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Back to Humanity – Andy Habermacher
Andy Habermacher is one of Europe’s leading experts on Neuroleadership — applying brain science to leadership contexts. Understanding the brain can highlight some surpassingly simple and meaningful insights into human behaviour. Andy will show that the evolution of the brain and growth of the brain in humans can point us to what is really important in life and where we can find our deepest wishes and desires. Ironically the brain’s core functioning and evolution can also draw society down the wrong path and may end up going against the needs of humanity — can we get back to humanity?
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity – Albert Einstein
Healing Damaged Relationships
Relationships are the most valuable things we have as human beings. Damaged relationships can severely handicap the quality of our lives. Learn how to take steps in healing your most important relationships.
What controls aging? Biochemist Cynthia Kenyon has found a simple genetic mutation that can double the lifespan of a simple worm, C. elegans. The lessons from that discovery, and others, are pointing to how we might one day significantly extend youthful human life.
When it comes to aging well, having “good genes” (or rather, mutant ones) is key, says Cynthia Kenyon. She unlocked the genetic secret of longevity in roundworms — and now she’s working to do the same for humans.
Why you should listen to her:
Cynthia Kenyon is revolutionizing our understanding of aging. As an expert in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of California at San Francisco, she is particularly interested in the influence that genetics have on age-related diseases (from cancer to heart failure) in living things.
Her biggest breakthrough was figuring out that there’s a “universal hormonal control for aging”: carbohydrate intake, which can have a dramatic effect on how two critical genes behave, reducing insulin production and boosting repair and renovation activities. So far, her theory has proved true for worms, mice, rats, and monkeys — and she suspects it applies to humans, too.
By studying aging, Kenyon believes that she and other scientists (many of whom have successfully duplicated her experiments) will be able to pinpoint the molecules responsible for the onset of age-related diseases in people and prevent them. She’s co-founded a drug-development company called Elixir Pharmaceuticals to do just that.
She says: “The link between aging and age-related disease suggests an entirely new way to combat many diseases all at once; namely, by going after their greatest risk factor: aging itself.”
“Ten years ago, we thought aging was probably the result of a slow decay, a sort of rusting. But Professor Kenyon has shown that it’s … controlled by genes. That opens the possibility of slowing it down with drugs.” Jeff Holly, Bristol University
Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged looks for the roots of humanity in Ethiopia‘s badlands. Here he talks about finding the oldest skeleton of a humanoid child — and how Africa holds the clues to our humanity.
Zeresenay “Zeray” Alemseged digs in the Ethiopian desert, looking for the earliest signs of humanity. His most exciting find: the 3.3-million-year-old bones of Selam, a 3-year-old hominid child, from the species Australopithecus afarensis.
Why you should listen to him:
Paleoanthropologist Zeresenay Alemseged studies the origins of humanity. Through his Dikika Research Project (DRP) in the Afar desert of Ethiopia, he has discovered the earliest known skeleton of a hominid child, the 3.3-million-year-old bones of Selam, a 3-year-old girl of the species Australopithecus afarensis. She is a member of the same species as Lucy, discovered nearby in 1974.
In studying Selam’s tiny bones, Alemseged is searching for the points at which we humans diverged from apes. For instance, Selam may have had ape-like shoulders, made for climbing trees — but her legs were angled for walking upright. Her young brain, at age 3, was still growing, which implies that she was set to have a long human-style childhood. And in the hyoid bone of her throat, Alemseged sees the beginning of human speech.
Born in Axum, Ethiopia, Alemseged is based in San Francisco at the California Academy of Sciences where is is the Director and Curator of the Anthropology department. Prior to this, he was a senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. To see more video from Alemseged, visit the video archives of Nature.