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EPISODE 1: COVID-19 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 7:00 PM

In the season opener, Your Fantastic Mind looks at some of the ways the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our brains and minds. We talk to scientists about the potential short- and long-term neurological effects of the virus and delve into the profound mental health impacts of the virus on society and our families. Following the story of a family of six who has been sheltering in place since March, we address the impact of COVID on children and working parents. We also discuss the increase in domestic violence and substance abuse. Throughout the half hour, experts offer tips on how to cope during the pandemic and provide advice on ways to determine when it’s time to seek professional help.

EPISODE 2: DOGS – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 7:00 PM

Episode 2 will feature the work of Dr. Greg Berns, an internationally acclaimed animal neuroscientist and bestselling author. Berns and his team, whose research has been featured on 60 Minutes and National Geographic, were the first in the world to train and scan the brains of awake dogs in a MRI scanner to learn more about how they think and feel. Berns’ groundbreaking research has explored many fascinating questions: Do our dogs love us? Are they jealous? Can they do math? This episode follows several dogs in Berns’ MRI scanner as their owners learn some of the answers to these questions. His long-term work is focused on finding the part of the dog’s brain responsible for their eternally sunny outlook and their ability to easily make friends. Berns thinks we can learn how to improve our own lives from our dogs.

EPISODE 3: STRESS – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 7:00 PM

We are a stressed society and many of us self-medicate in ways that only amplify our stress. In this episode, we investigate the science of stress and how to reduce it, especially in the age of COVID. We explore the research behind meditation and mindfulness and offer ways to implement healing practices. Exploring another facet of stress, YFM takes a closer look at the millions of Americans who report sleep disruptions as a leading cause of stress. We highlight research that shows the impact of a bad night’s sleep and talk to a leading expert who goes beyond basic sleep hygiene, giving advice we can all use to improve sleep habits. We also learn about intergenerational trauma which is an area of research proving that trauma inflicted on one generation is inherited by the generations that follow and a source of unspoken stress. It’s a fascinating area of research that asks us to confront our own truths and traumas, to help us understand the power we have to influence our descendants.

EPISODE 4: OPIOID – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 8:00 PM

The opioid crisis in Georgia will be examined throughout this two-hour special which includes an hour-long episode and an expert panel discussion with questions from GPB viewers. The episode documents the roots of the opioid crisis and how it took hold in Georgia and addresses the latest information about the increase in addiction rates and overdose deaths during COVID. It takes an in-depth look at medication-assisted treatment and public health efforts to reach Georgia’s underserved communities to help battle the opioid crisis. The panel discussion will accompany the episode, providing a robust primetime special filled with information and resources for the people of Georgia and beyond.

The panel includes: Judy Fitzgerald, the head of Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; Dr. Patrice Harris, the outgoing president of the American Medical Association and leading National Institutes of Health opioid expert; Dr. Marvin Seppala, Chief Medical Officer of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; and Dr. Justine Welsh, the head of Emory Healthcare Addiction Services. We may also include a virtual panel of parents and survivors.

EPISODE 5: DEPRESSION – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 7:00 PM

Millions of Americans have depression. For some it is intractable and often leads to attempted suicide. Deep brain stimulation, which many people know of because of its use to control tremors in Parkinson’s disease, can be life changing when used for depression. Dr. Helen Mayberg pioneered the discovery an area of the brain that, if stimulated, can alleviate depression. We follow 27-year-old Tyler Hajjar who has suffered debilitating depression for a decade and has made multiple suicide attempts. The show shadows him during the 12-hour surgery and in the months that follow as he strives to reclaim his life.

EPISODE 6: SECOND CHANCES – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7, 7:00 PM

In this episode, we focus on three separate stories, connected by a single thread, each person has been given a second chance. The first segment introduces a young mother diagnosed with a rare brain cyst that can be life ending. We are there for the novel surgery and her complete recovery that follows. The second story follows a wife and mother, who after a decade of misdiagnoses, learns she has acromegaly, a cyst on the thyroid that can destroy a person’s health and appearance. We document her journey to undergo surgery and restore her lost health. The final segment highlights a program for adults with autism who are aging out of the system. The show follows them through three weeks of living away from home as they gain independence and begin building what will one day hopefully be an autonomous life.

EPISODE 7: MEMORY – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 7:00 PM

In this one-hour season finale, we delve into the science of memory - how it works, how we can retain it and why we lose it. On a trip to Chicago, a group of fascinating research participants are highlighted – elderly nuns who are helping scientists discover the ingredients to a long, healthy dementia-free life. The episode also features the first study in the world that uses flickering lights built into sunglasses to remove amyloid plaque from the brain and also gives a close-up look at the unique, state-funded Georgia Memory Net program, newly available to all Georgians who need memory assessment and care. Five Georgia Memory Net centers have opened across the state and are providing critical care to help diagnose dementia in its early stages. The episode also profiles a renowned neurologist in Tennessee with the brain disease, Lewy Body Dementia. We look at the similarities between Lewy Body, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease and show how these disease processes overlap. And we share a touching love story of another neurologist who is caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s, finding joy and peace through their shared love of music.