– Never in my life would I have expected that a popular science book about the brain, about biology, could cause such a response! What happened at the University of Warsaw, then at the Jagiellonian University and in other cities was touching, my eyes watered. But it shows the hunger for knowledge about health, how much we have become interested in mental and physical health in the post-COVID reality. – says Joanna Podgórska.
Marta Byczkowska-Nowak: A scientist who conquered Poland – is this a sign of the times? Author meetings usually take place in libraries or small rooms, but you, talking about the book, gathered an audience in the largest university halls in the country. There was no space in the Auditorium Maximum at the University of Warsaw, people were sitting on the floor. Did you expect the brain to be so “sexy”?
Joanna Podgórska: It exceeded my expectations. Never in my life would I have expected that a popular science book about the brain, about biology, could cause such a response! What happened at the University of Warsaw, then at the Jagiellonian University and in other cities was touching, my eyes watered. But it shows the hunger for knowledge about health, how much we have become interested in mental and physical health in the post-COVID reality.
I am glad that we are beginning to understand the relationship between the body, psyche and spirituality, which is probably why there is a growing interest not only in health, but also in well-being, quality of life and broadly understood well-being. I think we finally understood how much is in our hands.
This can also be seen by listening to popular science podcasts – probably all of Poland already knows Andrew Huberman, Sam Harris, or Tim Ferris.
What interests your readers and audience on Instagram most?
There are a lot of questions about mental and emotional health, the need to explore the topic of depression, anxiety and other emotional difficulties. I also see great interest in neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. This clearly illustrates our social anxieties. Life expectancy is increasing and we feel neurodegeneration breathing down our necks. People want to know what to do to slow down the processes of brain decay. It is also not surprising that there is interest in depression, which – according to WHO – is expected to be the most common disease in the world by 2035. This is also visible in Poland – the data on depression, bipolar disorder and borderline disorder are terrifying. The pace of life and stress have a strong impact on morbidity.
What makes me very happy is the third most frequently appearing topic area of these questions. In addition to requests for tips on “boosting” the brain, increasing its cognitive capabilities for faster learning, improving memory after Covid, i.e. bio-hacking, there are also questions about calming down, relaxation, taking care of the brain in a way other than “higher, stronger”. , next”. People started wondering how to slow down and come back to themselves, and this is very encouraging – I say this from both a scientific perspective and a private philosophy of life. This approach brings a surprising number of benefits.
And this is interesting – until recently, meditation and mindfulness were the domain of alt-med. Has anything changed on this topic?