The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #20 - Dr. Sarah McKay
Dr Sarah McKay is a neuroscientist and science communicator who specialises in translating brain science research into simple, actionable strategies for peak performance, creativity, health and wellbeing.
Sarah grew up in New Zealand where she completed BSc(Hons) at Otago University, then headed to Oxford University for her PhD. She sums up her thesis with the words, ‘Nature, Nurture or Neuroplasticity’. After five years of postdoctoral research, Sarah hung up her lab coach to pursue a career in science communications.
Sarah is the author of The Women's Brain Book—The neuroscience of health, hormones and happiness, and the director of The Neuroscience Academy, which offers professional development program in applied neuroscience and brain health. In 2019, Sarah hosted an episode of ABC Catalyst exploring brain health, bio-hacking and longevity. In 2020, Sarah will take part in Homeward Bound, a women-in-STEMM leadership expedition to Antarctica.
Sarah has been published extensively for consumers and professional audiences. She’s been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Grazia, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and Body & Soul, and can be seen and heard on SBS Insight, ABC Radio National, Radio National, ABC Catalyst, and Channel 7.
Sarah lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her Irish husband and together they are raising two surfer dudes.
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10:45 - Sarah's Personal History And Path To The Brain
17:10 - How The Brain Processes Information
21:00 - What Determines The Self, Identity, And Consciousness?
26:15 - The Male Vs. Female Brain: Common Misconceptions And Stereotypes
34:00 - The Male Vs. Female Experience, And Role Of Hormones
41:00 - The Critical Period Of Adolescence And Brain Development
44:15 - Streamlining And Pruning Of The Prefrontal Cortex
46:20 - Anxiety, Trauma, And Other Mental Stress In The Brain
48:45 - The Root Of Strong Emotions
51:00 - Is PMS Real?
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1:00:55 - The History Of Hysteria
1:02:25 - Hormone Imbalances And Root Causes
1:07:35 - Hormonal Fluctuations, Menopause, Hot Flashes, And Hormone Replacement Therapy
1:16:00 - The Difficulty Of Unlearning Fear
1:18:00 - The Longest Lived Populations: Mindset, Social Connection, And Sense Of Purpose
1:24:00 - Is Meditation Necessary?
1:31:00 - Stress And Cortisol In Men Vs. Women
1:32:50 - Brain Changes During Pregnancy
1:36:05 - Brain Change During Menopause
1:38:00 - How Do Orgasms And The Brain
1:38:25 - The Role Of Daydreaming In The Brain
1:42:30 - Are Depression And Mental Issues Natural?
Get Dr. McKay's "The Brain Health Toolkit": Hand-picked tools & strategies give you a head-start on using brain science in your work and life.