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Let's Talk About Women

A Podcast of the IRTG 2804


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  • 11. Let's Talk About the Parental Brain

    57:52
    Tune in to this episode for an enlightening conversation on the profound transformations of the brain in transition to mother- and parenthood: PhD candidate Franziska is interviewing Dr. Magdalena Martínez-García, researcher in the “Neuromaternal” group in Madrid. Using longitudinal neuroimaging studies, she and her team investigate structural and functional neuroplasticity across different stages of pregnancy and beyond. Don't miss out and join us when we dive into how (and why) both the maternal and paternal/parental brains are shaped by pregnancy, experience as well as time shared with the offspring.Timestamps:00:00 Introduction 01:44 What happens during pregnancy within the mother's body?04:00 What is neuroplasticity?06:05 Neuroplasticity during pregnancy18:18 Do pregnancy-related changes in the brain reverse?23:35 Why does the brain of mothers-to-be change?27:20 Why we should NOT be scared of pregnancy-related neuroplasticity and brain volume shrinkage!32:02 What are neural plasticity mechanisms during pregnancy in human mothers?37:01 Research on brains of fathers and parents42:03 Time spent with the child matters: experience-induced plasticity43:46 What is the importance of research on the parental brain?47:20 Summary 50:25 The next step in research on neuroplasticity of peripartum and parenthoodMany thanks to Julia Siódmiak for contributing to this episode!Sound recording: Franziska Weinmar with the equipment of the IRTG2804Editing: Franziska WeinmarDo you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions? Get in touch with us: irtg2804.podcast@gmail.comAre you intrigued by this topic and want to be kept updated? Follow us on twitter: @irtg2804 or instagram: @irtg2804

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  • 10. Let's Talk About Stress & Stress Regulation

    58:55
    With our first episode in 2024, we are back and ready to talk about stress and stress regulation! In this episode PhD candidate Franziska Weinmar hosts Dr. Lydia Kogler, a clinical psychologist by training, expert on the neuroscience of stress and associate of the IRTG2804. Together they dive into the complex world of stress and stress regulation - especially if and how women and men differ in this regard. To this end, this episode leaves us with more insights, a suggestion on how to improve our resilience to stress, and curiosity for future talks on this topic!Stress is part of our everyday life. But what does stress mean and how does the body react to stress? In this episode Lydia explains:01:21: What is stress? (01:21)05:30: How does the stress response leads to behavioural and endocrine adaptations?08:28: The role of cortisol11:49: How do we induce stress in the lab?14:22: What neurological changes come with stress?15:34: How chronic stress affects the body...18:58: ... and mental healthNext, Lydia talks about sex/gender differences:22:58: Sex differences in the stress response...26:25: ... its neural basis....27:17: ... and psychological effects28:00 Sex differences in stress related disorders30:18: Reasons behind sex differences33:50: Consequences of sex differences in stress response35:15: Why is it important to look into sex differences?39:24: Mechanisms of stress regulation44:49: How self-esteem influences the stress response49:00: Sex differences on a neuronal level...50:03: ... and a hormonal level50:18: Implications of coping mechanisms52:00: Summary54:57: What is the next question to ask about sex/gender differences in stress response or regulation, especially considering female-specific processes? Many thanks to Anna Denninger for contributing to this episode!Sound recording: Franziska Weinmar with the equipment of the IRTG2804Editing: Franziska WeinmarDo you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions? Get in touch with us: irtg2804.podcast@gmail.comAre you intrigued by this topic and want to be kept updated? Follow us on twitter: @irtg2804 or instagram: @irtg2804
  • 9. Let's Talk About the Power of Natural Rhythms

    49:47
    In this episode, we're hosting cognitive neuroscientist Prof. Sara Mednick who is visiting Tübingen all the way from the University of California, Irvine. Being an expert in biorhythms, she explains the importance of natural up- and downstates such as related to sleep, the menstrual cycle and the transition to menopause. What are biorythms and how can we use especially downstates to improve our wellbeing? How can we use the knowledge on hormonal changes to balance our mood and cognition? Sara is here to give us a new perspective on our natural rhythms!Timestamps: 01:30 What are biorythms?03:31: What is the power of downstates?06:42: How can we use biorythms & downstates for our wellbeing & cognition?08:00: Sleep as restorative downstate12:40: What is the menstrual cycle?14:32: How does the menstrual cycle affect other biorythms?15:50: Sleep as mood buffer during the menstural cylce21:40: A change in prespective on the menstrual cylce30:40: Changes in sleep in the transition to menopause34:22: Subjective vs. objective measures of sleep & cognition39:45: Wellbeing during (the transition) to menopause42:53: Summary44:40: A future vision for women's mental health: awareness, reseach & empowerement.Sara's popular-scientific books: https://www.saramednick.com/books"The Power of the Downstate: Recharge Your Life Using Your Body's Own Restorative Systems" (2022)"Take a Nap! Change Your Life. The Scientific Plan to Make You Smarter, Healthier, More Productive" (2006)Thanks to Nina Röhm for supporting & exchanging ideas in preparation of this episode!Sound recording: Nina Röhm with the equipment of the IRTG2804Editing: Franziska WeinmarDo you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions? Get in touch with us: irtg2804.podcast@gmail.comAre you intrigued by this topic and want to be kept updated? Follow us on twitter: @irtg2804 or instagram: @irtg2804
  • 8. Let's Talk About Psycho-Neuro-Immunology in Pregnancy

    41:36
    In this episode we talk about one of the major transition periods many women will undergo throughout their life: pregnancy. How does the field of psych-neuro-immunology help us to understand pregnancy and related mental health problems?  From Uppsala in Sweden, PhD Candidate Franziska Weinmar is interviewing Dr. Emma Fransson, a child psychologist and associate professor at Uppsala University and at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. Emma’s research focuses on mental and reproductive health, specifically in identifying biomarkers for pregnancy-related complications. These include mental health problems such as postpartum depression, which is affecting up to one in five women after giving birth.  Dive with us into the interactions of the immune system, the brain, and psychological wellbeing, as we outline what is happening during pregnancy, what makes some women vulnerable for depression associated to pregnancy, and how we can use this information in the future. Timestamps:01:30 What happens during pregnancy? 05:10 What is “psycho-neuro-immunology”?07:35 Pregnancy as a psycho-neuro-immunological transition phase 09:05 What factors contribute to postpartum depression? 11:55 Major depression and postpartum depression: Differences and subtypes? 14:50 Inflammatory markers during pregnancy: Risk for postpartum depression?18:15 Predictive markers for postpartum depression? 20:40 Screening and prediction of depressive symptoms across the postpartum period 25:45 Preventive approaches of postpartum depression: Using psycho-neuro-immunology.29:18 What do we know about the pregnant brain? 33:24 How does postpartum depression affect the child?     36:36 Summary38:33 What is the next big step for research in psychoneuroimmunology during pregnancy, especially when considering pregnancy-related mental health? Thanks to Hanna Wierenga for exchanging ideas in preparation of this episode!Sound recording: Recording Studio Blasenhus, Uppsala University Editing: Franziska Weinmar with support from Andreas Forsberg (Recording Studio Blasenhus, Uppsala University) Do you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions? Get in touch with us: irtg2804.podcast@gmail.comAre you intrigued by this topic and want to be kept updated? Follow us on twitter: @irtg2804 or instagram: @irtg2804
  • 7. Let's Talk About Translational Research

    51:02
    After our summer break, we're back - so: Let's Talk About Women!In this episode, we're hosting the one and only Dr. Liisa Galea (Center of Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada). PhD candidate Franziska Weinmar asks Liisa all about translational research from animal models to human health: What we have learned and achieved so far, and what is yet to be uncovered - especially regarding female-specific mechanisms? With the aim to improve (mental) health for all, we ask: Who gets a disorder and when?Timestamps:01:41 - What can research in animal models reveal about humans?06.11 - What are current achievements for us humans today that would not have been possible without research in animal models?15.10 - What are achievements of research in animal models for *women*?24.10 - Research on female-specific mechanisms using animal models33.00 - Lack of research in female samples: reasons & consequences41.08 - What are current limits of research in animal models?46.00 - Summary48.08 - What is the next big step in research on women's mental health and how can research in animal models help us getting there?Thanks to Gloria Matte Bon & Anna Denninger for exchanging ideas in preparation of this episode!Sound recording & editing: Center for Media Competence, University of Tübingen. Do you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions? Get in touch with us: irtg2804.podcast@gmail.comAre you intrigued by this topic and want to be kept updated? Follow us on twitter: @irtg2804 or instagram: @irtg2804
  • 6. Let's Talk About Sleep

    01:08:34
    Welcome back to Let’s Talk About Women! In this episode, PhD Student Franziska Weinmar is talking to Dr. Christian Benedict about something that we all love: sleep. But how do women sleep? Christian and Franziska are diving deeper into the jungle of sleep science - recognizing that even after an hour of a highly captivating discussion, they are only just scratching the surface...Timestamps:01:10: Why do we need sleep?11:05: How do women sleep?16:30: Is there a role of sex hormones in women's sleep?37:40: What happens to sleep during the transition to menopause?47:30: What are consequences of poor sleep during menopause?55:50: Does sleep improve after menopause?58:30: Summary1:03:30: What is the next question regarding sleep and women's mental health?A huge thanks to Lieve van Egmond for exchanging ideas in preparation of this episode!Sound recording & editing: Center for Media Competence, University of Tübingen. Do you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions? Get in touch with us: irtg2804.podcast@gmail.comAre you intrigued by this topic and want to be kept updated? Follow us on twitter: @irtg2804 or instagram: @irtg2804Christian's popular-scientific books(German): "Schlaf ist die beste Medizin" (https://www.edenbooks.de/book/schlaf-ist-die-beste-medizin-klappenbroschur-97839591238/)(Swedish): "Sömn, sömn, sömn" (https://www.bonnierfakta.se/bocker/223532/somn-somn-somn/)References:Sleep and immunity: Spiegel, K., Rey, A. E., Cheylus, A., Ayling, K., Benedict, C., et al. (2023). A meta-analysis of the associations between insufficient sleep duration and antibody response to vaccination. Current Biology, 33(5), 998-1005. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.02.017REM sleep and fear extinction: Wassing, R., et al. (2019). Restless REM sleep impedes overnight amygdala adaptation. Current Biology, 29(14), 2351-2358. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.034Sleep and menstrual cycle (Review): Gupta, P. D. (2022). Menstrual cycle effects on sleep. Clinical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 5(2), 042-043.DOI: 10.29328/journal.cjog.1001105Sleep-disordered breathing and menopause: Siguroardottir, E. S., et al. (2022). Female sex hormones and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea in European women of a population-based cohort. Plos one, 17(6), e0269569. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269569Sleep loss and the socio-emotional brain: Vallat, R., et al. (2020). Sleep Loss and the Socio-Emotional Brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24(6), 435-450. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2020.02.003 Sleep, brain health and Alzheimer's disease: Cedernaes, J., Osorio, R. S., Varga, A. W., Kam, K., Schiöth, H. B., & Benedict, C. (2017). Candidate mechanisms underlying the association between sleep-wake disruptions and Alzheimer's disease. Sleep medicine reviews, 31, 102-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2016.02.002
  • 5. Let's Talk About the Fe/Male Brain - Part 3

    20:45
    Welcome to this Let’s Talk About Women special!Over three parts, PhD Student Franziska Weinmar is taking you on site to the Fe/Male Brain Symposium held Tübingen, April 2023. In interviews, three speakers of the symposium, all of which are pioneers in the field of sex and gender research in neuroscience, share their insights on the most recent developments in this field as well as future implication of their research for women and men.In this episode Franziska is talking to Prof. Daphna Joel from the Tel Aviv University in Israel. Among others, she is known for her research on the theory of the mosaic brain about which she has also written a book (English: "Gender Mosaic - Beyond the Myth of the Male and Female Brain"; German: "Das Gehirn hat kein Geschlecht")A huge thanks goes to Prof Daphna Joel, Dr. Claudia Barth & Prof Markus Hausmann for taking their time for these interviews!Also, props to Gloria Matte Bon for being the doorkeeper, ensuring that the recordings on site at the symposium were not disturbed.Sound recording & editing: Center for Media Competence, University of Tübingen. Do you have any feedback, suggestions, or questions? Get in touch with us: irtg2804.podcast@gmail.com or instagram: @irtg2804Are you intrigued by this topic and want to be kept updated? Follow us on twitter: @irtg2804