A new Guinness World Record was attempted yesterday on the University of Liverpool campus, where more than 650 people created the largest ever brain made out of people.
The record attempt was led Professor Tom Solomon of the University’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, in aid of, the Encephalitis Society’s initiative, World Encephalitis Day (22 February). It saw 687 volunteers don coloured ponchos to form the lobes of the human brain on University Square – well over the number of 250 required by Guinness World Records.
People from 38 countries and aged from one month to 83 years old took part; all choreographed by local artist Mike Badger and Professor Solomon’s daughter Daisy.
Professor Solomon researches encephalitis – a disease characterised by inflammation and swelling of the brain, often caused by a virus. It occurs right across the globe, and can affect all ages.
As well as heading the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health, Professor Solomon also looks after patients at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, and works closely with the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, and the Encephalitis Society.
He said: “It was amazing to see so many people turn out in the rain to set a world record. What was even more amazing was to see patients and their families, researchers and hospital staff coming together with people who had never heard of encephalitis before today.”
After the World Record attempt was completed, the workings of the brain, and brain injury were explored through a performance art project co-ordinated by former liverpool Institute of Performing Arts student Emma Lingard. The members of ‘the brain’ formed the largest ever brain wave and mimicked seizures and other injury caused by encephalitis.
Support for the event came from the Wellcome Trust, and the Encephalitis Society which leads World Encephalitis Day. Ava Easton, Chief Executive of the Encephalitis Society said: “Encephalitis is a thief which robs us of abilities which we take for granted. We were thrilled that the Liverpool Team has come up with such an innovative way to raise awareness of the Day.
“The University of Liverpool’s work on encephalitis is world class both in the diagnosis and management of the condition and raising awareness. Put simply, they save lives.”
It is expected that the team will know if they have achieved the world record, technically termed ‘The Largest Human Image of an Organ’, within the next few weeks.