Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding

Please join The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital Board of Advisors for an Open Mind program with Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D., author of the best-selling, myth-busting new book Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. , evolutionary biologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and a cardiologist in the Division of Cardiology at UCLA, will join Dr. Lieberman in conversation.

In his new book, Dr. Lieberman, Professor of Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, discusses the relationship between moderate and vigorous physical activity and human brain size and makes the argument that humans’ exceptionally large brains are in part the result of our ability to engage in endurance physical activities such as long-distance running. He also discusses why physical activity is important for maintaining brain health and that humans evolved to engage in moderate lifelong physical activity when it was necessary and rewarding, but otherwise conserve limited calories. As a result, we never evolved to exercise or do physical activity just for the sake of health and fitness. However, the absence of regular, lifelong physical activity fails to activate important repair and maintenance mechanisms that are important for neural health. As a result, habitual physical inactivity increases our vulnerability to a range of diseases.

Dr. Daniel Lieberman received degrees from Harvard and Cambridge University, and taught at Rutgers University and George Washington University before joining the Harvard Faculty in 2001. He studies and teaches how and why the human body is the way it is, and how our evolutionary history affects health and disease. He is best known for his research on the evolution of the head and on the evolution of running and walking, which he studies by combining experimental biomechanics, anatomy, and physiology, both in the lab and in the field. He has conducted research in Africa for almost 30 years, and now also works in Mexico. He loves teaching and has published well over 150 peer-reviewed papers, many in journals such as Nature, Science, and PNAS, as well as three popular books, The Evolution of the Human Head (2011), The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease (2013), and Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding (2021). In his spare time, he enjoys running.

Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz’s research focuses on the natural world as a source of insights into human pathology and developmental challenges. Her New York Times bestseller, Zoobiquity, co-written with Kathryn Bowers, was a finalist in the American Association for the Advancement of Science Excellence in Science Books Award, a Smithsonian Top Book of 2012 and a Discover Magazine Best Book of the Year. It has been translated into seven languages and has been chosen as Common Read at universities across the country. She is also the co-author with Kathryn Bower, of Wildhood – the Astounding Connections Between Humans and Animal Adolescents. Both books were featured at past Open Mind programs.

Tuesday, May 25
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM PDT

Registration is required for this free
live private Zoom event.

To register, click here.

Free Event: Author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life

Dr. Suzuki, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at NYU, will talk about her international bestselling book, Healthy Brain, Happy Life that tells her story of her own transformation through exercise and offers practical and fascinating ways to improve memory, engage the brain more deeply, and create a way of living that is good for the body and the brain.

Dr. Suzuki will also discuss the groundbreaking work of her mentor, Professor Marian Diamond, who was the first to demonstrate that the adult brain can grow and change, now referred to as brain plasticity. Dr. Suzuki will use excerpts from the multiple award-winning and 2018 Emmy award-nominated documentary film My Love Affair with the Brain: The Life and Science of Dr. Marian Diamond (that will also be shown in its entirety after her talk) to illustrate some of her points. She will then describe how she leveraged that foundational work from Professor Diamond to study other forms of brain plasticity including memory formation, and most recently how physical activity can change and improve a range of cognitive functions in the brain, the core topic in Healthy Brain, Happy Life..

Catherine Ryan, Director and Producer of My Love Affair With The Brain, and Dr. Peter Whybrow, Director of the Semel Institute will join Dr. Suzuki in a post-screening discussion.

Friday, November 1, 2019
6:30 PM Check-in | 7:00 PM Program
James Bridges Theater, Melnitz Hall, UCLA
Parking is available for $8 in Structure 3
235 Charles E Young Drive West Los Angeles, CA 90095
From Eastbound Sunset Blvd: Turn right on Hilgard Avenue and make an immediate right on Charing Cross Road. Go straight at the stop sign to enter the Pay-by-Plate area using the North entrance of the structure. Park on level 1, 2, or 3 in any designated pay-by-plate space and use the pay-station (located on each level) to purchase parking. After paying for parking, proceed to Level 1 and walk through the tunnel. Melnitz Hall is the first building on your left.

Admission is free but registration is required. Register HERE.


Do you want to have a healthy brain and a happy life? If yes, then join UCLA’s Friends of the Semel institute for an Open Mind presentation by world-renowned neuroscientist and author of Healthy Brain, Happy Life, Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D.

Out of My Head, a documentary film about migraine

Award-winning filmmakers, Susanna Styron and Jacki Ochs, have produced Out of My Head, a feature documentary that dissects the history and mystery of migraine. It is the first comprehensive feature documentary about this neurological disease and its remarkable place in the human condition. The film illuminates many aspects of migraine, including medical research, personal stories, artistic expression, and spiritual experiences. By looking at the fascinating details, and the big questions too – the source and management of illness, the economic cost of human disability, the nature of pain and suffering – Out of My Head shines a light on the frontiers of neuroscience and the exploration of the brain. Director Susanna Styron’s work has been viewed internationally in numerous prestigious film festivals; via broadcast on HBO, PBS, A&E, Lifetime and Netflix among others; and in theaters worldwide.


Andrew Charles, M.D. will join Susanna Styron in discussion after the screening. Dr. Charles is a Professor of Neurology and Director, UCLA Goldberg Migraine ProgramMeyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Migraine and Headache Studies, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

California Nanosystems Auditorium, UCLA

Check-in 6:30 PM   |   Program 7:00 PM

Admission is free but reservations are required.

Parking is available for $12 in Structure 9

For questions email WKelman@mednet.ucla.edu

Retiree Volunteer Opportunity List

retireeThe UCLA Volunteer Center values providing service opportunities to all members of the community. Please check out their new Retiree Opportunities List, a curated collection of service opportunities geared specifically towards retirees. These opportunities are fun and exciting ways in which retirees can continue their involvement within local communities while using their lifetime experience, bringing wisdom and expertise to every project they participate in.

Climate Talk at UCLA

oppenheim lecture 101613An Oppenheim Lecture entitled Water and Energy Efficiency for a Hotter, Drier Climate: Sustainable Local Water and Energy Resources in Cities featuring Allan Jones, Chief Development Officer, Energy and Climate Change, City of Sydney, will be presented on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM in the Lenart Auditorium, Fowler Museum at UCLA.
Click here  for more information.

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA unveils 2013-14 season

Philip Glass

Highlights of the new season include presentations from theater legends Peter Brook and Robert Wilson and the Los Angeles debut of renowned composer Philip Glass’ epic “Music in Twelve Parts” and his highly personal “The Etudes.” Glass, Wilson and choreographer Lucinda Childs will also participate in a spoken word event in honor of their 1976 opera, “Einstein on the Beach,” as part of a collaboration with the LA Opera, which will present the groundbreaking work this fall.
In addtition, the season features Los Angeles premieres of new work from dance innovators Lucy Guerin, Wayne McGregor and Susan Marshall; the launch of the Tune-In Festival L.A., highlighting a selection of collaborative contemporary music ensembles, including Imani Winds, ETHEL, yMusic and eighth blackbird; celebrations of longtime music masters, from the Kronos Quartet to Keith Jarrett to Ricky Skaggs; buzz-worthy up-and-coming artists such as New York theater-maker Young Jean Lee and genre-bending musicians Chelsea Wolfe and Anna Calvi; a provocative new treatise on popular culture from the premier monologist in American theater, Mike Daisey; and much more.

For a full chronological 2013–14 season calendar featuring all events and performers, visit cap.ucla.edu/calendar.

How are Veterans Changing America?

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Zocalo Public Square invite you to a half-day forum at UCLA featuring the Honorable Tulsi Gabbard, Representative from Hawaii this Saturday, April 27, 2013

Over 2 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are returning home from combat, and while we often read and talk about how the experience of war has changed them both physically and mentally, we don’t discuss how they’re changing the rest of us. Could they reinvigorate our economy—if we started hiring them? Has our healthcare system innovated to heal their devastating injuries? And, what happens when a husband, wife, mother, or father rejoins the family unit? Zócalo and UCLA present a half-day conference to explore how veterans have affected American life today—and what lies ahead for all of us as we transform into a nation at peace in the world.

1:00 p.m. forum
5:15 p.m. reception
De Neve Auditorium, De Neve Plaza, UCLA

For more information and to register, go here.


The Future of Aging in America: A Conversation with A. Barry Rand, CEO of AARP

A. Barry Rand

The U.S. is at the beginning of an unprecedented demographic shift that will see the population over 65 years of age double from current levels by 2020. At the same time, minorities are on the rise—by 2030, we will be a majority-minority nation.

These trends create both challenges and opportunities for individuals as well as for national aging policy. What steps should we take to help people achieve health and financial security in retirement? How can we align our individual and collective priorities to help people adapt to a vastly changing world? What are the implications for communities?

A. Barry Rand, CEO of AARP, the nation’s largest organization representing the needs and interests of people 50-plus, offers insights and ideas for policymakers and the public.

Thursday, March 21

6 p.m. cocktail reception / 7 p.m. program

UCLA Tom Bradley International Hall
417 Charles E. Young Drive West
Los Angeles, California 90095

On-site parking available for $11

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations required.

RSVP by March 15: luskinlecture-abarryrand.eventbrite.com
For information on the Luskin Lecture Series or any of the events, please call (310) 206-8034 or email events@publicaffairs.ucla.edu