Discovering the brain

Jul 18, 2018

When we set out to put together this episode of "Take Care," WRVO's health and wellness show, we were told over and over again that there wasn't a lot known about the topic we wanted to explore -- the brain. The brain is infinitely complex. What we do know about the brain we've learned from neuroscientists, biologists and psychologists -- and they're continuing to make ground-breaking discoveries daily about how the organ works and what that means for our health and wellness. Needless to say, we took a stab at it anyway!

First, we start with some brain basics. Dr. John Medina is a developmental molecular biologist focused on the genes involved in human brain development and the genetics of psychiatric disorders. He's also the author of "Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School," and other brain books for baby and aging. He explains exactly how little we know about this all-important organ, but also shares some insight into how what we do know about the brain could help us live better and generally be better -- including taking a nap everyday.

Have you ever taken one of those tests online where you figure out if you're a right brain person or a left brain person? Probably depends on how creative you are and maybe how much you like math, right? Wrong. Dr. Jeff Anderson explains that the neuroscientific community has never supported the theory that your personality is somehow determined by one hemisphere of your brain or the other. Dr. Anderson teaches radiology at the University of Utah School or Medicine and also directs the fMRI Neurosurgical Mapping Service there.

If you take a neuroscientist and combine her with a nutritionist, you get Dr. Lisa Mosconi. She's a neuronutritionist and author of the book "Brain Food: the Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power." In this episode, Mosconi helps us understand what kind of foods actually fuel your brain and why a generally healthy diet doesn't always translate to a healthy brain diet.

In the last few decades, society has made some progress when it comes to breaking down gender norms, but some things just don't budge. For example: most baby clothing for girls is pink and most baby clothing for boys is blue. Boys get embroidered dinosaurs on striped onesies and girls get frilly-edged dresses that proclaim their status as a "Princess." We speak to Dr. Lise Eliot to explore sex differences in the brain and how these small differences can grow into troublesome gaps. Eliot is the author of "Pink Brain, Blue Brain," and a professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science.

Finally, for the latest in health and wellness, we turn to the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Diane Chan, and other scientists at MIT, are making discoveries about brain rhythms that could have implications for brain-related diseases like Parkinsons and Alzheimer's, as well as other neurological and psychiatric diseases.

Tune in for "Take Care" on Sunday, July 22 at 7 p.m. and on Friday, July 27 at 1 p.m.