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“Her talk at TEDxHendrixCollege captivated the audience by succinctly and simply presenting scientific evidence to bridge the gap between empirical research and our everyday lives, illuminating how the choices we make affect our brains and their development. Dr. Aamodt was well prepared to deliver a thought-provoking talk that appealed to both professionals in the field and laymen alike, and I would certainly welcome her back to speak again.
– Colin Hoy, TEDx organizer


Selected recent and upcoming events:

Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo – October 23, 2018

St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition Spring Forum, keynote – April 27, 2018

UCSF Osher Mini-Medical School – March 27, 2018

Harvard School of Public Health – October 3, 2016

Aspen Ideas Festival, Spotlight Health – June 25, 2016

Apple Inc. – March 12, 2015

Healthy Living Forum keynote, University of Nevada – September 18, 2014

Johns Hopkins University – February 27, 2014

Beyond Academia, UC Berkeley – February 20, 2014

Mind, Me and Self: Teaching Self-Awareness, Self-Control and Social Skills,  San Francisco – February 15, 2014

Women President’s Organization Retreat – January 23. 2014

UnCollege Gap Year Program – January 15, 2014

Young Minds in Turmoil, Sacramento County Family Law Section – October 18, 2013

TEDGlobal, Edinburgh – June 11, 2013

Beyond Academia, UC Berkeley – March 22, 2013

Children’s Counsel section of the Sacramento County Bar Association – March 22, 2012

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD – February 9, 2012

Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA – September 27, 2011

Thiel Foundation 20Under20 Fellows Retreat – September 18, 2011

TEDxHendrixCollege – April 10, 2011


On the radio:

Forum with Michael Krasny

Fresh Air with Terry Gross

Radio New Zealand with Jim Mora

Tech Nation with Dr. Moira Gunn

Weekend Edition with Susan Stamberg


If you’d like a presentation on any subject related to weight regulation, child development, or the brain for your group, please contact me at sandra.aamodt[at]gmail[dot]com.


Sample talks:

Tools for success: How to help your child build self-control and social skills

Your child’s intelligence is not the most important predictor of life success. Research shows that self-control ability in childhood is more strongly linked to later accomplishments in areas that parents care about, from education to work to friendships to marriage. Self-control is also a key ingredient of social skills and empathy. Brain imaging studies have revealed that the prefrontal cortex, which is central to these abilities, develops gradually from early childhood through the mid-twenties, and that its function is influenced by life experience. For this reason, the ability to manage your own behavior can be improved through a variety of age-appropriate strategies, which have one surprising thing in common: they’re fun for kids. This talk explains how self-control grows in the young brain and what you can do to encourage it from preschool through adulthood.


The wired brain: How modern life is changing your child’s mind

People are able to live all over the world because, throughout our long childhood, our brains learn about the local conditions and adjust their function accordingly. For this reason, substantial changes to our environment are likely to influence brain development. But modern technology is complicated, and so are its effects on the brain, which can be both positive and negative. They also vary with age, with children’s individual choices, and with what they’re neglecting to find time for it all. Learn about the surprising effects of outdoor play on nearsightedness, of video games on attention, and of television on language development and ADHD. You’ll also find out why modern life has made children more intelligent over the past few decades, and what you can do to encourage that trend.


The risks and rewards of the adolescent brain

Twenty-five years ago, only car insurance companies understood that the brain continues to mature through the mid-twenties, but neuroscientists have learned a great deal about the adolescent and young adult brain since then. Because the prefrontal cortex is late to mature, impulse control continues to improve until after college. In early adolescence, around puberty, kids also experience a sudden increase in what scientists call ‘reward sensitivity’ or ‘novelty seeking,’ which leads them to seek out uncertain situations to discover what might be gained from them. During this period, behavior is more strongly influenced by peers than it was in childhood or will be in adulthood. This talk also illustrates how teenagers’ choice of activities can shape their talents by examining the influence of video game playing on the voluntary control of attention.

7 thoughts on “Speaking

  1. Hi there,

    Hope this email finds you well! I just finished watching your speech during a TED talk about Why dieting doesn’t work, I found it to make a lot of sense and was very intrigued. My name is Brandie and I am working for an online health company in the area of weight loss, and for that reason I was wondering if we could do an interview with you via email? We would publish this interview one of our weight loss blogs, with your approval of the content, of course. We can also link back to any website of your choice, as a way of representing you. We can keep it moderately short, so it does not take up a lot of your time.

    Thank you for your time and I hope to hear back, Have a great day!


  2. Dear Sandra,

    Thank you so much for your Ted Talk. I really appreciated it, especially your advice of eating intuitively.
    I just finished a Phd in biodiversity conservation, and I am very questioning the way we manage our life and our society, particularly in relation to nature. And diet is one of the main subject !
    I was wondering if you would know this book and scientist about diet and its link with major occidental health problems, including obesity :
    The China Study by Campbell (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_China_Study)
    He mainly claims for a plant-based diet based on his research and his personnal experience.

    If you know this research, would you please tell me what you think about it ?
    I just read it and found it amazing, but I would really appreciate another specialist’s point of view.

    Thanks a lot for your time, for your research and your fight.

    • Hi Helene,

      I agree that most of us should be eating more plants, but I’m skeptical of claims that anyone has found the One True Way that everyone should feed themselves. People have thrived on a wide variety of diets over the centuries, in part because we’re more adaptable than most animals. My own sense is that cutting out processed foods and added sugars would be an equally effective approach to improving public health in the modern world.


  3. Diets high in fat and protein are usually effective for people in losing weight.
    At this time, their body temperature drops and their heart rate can decrease from 200 beats per minute (bpm) to 10 bpm.
    “Frozen” immobile toe and ankle joints gain mobility.

  4. Hello,

    I am the director of the Center for Experiential Learning at Abington Friends School. Our students are very interested in nutrition and food insecurity. They have been volunteering at MANNA https://www.mannapa.org/ and doing other food related service projects here in Philadelphia.

    I recently received a grant to bring a speaker to AFS on this topic. I see that you will be here in Philadelphia for a conference in October. Is there any chance you’d be able to speak at AFS? We would make it open to the public and it could be about any topic you’d like to speak on.

    Please let me know if this is something you would consider, and what the cost for the talk would be.

    Thanks so much!

    • I think you’re probably confusing the Food and Nutrition Expo 2018 in Washington, DC, at which I spoke, with the upcoming 2019 conference in Philadelphia, where I do not have plans to speak. If you’re still interested in bringing me in if you would have to pay for travel, you can contact me by email at my first.last names at gmail.

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