This week, the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas is starting construction on a new institute – and it’s shaped like a brain.
The elliptical, mostly glass building will be a place for healthy people, as well as those with a brain injury, to assess and enhance their brain function. The 62,000-square-foot facility is slated to open in the Dallas Medical District in the spring of 2017.
When the Brain Performance Institute opens, it will offer the equivalent of physicals for the brain, virtual reality training for people on the autism spectrum, as well as training for educators, says Sandra Bond Chapman, founder of the Center for BrainHealth.
“This is going to be an institute that’s accessible by the public,” she says. “So this old idea of needing referrals isn’t necessary.”
The training will be driven by the latest science — the benefit to opening the performance institute right next to the Center for BrainHealth is that there’s an immediate connection to experts and the most up-to-date-research, Chapman says.
In July, KERA reported on the Center for BrainHealth’s research study on recovery after traumatic brain injuries. There are more than 75 funded ongoing studies ranging from healthy aging and teen reasoning to autism, Alzheimer’s and bipolar disorder.
In 2017, when neuroscientists and clinicians at the center finish studies, their findings can be put into action next door at the performance institute.
“It won’t be like a museum, it will really be more like a brain gym,” Chapman says. “We want people building resilience, building reserve so they can maintain their greatest asset: their brain function.”
Chapman hopes the institute gets people curious about how their brains work, instead of being fearful of the unknown.
“The new institute will focus more on enhancing brain potential than highlighting brain deficits,” she says.