A recent lecture in my module ‘Diseases of the Human Nervous System’ got me thinking of some of the different ways in which science can be communicated and for different purposes. It doesn’t always have to be as simplified press releases and articles aimed at people who maybe don’t have a scientific background, but could also be to those who are already interested in science to better illustrate specific concepts.
The lecture by Dr. Lebeau was based on the mental disorder of Schizophrenia. As a Biomedical student we typically looked at the symptoms, causes, pathology etc. Then, along with the usual power point slides containing bullet points of the so called ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms of the disease, we were shown some artwork!
The pieces shown are a series of self-portraits painted by a Canadian artist, Bryan Charnley who suffered from Schizophrenia. Examples of symptoms we looked at are social withdrawal, and disruption in information processing/sensory perception. Both of these Bryan depicted in one of his portraits and the diary entry that goes alongside; “I can only say that I cannot socialise at all because of my weakness verbally…The nails in my eyes express that I cannot see whereas other people seem to have extra sensory perception and I am blind in this respect.”
Not only was it much more attention-grabbing to see some artwork in a science lecture, but I felt like I was better able to understand the symptoms of Schizophrenia and became more absorbed in the topic.