UCC ACE Short courses

Brain Health

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Brain Health

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    Six weeks, Mondays 7-9pm, from 27 January to 2 March 2020

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    Cert of Attendance

  • Fees

    €150 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Applicants should be over eighteen years of age at course commencement. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Friday 17 January 2020

  • Venue

    Western Gateway Building, Room G17, UCC

  • Start Date

    27 January 2020

Course Outline

The human brain is the most amazing, mysterious and complicated organ. Keeping it healthy is critical to our sense of well-being, especially as we age. It is like a muscle and when it is used, we feel a sense of balance, control and harmony.

Not long ago it was thought that the brain grew in childhood and once it reached maturity remained more or less stable before deteriorating somewhat with age. We now know that this view of the ‘static’ brain is out of date. The brain is a superb instrument and its greatest delight is to work properly. The old saying ‘use it or lose it’ certainly applies. In recent years brain scientists have drawn our attention to some remarkable discoveries on how the brain has the capacity to change. It is a plastic, living organ that can actually change its own structure and function, even into old age. Every time we have a new experience or learn a new skill our brain changes to adapt to the new situation but, more importantly we are able to change our brain throughout life. In this way we can say that our brain is “plastic” –this ability to bend, remould and reshape our brain. This short course will look at how the brain works and will outline nine L.I.F.E.S.T.Y.L.E habits to enhance brain health in daily life based on new research findings.

Course Content: 

(1) Meet your brain -- How did the human brain evolve….? What are the different parts of the brain and what do they do….? Why do neurons trigger connections between our thoughts, emotions and memories….? Where do our memories go….? What is the mind, consciousness and the brain….? How come every brain is wired differently….?
(2) The brain explained -- The discovery of brain plasticity….. What is going on in the brain during childhood years…,?  Teenage years…,?  Adult years and in old age….? How do we store and retrieve information….? What is our short-term memory….? Our long-term memory….? How do we adapt to our environment…. and forget so easily….? Do I have a working brain….? 
(3) The power of brain habits – Why do habits exist….? How is a habit born….? How do habits work in our brains….? More importantly, how do habits change….? What is the ‘habit loop’….? Habit routines and rewards….? The ‘groove’ theory of habits….? Habits are often as much a burden as a benefit. What is the role of habits in the way our brains learn, our liking certain foods, or our motivation to exercise or not….?  
(4) Meet your second brain – How does the brain and your digestive system (your second brain) communicate….? What is your gut instinct or gut feeling….? How does perceived stress disrupt this communication pattern….? Why is sleep, contact with other people and setting goals so critical to our brain health and sense of well-being….? 
(5) Our brains and Dementia – What is Alzheimer’s disease....? Can it be prevented or delayed….? What are the signs and symptoms of early, moderate and advanced Alzheimer’s….? How can we communicate to ‘connect’ with a loved one who is experiencing a brain degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s….?
(6) Technology and the brain – what is the Cyber effect….? Is communication technology shaping the way our brain understands the world….? Is the Internet changing our behaviour, societal norms and values, children safety and security….? Will technology change everything we take for granted about ourselves….? The future…. What are the options….???

Course Practicalities

Who teaches this course:

Dr. Denis Staunton


Short courses are non-assessed


Why Choose This Course

This course is about the revolutionary discovery that the human brain can change itself. It will tell a fascinating story about recent research on the mysterious workings of the brain. One such discovery is that you have the power to train your brain to help you function more effectively and enhance your overall health. The course will examine three questions (1) What do we know about the brain? (2) How does the human brain work? (3) What strategies and habits enhance brain health?


Applicants should be over eighteen years of age at course commencement.

Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €150.

How Do I Apply

The closing date for applications is Friday 17 January 2020. Fees are listed in each course description. Students register and pay fees before course commencement as follows:

1. Register and pay online by clicking the Apply Now button below. Course commencement is subject to sufficient enrolment. In the event of a course not commencing applicants will be informed and their fees will be returned.

2. Payment may also be made by credit or debit card, cheque, postal order or bank draft made payable to UCC and these should be returned together with a completed application form to Short Courses, Adult Continuing Education, The Laurels, Western Road. Application forms are available from the office or they may be downloaded from the link below.

3. Students may also hand in completed application forms to the office at ACE between 9:15am and 5pm each day prior to the closing date. We regret we are unable to accept cash.

Application Form Jan 2020

Apply Now

Contact details for this course

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact