What Does the Virus Do to Our Brain?

Under the title “The Brain in Times of the Pandemic”, the program of the BrainFair 2021 has taken up a red-hot topic. Normally, speakers are sought to report on topics on which there is already a large body of knowledge. Covid-19 is different: The 24thedition of the BrainFair dared to take a snapshot of ongoing research.

The BrainFair 2021 was all about the possible direct and indirect effects of the virus on our brain. This also includes what psychological consequences can be observed both from the virus disease and from the unfortunately necessary measures associated with it.
The program of the first evening focused on the accelerated digitalization of our society that came with lockdowns and home-office regulations. The speakers highlighted the influence of a digital environment on brain and health and how we can actively counteract possible negative consequences. On the two subsequent evenings, the speakers presented the current state of knowledge about pathological changes of the central nervous system associated with the viral infection, e.g. an increased risk for stroke or damage to nerves and muscles. On the last evening, the psychological consequences of the pandemic on the psychosocial wellbeing complemented the BrainFair program. The speakers reported that without the feeling for belonging, students show a reduced motivation to participate in online lectures and how various stress factors during lockdowns and physical distancing pose an increased risk for depression.

The BrainFair took place for the first time online as a webinar. Over 1500 interested visitors over the four evenings logged in and used actively the Q&A function. The speakers were able to answer up to forty questions from the audience per evening. If you have missed a talk or an event, you can watch the full presentations here.
As part of the BrainFair, a program was organized for school classes, where researchers from the ZNZ talked about various topics such as drugs, learning and gaming. The program was as usual highly popular and attracted registrations from 41 school classes with over thousand visitors.