Musethereal: the fusion of music, art, technology, and neuroscience
Angie Coombes partnered with Branch Out to create a wearable technology project for Calgary’s MakeFashion Gala.
February 29, 2016
Angie Coombes is an artist and songwriter.
Music has been a mainstay in my life ever since I was a little girl. It was my first love, and continues to give me great pleasure to this day. However, as one would guess, life has taken me on a journey through many fields of interest and endeavors. During my university studies, I discovered my passion for the brain and neuroscience. At the time, I was enrolled in one of the few neuroscience programs available in the entire country, and I loved every minute of it. To me, the brain and human nervous system is like the final frontier of medicine, still shrouded in mystery and complexity – a story that is still yet unfolding.
Fast forward to today, and I am happily embarking on a fusion of music, art, technology, and neuroscience as part of my wearable technology project, “Musethereal”, for Calgary’s MakeFashion Gala (http://www.makefashion.ca). For this project, I am partnered with Calgary’s Branch Out Neurological Foundation to promote awareness of their organization and neuroCAM research (Neuroscience + Complementary and Alternative Modalities).
A few months ago, I was flipping through a copy of Avenue Magazine that featured Calgary’s Top 40 under 40 – young people doing great things in our city. As I was browsing the list, I came across an article featuring an inspirational woman, Crystal Phillips, who is the Executive Director and Founder of the Branch Out Neurological Foundation. Crystal was an Olympic speed skating hopeful, but at the age of 19, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a condition that causes irreversible deterioration of the nervous system. Crystal was determined to find a natural way to allow her body to heal, and this drive led her to develop the field of neuroCAM research, which is funded exclusively by her charity, the Branch Out Neurological Foundation. To read more about her incredible story, click here.
It was at this very moment that I knew I had to reach out to Crystal and somehow be involved with her organization and their vision for neurological research. It just so happened that my project proposal for MakeFashion had recently been accepted, and I could think of no better way to promote neuroCAM research and the Branch Out Neurological Foundation than with a brainwave controlled LED dress designed with the neuron in mind.
So what is the Branch Out Neurological Foundation all about, anyway?
Essentially, the foundation exists to help mitigate and eliminate the 600+ diseases of the nervous system that affect nearly 20% of the world’s population. They’re doing it with an open mind by “branching out” to fund a new field of research dubbed neuroCAM (neuroscience + complementary and alternative modalities). They help to fund students and academics to engage in valid, peer-reviewed scientific research into traditional medicines and other forms of healing and preventative care not traditionally studied by Western medicine. They fund basic, translational, and clinical trial research, and last year alone they raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for students and researchers working toward better treatments.
With an aging global population and an increase in neurological disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease, it is imperative that we put a focus on understanding the human nervous system and the mechanisms that underly neurological disorders, from all perspectives. It is with all of this in mind, that I pledge to use both the Musethereal MakeFashion project and the release of my debut single, ‘City in the Sky’, (and future release of an album) to raise money for and promote awareness of neuroCAM research and the Branch Out Neurological Foundation. If you would like to support this cause, please make a donation at https://branchout.nationbuilder.com/donate