Explore the RSE school talks on health and wellbeing.
Inside out: outdoor learning for sustainable development
Dr Roger Scrutton FRSE
In this talk, we’ll move outdoors for a multisensory and experiential approach by considering how outdoor learning can contribute to protecting the planet as well as introducing pupils to some examples of outdoor learning, with practical activities if weather and facilities allow. In 1972, James Lovelock proposed the Gaia hypothesis. Today we have global warming, extreme weather conditions, biodiversity loss and threats to the very existence of some societies. In 2017 George Monbiot asked, ‘How did we get into this mess?’ The interconnectedness of environmental, social, and economic systems has threatened our way of life and we need sustainable development. Addressing the challenges facing our planet is a HUGE task but a good starting point is education, especially outdoor learning. Outdoor learning connects children with nature, supports personal and social development in addition to academic subjects such as geography and biology.
Literature and medicine: A case for interdisciplinary thinking
Dr Megan Coyer
Have you ever noticed how often medical topics feature in literature? Our human encounters with mental and physical disease and the dramatic stories of our carers can be the stuff of great literature, and knowledge of the history of medicine can enhance our understanding of literary texts.
This talk addresses the relationship between R. L. Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886) and nineteenth-century medicine to illustrate the importance of interdisciplinary thinking in literary studies. Topics that may be covered include nineteenth-century practices of medical self-experimentation, the Victorian concept of the ‘double brain’, and how Victorian doctors were dually celebrated and demonised.
Parasites and performance – How worms damage african children
Professor Francisca Mutapi FRSE
Find out about a parasitic worm as ancient as Egyptian mummies and as sly as a fox which affect billions of people worldwide. Although these parasites occur in mostly poor areas in the developing world, you will hear about some very famous British people who have been infected by these parasites during their recent visits to Africa. Discover how they affect all aspects of children’s health, ranging from diminishing the children’s ability to concentrate in class or perform during school tests and physical activities, to the detrimental effects on the function of their bladders and livers. This talk will explain how we are treating millions of children in Africa who are affected by these parasites and what differences it is making to their health and school performance.
The great British brain off
Professor Alan Gow
As people grow older, many report that their mental faculties go off the boil! But everyone experiences these changes differently: some people stay as sharp in later life as they were in midlife while others experience declines in their thinking skills that affects their quality of life and ability to live independently.
In the Great British Brain Off, ´head´ chef Professor Alan Gow considers the recipe for the perfect brain, and what the latest research suggests people might do if they feel their grey matter needs some extra spice. All your questions will be put into the mix as we explore the ingredients that might protect or harm the brain as it ages.
When going to the toilet is more than going to the toilet
Professor Francisca Mutapi FRSE
November 19th is World Toilet Day. Why should we dedicate a whole day to toilets? The answer is simple- toilets are one of the most important and cost-effective public health measures. They allow safe disposal of human waste to avoid contamination of the environment, including contamination with infectious agents. Every day, over 750 children under the age of five die from a diarrheal disease related to poor provision of toilets and unsafe water. Globally, 1 in 3 schools does not have any toilets. In this talk we discuss the importance of toilets and give an example of parasitic diseases transmitted through poor provision of toilets. We will watch a film from rural Zimbabwe to understand why human behaviour is an important consideration for providing fit-for-purpose toilets which people will actually use. Finally, we will discuss why it is critical to engage with the community when you are putting in place public health measures. This includes all public health measures including some of the ones used during the Covid-19 pandemic.