Cohen, Dr. Gene — The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain

 Do people over a certain age necessarily loose mental acuity? According to Dr. Gene Cohen, the answer is “no.”  Dr. Cohen, a psychiatrist and gerontologist has determined that certain genes are activated by experience as we age, allowing our personalities to grow and change. The brain has reserves of strength and agility that compensate for the effects of aging on its other parts.

 Dr. Cohen has found that the information processing in the 60 to 80 year old brain achieves it’s greatest density and reach. He explains these and other developing concepts in brain research in his book, “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain.” I spoke with Dr. Cohen in March 2006 from his office on Aging, Health & Humanities, in Washington D.C., where he is the Director. We began our conversation with his description of the importance of the role of creativity on the mind.

 The book Dr. Gene Cohen recommends is “Tuesdays with Morrie: A Young Man, An Old Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson,” by Mitch Albom. 

 This program was originally broadcast on April 18, 2006.

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Dr. Alondra Nelson – Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome

 

Who we are and where we come from is a crucial question that now we are more able to answer than ever before. The examination and analysis of our individual DNA, in addition to answering a myriad of medical and forensic secrets also reveals the mix of our individual ancestors and the paths they took. This analysis provides significant and untold information about who we are, from where we came and how we may connect with our relatives.

Dr. Alondra Nelson, the Dean of Social Science and professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University, in New York City, is our guest in this edition of Radio Curious.

Professor Nelson is the author of The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation After the Genome. She s also the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, which she and I have previously discussed on Radio Curious.

To discuss The Social Life of DNA, Professor Nelson and I visited by phone from her office n New York City, on February 19, 2016. We began by noting that although all human beings are members of the human race, people are grouped by skin color and/or facial features and characterized as being of a different race.

The book she recommends is “Come Out Swinging,” by Lucia Trimbur.

This program was recorded on February 19, 2016.

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Vertosick, Dr. Frank — Evolutionary Intelligence

In this program we visit concepts of evolution and intelligence, some of which were raised after our series on near term human extinction.

What is intelligence?  What kind of intelligence do non human creatures have?  What are the different levels of intelligence that can be found in single cells, or invertebrates, up to human beings? 

Neurosurgeon Dr. Frank Vertosick, author of “The Genius Within: Discovering the Intelligence of Every Living Thing,” discusses these and other questions about learning among all species.   He talks about the learning that occurs through evolution or alteration of the genetic structure and about the learning, of the way we commonly think of it, by studying or by experience. 

When Dr. Frank Vertosick and I visited by phone from his office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in early October 2002, we began when I asked him to describe the different levels of intelligence and the development of intelligence in invertebrates.

The book Dr. Frank Vertosick recommends is “Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life,” by Albert-Lasio Barabasi.

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Bainbridge, Dr. David — Why Women Have Curves

I presume that all of you have, at one time or another, noticed that within the greater animal kingdom, the female of our species has a curvaceous body shape visibly different from the shape of the male homo sapiens.  Why women have curves and how these curves reflect on other aspects of our lives, is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. David Bainbridge, Professor of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, England and the author of “Curvology:  The Origins and Power of Female Body Shape.” 

When Dr. David Bainbridge and I visited by phone from his home in England on March 6, 2015, I asked him “why is it that female humans are curvy?”

The book Dr. David Bainbridge recommends is “Intelligent Life in the Universe,” by I.S. Shklovskii and Carl Sagan, published in 1966.  It is a product of a unique international collaboration between a world famous Russian astronomer and a leading American space scientist, presenting a modern discussion of the entire panorama of natural evolution.

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Rossi, Ernest — How to Turn On Genes and Reconstruct Your Brain

Psychosocial and cultural genomics is a healing process that connects the mind-body to emotional and physical healing and is our topic in this archived edition of Radio Curious. Our guest is Dr. Ernest Rossi, a practicing psychologist, hypnotherapist and an expert in dreams. Dr. Rossi describes how we humans can activate a specific gene within us to advance our abilities, or recover from an injury.

He suffered a major stroke in the early 2000′s that impaired his speech and movement. Dr. Rossi managed his own recovery using psychosocial and cultural genomics. He and I visited at the 11th Milton Erickson Psychotherapy Congress in Phoenix, Arizona in December 2011. I turned on the recorder and asked Dr. Rossi to explain how gene expression works.

Dr. Ernest Rossi recommends your choice of the 36 books he has authored or edited, some of which may be found at his website.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Wells, Spencer — The Peopling of the World

Around 60,000 years ago, a man – identical to us in all important genetic respects – lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. This is known because the secrets of human evolution are hidden in our genetic code. In this edition of Radio Curious, we visit with geneticist Spencer Wells, author of the book and movie, “Journey of Man, A Genetic Odyssey.”

Spencer Well is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., where he leads the Genographic Project, which is collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from people around the wold in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the world. He is also a professor a Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The book Spencer Wells recommends is “No Logo,” by Naomi Klein.

Originally Broadcast: February 10, 2004.

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Wells, Spencer — The Unforseen Cost of Civilization

In this edition of Radio Curious we revisit a conversation with Spencer Wells about his book, “Pandora’s Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization,” published in 2010.

Our interview is a follow-up to a 2003 conversation about his book, “The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey,” in which Wells traces our routes as small bands of hunter-gatherers when our ancestors walked out of Africa approximately 60,000 years ago and began populating the world.

“Pandora’s Seed” tells the story of what we humans, with our hunter-gatherer biological construct have created in the past 10,000 years. These multiple life style changes have produced what we call “civilization,” with systems and mechanisms that will not allow us to continue the life-styles that are emulated by many people world-wide, and exploited by those who have access to them. In other words, we can’t last much longer doing what we are doing without radically reducing the way we all live, if not outright killing our species.

Spencer Well is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., where he leads the Genographic Project, which is collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from people around the wold in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the world. He is also a professor a Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

In this interview with Spencer Wells, recorded on July 19, 2010, we began by describing the changes necessary for our species survival.

The book Spencer Wells recommends is “The Histories,” by Herodotus, a 5th century B.C. Greek historian.

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Hong Fincher, Leta Ph.D. — Gender Inequality in China: Part One Leftover Women

The erosion of gender equality in China is the topic of this two part series with Leta Hong Fincher, the author of “Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China.” This book is based in part on her research for the Ph.D. in sociology she received in 2014 from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

In our first conversation we discuss governmental, social and family pressures on women to marry by age 27. Those who don’t are characterized in cartoons and posters as “leftover women.” We also discuss the why home ownership deeds are most often only recorded in the name of the husband, regardless of the fact the wife has made a significant if not great financial contribution.

In the second conversation, we discuss issues of domestic violence in China and treatment of women in the workplace.

When Leta Hong Fincher and I visited by phone on August 9, 2014 we began our conversation with her description of the term “leftover women.”

The book Leta Hong Fincher recommends is “The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory,” by Lydia H. Liu, Rebecca E. Karl and Dorothy Ko.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Brizendine, Dr. Louann — The Female & the Male Brain: There is a Difference

Have you ever been curious about the difference between the male brain and the female brain? Well I have, for a long time. Dr. Louann Brizendine, founder of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California at San Francisco wrote two books about those differences. In 2006 she wrote a book called, “The Female Brain,” and in 2010 she wrote “The Male Brain,”–very different books about very different genders of our human species.

The interview with Dr. Louann Brizendine was recorded by phone from her home in San Francisco, Ca on March 21st, 2011. We began by discussing the mail brain and in particular, the chapter to her book titled “Seeing the World Through Male Colored Glasses.”

The book Dr. Louann Brizendine recommends is “The Emperor of All Maladies,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Click here or on the media player below to listen to part two.

Cochran, Gregory — The 10,000 Year Explosion – How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution Part Two

In this, the second of two Radio Curious interviews, we continue our discussion of human evolution with Gregory Cochran an aerospace physicist and professor of anthropology at the University of Utah; his expertise is in genetic anthropology. Gregory Cochran along with Henry Harpending, also a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah, are the co-authors of the 2009 book “The 10,000 Year Explosion – How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution.” This book explores how humans appear to have evolved over the last 10,000 years, largely driven by civilization-the place, culture and lifestyle of the time.

In this two part conversation, recorded by phone with Gregory Cochran from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 23rd, 2009, we discuss how humans have genetically evolved.

In part one we discussed the changes in human biology such as lactose tolerance and resistance to malaria that represent human evolution accelerated by civilization. We also discussed the intermixing of neanderthals and humans and the genetic benefits in our species that continue to this day.

In part two, Cochran discusses how gene mutations have allowed specific human advantages in different locations around the world.   We began with his discussion of the migration of the human species out of Africa, which resulted in some people living in the northern latitudes.  People born in these areas with a random genetic mutation resulting in skin of a lighter color allowed them to absorb more vitamin D from the sun, thus giving them better health and a greater opportunity to have off spring. We also discuss the genetic mutations that contribute to certain types of intelligence.

The book Gregory Cochran recommends is”Tthe Princeton Companion to Mathematics,” edited by Timothy Gowers.

Click here or on the media player below to listen to part two.