About the show

‘What’s going on in his head?’ is a unique presentation about brain injury. Using my own powerful story it sheds light on ‘the hidden disability’ and reveals some amazing insights into our brains and how they can recover from injury.

The show could be presented at your event.

The talk lasts one hour and is suitable for those aged 14+

What do i need?

There are only very simple requirements to host the talk. No complex rider though if you want to provide huge baskets of fruit, wine and massage services feel free!

1 small table

digital projector via VGA


P.A via 3.5 mm jack plug


A stage allowing access to the audience is preferred

To enquire about bookings and costs get in touch here or call science made simple  +44(0) 2920 876 884

Read what people have said about the show here

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See the show

What’s going on in his head is being presented at venues across the country during 2013 and 2014 and beyond

Mar 22nd William Harvey Lecture theatre Addenbrrokes clinical school Cambridge (discussion event)

Feb 20th 2015 Black Box Belfast 6p.m

Feb 4th Universty of Exeter room 219 Washingotn Singer building 4.pm

Jun 11th Kings College London 6.30pm

May 31st Firstsite gallery Colchester 2.00 pm

May 15th 2014 Norfolk Women’s Institute discovery day East Tuddenham Norfolk

May 8th Nick Whitehead theatre, Wrexham 7.30 pm to register click here

March 23rd 2014 Thinktank science museum Birmingam. 11.30 &2.00

20th December 2013 Addenbrookes clinical school. patient voice session

1st, 2nd November 2013 I was invited to join a team running a simulation of brain surgery at Manchester science festival. Find out more here

10th September 2013 British Science Festival Newcastle 3.pm details here

19th July 2013Cardiff science festival Dempseys, Castle St  7.30 pm details here

16th July Addenbrookes Clinical school Cambridge Lecture theatre 2 7.30 pm

29th June 2013 Lancashire science festival Foster building lecture theatre 2 university central Lancashire Preston. 2.pm details here

Extra chance to see a small part of my head!  8th April I was invited to speak at a session convened by UKABIF UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum at the neuroscience festival at the Barbican London. Details here

25th March 2013 Teviot row debating hall Edinburgh 8.pm  Edinburgh International Science Festival  details here

21st March  2013Oxfordshire science festival 7.30 pm Science Oxford details  here

13th Feb  2013 Benjamin Gooch theatre. Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

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Why don’t people just get it?

A common difficulty after brain injury is that other people don’t realise the effects that it can have on an individual.

This is partly due to the ‘hidden’ nature of the injury but also the huge variation of outcomes. Learning to live with the new you after in jury is hard, it’s enormously frustrating not to be able to do the things that were easy before, whether that be something simple like using a screen or remembering your shopping list, or something big like walking. This frustration can be worsened by expectations of employers, schools, even families and friends who don;t understand the impact of the injury and that effects like fatigue can come on quickly and be hugely disabling.

Ive tried to pull together some resources that you might share with people to help them understand- but none will represent an individual case, just lay out the kinds of things which might be found.

Brainline.org is an american site which provides fact sheets and survivor stories. You can find their guide for employers here which gives some useful tips for dealing with typical problems B.I sufferers may experience.

The encephalitis society produced a guide for carers and parents of children with brain injury. “must try harder” is a useful guide to helping children back into school.

Headway the brain injury charity provide a number of fact sheets to help with getting back to work, information for carers and employers. find them here

The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum also provides information and links on it’s website. Look here for guides to pass on

Maybe we need a template, let each individually persoanlise their own fact sheet. it’s not that you don’t understand brain injury. it’s that you don’t understand my brain injury.


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Brain stories

A fascinating collection of film on show in Oxford.


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Education and recovery

Recovery from TBI is all about making new connections in the brain and it would make sense that the ability to do this would be related to the amount of learning that took place before the injury. This capacity for rebuilding is called ‘cognitive reserve’ and a recent study seems to show a striking connection. Using the numbers of years in education as a marker for cognitive reserve a team from John Hopkins carried out a study looking at disability on admission to rehab and after a year. Controlling for other factors they were able to isolate a strong correlation between recovery and education.

Screen shot 2014-08-20 at 12.14.50The paper can be found here.

As with all studies of this type care should be taken in how these results are applied. This about averages and likelihood. it does not mean that going to university will lead to better recovery but it does seem to improve your chances.

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New Zealand International Science Festival

The festival is held every two years in Dunedin on the south island of New Zealand. I was invited to visit the country and delivery my talk and some supporting activities. Head injury has been described as an epidemic in New Zealand with huge numbers affected. The range of brain injury from mild to severe is reckoned to affect 709 in 100,000 people, that’s about 35,000 people a year and more than twice the cancer rate.

The first event was a science café discussion panel. On 7th July I was joined by a neurosurgeon Reuben Johnson who operates in the town. He explained that it was only thanks to a concerted effort that neuro services had been kept in Dunedin saving patients in the south a very long journey to the nearest unit. The event outlined the effects of injury, the importance of prompt treatment and the types of brain injury which may be caused by trauma. Around 70 people attended the event which could easily have lasted much longer than the 90 minutes scheduled. The discussion was a useful precurser to my main talk which was held that evening.

I was amazed to see a full house of over 200 people attend my talk at the Otago Museum, kind sponsors of my trip to the antipodes. There were a lot of questions with folk down under even keener to share their stories and compare effects of injury.

The following day I attended a meeting of the brain Injury Association. This support group operates like headway in the UK and acts a network and sounding board for those living with head injury. It was good to be able to talk to a smaller group and I am grateful for the kind words from those who had attended the talk the day before.

On 9th July I was ‘guest of honour’ at a lunch meeting of the Otago Medical Research foundation. This active group of businessmen and women raises funds to support medical research and is a strong advocate of regional researchers and clinicians. I was interviewed by Director of Development Steve Davie, and together we outlined the need for both population studies and clinical practice research. The session was yet another format to use my personal story to reach audiences and was well received by the 120 or so attendees.

10th July saw me take the 1.5 hour flight to Auckland on the north Island. I went to the amazing Auckland museum and presented my talk to a group of 170 people in a stunning raked auditorium. There were a large number of BI sufferers and again many questions. I had to draw a close to the session after 35 minutes as I felt fatigue coming on. A long day which left my very tired and In need of a good meal that evening!

14th July was a brief stop in Australia on the long journey home. I had been invited to speak to the Transport Accident Commission in Geelong near Melbourne. A different audience from my usual with those in attendance all involved in working with the victims of traffic accidents or involved in road safety projects designed to reduce the number of head Injurys caused that way. The TAC in Victoria funds research into medical issues and supports those who have suffered serious injury through compensation. Most of the injuries caused by traffic accidents are spinal or head. The talk went well and it was interesting to bring my story to those who deal with, often worse, outcomes every day.

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Dunedin science festival

Dunedin in south island New Zealand hosts a biannual science festival. I was invited to bring my talk in 2014 and had a great time meeting people who work with or are affected by injury. Recent research found that 790 in 100,000 people in New Zealand suffer some kind of mild to severe brain injury annually, that’s more than twice the number affected by cancer.

My talk went well delivered to a full house of around 220 people and was preceded by a discussion event with a local neurosurgeon where we explored different kinds of injury and the importance of treatment in the acute phase.

A great event in a fascinating town

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