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Science Festival 2017

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Published on Monday, 20 November 2017

From November 9 to 12, the Grund and its Abbaye de Neumünster turned into an incredible research lab, with more than50 workshops for both children and adults.

The 2017 edition of the Science Festival, organised by the FNR and the National Museum of Natural History, attracted a large public that had the opportunity to discuss with the researchers present, as well as in taking part in various scientific experiments. From programming a computer to creating its own Kochkase with Super Jhemp, the activities did not disappoint!

The Luxembourg Parkinson’s study was of course present, with a booth called “Shaken, not stirred!”. Did you ever wonder how Parkinson’s patients feel like and what the symptoms are? In order to raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease and its symptoms, people could discover five different activities but also discuss with the volunteers about the actual Luxembourg Parkinson’s study.

Muscle rigidity and tremors are the two most representative motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. By placing electrodes on the forearm, one can experiment the tremors that are characteristic of Parkinson’s disease. A simple action, such as moving a spoon of salt from a recipient to another becomes a difficult exercise.  If laughter can be the first reaction among children or even adults, they quickly realise the physical and psychological consequences of having such tremors all day long.

Muscle and articulation rigidity was another symptom that the visitors could experiment at the booth, by trying on the Parkinson’s suit. Together with the elbow and knee bands, and the ankle, wrist and chest weights, this suit shows how rigid the muscles and articulations can be ; the visitors could experiment how difficult it is for Parkinson’s disease patients to not only move, but also perform simple daily activities, such as tying your shoelaces or brushing your hair. Even when not moving, they were showing difficulties coping with the weight.

Because the disease affects other parts of the body as well (such as losing the sense of smell or having difficulties distinguishing colours), the researchers also showed the tests used in the study for other symptoms. The visitors could test their dexterity, their sense of smell and their color vision, thus understanding how the brain controls the senses and the movements and why Parkinson’s disease affects them.

About the Science Festival

The purpose of the event is to present and promote science and research in Luxembourg and to encourage young people and the general public to become interested in and curious about science and technology. The Science Festival is attracting more and more visitors with every new edition and it has now become an annual event not to be missed. The first two days are dedicated to primary and secondary school classes, and the last two days are open to the wide public.