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Burr and Burton Academy AP Bio TED(ish) Talks: “The Better Half” and “Sicker Fatter Poorer”

June 3 @ 6:00pm-8:00pm


6:00 – 7:00 PM

The Better Half: On the Genetic Superiority of Women by Shäron Moalem, MD, PhD

Presented by: Dahlia Cohn ’25, Shea Smithwick ’25, Liam Egbert ’25, and Madeline von Ballmoos ’25

Ever since the beginning of time, men have been regarded as the stronger sex. This notion, that considers men as genetically better equipped, has created societal dynamics throughout history and amongst many cultures that places women as the inferior gender. In The Better Half – On the Genetic Superiority of Women, Sharon Moalem, a world renowned expert in genetics, challenges this notion. Moalem discusses a newfound powerful genetic capability that is unique to only women: the ability to utilize the genetic information from both X chromosomes to navigate life’s challenges. This capability provides women with a genetic toolkit that is far superior to men, as they can selectively utilize the information from either chromosome to ensure stronger processes and responses. While men may be stronger physically, it is women’s stamina and genetic resilience to all that life throws at them that makes women truly the stronger sex. Their genetic superiority -contrary to what millennia of insecure men have said- is  evident in myriad ways, including their immune strength, their resilience to disease, their longer lives, and much more, all of which will be discussed in our presentation. You will leave this discussion with a concrete understanding of genetics and the genetic superiority of women,  an even greater appreciation for the women in your life, and the pressing urgency to motivate science and medicine to catch up with the findings discussed. You definitely won’t want to miss it!

7:00 – 8:00 PM

Sicker Fatter Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future… and What We Can Do About It by Leonard Trasande, MD, MPP

Presented by: Merry McGlinn ’24, Henry Sexter ’24, Stella Donza ’24, and Weston Nolan ’24

What if we told you that there are thousands (literally) of chemicals you encounter daily that are detrimental to your health and the health of mankind? Buckle up as we delve deep into the unsettling reality of hormone-disrupting chemicals introduced by the book Sicker Fatter Poorer, which wreaks havoc on our everyday lives.

Picture this: two families getting ready to leave for vacation, stopping at the mall, and picking up some essentials they will undoubtedly need on their trip. One family is in The United States, and the other is in Europe. They both buy similar products such as sunscreen, medicine, toothpaste, and snacks for the trip. If we did blood tests on both mothers, we would find levels of brominated flame retardants in the American mother’s blood that would be considered highly elevated in France and Germany. Since 2003, The European Union has worked to ban over 1,300 carcinogenic chemicals from cosmetics. The FDA has banned 11. Is this difference intentional or due to incompetence? Just how harmful are these chemicals? Is it true that exposure to them can cause a drop of 5 IQ points each generation? Can the rise of autism, ADHD, birth defects, and reproductive issues over the last 60 years be attributed to these harmful chemicals entering our bloodstreams, organs, and brains?  In this discussion, we’ll peel back the layers of this chilling narrative, uncovering how these chemicals infiltrate our environment, bodies, and, ultimately, our future without us even knowing. Obesity and ADHD rates are at an all-time high, and it is not a coincidence. This is not an issue of pollution or processed foods (although neither of these help)- this is a threat that lurks in the lining of your soda can. That exists in the birth control that your mother took for eight months 30 years ago. That is in the plastic bag that your organic cucumbers are in. This is possibly the most significant threat to our species we have ever faced. This isn’t just a talk; it’s a call to action to confront the sinister forces and reclaim control over our health and well-being.

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