“I understood their psyche somewhat,” says Hanna, chair of MetroHealth’s neurology department. “They were just so heavily into the internet.”
Inspired to embrace technology as a means of education and ideally get students working together, he founded MetroHealth’s Teen Brain Health competition, which challenges Cuyahoga County high schoolers to produce creative, 60-second infomercials on a topic related to brain health.
Each year, the competition focuses on different brain-related issues or trends likely to spark teens’ interest. Recent topics have included autism, marijuana and the opioid crisis.
“The infomercial’s aim is to plant a seed for a better future through healthful living, harm avoidance and disease optimization,” Hanna says.
Winners, which are selected by Hanna, receive a hefty cash prize — $2,500 for first place and sometimes $1,000 for second. In creating their infomercials, applicants collaborate with their peers and educate themselves and one another on important, brain-related issues.
And although students can enter individually, Hanna says working in teams aids in teens’ brain development.
“There’s this evolutionary theory about why the human brain is so big,” he says, “and it’s because of socialization.”
Ultimately, Hanna hopes the competition encourages teens to pay attention to their own brain health.
“Teens need to understand,” he says, “that caring for their brains by both disease avoidance and health optimization will lead to a better tomorrow.”
Click here to better understand how staying social can improve brain health.
Click here to read the more articles from Best Doctors: Special Brain Health Report cover package.
8:00 AM EST
July 29, 2019