Introducing the World in Mind: A New Blog at Big Think
Kayt is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the Author's Guild and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW). She has recently returned to the United States after living abroad for six years and has just published her first book, DIRTY MINDS: HOW OUR BRAINS INFLUENCE LOVE, SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS, an exploration of the neurobiology of love (Free Press, 2012).
Kayt Sukel's writing credits include personal essays in the Washington Post, American Baby, the Bark, USAToday, Literary Mama and the Christian Science Monitor as well as articles on a variety of subjects for the Atlantic Monthly, Parenting, Cerebrum, BrainWork and American Baby magazines. She blogs regularly about traveling on the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award winning travel blog, Travel Savvy Mom; and science, love and life at the Houston Chronicle's Hearts and Minds blog.
You can often find her oversharing on Twitter as @kaytsukel.
“Do you think we should get our brains scanned before getting married?” a friend asked me as we browsed a crowded department store, selecting important items for her bridal registry. At first I thought I must have misheard her. She threw the question out much in the way she might have asked how many bridesmaids are too many, or if she should bother registering for two sets of fine china in this economic climate.
“Where did that come from?” I replied.
After reading an advance copy of my book, DIRTY MINDS: HOW OUR BRAINS INFLUENCE LOVE, SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS (Free Press, 2012), my newly engaged friend came across an old LiveScience piece online entitled, “Brain Scans Could Reveal If Your Relationship Will Last.” As a woman about to walk down the aisle (and ask her friends and family to invest in some seriously overpriced sheets and crockware sets), she wanted to know if I thought it was legit. Perhaps, one day in the not-too-distant-future, couples like her and her fiancé would be registering for fMRI scanning sessions along with table settings for 8.
It’s not an outrageous question. Technology and science have now advanced to the point that disciplines like biology, genetics, epidemiology, evolutionary science, psychology, philosophy, computer science, and medicine have converged into the catchall field of neuroscience. More and more, neuroscientists are demonstrating that the brain is behavior—the two simply cannot be teased apart. These advances allow researchers to use science to view even the most complex of human behaviors—including love, free will, morality and parenting—through an entirely new lens.
It would be one thing if these studies stayed in the laboratory. But neuroscience has reach far beyond the Ivory Tower. Today, findings are not only influencing public policy but the way we now think about our day-to-day lives. We want advice and direction, whether it’s about the best way to parent our children, at what age it is ethical to execute deadly criminals or, yes, even whether a marriage license should also require some biological proof of commitment, backed by cold, hard science. More often than not, society is now looking for answers to a lot of those big universal questions about life, love and the rest of it, in genetic profiles, cell cultures and brain scanners.
My name is Kayt Sukel. I am a passionate explorer and science writer—and, admittedly, a bit of a brain nerd. I’m also a single mother, a political junkie, Kindle addict, world traveler and natural born skeptic. WORLD IN MIND will discuss the latest neuroscientific studies—the ones that are popping up in headlines, think tanks and courtrooms across the country—to discuss what the results really mean and how they might be applied, both today and in the future.
Going back to marriages and brain scans, I told my friend that, at this point, she’d probably get just as much out of flipping a coin as she would from any neuroimaging results. There’s no definite proof of love—yet. I knew before I answered that it wasn’t quite the answer she was looking for. But I won’t apologize. It’s likely that many of my posts will elicit as many questions as they do answers (if not more). But they are the kind of questions that will help us to learn more about how our minds act in the world, while still keeping the world in mind. I hope you’ll join me and ask a few questions of your own.
Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.
- A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
- This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
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