationally and clinically. Kicking off the evening was Senior Lecturer Dr Derek Tracy, who spoke about novel psychoactive substances describing what he sees in practice, as well as research around their potential risks and the current laws in the UK. Giving the clinical angle to the uses and effects of drugs was Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Timothy Powell. His research into drug repositioning for depression led to debate around the use of big data to find alternative treatments.

Food For Thought

The final event saw two leading King’s Professors talk about their research into the treatment and effects of eating behaviours – both eating disorders (such as anorexia and bulimia) and obesity. Ulrike Schmidt, Professor of Eating Disorders at the IoPPN, touched on a novel method for treating anorexia – repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation - and presented promising findings from an initial feasibility pilot. This was followed by Professor Lucilla Poston, Director of the Maternal and Fetal Research Unit at King’s, who spoke about the risks of obesity before and during pregnancy, illustrating this using research from animal models.

Emily Smith-Woolley from the IoPPN, said: ‘These events demonstrated the cutting edge research currently happening at the IoPPN, as well the passion and enthusiasm our staff have for the work they do to improve mental health and mental health services.’

The events were all sponsored by Hindawi Publishing, who donated specially-designed ‘Beautiful Mind’ T-shirts, bags and notebooks, and King’s Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy (SSPP).