July 19, 2012
Holy Non-Concussion, Batman!
Beginning this weekend, scifi fans will be lining up at theatres to see The Dark Knight Rises, the much-hyped third instalment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Among them will be University of Victoria neuroscientist E. Paul Zehr, who—it’s a safe bet—will be scrutinizing the action onscreen unlike anyone else in the theatre. “Batman is one of a small group of comic book superheroes who make great foils for exploring the limits of human biology and technology,” says Zehr, author of Becoming Batman (2008) and Inventing Iron Man (2011). “Batman represents the pinnacle of human performance and is a perfect superhero to think about when exploring possibilities.”
Zehr, a martial arts expert who studies how the nervous system controls movement and rehabilitation of walking after stroke or spinal cord injury, remains fascinated by what special modifications and adaptations Batman might use to get an edge over his adversaries and protect himself from injury. For example, based on our current and near-future science, what kind of helmet could be built into the Batsuit now to avoid concussion? “New materials and structures are being developed to provide improved concussion protection in head impacts,” says Zehr. He discusses these and other advances in Dark Knight neuroscience in an exclusive guest blog published today on the Scientific American website at http://bit.ly/NAZySb.
For more information on Zehr’s work, visit www.zehr.ca.
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