Movers & Thinkers #17: Thinking About The Brain | Nashville Public Radio

Movers & Thinkers #17: Thinking About The Brain

Jun 8, 2018

Every human is fortunate enough to have this organ inside our skull called the brain. It allows us to breathe, create art, develop new technology — and yet, it's still largely a mystery how these masses of neurons translate into thought.

In this episode of Movers & Thinkers, we'll use our power of thought to think about the brain with three guests who do it often: Suzana Herculano-Houzel, a neuroscientist and biologist who developed a method to count the number of neurons in the brain; Beverly Patnaik, a gerontologist who studies the aging brain, especially relating to Alzheimer’s and other dementias; and Karl Sillay, a neurosurgeon whose deep brain stimulation has eliminated tremors and tics.

Stay tuned — episode coming soon.

Hear previous episodes of Movers & Thinkers on our website, Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music.

Suzana Herculano-Houzel is a biologist-turned-neuroscientist-and-writer who figured out a way to turn brains into soup (human brains included) to count how numbers of brain neurons compare across different species. She is the author of The Human Advantage (MIT Press), exploring how the invention of cooking allowed the human brain to attain the most cortical neurons — even though it is not the largest brain around. Suzana spoke about that on the TEDGlobal stage, and she later presented at TEDxNashville. She teaches at Vanderbilt University.

Beverly Patnaik is a gerontologist with more than 30 years of experience in the field of aging issues. Recently, her focus has been on studying and teaching about Alzheimer’s and other dementias. She is constantly amazed at the complexity of the brain and how little is known about the cause and trajectory of these diseases. Beverly has served on the faculty at several institutions, including Duke University Medical School and Lipscomb University. She currently is director of staff training and community education for Abe’s Garden, an assisted living community for people with Alzheimer's.

Karl Sillay is a neurosurgeon who specializes in deep brain stimulation, which involves implanting electrodes to regulate movement. He also has expertise in addressing brain tumors, spinal trauma and carpal tunnel syndrome. Before attending medical school in Georgia and completing his residency at Vanderbilt, he studied electrical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Karl currently practices with the Nashville Neurosurgery Associates.