Obesity and cognitive dementia are currently among the most pernicious threats to human health and quality of life. Despite many years of research at enormous financial cost, understanding of the causes of both disorders is limited and preventative and treatment interventions have been largely unsuccessful. Integrating scientific, medical, and social perspectives, students will explore the complexities that have made both obesity and dementia so difficult to address and will analyze myths and flaws in past and current thinking that continue to impede progress. Against this backdrop, students will also critically evaluate the “breakthrough potential” of several new concepts and discoveries including the idea that both obesity and dementia are based on interference with the same brain function. This course is designed for both science and non-science majors.