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Broken Brain Games

Broken Brain Games is a project that has developed interactive activities to explain what causes stroke and the potential treatments that are being researched.

Snakes and ladders game.

The project is the brainchild of Dr Catriona Cunningham, an EPSRC doctoral prize fellow at Manchester who was awarded a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) public engagement grant in December 2017.

The interactive activities include a giant snakes and ladders board game illustrated by Dr Cunningham exploring the events that occur after stroke and how therapies including stem cells can promote recovery, as well as a giant Kerplunk game explaining the cause of ischaemic stroke and clot-busting drugs can help treat it.

The project also developed a slime-making activity to highlight the causes of stroke. Participants draw a card and, depending on what risk factor is on it, then add different coloured beads representing issues such as smoking and obesity to their 'blood clot'.

The activities have been successfully run at several events for hundreds of participants, including the 2018 University of Manchester Community Festival and the Science Spectacular.

"The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive," Dr Cunningham says. "My favourite comment has to be: 'All of the activities were supercalifragilisticexpialidocious… Now I really want to be a scientist!'"

Participants have also reported that they have learnt the risk factors of stroke and how to respond if they think someone is having a stroke.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and am so grateful to the ISSF for the support. We now have three fantastic activities that we can use for many years to come," Dr Cunningham adds.

"Personally, I have gained the confidence to begin a larger collaborative project to develop a STEM workshop for Key Stage 2 pupils."