The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute is pleased to announce the Carolina Consortium on Human Development topic for Spring 2020. The consortium series is titled “Brain-body connection and links to mental/physical health across the lifespan” and will be led by Eva Telzer. The proseminar meetings will be on Monday afternoons from 2:00 – 3:15 PM in the CDS lower level classroom at 100 E. Franklin St Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Please see below for further details:
Spring 2020 Theme
We will explore the complex ways the mind and brain, gut microbiome, nutrition, inflammation, and hormones interact to affect health and well-being across the lifespan. With the advent of sophisticated methodological tools to examine brain-body connections, research is showing that our brains, gastrointestinal systems, and immune function are connected, interacting reciprocally to inform development. These brain-body connections have a large impact on health and well-being, and the onset of mental and physical illness, particularly during sensitive periods of development. The goal of this seminar is to consider mental health and well-being from a holistic approach considering the multiple, interactive mechanisms that make a person whole: the brain, the body, and the environment. See below for our guiding questions.
- What are the innovative, cutting-edge methods to examine brain-body connections?
- How can researchers determine the directionality of brain-body relations? When do changes in the body lead to changes in psychosocial, physical, and mental health, or vice versa? Is there necessarily a one-directional influence or is it most often/always bi-directional?
- What are the adaptive and maladaptive ways that the brain and body respond to the environment in the short-term (e.g., immediate) and long-term (e.g., across the individual’s lifespan and across generations)?
- How can cumulative lifestyle factors contribute to the development of cognitive decline and dementia (e.g., inflammation, sugar-intake, etc)?
- How does prenatal life prepare the organism for the environment to come?Are there sensitive periods across development or candidate mechanisms that should be targeted to buffer the maladaptive consequences of brain-body connections?
- How can practitioners apply findings from scientific studies linking biology and behavior in an ethical and practical way?