Author: This Is Your Brain producer

The past 30 years have produced an epidemic of obesity — mostly because evolution did not prepare us for so many calories and so little physical activity. Dr. Louis Aronne, a leading authority on obesity, explains how a period of caloric excess can damage the neural connections that manage your metabolism, throwing your weight regulation out of whack. More importantly, he talks about the new drug that tackles obesity at two different hormonal sites and promises to become an actual “weight loss pill.” Plus… the real reason to skip the bread basket (it’s in your brain) Phil Stieg: Hello and welcome.…

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All of life is set to music — or at least to a rhythm. From the graceful undulation of a jellyfish to the irresistible urge to bop along to our favorite songs, the urge to sway is hard-wired. Dr. Laurel Trainor, a professor of psychology, neuroscience, and behavior at McMaster University and director of the “LIVELab” there, conducts research into auditory development. She has found that our unconscious movements connect us in surprising ways, whether it’s band members playing in concert, a mother singing to her infant, or couples on a speed date. As it turns out, it can even…

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Throughout history, humans have experienced pain as punishment from the gods, a metaphysical struggle, or a simple biological process. Journalist Melanie Thernstrom, author of The Pain Chronicles, talks about the different ways humans have tried to conquer pain over the centuries. Dr. Stieg: Today I’m with Melanie Thernstrom, a journalist and author of several books including the New York Times Best Seller, The Pain Chronicles. She served on the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Advancing Pain Research, education and care in response to a congressional mandate to investigate the state of pain treatment in the United…

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People with epilepsy have been stigmatized since the time of Hippocrates. Two epilepsy specialists, Dr. Caitlin Hoffman, a Weill Cornell Medicine pediatric neurosurgeon, and Dr. Heidi Bender, a neuropsychologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital, explain what happens in the brain to cause seizures. They give parents, teachers, kids, and their classmates a primer on understanding this common disorder and how we can best help if we see someone having a seizure. Dr. Stieg: Today we’re going to talk about epilepsy. It was written about by Hippocrates 2,500 years ago. It was experienced by Julius Caesar, Truman Capote, Theodore Roosevelt, and Charles Dickens.…

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Menopause can wreak havoc on mood and body temperature as it signals the end of fertility, but some of the biggest changes it causes are in the brain. Emily Jacobs, assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at UC Santa Barbara, explains how the precipitous decline in estrogen during the “change of life” disrupts the endocrine system, and why menopause makes some women feel like they’re going crazy while others sail through unscathed. Plus: Hear from real women describing the wide range of effects they experienced.Phil Stieg: Hello, today, I have with me Dr. Emily Jacobs. Emily…

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Microbes in your intestine are talking to cells in your brain all the time – and what they say can affect everything from inflammatory diseases to psychiatric disorders. Microbiologist David Artis, PhD, and psychiatrist Conor Liston, MD, PhD, explain the connection between your microbiota and your mind – and how to influence their conversation. Dr. Phil Stieg: I’m really excited to have two scientific pioneers with us today. Their newly published research is significantly advancing our understanding of the powerful connection between our gut and brain health on the cellular level. Their research has major implications for the development of…

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