As Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Allan Ropper is able to relayed his decades of neurology experience to students, and as deputy editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, he is able to help edit, guide, and shape the selection of articles that meet the criteria for one of the top science journals of our time. He is also lead editor for one of the top neurology textbooks of current time, Principles of Neurology, now in its 11th edition.
Dr. Ropper joins on episode 252 to discuss his recent book How the Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness. It covers a history of hysteria, syphilis, and conditions that represent the deviation between the brain and the mind. Our discussion includes topics in the book, Dr. Ropper’s career, neurology as a whole, and how past responses to mental illness have functioned.
how Dr. Ropper got to be in the field of neurology
how the mind and brain are connected, and why the book relates the two
the way that Dr. Ropper influenced the field of neurological intensive care
what it is like being an editor for the New England Journal of Medicine, including some details about the editing process
the field of research that is in its current moment, with an increase in research and published papers
how individuals would like to get control of their aging or life conditions, but how we have only come so far
the difference between neurology and neurosurgery, including some of the disorders of each
what separates a brain disorder from a mind disorder
the potential over-medicalization of every-day life
the issues of syphilis and hysteria as detailed in the book
how people come into the doctor with a broad description, and a neurologist has to reverse engineer the nervous system issue
what Moya Moya is, and the details of this specific condition
why many conditions of neurology do not have a known source
how so much is described as though A or B is wrong with a person
a message regarding the theme of the book and Dr. Ropper’s link of that to brain conditions
From his start as a pediatrician, to serving as Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand for nearly a decade, Sir Peter Gluckman has represented category of science and society. He joins on this episode to discuss his career, along with his recently released book Ingenious: The Unintended Consequences of Human Innovation.
As President-elect of the International Science Council, Sir Gluckman will continue to provide value in the fields of science, health, global impacts, and more. His book Ingenious focuses on how our innovation has led to impacts we did not plan for, and how we can work with these consequences, and help to prevent unwanted future consequences.
how Sir Gluckman’s career has panned out over time, and how he started out as a pediatrician
his experience as Chief Science Advisor for the Prime Minister of New Zealand
what it means to be a “knowledge broker”, and how connecting people to the right people is an important skill
the ways that Sir Gluckman has written about or focused on reduction of obesity, as well as being co-chair of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity
partnering writing books with his co-author Mark Hanson, and what each brought to the table across the decades
how the early experience between parent and child affects so much of a person’s life
the important of psychological resilience, and how it separates segments of individuals
how evolutionary thinking is a unifying element of biology
the global impacts we are facing now, which we did not have in place 200 years ago
the belief or non-belief by citizens that their governments can help to take care of basic societal needs
dealing with misinformation that is released, and how governments or public companies can adapt
the level of research put out by smaller countries, versus the percentage put out by some of the larger countries, along with some specific examples
whether a centrally-situated response wins out against solutions around the world, to global issues
a message about how to cope with rapid environmental, social, and technological changes which are taking place
When it comes to cancer treatment, Dr. Azra Raza of the MDS Center at Columbia University has been working with patients for decades. She is an expert on myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), which are disorders caused by poorly formed or otherwise nonfunctional blood cells, and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which affects 1/3 of MDS patients. This type of cancer, along with the stories of many patients and the progressions of their treatment, is detailed in Dr. Raza’s book The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last.
Dr. Azra Raza is the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of Myelodysplastic Syndrome Center at Columbia University. She has previously held positions at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University of Cincinnati, Rush University, and the University of Massachusetts, and has been published in numerous notable journals like The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Blood, and Cancer.
One of the items I found most interesting was that Dr. Raza has collected a repository of over 50000 tissue samples from MDS and acute leukemia patients, beginning in the early 1980s. We talk about this in the episode, but I find a lot of value in being the firsthand resource in some specific category or field.
how Dr. Raza got into her career in the first place, and specifically into the field of MDS treatment
the 50000+ patient tissue samples that Dr. Raza has collected, and what they mean to potential research that can be done today
why mouse models do not provide a good representation of how a treatment will work in people
In the Department of Biology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Dr. Nicholas P. Money brings his expertise to teaching about the world of fungi/mushrooms, as well as related organisms like yeast and microbes.
In his book, The Selfish Ape: Human Nature and Our Path to Extinction, Dr. Money leads us through some of what has led humans to where they currently are, and as well, to our potential positive or negative paths down the line.
how Dr. Money got into mycology in the first place, and what kind of work he has done with fungi and mushrooms in recent decades
the way that fungi and mushrooms relate with the lives of humans, and what kinds of takeaways we can take from their evolution
what it means that food comes from entropy and ends with sugar
some of the evolution that has occurred in a non-linear fashion, along with features passed on for different future functions than original
information about some of the high-speed camera work Dr. Money worked on early on to see fungi releasing spores in slow detail
how we are more closely related to fungi than we are to plants or other animals
whether we have a potential good path out of upcoming extinction, due to global warming and related industrial pollution
what population growth means to the potential of human success on Earth
some of the scientists that Dr. Money liked or worked with
Episode 247 is on the scene with science journal Lydia Denworth, author of Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond. It covers the basis behind why we as people become friends, and how it can be so powerful. Some of the greatest things done by people came from strong friendships.
Lydia Denworth has contributed to Scientific American, and writes the ‘Brain Waves’ blog for Psychology Today. Her work is regularly across such publications as Scientific American Mind, Parents, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg News. Regarding Friendship, Dr. Nicholas Christakis of episode 232 said “If you care about what really matters in life, read this fantastic natural history of human friendship.”
what led to Lydia getting into the field of science journalism
analyzing and discussing the concept of friendship
how science benefits from reaching out to other work in related fields
why friendship is the piece of the relationship story that was left out for a long time
where long-running research in field sites is done on animals like macaques to see their social patterns
how neuroscientists can see differences in brain activity in early years of a person’s life, representing rapid growth/adjustment
how empathy and theory-of-mind is developed at a certain age range
what macaques do to subjugate other ones, and how stress responses are a part of the social win/loss paradigm
the way that public speaking or math can be used to examine stress level
what loneliness represents about the person in that position, regarding their mental health
the lunch time that exists in middle school, and what it represents for socialization and internal battles
some of the illumination on women in science in the book, as well as one way that expanded a direction of research
the types of friendships that are more valuable in the long-term, and how many close friends the average person has
how there needs to be back-and-forth in a successful long-term friendship
what face-to-face interaction means for friendship and its growth
When it comes to sustainable energy solutions, Larry Rogero has been implementing them for corporations for decades. I first met Larry through his wife Christel, who is my friend and mother of episode 208 guest nutritionist Erika Stowe-Madison. Larry brings a focus and deliberation to what he does that is necessary for long-lasting results.
Larry is Chief Operating and Strategy Officer at Summit Inspection Services, and has worked in environmental affairs for decades. He got his Masters in Environment Management at Yale University, and his Bachelors in Biological Sciences from my institution of higher learning, UC Santa Barbara.
a superb intro by Christel
what led Larry into the field of environmental concern in the first place
how wind power has been used in recent years, and where it is going in coming years
the ways that Larry has contributed to his organization, and what it takes to get a wind power project in place and going
some of the issues with installing wind turbines in new places
environmental concerns in coming years, and the amount of renewable energy we currently have in place
a reverse interview with Larry asking me many questions about the show and my ideas behind it
books read by both of us, and people we both look to as representative people to check out or follow
and much more
It was great to have Larry on the show, and it was neat to explore his methodical nature that he has displayed in his field for decades.
We dive into the collective consciousness of humans on episode 245 with Dr. Sarah Rose Cavanagh, author of “Hivemind”. The book takes us through how group elements and stories spread among people, the ways that people can build each other up or tear each other down via the internet, vulnerabilities of certain groups of people, and lessons for people to take through their days.
Dr. Cavanagh is Associate Professor of Psychology at Assumption College, and got her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Tufts University. Her research is on how patterns of emotional reactivity illuminates trajectories of risk and resilience in individuals.
how Dr. Cavanagh got into psychology in the first place
the way that elements can spread from group to group
what the hivemind represents, and how we operate as a collective consciousness
the way that stories can propel a fiction or nonfiction from a small form to a societal belief
the impact that online frameworks have had on people, whether to build them up or tear them down
who is most vulnerable to manipulation due to their current life condition and physiology
how many are walking through life in the form of a constant form of minor fight-or-flight response
a lesson about how serendipity can be built or supported in one’s existence
Our first guest of 2020 is Dr. Scott Grafton, Bedrosian Coyne Presidential Chair in Neuroscience at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of the book Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Body and the Mind Guide Each Other Through Life.
It was great to talk with Dr. Grafton because his book connected with some concepts from some authors/researchers in past episodes, and described a way of thinking about the physical element of intelligence, and how our motor function is connected with our layers of brain processing. I also went to UCSB, and that is a nice point of similarity.
Dr. Grafton is director of the UCSB Brain Imaging Center and codirector of the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. He received BA’s in Mathematics and Psychobiology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his MD degree from the University of Southern California.
brain scans and positron emission tomography (PET) for understanding of brain function
Dr. Grafton’s career, and what led him to brain and motor function research
running the brain imaging center, and how imaging has developed in recent years
where all the action in the brain is located
visual perception, and how the percentage of vision someone gives to an object relates to its importance in a broad perspective
how it is difficult to maneuver over rocks, and to create robots that would walk across rough rocks
body schema, as it compares with attention schema theory, for physical sensation
the way that practicing something in your mind connects with ability to do the motor action
how the brain creates synergies of muscle movements
how babies have plasticity, and take risks in order to understand their physical environment from scratch
how nature serves as a medicine to people and their well-being
the way that entropy is key to a healthy life, and how one does not benefit from distancing from entropic conditions
Hello my fellow podcast listeners, associates, colleagues, individuals, audience members, and personnel. We here at The Armen Show Podcast (known for its consistency, variety, depth, and goal-oriented nature) are glad to walk right into the new year of 2020.
The show starts on a noticeably different footing as compared with its presence at the same time last year, and this is a springboard into the forward progression at hand.
where we are at in the great year of 2020
how TikTok is the place where a lot of energy is currently going
some of the plans or ideas for 2020
speaking or some form of speech-providing
ways I can improve my end of the show throughout the year
emotional awareness and better blending with guests
telling more stories, and including more of my own experiences, along with mentions of past guests
how I will be including more elements without thinking if X or Y or Z is the right thing to add in
how I will be looking at other podcasters/creators to see what I can add in or improve upon
what the podcast represents and is meant to express
Keep up with the show and you are keeping up with the movement. Let’s roll onward.
Long live the year, the decade, and the dynamics that have progressed over time. This episode is me closing out the decade with some descriptions of my content creation over time, what I have noticed of the internet as it shifted over the years, and what changes I have seen in the planet in the past decade.
I like to do recaps and compilations to get a broader sense of what has happened. We can only see so much from a smaller view, but I don’t like to stick with that view. The bigger picture is the world I like to inhabit, and at times, I share that with you.
progression of my social media content over the years
my blog Timeless Information and its various contents
YouTube videos with strangers in public
SnapChat themes across different messages
Podcast audios and shared insights
TikTok clips of insights, or shared with strangers
the development of the internet over the past 10 years
what people have used and shifted toward
some global dynamics I have noticed
what cultures have more recently gone online in big numbers
what I have liked to do
Glad to have you all on the show in these times. We progress to the next decade in smooth fashion, and there is a world of opportunity for those who seek it out. To more great things~
The year of 2019 is shortly coming to a close, and we start to bring it home with episode 241, featuring guest Dr. Brian Sweis of the University of Minnesota. He was listed as one of the recipients of the Forbes 30-under-30 description in the category of Science for 2019, and his focus is neuroscience.
He completed the PhD part of his MD/PhD program in 2018, and continues through his MD at this time. His research exists “…at the intersection of affective, behavioral, and cognitive neuroscience and clinical psychiatry and neurology, particularly focused on neuromodulation interventions.” The work he does “… aims to understand how the brain processes information during decision-making and how lasting changes in the synaptic mechanisms of plasticity, particularly in the context of addiction and other psychiatric disorders, give rise to maladaptive behaviors.”
how Dr. Sweis got to where he is in the MD/PhD neuroscience program at the University of Minnesota
why is it relevant that one study the intersection of multiple fields like affective, cognitive, and behavioral science, along with neurology and neuroeconomics
what some of Dr. Sweis’ work on neuromodulation efforts looks like in terms of description and example
how there are biomarkers that are more or less reliable than others to inform researchers of an attribute in place
why decisions are multi-faceted, and can arise from distinct circuit-specific neural computations
the difference between decisions made from an emotional standpoint, versus from a logical basis, and how each can be beneficial in different scenarios
the kinds of animal and human trials that are done to research how the brain is impacted, and what kinds Dr. Sweis performs
what it means to look at decision-making in a neuroeconomic way, assessing comparative values to choices
how disorders can alter how stored information is processed
some of the scientists and advisors along the way that have guided or informed Dr. Sweis, along with the reasons why
I can see why Dr. Sweis was selected for the Forbes designation, and enjoyed discussing with him while he currently is in a study program. He has long-term goals for research, teaching, and medical work, which is a full-throttle set of items. Some of his research application qualities remind me of Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman from episode 201, who discussed his research on dopamine. Dr. Sweis also mentioned my interview with Dr. Robert Sapolsky in this episode, and I have always liked Dr. Sapolsky’s book Behave.
2019 has been a fabulous year for the podcast. There will be a couple episodes after this one, but this episode serves to describe and summarize the episodes that were covered this year, along with how they link to one another progressing through them.
This year took the show into a different bracket, as far as guests, video, and messages being provided. There was more of authors, researchers, notable individuals, speakers, and stories that resonate. I was glad it went in this direction, and the show is in a good space to start out 2020.
There are no show notes in this description, because the episode itself is a review of the past episodes.
The podcast went to many different sources this year, including Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play, and was then added to YouTube with the selection of episodes that have the guest on video, either from in-person, or on Skype.
May there continue to be more wonderful guests, things learned, and connection. Subscribe, let people know, like on iTunes or other services, leave a review, or do whatever you would like to help the show become more known, reach a larger audience, and lead to greater guest opportunities.
How does our focused attention relate to what we call “consciousness”? What types of attention are out there, and what are the functions of each type? Professor Michael Graziano explores this and more in his book Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience.
Author Michael Graziano is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Princeton University, and he has written multiple books on neuroscience, evolution, and human nature. The Graziano Lab at Princeton focuses on the brain basis of consciousness, based on attention schema theory, which was formulated by Professor Graziano.
I talked with Professor Graziano about his book and concepts related to consciousness. The mechanistic approach he brings to the topic is something that I am able to relate with.
what Professor Graziano works on with students in the Graziano lab
how the brain basis of consciousness is studied, and ways that we accept consciousness as defined
what the attention schema theory is, and how the model has two functions for daily living
the way that signals compete with each other in the computational process of attention
how a frog’s form of attention differs from that of a person, and the types of awareness that exist
what “biased competition” is, and and the battle for incoming stimuli to the cortex
why covert and overt attention are both needed, and how they differ
consciousness only being present in a few types of organisms/mammals
the concept of affordance, and how the brain works tirelessly as a prediction machine
why consciousness is defined as a hard problem, and if that difficulty can be usurped with some research method
I like people who put their thoughts out there, and furthermore, when they have a “Principles” page on their website that describes the thoughts that guide them. Cameron Porter joins on episode 238 of the show, not only as a former Major League Soccer striker on various teams, but as a current founder and funder for AlleyCorp, an organization that builds transformative companies in New York City.
At AlleyCorp, Cameron “…is responsible for new company R&D, due diligence on seed investments, as well the development of internal tools/initiatives.” Regarding his academic experience, he “… studied computer science at Princeton University where he was recognized as an Academic All-American and William Winston Roper Trophy finalist for high scholastic rank and outstanding qualities of sportsmanship.”
how Cameron ended up in the founding/funding category at AlleyCorp, transitioning away from his professional soccer career [2:20]
the concept of how greatness is not able to be planned, and the way this message has attached to Cameron’s path [3:40]
what a long-term perspective can provide, and an example of a project that took this perspective into account [5:20]
some of the takeaways that Cameron got from his time at Princeton, including those related to people [6:55]
the way that Cameron sees the soccer portion of his career in relation to what he currently does [10:20]
some differences that may have existed between Cameron and some of his fellow soccer players [12:00]
what led Cameron to playing in the position of striker on the field [14:00]
examples of a fork in life that Cameron had other than the knee injury that impacted his career [14:00]
the concept of whether something will matter in 5 years [18:20]
creation versus consumption, and Cameron’s principle of looking at output instead of input, personally or in the workplace [22:45]
incompetence over malice, and how to look at the feedback or commentary that others send to you [26:45]
perspective on fear, alternatively looked at as uncertainty [30:00]
whether Cameron thought he might have some sort of large injury before it happened on the field [32:10]
entropy in socialization and life, and the way that Cameron would want entropy to be represented in his outputs/projects [34:00]
how podcasts are not as constrained in direction as some other mediums that exist [37:30]
if Cameron would make a podcast, and what it would be about [39:00]
whether audio, video, or text input/output is most preferred by Cameron for content purposes [42:45]
I sure enjoyed having Cameron on the episode. His thoughts are clear, and on point, and he has a warm nature. To the potential of a follow-up episode in a year, to compare the deltas from where he and I were at during the time of this episode. To more good things. You can check out his website at incremental.nyc
Does the mind have less depth to it than is readily assumed? Are we able to multitask at all? Professor Nick Chater joins on episode 236 to discuss the qualities of the brain that give it depth or the illusion of mental depth.
Professor Chater is Professor of Behavioral Science at Warwick Business School, has over 200 publications, and has been editor for Cognitive Science and Psychological Review journals.
His research focuses on the cognitive and behavioral sciences, including reasoning, decision-making, and language. He has done experimental, computational, and mathematical studies of basic mental processes.
Professor Chater’s research and past content, as well as his educational history
how the myth of unconscious thought is not applicable
why multitasking is not the way that the brain is built to handle projects and tasks
the way that the material in Professor Chater’s book connects with the interpreter concept from past episodes
how little we can see with our eyes at any one time
risk-seeking qualities versus risk-averse nature in decision-making
how feelings are invented in response to physiological base responses and other processes underneath
the way that some are able to have a sense of other’s feelings, like Gary from a past episode
if it is reasonable to look at what we do in a stimulus-response form of maneuvering
I was glad to have Professor Chater on the show. You can check out his faculty page to see his breadth of publications.
Episode 235 comes into the forefront with master trainer and fitness coach Kai Boyer. Her coaching style comes with a great sense of the physiology behind movements. She has solutions for how workouts should be adjusted, in order to make up for gaps in muscular fitness building.
Kai provides a lot of services through her coaching, including a weight loss program, strength training, high performance sports training, interval training, post-surgical rehabilitation, and mean plan building. The main philosophy of her training is the concept of Kaizen, which is about little improvements over time.
I like that concept because we can deconstruct most things in life into little battles to work through, and then the large thing is no longer large. It’s like one of those physics activation energy graphs having a lower required activation energy for the goal you want. Kai uses it for fitness (and her name is in the word Kaizen), but it is able to be applied to various life hurdles.
how Kai got into the fitness category in the first place
the way that Kai built her current client base, and the types of individuals she has worked with in recent times
why nutrition is so important to fitness, even though it doesn’t fit the intuitive thought that the workout is the main component
what Kai eats during a normal week, and what a person would want to include in their diet to be able to build fitness
what workouts to add in to example workout programs to fill in gaps that may exist
how most people don’t like to stretch, and what that can lead to
where certain sports players usually get injured
how many days of strength and workout training one should have as part of a healthy week
whether a person should be more focused on calorie reduction or workout increases, based on their current plan
Having Kai on the show was neat, and she is a straightforward individual. You can check out her site and what she brings to the table at Kai Boyer Fitness.
Episode 234 gets into the swing of things with guest Dean Hallett, Founder & CEO of Hallett Leadership. During his 17-year tenure at Fox Studios, where he served as CFO, Dean developed a unique and highly effective 9-month leadership training program for early and mid-career managers. The program’s success at breaking down silos across Fox, and fostering a culture of collaboration, led to Dean’s promotion to Senior Executive VP of Operations & Management. Today, the program Dean pioneered at Fox is called the Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP), which “develops tomorrow’s leaders today.”
Decades of experience in a space is something that gives refinement we highly desire when we are looking for a person of quality. Dean has some baseline rules for leadership, as well as understanding of how to facilitate levels of leadership underneath him.
I spoke with Dean about a variety of topics related to leadership, his experience at Fox and Disney, personality traits that matter in organizational leadership, and more.
how Dean deviated from his earlier public accounting track to his positions as CFO of large corporations
why being somewhat introverted can bring value to an organization, and how introverts sometimes have the most to offer
what some examples of Dean providing leadership consisted of
how the reward structure of a corporation affects what people target their efforts toward, and how shifting this reward structure is important for improved culture
what some of the qualities are that Dean looks for in people working around and under him, to have a highly-effective organization
why letting people work their own way and be creative leads to positive and potentially surprisingly positive results
how Dean feels about feeling comfort in life, versus expanding one’s zone
what books have been read by Dean for understanding, including Collaboration Begins With You by Ken Blanchard, and The Tao to High-Performance Leadership by Jack Zwissig
why storytelling has a compelling force to it
how being fearful of training and developing your people sends them away, as opposed to the alternative
It was a pleasure to speak with Dean during this episode, and hear some other stories about his life experiences. He is a full person, as I would describe it, and is on the way in his new path. I always connect more with individuals building their own name and entities. You can check out his coaching material at Hallett Leadership.
Humans have evolved to become more domesticated, and there are multiple variables at work causing this shift. It wasn’t always this way, and human species have had a two-sided relationship with virtue and violence a long period of time. Dr. Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox, joins on episode 233 to discuss this shift and relationship.
Professor Wrangham (PhD, Cambridge University, 1975) is Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and founded the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in 1987. He has conducted extensive research on primate ecology, nutrition, and social behavior. He is best known for his work on the evolution of human warfare, described in the book Demonic Males, and on the role of cooking in human evolution, described in the book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. Together with Elizabeth Ross, he co-founded the Kasiisi Project in 1997, and serves as a patron of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).
It was neat to talk with Professor Wrangham about the ways that evolution has impacted humans as they have progressed. We also included some material on his understanding of cooking and its impacts.
how proactive and reactive aggression differ, and why that is important
some of the ways that Professor Wrangham has done research on chimpanzees to understand more about humans
where humans stand on the threshold of reactive and proactive aggression
the elements that separated Homo sapiens from the other species of humans
how intra and inter group cooperation without expectation of future returns works in principle but struggles in person
the impact of capital punishment as a way to reduce societal reactive aggression via conformity
the window of socialization that exists early in life
how the leaders of alpha males of a group impact the rest of the group, and what happens when they die off or are vanquished