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STEM-Talk podcast

STEM-Talk

The most interesting people in the world of science and technology

The most interesting people in the world of science and technology

 

#129

Episode 129: Morley Stone talks about biomimetics and human performance augmentation

Our guest today is Dr. Morley Stone, the former Chief Technology Officer for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and former Senior Vice President for Research at Ohio State University, who is now IHMC’s Chief Strategic Partnership Officer. Morley is recognized as an international leader in biomimetics and human performance. In today’s interview, we talk to Morley about his time as AFRL’s chief technology officer as well as his stint as the chief scientist for the Air Force’s 711th Human Performance Wing, which is responsible for providing technical oversight of projects geared to optimize human performance for the nation’s air, space, and cyberspace forces. We also have a fascinating conversation with Morley about his early career and research into biomimetics, which is the study of using biological structures, materials and principles as models for the development of new materials, structures, and devices. In his new role at IHMC, Morley will become the institute’s point person for public- and private-sector partnerships. He also will work with IHMC’s scientists and research staff to help coordinate and implement the multitude of scientific projects the institute has in its pipeline. Show notes: [00:03:07] Dawn mentions that Morley grew up in a small steel producing town in Pennsylvania and asks him what he was like as a kid. [00:03:56] Ken asks Morley about his days as wrestler growing up and why he still today views wrestling as a special sport. [00:05:00] Dawn asks about Morley’s move to Dayton, Ohio, when he was 17. [00:05:36] Dawn asks how Morley decided upon Wright State as opposed to the University of Dayton. [00:05:57] Morley tells the story of how a girl in college pointed out an ad for an internship and how that helped him decide to become a biochemistry major. [00:06:43] Dawn asks what happened to the girl who pointed out the aforementioned ad. [00:08:28] Ken asks Morley to talk about the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and the role of the lab’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. [00:09:53] Dawn mentions that after earning his bachelor’s degree, Morley had a short stint as a materials research engineer at the directorate before heading off to Carnegie Mellon University to work on a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Dawn asks why Morley chose to attend Carnegie Mellon. [00:11:08] Dawn mentions that in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Morley had the good fortune to work with scientists who had the foresight to know that there was going to be a radical change in material science, which up until that point had been dominated by metals and ceramics. Morley talks about the most important lessons he learned from these colleagues and mentors. [00:12:41] Dawn asks about Morley’s time as a research biologist, and eventually principal research biologist, at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate after his Ph.D. [00:14:41] Ken asks Morley to explain biomimetics and discuss the systems that Morley and his colleagues looked at during his time at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, ranging from infrared sensing to instances of biological camouflage. [00:18:01] Dawn mentions that the creation of nanoscale materials for advanced structures has led to a growing interest in the area of biomineralization, she goes on to say that during Morley’s time at the directorate, he especially researched the process of biomineralization and the assembly of nanostructured inorganic components into hierarchical structures, which led to the development of a variety of approaches that mimic the recognition and nucleation capabilities found in biomolecules for inorganic material synthesis. Morley discusses his 2002 paper in Nature Materials where he described the in vitro biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles using silver-binding peptides. [00:21:20] Dawn asks about Morley’s 2004 paper in Advanced Materials where he and his colleagues had taken a protein that was responsible for thermal sensi... ... Read more

14 Oct 2021

48 MINS

48:04

14 Oct 2021


#128

Episode 128: Tommy Wood talks about high-fat diets and the metabolic flexibility of the human gut

In today’s episode, Dr. Tommy Wood returns for his fifth appearance on STEM-Talk. Tommy is a UK-trained physician and an assistant research professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. He also is a visiting research scientist and a valued colleague of ours here at IHMC. Today’s interview focuses on a new paper that Tommy just had published by the American Society for Microbiology. It’s titled, “Reframing Nutritional Microbiota Studies To Reflect an Inherent Metabolic Flexibility of the Human Gut: A Narrative Review Focusing on High-Fat Diets.” We discuss the paper and follow up on some research Tommy has done since his last appearance on STEM-Talk, a two-part interview that took place a little more than a year ago. In that two-part interview, episodes 110 and 111, we touched on Tommy’s research into the importance of metabolic health and how only one in eight Americans is considered metabolically healthy. We also talk to Tommy about a new grant he just received to examine the effects of azithromycin on premature brain injury in a ferret model. As part of this grant, Tommy will be collaborating with his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Nance, who also is an assistant professor at the University of Washington and was our guest on episode 71 of STEM-Talk. Show notes: [00:03:15] Dawn opens the interview mentioning Tommy’s new paper published by the American Society for Microbiology titled “Reframing Nutritional Microbiota Studies to Reflect an Inherent Metabolic Flexibility of the Human Gut: A Narrative Review Focusing on High-Fat Diets.” Dawn mentions that in our last interview with Tommy, he talked about the importance of insulin sensitivity and metabolic health, yet as Tommy has pointed out, more than 80 percent of Americans have some kind of metabolic disease or dysfunction. Given that, Dawn asks Tommy to revisit key points regarding insulin resistance; the importance of metabolic health; and why so many Americans struggle with this issue. [00:06:18] Ken points out that the common view held in much of the nutritional-microbiota research is that high-fat diets are harmful to human health, at least in part through their modulation of the gut microbiota. Ken goes on to say that there are a number of studies that support the inherent flexibility of the human gut and our microbiota’s ability to adapt to a variety of food sources, suggesting a more nuanced picture than the commonly held view. Ken asks Tommy to give an overview of the gut microbiome and how research in the past decade has explored the effects of the gut microbiome on our metabolism, immune systems, our sleep, and our moods and cognition. [00:09:50] Dawn asks Tommy to explain the history of how fat, and high-fat diets, became public enemy number one in many circles, including gut microbiome research. [00:12:46] Ken mentions that there are many limitations when it comes to preclinical nutritional research, with many studies on the role of fat in the diet being based on animal models, particularly rat models, which presents several problems since the natural diet of a mouse is low in fat and high in carbohydrates. [00:15:50] Ken asks Tommy about the need for a more nuanced view of fat and our microbiota’s ability to adapt to different food sources. [00:17:33] Ken points out that while people might throw around the term “healthy gut microbiota,” the research into the gut microbiota is so new that we don’t yet know for sure what a healthy gut microbiota should look like. [00:21:22] Ken asks Tommy how we should go about reframing the debate about fat and high-fat diets to better reflect the overall evidence. [00:23:48] Dawn mentions that in the past decade, researchers have significantly improved our understanding of the gut microbiome. She asks about Tommy’s belief that there is a need to understand the gut microbiome in an evolutionary context as well. [00:25:18] Tommy gives an overview of the gut-barrier function and its role in ... ... Read more

23 Sep 2021

1 HR 01 MINS

1:01:49

23 Sep 2021


#127

Episode 127: From UFOs to fasting to the keto flu, Ken & Dawn answer questions

It’s time for another Ask Me Anything episode. In today’s show, Ken and Dawn tackle a wide range of listener questions about: -- Protein intake on a ketogenic diet. -- A new study on the efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted therapy. -- The Pentagon’s new report about UFOs. -- Virta Health’s two-year pilot study that demonstrated people diagnosed with prediabetes had normalized their glucose through carbohydrate restriction. -- The FDA’s controversial approval of the Biogen Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm. -- The deepest man-made pool and diving research facility that just opened in Dubai. -- Strategies to deal with the so-called “keto flu.” -- And a lot more. Enjoy. 00:02:49 A listener asks Ken about protein intake on a ketogenic diet. The listener says they have heard some experts say that protein intake should be fairly low on a ketogenic diet while other experts suggest protein needs might actually be higher than what is generally recommended. The listener, who is physically active and on a ketogenic diet but isn’t seeing much muscle growth, asks Ken what the research says about what proper levels of protein on a ketogenic diet. 00:05:05 A listener asks Ken about STEM-Talk’s interview with Gordon Lithgow, episode 120 of STEM-Talk, mentioning that Ken and Gordon referenced arginine AKG, a supplement often used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve their performance and reduce muscle fatigue. The listener asks if arginine AKG, or calcium AKG, or something else can help them recover from exercise as they get older. In his response, Ken discusses a 2017 meta-analysis by Robert Wolfe. Ken also mentions two essential amino acid blends, MAP Master Amino Acid Pattern. The other blend is called Mass Pro Synthagen. 00:12:09 A listener mentions in their question that there is a new study that just came out in Nature Medicine looking at the efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted therapy for people diagnosed with severe PTSD. Nearly 70 percent of the participants who received MDMA therapy no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD after two months of treatment. The listener asks Ken and Dawn if they have read this study and what their thoughts are. Ken in his response mentions two STEM-Talk episodes that touched on MDMA-assisted therapy, David Rabin in Episode 99 and Rachel Yehuda in episode 101. 00:14:37]A listener asks Ken what the justification for spending almost $3 billion on the Perseverance Mars mission is, going on to ask with all the needs here on Earth, how does NASA and Congress justify the billions that will be needed for a manned mission to Mars. 00:19:06 A listener asks how Dawn’s research on glymphatic function in extreme environments is going. 00:22:31 A listener asks Kens for his thoughts on the recent media coverage of the Pentagon’s new report on more 100 UFOs, or “unidentified aerial phenomena,” that the Pentagon cannot explain. 00:25:49 A listener mentions that Virta Health is wrapping up its data collection of a five-year trial that looks at nutritional ketosis as a treatment for type-2 diabetes and prediabetes. Virta recently published the results of its two-year pilot study that demonstrated people diagnosed with prediabetes had normalized their glucose in the blood through carbohydrate restriction. The listener asks Ken to comment on this two-year pilot study since Ken is affiliated with Virta. In his response, Ken mentions Amy McKenzie’s 2021 paper. 00:27:17 A listener asks Ken about the controversial FDA approval of the Biogen Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm. Despite murky clinical trial results, the drug was fast-tracked, even though it will cost a person $56,000 annually. 00:30:57 A listener asks Dawn, given her diving background, about the deepest man-made pool and diving research facility that just opened in Dubai. 00:33:44 A listener asks Ken about a study that ran in JAMA that found that fasting for 12 hours or more led to minimal weight loss and significant ... ... Read more

25 Aug 2021

46 MINS

46:04

25 Aug 2021


#126

Episode 126: Christoffer Clemmensen discusses therapeutic strategies to correct obesity and its diso...

Our guest today is Dr. Christoffer Clemmensen, an associate professor and lead researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research. Christoffer’s lab at the university explores pharmacological and therapeutic treatments for obesity and its related diseases and disorders. He and his colleagues focus on dissecting the neuroendocrine signals involved in coordinating appetite, food-motivated behavior, energy expenditure, glycemic control, and lipid metabolism. We have a fascinating discussion with Christoffer about his lab’s efforts to turn molecular and physiological insights into innovative therapeutic strategies that Christoffer hopes someday can reduce obesity and its associated metabolic disorders. Christoffer is a native of Denmark who earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology from the University of Copenhagen in 2013. Joining Ken for today’s interview is IHMC colleague and senior research scientist Dr. Marcas Bamman, who was our guest on episode 116. Marcas is the founder and former director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Exercise Medicine.  Marcas joined IHMC last year as a Senior Research Scientist. Show notes: [00:03:24] Marcas asks Christoffer about growing up in a small rural town in Denmark in the 1980s and ‘90s. [00:04:05] Christoffer’s talks about his days as an elite tennis player when he was a youth. [00:04:41] Ken asks Christoffer when he first became interested in science. [00:05:48] Marcas asks Christoffer what changed his mind about wanting to study computer science at university. [00:07:04] Christoffer explains how he decided to attend University of Copenhagen. [00:08:19] Marcas mentions that Christoffer’s original focus at university was on exercise biology, but that he became fascinated by the mechanisms of obesity and that interest took him in a new direction. Marcas asks how that shift in interest came about. [00:10:01] Marcas follows up on the previous question and asks if there were a particular instance that persuaded Christoffer to switch from focusing on exercise to focusing more on weight control and obesity. [00:10:40] Ken asks what led Christopher to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology after attaining a bachelor’s degree in exercise biology and a master’s degree in human biology. [00:12:11] Marcas asks Christoffer why he went to Munich, Germany, as a postdoctoral fellow at the Helmholtz Diabetes Center after completing his post-doc at the University of Copenhagen. [00:14:00] After mentioning that Christoffer eventually became the group leader at Helmholtz, Ken asks Christoffer why he then transitioned back to the University of Copenhagen. [00:14:52] Marcas asks Christopher to talk about the big questions that get to the heart of his research. [00:16:20] Ken mentions that Christoffer is now an associate professor at the Nova Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen, where he is the head of the Clemmensen Group. Ken goes on to mention that the Clemmensen Group’s website says the lab focuses on dissecting the neuroendocrine signals that coordinate appetite regulation, food-motivated behavior, energy expenditure, glycemic control, and lipid metabolism. Ken asks if Christoffer could give an overview of what all these research focuses entail. [00:18:17] Marcas mentions that obesity and its related diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have become serious problems affecting the world’s public health and global economy. Marcas goes on to say that Christoffer’s 2019 paper titled “Emerging hormonal-based combination pharmacotherapies for the treatment of metabolic diseases” makes the observation that the treatments we have been using to deal with this problem have not been able to effectively reverse the staggering rates of obesity we’re witnessing around the world. ... Read more

04 Aug 2021

1 HR 11 MINS

1:11:49

04 Aug 2021


#125

Episode 125: Gary Taubes addresses common arguments used against ketogenic diets

Today we have the second part of our interview with science and health journalist Gary Taubes. In the first part of our interview, episode 124, we talked to Gary about his new book “The Case For Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat Eating.” In today’s episode, we talk in detail about a growing body of research and evidence that demonstrates the health benefits and safety of ketogenic diets. We also address why there remains stubborn resistance to low-carb/high fat diets in some nutrition circles. Plus, Gary responds to common arguments used against the ketogenic diet, ranging from health and safety and climate change to claims that ketogenic diets don’t work for women. Gary turned to journalism back in the 1970s after receiving his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Stanford University. Today, he continues to practice journalism and is the founder and director of the Nutrition Science Initiative. Be sure to check out part one of our interview, as well as our 2016 interview with Gary which followed the release of his New York Times best-seller “The Case Against Sugar.” Show notes: 00:02:58 Ken starts part two of our interview with Gary by mentioning that there is now substantial evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of low-carb diets. Ken mentions more and more physicians are prescribing this way of eating to their patients and large numbers of people are having success losing weight and managing type-2 diabetes using ketogenic diets. In light of that information, Ken asks Gary for his thoughts on why the U.S. News and World Report annual diet ranking stubbornly continues to describe the ketogenic diet as a detrimental way to eat. 00:09:25 Ken asks Gary to respond to some of the common arguments against the ketogenic diet ranging from human health and safety to climate change. 00:12:50 Ken asks about the claim that people on a ketogenic diet might lose a lot of weight in the short term but gain that weight back in the long term. 00:13:56 Gary tackles the criticism that ketogenic diets do not work for women. 00:16:02 Ken asks Gary to address concerns about the supposed unsustainability of ketogenic diets, noting how it is possible some people might have difficulty maintaining the diet for long periods of time. 00:19:20 Ken supposes that perhaps some of the anxiety surrounding a low-carb/high-fat diet has to do with LDL cholesterol. Ken mentions that some people on the diet, often referred to as hyper-responders, experience elevated levels of LDL and are warned by their physicians that this increases risk for heart disease. Ken asks Gary what he thinks the road forward should be for hyper-responders and others who are anxious about their LDL levels. 00:28:55 Dawn mentions that in 2018, Lancet published a study that aimed to make sense of the increasingly crowded world of low-carb diets. The authors, a team from Harvard, studied more than 15,000 American adults (aged 45-64) from four different communities over a 25-year period using dietary questionnaires. Dawn goes on to explain how these questionnaires revealed that consumers of both extremely low-carb diets and extremely high-carb diets had higher death rates over the course of the study. The lead author of this study was quoted as saying, “Our findings add to the growing evidence that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets are associated with increased mortality and therefore should be discouraged in the long term.” The last line of the paper reads, “Alternatively, when restricting carbohydrate intake, replacement of carbohydrates with predominately plant-based fats and proteins could be considered as a long-term approach to promote healthy aging.” News outlets described this paper as “the most comprehensive study of carbohydrate intake done to date.” She asks Gary to respond to this study and its conclusions. 00:39:31 Dawn asks what Gary’s ideal study design would look like to... ... Read more

14 Jul 2021

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:13

14 Jul 2021


#124

Episode 124: Gary Taubes makes a case for the ketogenic diet and its metabolic benefits

Today we have journalist Gary Taubes making a repeat appearance on STEM-Talk to discuss his new book, “The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat Eating.” Our interview with Gary in 2016, episode 37, followed the release of his book, “The Case Against Sugar,” which went on to become a New York Times best seller. “The Case for Keto” is Gary’s fourth book about diet and chronic disease. Gary made national headlines in 2002 when he wrote an article for the New York Times Magazine challenging the low-fat orthodoxy that had held sway in America since the 1970s. In the article, titled “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie,” Gary wrote that perhaps Dr. Robert Atkins with his Atkins Diet was correct in suggesting that it’s not fat that makes us fat, but carbohydrates. Our conversation with Gary covered a lot of ground, and we have divided his interview into two parts. Today we talk to Gary about his reasons for writing the new book and how opinions on a low-carb and high-fat diet have changed over the past 20 years. In part two of our interview with Gary, we dig deeper into his efforts to set the record straight about the role of diet and weight control in preventing chronic diseases, as well as the role that diet plays in helping people improve their health spans. Gary turned to journalism back in the 1970s after receiving his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Stanford University. Today, he continues to practice journalism and is the founder and director of the Nutrition Science Initiative. Show notes: 00:03:43 Dawn welcomes Gary back to STEM-Talk and asks how things went for him as a writer during COVID-19 and the lockdowns. 00:04:24 Dawn gives some background on Gary’s new book The Case for Keto, which is his fourth book to follow and expand upon a 2002 article he wrote for the New Times Magazine titled, “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” She asks Gary if he ever anticipated writing four books about the relationship between diet and chronic disease when the article came out 20 years ago. 00:06:09 Ken mentions that Gary’s New York Times Magazine article questioned the effectiveness of low-fat diets, which the government’s dietary guidelines had been recommending since the late 1970s. Ken adds that almost overnight Gary become public health enemy number one, and asks Gary if he expected so much pushback as a result of the article. 00:10:53 Dawn describes how the release of Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma, which draws on work by both Gary and Dr. Atkins, seemed to change consumers’ eating habits. Dawn then asks Gary if he remembers seeing or being surprised by the disappearance of pasta and bread from restaurants and grocery shelves. 00:14:41 Ken notes that in the blurb Michael Pollan wrote for the jacket of Gary’s 2007 book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, Michael said the book would change the way people think about eating. While Gary’s work did not end up changing national heart, health and diet guidelines, low-carb and ketogenic diets have become quite popular since then. Ken asks Gary what he thinks is driving this interest in keto. 00:19:41 Dawn describes Gary’s 2011 best seller Why We Get Fat as a condensed summary of the research contained in Good Calories, Bad Calories combined with new research on hormonal-based weight gain. She mentions Gary’s argument that the medical community and the federal government has misinterpreted scientific data on nutrition over the past several decades in developing a U.S. food policy that recommends a low-fat diet. Dawn notes there has recently been a steady accumulation of studies supporting carbohydrate restriction and the safety of saturated fat since Gary’s first two books came out. She asks Gary if this trend has been rewarding to watch. 00:22:47 Ken mentions that Gary’s new book, The Case for Keto, is an attempt to rectify decades-old misunderstandings people have had ab... ... Read more

23 Jun 2021

47 MINS

47:13

23 Jun 2021


#123

Episode 123: Steve Chien talks about AI, Mars rovers, and the possibility of intelligent alien life

Episode 123 Steve Chien talks about AI, Mars rovers, and the possibility of intelligent alien life Today’s interview is with Dr. Steve Chien.  Dr. Chien is JPL Fellow, Senior Research Scientist, and Technical Group Supervisor of the Artificial Intelligence Group and in the Mission Planning and Execution Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. In 2018, Steve and Ken were appointed to the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, an independent commission tasked with providing the President and Congress a blueprint for advancing AI and associated technologies to address future national security and defense needs of the United States. The commission recently released a 756-page reportwhich found that the nation is unprepared to compete in a future enabled by AI and that the U.S. could soon be replaced as the world’s AI superpower. The report was two years in the making and offers strategies and recommendations to strengthen and protect the nation’s economy, technology base, and national security. In today’s podcast, we talk to Steve about the report and what he learned over the past two years serving on the commission. Steve heads up the Artificial Intelligence Group at JPL.  JPL is the lead for deep space robotic exploration for NASA. For the past several years, he has worked on the Perseverance Rover mission, which landed on Mars back in February and used an automated ground-based scheduling system called Copilot that Steve and his JPL colleagues developed. Steve joined JPL more than 30 years ago and last year was named a JPL Fellow, an honor that recognizes people who have made extraordinary technical and institutional contributions to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory over an extended period. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where he earned a doctorate in computer science. Show notes: 00:04:09 Dawn opens the interview welcoming Steve to the show and asking about his background. Dawn mentions that Steve grew up in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, where he enjoyed basketball, Dungeons and Dragons and attempting to reinvent Decision Theory. 00:05:33 Dawn asks how Steve ended up as a computer science major rather than an economics major. 00:07:01 Dawn asks Steve if it is true that he graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in computer science at the age of 19. 00:07:41 Dawn asks Steve what he did after attaining his Ph.D. 00:09:18 Ken asks Steve to describe his interest in the search for life beyond earth. 00:11:0 Ken mentions that Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist from NASA Ames Research Center, recently discussed the search for intelligent life in our galaxy on STEM-Talk, episode 121. Ken explains that the discussion centered around the Drake Equation, which was developed to produce a probabilistic estimate of the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy, with Pascal’s conclusion being that the solution to the Drake Equation is likely N = 1. Ken asks Steve about his thoughts on the likelihood of intelligent life in our galaxy. 00:14:23 Dawn mentions that the Perseverance rover is currently maneuvering across the surface of Mars. She asks Steve, as the head of the Artificial Intelligence Group at JPL, NASA’s lead for deep-space robotic exploration, if he could talk about the work he specifically did on the Perseverance rover including the rover’s scheduling system. 00:16:38 Ken mentions that the success of the Perseverance mission so far has rekindled discussions of sending humans to Mars. Ken asks what Steve’s thoughts are on Pascal Lee’s proposal to take a measured approach to sending humans to Mars and that we should first return to the Moon. 00:18:47 Dawn asks Steve about the purpose of the 756-page report by the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence that Ken and Steve worked on for more two years. ... Read more

26 May 2021

44 MINS

44:13

26 May 2021


#122

Episode 122: James Kirkland on targeting senescent cells to reverse age-related diseases

In today’s episode, we talk about zombie cells, a term used to describe senescent cells because of their refusal to die. Our guest on this topic is Dr. James Kirkland, a geriatrics specialist and researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who is known for his research into the role that senescence and senescent cells have on age-related dysfunction and chronic disease. As senescent cells build up in the body, they promote cellular aging and a host of chronic conditions related to aging, such as dementia, cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes and arthritis. In today’s interview, we focus on Jim’s 2015 study where he and his colleagues at Mayo were the first to report on the potential of senolytic drugs to selectively kill zombie senescent cells. Jim’s paper in Aging Cell has been hailed as a major breakthrough in aging research. Jim is the director of the Robert and Arlene Kogod Center of Aging at Mayo and the president of the American Federation for Aging Research. The goal of James’ lab and research is to develop methods to remove senescent cells to delay, prevent, alleviate or partially reverse age-related chronic diseases.  Jim and his colleagues believe that doing this will help extend people’s health span, and, more important, prolong the period of life where people can live free of disabilities caused by chronic disease. Show notes: 00:03:20 Jim starts the interview talking about growing up in Canada. 00:03:31 Dawn asks him when he became interested in science. 00:04:05 Ken mentions that he understands that Jim had an interest in becoming a physician at a very early age, and given Jim’s previous comments, asks if it was Jim’s childhood observations of his grandparents’ aging that drove his interest in geriatrics. 00:04:39 Dawn asks how Jim ended up at the University of Toronto. 00:04:51 Dawn mentions that Jim received his medical degree in 1977 and completed his residency at Toronto General Hospital. Dawn goes on to ask why, after this, did Jim decide to go overseas to study at the University of Manchester. 00:05:37 Dawn mentions that after Jim’s experience in Manchester, he moved back across the Atlantic to work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he mainly studied adipose tissue. 00:06:11 Dawn asks what role Jim’s research at NIH played in his Ph.D., which he earned from the University of Toronto in 1990. 00:07:19 Dawn mentions that in 2007 Jim became the director of the Kogod Center on Aging at the Mayo Clinic and asks how Jim ended up at that position. 00:07:54 Dawn asks Jim to clarify the difference between lifespan and healthspan. 00:09:26 Ken mentions that Jim’s research throughout his career has focused on cellular aging and senescent cells. Ken asks what initially triggered Jim’s interest in senescence. 00:11:42 Dawn mentions Jim’s 2015 paper in Aging Cell, where Jim and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic were the first to report on the potential of senolytic drugs, which selectively kill senescent cells. Dawn goes on to ask Jim about his research leading up to this breakthrough paper. 00:14:47 Dawn asks Jim to talk about two senolytic compounds that he and his colleagues identified called dasatinid and quercetin, and what the significance of their discovery is. 00:17:20 Ken mentions the senolytic agent called fisetin, which is another agent showing benefit in rodent studies and is now being used in human clinical trials. Ken mentions that some authors have described fisetin as having roughly twice the senolytic potency as quercetin. Ken asks Jim to explain where fisetin fits into the senolytic landscape. 00:19:18 Dawn mentions that Jim began his aforementioned 2015 paper by writing about how the research shows that the healthspan of mice is enhanced by killing senescent cells using a transgenic suicide gene. Jim goes on in that paper describing how a series of experiments by he and his colleagues demonstrated the efficacy of senolytics t... ... Read more

06 May 2021

55 MINS

55:38

06 May 2021


#121

Episode 121: Pascal Lee on the Mars mission and our search for alien life in the galaxy

It has been nearly a month since NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars. So far, the rover hasn’t detected any signs of past life on the planet. But scientists have determined that several of the rocks on Mars are chemically similar to volcanic rocks on Earth. This, of course, has caused quite a bit of buzz. So, the double-secret-selection committee decided it was a perfect time to invite the chairman of the Mars Institute onto the show to get his take on the Perseverance and the Mars Mission so far. Actually, this is Dr. Pascal Lee’s second appearance on STEM-Talk. Pascal is a planetary scientist and director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center who was our guest in 2016 on episode 17.  Back then we talked to Pascal about his annual visits to the High Arctic’s Devon Island, which is the Earth’s largest uninhabited land that has geological characteristics similar to what scientists believe we will find on Mars. Today we catch up with Pascal and his Haughton-Mars Project. We also talk to him about Perseverance and a host of other Mars-related topics. We ask Pascal if he thinks we’ll find signs of life on Mars, or if he believes we will ever find signs of alien life in our galaxy. We also get Pascal’s thoughts about future manned missions to Mars and whether humans will ever colonize the Red Planet. And after listening to today’s interview, be sure to check out Pascal’s artwork and his recent paintings of Mars. Show notes: 00:03:15 Dawn opens the interview welcoming Pascal back to STEM-Talk, mentioning that the last time he was on the podcast he was about to spend his 20th consecutive summer on Devon Island, the Earth’s largest uninhabited land with geological characteristics similar to what Pascal believes we will find on Mars. Dawn goes on to mention that due to COVID-19, last year’s trip to Devon Island was canceled and asks him about his disappointment. 00:05:11 Ken asks if Pascal is confident that he’ll return to Devon Island this coming summer. 00:05:36 Dawn mentions that it takes several stops and trips to reach Devon Island. She asks who makes those travel arrangements and how the journey plays out. 00:08:25 Ken asks about Pascal’s polar bear guard dog, Apollo, inquiring as the protocol when Apollo alerts the team about a nearby polar bear. 00:10:48 Dawn mentions the Webby Award-winning documentary filmed by a team at Google who came to visit Pascal on Devon Island in 2018 called “Mars on Earth: A Visit to Devon Island”. Dawn asks Pascal what he thought of the documentary. 00:12:20 Ken asks Pascal to elaborate on the space suit that he was planning to test on Devon Island last summer but couldn’t because the trip was canceled. 00:16:39 Dawn asks about the glove Pascal wants to test that may enable single-handed drone operation. 00:20:11 Dawn mentions that the atmosphere of Mars is around 60 times less dense than the Earth’s. She asks Pascal about the challenges of flying a drone on Mars. 00:22:15 Dawn asks Pascal to elaborate on his recommendation that scientists study the Inuit culture and history in relation to long-duration space travel. 00:26:01 Ken mentions NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February and relates that Steve Jurczyk, the NASA acting administrator, described Perseverance’s landing on Mars as a pivotal moment for the United States and space exploration. Given that NASA has landed rovers on Mars before, Ken asks Pascal what makes this particular landing especially significant. 00:28:10 Dawn mentions that NASA recently released recordings of the Perseverance rover driving on the surface of Mars. Dawn goes on to ask what the particular significance is of the audios. 00:29:41 Dawn asks what NASA means when it describes Perseverance as a “robotic astrobiologist.” 00:32:36 Ken asks Pascal to discuss the Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, that made its flight to mars attached to the belly of Perseverance. ... Read more

14 Apr 2021

1 HR 28 MINS

1:28:44

14 Apr 2021


#120

Episode 120: Gordon Lithgow on alpha-ketoglutarate’s potential to affect healthspan and lifespan

Ever since Cell Metabolism published a study that found the naturally occurring metabolite alpha-ketoglutarate reduces inflammatory signaling as well as chronic inflammation, listeners have been asking Ken and Dawn for their take on the paper. Today, we have the author of the paper, Dr. Gordon Lithgow, as our guest on STEM-Talk. We talk with Gordon in-depth about his study and the potential of alpha-ketoglutarate to have positive effects on lifespan and healthspan. Gordon is a professor and vice president of Academic Affairs at the Buck Institute in Novato, California, where his research focuses on uncovering genes and small molecules that prolong lifespan through enhanced molecular stability. Today we cover Gordon’s research into alpha-ketoglutarate in the second part of a two-part interview. In part one, episode 119, we asked Gordon about his fascination with C elegans, a microscopic worm that Gordon and other geneticists study and often use for their research. He particularly covered two of his studies involving C elgans: one that looked at the role that protein homeostasis plays in aging;  and another study that found vitamin D3 improves protein homeostasis and slows aging. A native of Scotland, Gordon researched the biology of aging at the University of Manchester in England before moving to the Buck Institute in 2000. Gordon is married to Dr. Julie Andersen, who was our guest on episodes 117 and 118 and who also is a researcher at the Buck Institute. Show notes: 00:03:20 Dawn opens part two of our interview with Gordon by mentioning his most recent paper on alpha-ketoglutarate, which has generated a lot of buzz. This study suggests there is a metabolite that one can buy in a health food store that may have a positive effect on lifespan as well as healthspan. Dawn goes on to mention that alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG), is a naturally occurring metabolite. She notes that previous studies on it have shown that blood plasma levels of AKG can drop up to 10-fold as we age. Dawn asks Gordon to explain what AKG is and how it is involved in so many of our fundamental physiological processes. 00:07:41 Ken mentions that in the study, Gordon fed the mice calcium AKG. Ken asks why Gordon chose calcium AKG as opposed to arginine AKG, which is a dietary supplement often used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve their performance and reduce muscle fatigue. 00:09:22 Dawn mentions that when Gordon’s paper came out in Cell Metabolism, Gordon was quoted as saying, “The nightmare scenario has always been life extension with no reduction in disability.” Dawn goes on to state that this study showed that the middle-aged mice who were treated got healthier over time, and that even the mice that died early saw improvements in their health. Dawn asks Gordon to elaborate on this apparent extension in healthspan. 00:12:41 Dawn asks Gordon about the significance of the finding in his study that calcium AKG reduced inflammatory signaling, as well as chronic inflammation, as it relates to degenerative aging. 00:14:57 Ken asks if Gordon’s study has been replicated in any other strains of mice. 00:18:54 Dawn mentions that Ponce De Leon Health, which is based in Florida, is marketing a formulation of calcium AKG under the brand name Rejuvant. She goes on to mention that Gordon and his colleagues at the Buck worked with Ponce De Leon Health to develop the product and that Gordon owns stock in the company. Dawn asks Gordon to give an overview of this partnership and address the concerns that some people may have about a potential conflict of interest. 00:21:17 Ken asks Gordon to explain how the dose of calcium AKG used in the mouse study compares to the dose recommended for humans via the commercial supplement, noting that the dose seems to be substantially and proportionally higher for mice. 00:22:03 Ken asks why Ponce De Leon Health is marketing different formulations of its product for men and women, ... Read more

17 Mar 2021

48 MINS

48:15

17 Mar 2021


#119

Episode 119: Gordon Lithgow talks about the biology of aging and prolonging lifespan

Episode 119: Gordon Lithgow talks about the biology of aging and prolonging lifespan Our guest today is Dr. Gordon Lithgow, a professor and vice president of Academic Affairs at the Buck Institute in Novato, California. Gordon’s research focuses on uncovering genes and small molecules that prolong lifespan through enhanced molecular stability. Because our conversation with Gordon was so extensive and fascinating, we have split his interview into two parts. In today’s part one of the interview, we talk to Gordon about his background and early studies as well as his fascination with C elegans, a microscopic worm that Gordon and other geneticists study and often use for their research. We particularly talk in depth about two of Gordon’s studies involving C elgans: one that looked at the role that protein homeostasis plays in aging;  and another study that found vitamin D3 improves protein homeostasis and slows aging. A native of Scotland, Gordon researched the biology of aging at the University of Manchester in England before moving to the Buck Institute in 2000. Gordon is married to Dr. Julie Andersen, who was our guest on episodes 117 and 118 and who also is a researcher at the Buck Institute. In part two of our interview with Gordon, we talk to him about a recent study of his that found the naturally occurring metabolite alpha-ketoglutarate reduces inflammatory signaling as well as chronic inflammation. The study has generated quite a bit of buzz because it suggests there’s a readily available metabolite that may have positive effects on lifespan and health span. As a result, Ken and Dawn have been getting numerous questions from listeners about alpha-ketoglutarate and Gordon’s recent study that ran in Cell Metabolism, which Gordon talks about in depth in part two. Show notes: 00:03:59 Dawn opens the interview asking Gordon about growing up in a steelwork town outside of Glasgow, Scotland. 00:04:22 Dawn asks Gordon what he was like as a kid. 00:05:07 Dawn asks Gordon how a young boy who had aspirations of becoming a professional rugby or soccer player suddenly becomes passionate about birdwatching. 00:07:07 Gordon talks about how he went to the University of Strathclyde after high school and how he was the first in his family to attend college. 00:07:48 Dawn asks Gordon why he shifted his academic interests from microbiology to genetic engineering. 00:09:05 Ken asks what led Gordon to attend the University of Glasgow for his doctorate after getting a degree in microbiology. 00:10:04 Ken asks why Gordon went to Switzerland after receiving his doctorate. 00:10:57 Ken asks what prompted Gordon to head to Boulder, Colorado, and why he became so interested in the biology of aging. 00:12:57 Dawn mentions that while Gordon was working in Tom Johnson’s lab during his post-doc, Gordon made what Tom referred to as an amazing discovery. Gordon had found that a single heat shock to worms increased their lifespan by 15 percent. Dawn asks Gordon to talk about this discovery as well as his paper that ran in PNAS. 00:15:46 Ken mentions that because of Gordon’s discovery, many people have developed an interest in sauna. 00:16:57 Dawn mentions that a number of years after discovering that heat shocking increased the lifespan of worms, Gordon followed up on that study and demonstrated that giving the worms repeated mild hormetic heat treatments increased their lifespan even more. Dawn goes on to ask if, since this follow-up study, Gordon has a better understanding of hormesis mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level and how that might relate to the prevention and treatment of different diseases. 00:18:02 Dawn mentions that Julie Anderson, Gordon’s wife, was interviewed for STEM-Talk episodes 117 and 118. Dawn goes on to say that when she asked Julie how she and Gordon met,  Julie said, “I was having a transatlantic relationship with Gordon and we met because we’re nerds. ... Read more

25 Feb 2021

56 MINS

56:37

25 Feb 2021


#118

Episode 118: Julie Andersen talks about urolithin-A’s potential to prevent and treat neurodegenerati...

Today we have part two of our conversation with Dr. Julie Andersen, a professor at the Buck Institute who is conducting fascinating research into the metabolite compound urolithin-A. Laboratory experiments have demonstrated urolithin-A’s ability to induce mitophagy, which is a selective recycling of mitochondria by autophagy, a process that cleans defective mitochondria and becomes less efficient during aging. Julie’s research has focused on the potential of urolithin-A to prevent and treat such diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. In part one of our interview with Julie, she talked about her interest in aging and age-related diseases as well as her early studies into developing new therapeutics for neurodegeneration. Julie has been with the Buck Institute since 2000 and has published more than 170 papers. Show notes: 00:02:15 Dawn starts the second part of our interview asking Julie how the composition of bacteria in the gut affects brain function. 00:07:08 Ken asks Julie to explain what urolithin-A is, where it comes from, and why her lab and others are so interested in it. 00:10:49 Ken mentions that a study was recently published which showed that giving urolithin-A to older mice resulted in a 42 percent improvement in endurance while running compared to a control group of mice of the same age. Ken goes on to ask Julie what it is that makes urolithin-A so impactful. 00:12:43 Dawn mentions that it is known that production of urolithin-A seems to be dependent on the presence of certain gut microbes. She goes on to ask Julie what types of gut microbes are most important in the conversion of ellagic acid. 00:13:33 Ken asks if people vary in terms of how efficiently they convert ellagic acid into urolithin-A, and if so, how much variance is there. 00:14:43 Julie explains what she has learned about how to better analyze the gut microbiome composition from her studies with mice. 00:15:51 Ken asks if there is a test one can take to see if they are a urolithin-A producer. 00:16:19 Ken mentions the June 2019 paper by Chris Rinsch’s team in Nature Metabolismwhich showed a striking up-regulation of mitochondrial gene expression, including some induction of mitophagy genes in the skeletal muscle of older adults after 4 weeks of oral urolithin-A supplementation. He goes on to say that given the well-documented mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease, which seems to be ubiquitous, he asks what Julie’s thoughts are on the use of urolithin-A supplementation in Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s 00:19:22 Dawn mentions that Julie wrote a paper titled “Senescence as an Amyloid Cascade: The Amyloid Senescence Hypothesis,” about the intersection of amyloid-beta oligomers and cellular senescence in Alzheimer’s disease, cautioning against completely rejecting the amyloid hypothesis. Dawn asks if the intersection of senescence with amyloid burden help to address the lack of correlation between amyloid burden and disease burden in both animal models and humans. 00:26:22 Dawn asks about the compound “C1” that Julie’s lab has demonstrated boosts autophagy and, as a result, shows promise in treating Alzheimer’s. 00:30:27 Dawn mentions Mitopure, which is a commercially available oral formulation of urolithin-A from a Swiss company called Amazentis. This product provides urolithin-A directly regardless of one’s diet or microbiome composition. Dawn goes on to ask if Julie has any thoughts on the benefits of this product. 00:32:23 Dawn asks if there is any evidence that urolithin-A taken orally can cross the blood-brain barrier to reach key target cells in the brain. 00:35:05 Dawn asks if the high concentration of peroxidation-sensitive lipids in the brain, which contribute to its sensitivity, is something that will eventually build regardless, or are there modifiable factors that can alter the susceptibility of lipid species in the brain to peroxidation. ... Read more

02 Feb 2021

52 MINS

52:49

02 Feb 2021


#117

Episode 117: Julie Andersen talks about her research into aging and neurodegenerative diseases

Our guest today is Dr. Julie Andersen, who is best known for her research into aging and age-related diseases. A professor at the Buck Institute Buck Institute for Research on Aging, an independent biomedical research institute that researches ways to extend the healthy years of life, Julie and her colleagues at Buck have focused on understanding the underlying age-related processes driving neurodegenerative diseases in order to identify novel therapeutics. Because our conversation with Julie was so fascinating and long, we have divided it into two parts. In today’s part one of her interview, we talk to Julie about her youth and early career. We also talk to her about the potential of of rapamycin to protect brain cells and mitochondria in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease as well as her thoughts about the Amyloid Cascade Hypothesis. In part two, which will go live in a few weeks, we have an in-depth conversation with Julie about her research into the neuroprotective properties of urolithin A. In terms of Julie’s background, she received her Ph.D. from UCLA and did her post-doc in the department of neurology at Harvard. In 2000 Julie joined the Buck Institute. Show notes: [00:03:33] Dawn opens the interview asking if it is true that Julie was a quiet kid who normally sat in the back of the classroom. [00:03:52] Dawn mentions that Julie was born in Montana but that she grew up in northern Idaho. Dawn asks what it was that brought Julie’s family to Idaho. [00:04:29] Dawn asks Julie what interests she had growing up. [00:05:05] Ken remarks on the fact that one of Julie’s favorite books is a biography of Clementine, Winston Churchill’s wife, and asks where Julie’s interest in Clementine came from. [00:05:46] Dawn mentions that for Julie’s undergraduate degree, she went to Washington State University, where her father was a professor. Dawn asks if Julie knew from the start that she was going to focus her undergraduate studies on plant physiology. [00:07:03] Ken asks Julie took her to UCLA for her Ph.D. [00:08:16] Dawn asks Julie what led to travel across the country to Boston for her post-doc. [00:09:26] Julie explains why she eventually returned to California after her Ph.D. [00:11:32] Dawn asks Julie to tell the story of how meeting someone she described as “a fellow nerd” at an aging conference eventually led her to taking a position at the Buck Institute. [00:14:34] Ken remarks that Julie must like working at the Buck, given she has remained there for the last 20 years. Julie describes what is it about the Buck Institute that makes it such a special place. [00:17:51] Dawn mentions that for the past 20 years, Julie and her lab at Buck have looked at a lot of different aspects of neurodegeneration, with a heavier concentration on autophagy in the past five years. Dawn goes on to mention that Julie has especially been investigating a natural bioactive known as urolithin A. Before diving into all of this work specifically, Dawn asks Julie, what drew her to the study of neurodegeneration to begin with. [00:19:55] Ken asks what prompted Julie’s current focus on autophagy. [00:24:11] Dawn explains that degradation of damaged mitochondria via lysosomal autophagy is a key cellular pathway in the maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis.  Disruption of this pathway contributes to the progressive cell loss that is associated with Parkinson’s disease. She goes on to mention that Julie published the results of a study in 2015that found rapamycin can protect brain cells and mitochondria in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Julie explains the significance of this study and talks about the importance of rapamycin in the research of therapies for Parkinson’s disease. [00:30:44] Dawn asks Julie to explain the concept, and the significance of, transcription factor EB (TFEB), which is a protein that is encoded in humans by the TFEB gene, and is a master regulator of autophagy and lysosom... ... Read more

12 Jan 2021

49 MINS

49:55

12 Jan 2021


#116

Episode 116: Marcas Bamman on the many benefits of exercise and strength training

Our guest today is Dr. Marcas Bamman, an internationally recognized researcher known for his scientific contributions to the biology of human skeletal muscle and medical rehabilitation. Marcas recently joined IHMC as a Senior Research Scientist. He is the founder and former director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Exercise Medicine. Marcas and the UAB center are recognized as world leaders in the biological mechanisms underlying exercise-induced adaptations and their clinical utility in disease prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. At IHMC, he will expand his research aimed at maximizing the performance and resilience of elite warfighters. One of Marcas’ first projects at IHMC is working with the institute’s Chief Science Officer Tim Broderick on a DARPA-sponsored program. This research is aimed at developing a revolutionary platform to enhance training and resilience of elite service members. Tim talked about the program, called the Peerless Operator Biologic Aptitude project, during his interview on episode 112 of STEM-Talk. In today’s interview, we talk to Marcas about the Peerless project as well as his earlier research into the many ways that exercise and strength training can induce a multitude of health benefits. Show notes: [00:03:11] Dawn opens the interview by asking Marcas where he grew up. [00:03:21] Dawn asks Marcas what sports he played given that he is now an exercise scientist. [00:03:45] Dawn mentions that in addition to being good at basketball and soccer in high school, that Marcas was also good in his chemistry and mathematics classes. [00:04:47] Dawn asks if it is true that Marcas was the sports editor of his high school newspaper. [00:05:25] Dawn asks Marcas why he decided to pursue science despite having a promising future as a sportswriter. [00:06:08] Ken asks if Marcas decided to attend Kansas State University after high school because it was the same school his father had attended. [00:06:59] Ken asks what led Marcus to the University of Alabama Birmingham for his master’s degree. [00:08:09] Dawn asks if it is true that Marcas met his wife Deanna in a fitness center. [00:09:00] Marcas explains the non-traditional rout he took to earning his doctorate at the University of Florida. [00:14:05] Dawn mentions that while Marcas was working at NASA, he worked on a study that had people go through 14 days of bedrest in an effort to mimic space flight. The resulting paper appeared in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise and was titled, “Resistance Exercise Prevents Plantar Flexor Deconditioning During Bed Rest.” Dawn asks about the study and its findings, as well as how Marcas was able to convince people to spend 14 days in bed. [00:19:47] Marcas explains how he ended up back at UAB following his dissertation. [00:20:32] Ken asks what Marcas’ overarching question was that drove his research when he began his career at UAB. [00:22:24] Dawn mentions that Marcas has played a major role nationally in the recognition and growth of exercise medicine. Dawn asks how Marcas first became interested in this concept of exercise as medicine. [00:24:06] Dawn asks Marcas to talk about his research that has shown that exercise can help prevent and delay health problems, and that different types of exercise can bring about different health benefits. [00:29:38] Dawn mentions that in 2011 Marcas established the University of Alabama Birmingham Center for Exercise Medicine (UCEM), which has become well known nationally as a leader in exercise medicine. Marcas gives an overview of how the center came about and the research that is conducted there. [00:34:23] Marcas gives an overview of a clinical trial he conducted in 2011 which showed that men and women in their 60’s and 70’s who underwent supervised weight training developed muscles that were as large and strong as those of the average, untrained 35- to 40-year-old. ... Read more

16 Dec 2020

1 HR 39 MINS

1:39:38

16 Dec 2020


#115

Episode 115: Ken and Dawn answer listener questions about ketogenic diets, Viagra, methylene blue, f...

It’s that time again for another Ask Me Anything episode. And we must say, listeners sent us a wealth of excellent questions for this round of Ask Me Anything. In today’s podcast, Ken and Dawn answer questions that range from blood-flow restriction to swimming induced pulmonary edema to intermittent fasting to methylene blue to low-carb diets, and much, much more. If you have questions you want to send to Ken and Dawn for an Ask Me Anything episode, email your question to STEM-Talk Producer Randy Hammer at rhammer@ihmc.org. Show notes:  [00:02:24] In light of Ken’s former experience in wrestling, a listener asks about wrestlers who perform neck bridges to strengthen their neck.  The listener wonders if Ken thinks neck exercises are important and, if so, what does he does in that regard. In his response, Ken mentions a neck-strengthening device, Iron Neck. [00:06:12] A listener asks Ken and Dawn about their morning routines and what scientific journals they read and if they could each give a few book recommendations. [00:08:16] A listener asks Dawn, in light of her accepting a position at the University of North Carolina, if she will continue working with IHMC and  co-hosting STEM-Talk. [00:09:13] A listener asks if and how Dawn sees crossover between the research on humans in extreme environments that she did at IHMC, and the clinically oriented work she is doing now. [00:10:37] A listener mentions that they have recently started using blood-flow restriction training in their workouts thanks to STEM-Talk and have enjoyed the experience. The listener goes on to mention, however, that they are noticing they feel light headed when going for a run after a blood-flow restriction resistance workout. The listener asks Ken if he has any knowledge of this phenomenon, or other side effects of blood flow restriction exercise. [00:12:56] A listener mentions that they have just finished reading Denise Minger’s “Death by Food Pyramid” which explains that no nutrition-oriented classes are required for a Harvard medical degree, which is also true of about 70% of medical schools in the nation. The listener goes on to mention, from their own experience, that people are often told to consult their doctor when thinking about the potential benefits of new diets. Doctors and even nutritionists, however, generally prescribe the Mediterranean diet and do not seem to know much about low-carb diets. The listener asks Ken who one should consult when wanting to start a ketogenic diet. In his response, Ken mentions several resources, including the websites Virta Health and Diet Doctor; and the books “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living” as well as “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.” [00:15:22] A listener, who is a triathlete, asks Dawn for advice about performance in extreme environments, particularly in regards to swimming induced pulmonary edema. They also go on to ask about Dawn’s thoughts on Sildenafil, also known as Viagra. In her response, Dawn mentions a paper by Dr. Richard Moon of Duke University, “Swimming-Induced Pulmonary Edema: Pathophysiology and Risk Reduction with Sildenafil.” [00:20:08] A listener asks Ken a question about an article they read about a study out of the University of Glasgow that was published in Nature Scientific Reports. The listener highlights a quote from the press release announcing the publication of the article: “There is no magic diet, or magic food, for weight control. Instead, people have to find the best way to eat fewer calories. Low-carb diets have had a lot of hype from media and celebrities, but they are no better than high-carb diets. Their evidence is generally poor, and our earlier research found low-carb diets are associated with some vitamin deficiencies, with more diabetes, not less. We can't stop people cutting carbohydrate, and it may suit some people at least in the short-term, but there should be a health warning. ... Read more

24 Nov 2020

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:07

24 Nov 2020


#114

Episode 114: Lilianne Mujica-Parodi talks about how diet and ketones affect brain aging

Our guest today is Dr. Lilianne Mujica Parodi, the director of the Laboratory for Computational Neurodiagnostics at Stony Brook University. We will be talking to Lily about her paper in PNAS last year that revealed neurobiological changes associated with aging can be seen in a person’s late 40s, a much younger age than what was previously thought.  She and her colleagues at Stony Brook also found that this process may be prevented or even reversed based on dietary changes that involve minimizing the consumption of simple carbohydrates. The study’s targeted experiments  showed that the biomarker for brain aging could be reliably modulated with consumption of different fuel sources. The study showed that decreasing  glucose and increasing ketones resulted in the stability of brain networks. Much of Lily’s work over the years has been focused on developing neuroimaging tools. In today’s interview, we talk to her about functional magnetic resonance imaging, also known as fMRI, which measures the small changes in blood flow that occur with brain activity. It may be used to examine the brain's functional anatomy, evaluate the effects of stroke or other disease, and even guide brain treatment. Functional magnetic resonance imaging also can detect abnormalities within the brain that cannot be found with other imaging techniques. Show notes: [00:03:08] Dawn opens the interview asking Lily what she was like as a child. [00:04:20] Dawn mentions that Lily grew up in Maryland near the National Institute of Health. Lily talks about her experiences interning at the NIH in her senior year of high school. [00:09:41] Dawn asks what brought Lily to Georgetown University. [00:10:29] Ken asks about Lily’s experience at Georgetown University, where she majored in physics and philosophy. [00:15:16] Lily explains why she went to Columbia University after graduating from Georgetown. [00:19:14] Dawn asks about Lily’s research that led to her receiving the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation Young Investigator Award in 2000. [00:22:44] Dawn asks about Lily’s experience giving a lecture at the NIH while she was wrapping up her doctorate at Columbia. [00:27:00] Dawn asks what brought Lily to Stony Brook. [00:30:30] Ken asks Lily what attracted her to biomedical engineering. [00:32:58] Dawn mentions that much of Lily’s work at Stony Brook has been focused on developing neuroimaging tools. Dawn goes on to ask why neuroimaging has not provided the anticipated success for psychiatry and neurology that the electrocardiogram provided for cardiovascular medicine. [00:39:04] Ken mentions that Lily is the director of the Laboratory for Computational Neurodiagnostics. Lily gives an overview of the lab and the research conducted there. [00:44:00] Dawn mentions that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, also known as fMRI, measures small changes in blood flow that occur with brain activity, and can be used to examine the brain’s functional anatomy, and evaluate various insults, diseases, and abnormalities, that cannot be found with other imagining techniques. Dawn asks Lily to explain the technology of fMRI and its various applications. [00:45:59] Ken asks about Lily’s 2016 paper published in the Frontiers of Neuroscience journal, that ran under the title, “Signal Fluctuation Sensitivity: An Improved Metric for Optimizing Detection of Resting-State fMRI Networks.” [00:49:36] Lily discusses her lab’s involvement in the development of a technology called “Near-Infrared Spectroscopy,” which is an attempt to replicate MRI-type imaging in an ambulatory environment such as an emergency room or a rural environment. [00:51:36] Dawn asks what led Lily to start researching diets and particularly the ketogenic diet. [00:56:59] Ken mentions that there are two key factors linked to age-based cognitive impairment, those being: insulin resistance and glucose hypometabolism. ... Read more

28 Oct 2020

1 HR 21 MINS

1:21:44

28 Oct 2020


#113

Episode 113: Peter Pirolli discusses information foraging, AI and the future of human interaction wi...

Today’s interview features Dr. Peter Pirolli, a colleague and senior research scientist here at IHMC since 2017.  He previously was a fellow at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and is known for his research into human information interaction. Peter’s work on information foraging theory led to his book “Information Foraging Theory: Adaptive Interaction with Information.” Peter received his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985 and throughout his career his research has involved a mix of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interaction. His current interests include disruptive mobile-health technologies for precision behavioral medicine to support healthy behavior. Right now, Peter is working closely with IHMC’s Chief Science Officer Tim Broderick on a DARPA project that Tim discussed in his recent STEM-Talk interview, episode 112. Peter also talks about the project and the work that he, Tim and others at IHMC are doing to increase the biologic aptitude of elite warfighters. In today’s interview, Peter also discusses his role as the principal investigator of a project that the National Science Foundation recently awarded to IHMC. Peter and his colleagues will be working on improving epidemiological models that will be able to more accurately forecast the rate of infections and deaths related to COVID-19. Show notes: [00:02:42] Dawn opens the interview by quizzing Peter about how he took up surfing at the age of 40. [00:05:48] Ken mentions that Peter grew up in Canada, but that his father, who is Italian, decided to move the family to Italy when Peter was 8 years old. Peter discusses what that was like. [00:08:37] Dawn mentions that Peter liked to go camping and canoeing as a kid, and developed a love for astronomy. Dawn asks if it is true that Peter used to keep NASA scrapbooks. [00:10:52] Peter tells the story of the role his mother played in his decision to go to Trent University in Ontario. [00:12:45] Dawn asks why Peter decided to major in psychology and anthropology despite his childhood fascination with astronomy. [00:14:47] Dawn asks what attracted Peter to Pittsburg and Carnegie Mellon University for graduate school. [00:16:12] Ken mentions that at Carnegie Mellon, Peter had the opportunity to meet and work with Herb Simon and Alan Newell, who back in the 1950s were the early pioneers of artificial intelligence. They won the Turing Award in 1975 for their contributions to artificial intelligence and the psychology of human cognition. Ken goes on to mention that Simon also won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978.  Ken asks how Peter, with a background in psychology and anthropology, got to work with these pioneers of the field of AI. [00:17:59] Ken mentions that one of his favorite works from Simon and Newell was their physical symbols concept and the papers that arose from that. [00:19:54] Ken mentions that Simon and Newell were interested in developing computational models that could mimic and simulate what the human mind was doing. In addition to AI, they also conducted research that looked at information processing, decision-making, problem-solving, organization theory and complex systems. Ken asks Peter how working with these pioneers influence his later research and career. [00:22:57] Ken asks Peter to elaborate on the concept that Simon introduced known as “satisficing.” It’s a concept credited with revolutionizing economics by introducing the idea of “bounded rationality” where people have limited time and resources with which to gather data to draw their conclusions, as opposed to the “rational man” concept which assumes that a person making a decision uses all conceivably relevant information to inform their decisions. [00:25:54] Dawn mentions that in Peter’s time at CMU, he became interested in building artificial intelligence systems to tutor people one on one. ... Read more

08 Oct 2020

1 HR 18 MINS

1:18:18

08 Oct 2020


#112

Episode 112: Tim Broderick discusses biotechnology and increasing the biological aptitude and caree...

Our guest today is Dr. Tim Broderick, the chief science officer here at IHMC. Tim is a surgeon and biomedical scientist who joined IHMC last year. Tim has had a fascinating career as a researcher, surgeon and aquanaut. He is well-known as a pioneer in laparoscopic, robotic and telerobotic surgery. He also has led multiple ground, flight and undersea-based biomedical research projects. As a result, he is an honorary NASA flight surgeon and a NOAA undersea saturation diver. Tim spent four years as a DARPA program manager where he conceived and established five high-impact biotechnology projects that included revolutionary programs focused on precision diagnosis and treatment of military-relevant diseases and injuries. Over the years, he  has developed a substantial portfolio of cutting-edge Department of Defense research. In today’s interview, Tim gives an  overview of a fascinating project, called Peerless Operator Biologic Aptitude, which he and his colleagues at IHMC are currently working on. Show notes: [00:03:09] Dawn opens the interview asking Tim about growing up in in Cincinnati and going to Cincinnati Reds games in the 1970s with his family. [00:04:59] Ken asks if growing up in the Apollo era and witnessing the moon landing as a child influenced his interest in science and space. [00:06:16] Tim recounts a story about his father saving someone’s life at church when Tim was a child and how that had a profound impact on him. [00:07:13] Tim tells another story from his college days when he saved a man who nearly had his arm chopped off by a machete. [00:11:22] Dawn asks if it is true that as a teenager Tim would regularly dress up as Scooby-Doo. {00:13:39] Dawn asks if Tim always knew he wanted to be a doctor since he grew up in a family full of doctors. [00:15:21] Ken asks why Tim decided to attend Xavier University in Cincinnati. [00:16:41] Dawn mentions that she has rarely heard of someone heading off to college with the idea of double majoring in chemistry and computer science, and asks how that came about. [00:21:17] Dawn mentions that Tim graduated in four years and in 1986 decided to stay in town for medical school at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dawn asks what drew him there. [00:22:58] Ken asks if Tim knew he wanted to become a surgeon when he started med school. [00:26:37] Dawn asks what lead Tim to go to Richmond, Virginia, for his residency as a surgical resident at the Medical College of Virginia. [00:28:23] Dawn asks about how Tim’s interest in minimally invasive surgery during his residency, which led to him becoming the director of surgical research at VCU’s Minimally Invasive Surgery Center. [00:29:32] Ken mentions that while Tim was working at VCU he became a consulting surgeon for telemedicine and robotics for the NASA Medical Informatics Technology Applications Consortium. Ken asks what that work entailed. [00:32:32] Ken asks about Tim’s early work in laparoscopic robotic and telerobotic surgery. [00:38:00] Ken asks about how Tim’s experience in remote surgery for astronauts led him to become an aquanaut and a crew member for NASA’s NEEMO 9. [00:40:24] Dawn mentions that it was Tim’s support that was one of the reasons that Dawn had the chance to join NEEMO as a crew member. She goes on to mention that Tim logged time underwater as a NEEMO aquanaut when he returned to the project several years after NEEMO 9 for NEEMO 12. Tim describes what his research was focused on for that mission. [00:43:33] Dawn notes the similarities between an operational environment such as NEEMO, spaceflight and the operating room. Dawn asks if Tim’s experiences in the operating room crossed over into his work on the NEEMO mission. [00:45:08] Tim shares some of his favorite memories from his time underwater with NEEMO. [00:49:48] Dawn mentions that beginning in the year 2003, Tim spent seven years as a senior scientist and trauma portfol... ... Read more

15 Sep 2020

1 HR 22 MINS

1:22:05

15 Sep 2020


#111

Episode 111: Tommy Wood talks about lifestyle approaches to improve health span and lifespan

Today we have the second of our two-part interview with Dr. Tommy Wood. Ken and Dawn talk to Tommy about his ongoing research into lifestyle approaches that can improve people’s health span, lifespan and physical performance. Tommy also talks about the physiological and metabolic responses to brain injury and how these injuries can have long-term effects on brain health. In part one of our interview, episode 110, Tommy shared his thoughts on the research he has done on the importance of metabolic health as a way to for people to protect themselves from COVID-19. Tommy also talked about his work on developing accessible methods to track human health and longevity and his research on ways to increase the resilience of developing brains. Tommy is a UK-trained physician who is also a colleague of ours here at IHMC. In addition to being a research assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington  in the division of neonatology, Tommy occasionally spends time at IHMC as a visiting research assistant. For a more detailed explanation of Tommy’s background, check out the introduction to part one of our interview, episode 110. We also recommend checking out Tommy’s earlier appearances on STEM-Talk, episodes 47 and 48. Show notes: [00:02:50] Dawn continues our interview with Tommy asking why some people refer to Alzheimer’s as type-3 diabetes. [00:05:00] Dawn refers to a chart that Tommy incorporated into his IHMC lecture in February of this year, which was part of a paper that showed how glucose responds with age. Dawn asks Tommy to walk listeners through what the chart details. [00:06:38] Dawn asks if Tommy agrees with Art De Vany, who in his most recent appearance on STEM-Talk, said that insulin resistance is associated with nearly every major disease that people worry about today. [00:07:38] Tommy talks about the mean amplitude of glycemic excursions and how this is the best predictor of cognitive functions. [00:09:31] Dawn asks about the waffle/fast-food study, and what the results of that paper mean for the effect of the modern American diet on health and cognitive ability. [00:11:00] Dawn asks about the effects of stress on memory and mood. [00:13:39] Dawn posits that we see many a public-service announcement about the dangers of smoking and alcohol consumption, and asks if the case could be made that we should also have public service announcements about the dangers of high blood sugar, as it is even more of a public-health issue than smoking and alcohol consumption. [00:15:42] Tommy transitions to talking about the importance of sleep in regards to brain health. [00:17:01] Ken mentions that in response to the common advice of getting eight hours of sleep, Tommy has made the point that perhaps more important than the number of hours is the quality of those hours of sleep. [00:20:15] Dawn asks Tommy about the use of Tylenol PM, or Ambien before bed for those people who have difficulty getting to, or staying, asleep. [00:22:07] Ken asks if it is true that muscle mass and body composition are exceptionally important in regards to brain robusticity. [00:24:43] Ken asks about Tommy’s favorite paper, “1,026 Experimental Treatments in Acute Stroke,” and why he loves this paper so much. [00:27:31] Tommy gives an overview of what happens as a result of an acute brain injury across the lifespan. [00:29:35] Tommy discusses Creatine, which is a compound derived from amino acids that has been shown to be effective in treating brain injuries. [00:32:56] Dawn asks Tommy what he has learned in terms of the overall therapeutic effects of ketones. [00:40:20] Dawn asks what would be one question that Tommy wishes health experts contemplated more often, in terms of health span, and what would be his answer to said question. [00:42:35] Dawn mentions that Tommy has done a lot of work helping individuals overcome chronic health conditions, ... Read more

27 Aug 2020

1 HR 16 MINS

1:16:50

27 Aug 2020


#110

Episode 110 : Tommy Wood talks about nourishing developing brains and the importance of metabolic he...

Dr. Tommy Wood is a UK-trained physician who is making his third appearance on STEM-Talk. Earlier this year before the COVID-19 outbreak, Tommy gave a well-attended lecture at IHMC about the latest research on building and preserving brain health across people’s lifespans. The lecture was so popular we invited Tommy to join us for another STEM-Talk interview. Tommy is a research assistant professor of pediatrics in the University of Washington Division of Neonatology. He was our guest on episodes 47 and 48 of STEM-Talk. Tommy received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Cambridge and a medical degree from the University of Oxford. In addition to working with newborn infants who have brain injuries, Tommy also develops performance optimization strategies for athletes such as Formula 1 racecar drivers and Olympians. As in our first STEM-Talk interview with Tommy, our conversation was so long and wide-ranging that we have divided it into two parts. In today’s episode, we talk to Tommy about the importance of metabolic health, especially as a way to protect ourselves from COVID-19. We touch on Tommy’s work at developing accessible methods to track human health and longevity, and also his research an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington where he studies ways to increase the resilience of developing brains. In part two of our interview, we talk to Tommy about his continuing research into lifestyle approaches to improve health span and lifespan and physical performance. We also have a fascinating discussion about the physiological and metabolic responses to brain injury and their long-term effects on brain health.  Show notes:  [00:05:15] Dawn asks about an article Tommy and a colleague recently wrote, in which Tommy points out that it is becoming increasingly clear that underlying conditions associated with suboptimal metabolic health appear to be associated with poor outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Considering the nature of these underlying conditions, such as obesity and hypertension, he argues that lifestyle-based approaches to protecting ourselves from COVID-19 are likely to be one of our best tools in addressing this ongoing pandemic as well as future pandemics. Tommy summarizes his key points from the article. [00:09:38] Dawn mentions that when Tommy was last interviewed on STEM-Talk, he had just become a senior fellow at the University of Washington and was in the process of moving permanently to the U.S. She goes on to mention that when she asked Tommy what brought him to the states, he said “a girl,” who he ended up marrying. The girl turned out to be Elizabeth Nance who was interviewed on episode 71 of STEM-Talk. Dawn asks how Elizabeth is doing. [00:10:51] Tommy gives an overview of his work as a research assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in the division of neonatology, where his focus is on ways to increase the resilience of developing brains and also ways to treat neonatal brain injuries. [00:12:45] Dawn explains that Tommy gives a disclaimer at the beginning of his talks that “many of my best ideas are stolen.” She asks what are his best sources for ideas. [00:14:42] Dawn mentions that when Elizabeth was on STEM-Talk, she mentioned that Tommy was constantly reading paper after paper, to the point that it is dizzying to look at Tommy’s computer screen. Tommy describes his research methods and how he goes about collecting material. [00:16:51] Ken mentions that Tommy’s current research interests include the physiological and metabolic responses to brain injury and their long-term effects on brain health. Ken asks about this as well as Tommy’s work to develop easily accessible methods to track human health, performance, and longevity. [00:18:59] Dawn asks why even as a neonatal neuroscientist, Tommy is still interested in working with football players, Formula 1 drivers, ... Read more

04 Aug 2020

1 HR 17 MINS

1:17:08

04 Aug 2020


#109

Episode 109: Robb Wolf discusses whether eating meat is bad for you and the environment … and his ne...

Today’s guest is Robb Wolf, who is making his third appearance on STEM-Talk. He has a new book, which is being released today, the same day as our interview with Robb goes live. His new book, “Sacred Cow: Why Well Raised Meat Is Good For You and Good For The Planet,” takes a critical look at the assumptions and also the misinformation about meat and provides contrarian views that are science-based showing that meat and animal fat are essential for our bodies. Robb is a former research biochemist who is also the  author of two other New York Times bestsellers, “The Paleo Solution” and “Wired to Eat.” Robb’s career includes a stint as a review editor of the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism,  a consulting role for the Naval Special Warfare Resiliency Program,  and membership on the board of directors and advisors for Specialty Health, Inc. He also is on the board of the Chickasaw Nation's Unconquered Life Initiative and works with a number of innovative startups with the focus on health and sustainability. In today’s interview, Robb talks about his move from Reno, Nevada, to the hill country of Texas, the science that supports the importance of meat and fat in a healthy diet, his transition to a ketogenic diet, and how improving our metabolic health is one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves against COVID-19. [00:03:52] Ken opens the interview mentioning that Robb is making his third appearance on STEM-Talk. He was a guest on episode 27 of STEM-Talk, and also helped Ken co-host an interview with Allan Savory, episode 40. Ken then asks Robb about his move from Reno to the hill country of Texas. [00:05:57] Dawn mentions that Robb has started a new podcast since his last appearance on STEM-Talk. The new podcast is The Healthy Rebellion Radio, and replaces the Paleo Solution. Dawn explains that this new show follows a Q&A format, and features Robb and his wife, Nicki Violetti, answering listener questions. Dawn asks what prompted Robb and Nicki and to start this new podcast. [00:08:12] Dawn asks for an update on a project Robb discussed on episode 27 called the Reno Risk Assessment project, which was a program of diet and lifestyle changes that he and Nicki developed to improve health and performance of police and fire departments. [00:14:07] Dawn asks about the motivations and origins of Robb’s work with the Chickasaw Nation and its “Unconquered Life” project. [00:18:31] Dawn asks Robb about his comments that improving metabolic health is one of the most important things a person can do to protect themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic. [00:20:52] Dawn mentions that researchers at the University of North Carolina published a paper last year that showed only 12% of Americans have optimal metabolic health. The report pointed out that those with poor metabolic health included many people of normal weight. Dawn follows up by asking Robb if he also has found this to be true in his work with people. [00:24:09] Ken asks for Robb’s take on BMI, which can often be misleading. [00:25:21] Dawn asks if Robb’s personal diet has evolved since his previous appearance on STEM-Talk. [00:33:16] Ken mention’s that Robb’s new book, which is scheduled to come out the same day as this episode goes live, is titled, “Sacred Cow.” Ken goes on to say that Robb and his co-author, dietician Diana Rogers, look at the quandaries we face in raising and eating animals. The book  particularly focuses on cows, which Robb describes as not only the largest of our farmed animals, but also the most maligned. Ken begins the discussion of the book by asking Rob why he decided to take on the vegans and the topic of eating animals. [00:38:22] Dawn asks Robb for his take on one of the two major arguments against the consumption of animal products: that eating foods such as beef and chicken and cheese are bad for our health, and what the true science is behind these two claims. ... Read more

14 Jul 2020

1 HR 46 MINS

1:46:17

14 Jul 2020


#108

Episode 108: Ken and Dawn tackle questions ranging from AI to amino acids to methylene blue to ketos...

Because of the number of questions that keep pouring in, today we have another Ask Me Anything episode.  We also have been receiving requests to do more of these shows, so we plan to record more frequent AMA episodes in the future. If you have questions for Ken and Dawn, email them to STEM-Talk producer Randy Hammer at rhammer@ihmc.us. In today’s episode we touch a little bit on COVID-19, but most questions revolve around diet and sleep and brain health. Ken also explains the meaning behind IHMC’s name and Dawn shares why she tweaked her vegetarian lifestyle to now include fish in her diet. Plus, Ken weighs in on the dangers of AI, real and imagined. It’s a fun, wide-ranging episode. Enjoy! Show notes: [00:02:28] Dawn opens the AMA with a listener question for Ken about his thoughts on social distancing. [00:03:19] A listener asks Dawn about the long-term pulmonary effects for survivors of COVID-19, and how this will impact divers. [00:04:49] Dawn reads a listener question for Ken about the U.S. relationship with China in regards to drug manufacturing: “During your interview with Katherine Eban, you made a comment about how current events related to COVID-19 truly highlight the fault in our dependency on Chinese manufacturing for our pharmaceuticals. That was just a few months ago…Where do you see our relationship with China heading with respect to drug manufacturing in the future?” {00:06:54] Ken talks about the need for each individual to take responsibility for the pharmaceuticals they ingest and recommends listening to Katherine’s Eban’s STEM-Talk interview and checking out her website, which has a wealth of information about generic drugs. [00:07:19] A listener asks Dawn about her shift from strict vegetarianism to occasionally adding fish into her diet. The listener wonders if this came about as a result of some of the discussions on STEM-Talk, or if her decision was inspired by something else? [00:09:07] A listener asks Ken if he uses branch chain amino acids, and if so how? [00:11:52] Ken talks about how combining essential amino-acid supplementation with mechanical loading via resistance training is a powerful strategy to combat the age-related loss of muscle function and mass that often leads to sarcopenia in the older population. [00:14:45] Dawn poses a listener’s question to Ken about why nutritionists seem to almost unanimously tolerate intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating, but oppose the ketogenic diet. The listener goes on to ask if there is any difference between getting into ketosis through diet versus fasting. [00:17:30] A listener asks Ken, who was an early adopter of a low-carb ketogenic diet, how his understanding of low-carb and healthy diets has changed as research has progressed. [00:19:25] A listener talks about how their adoption of time-restricted eating has led to late-night binge eating. The listener asks if it is true that skipping breakfast makes it harder to suppress ghrelin, sometimes referred to as “the hunger hormone.” The listener is curious about this because so many STEM-Talk guests talk about how they skip breakfast. [00:22:45] A listener asks Dawn: “In your podcast with Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, you talked about the potential role of methylene blue in protecting individuals exposed to environmental hypoxia. Do you know of any studies that have looked at this potential application of methylene blue?” [00:26:05] A listener asks Ken about adding legumes back into one’s diet after losing weight through the ketogenic diet, and if the weight will return if legumes are reintroduced. [00:29:20] A listener asks how Ken came up with the name “Institute for Human and Machine Cognition,” and what all the name entails? [00:30:51] A listener asks Dawn about the replication of extreme environments in a lab setting when studying human performance in various extreme environments. [00:34:56] A listener asks Ken: “There was some recent news cov... ... Read more

23 Jun 2020

58 MINS

58:12

23 Jun 2020


#107

Episode 107: Francisco Gonzalez-Lima discusses methylene blue and near-infrared light as therapies f...

Today we have part two of our interview with Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, a behavioral neuroscientist at The University of Texas at Austin. Francisco and his colleagues at the Gonzalez-Lima Lab are recognized as world leaders for their research on the relationship between brain energy metabolism, memory and neurobehavioral disorders. Today’s interview focuses on two interventions Francisco has explored with the aim of protecting people against neurodegeneration: low-dose methylene blue and the application of near-infrared light. Part one of our interview, episode 106, touched on Francisco’s youth and training as well as his early research into Alzheimer’s disease and brain-metabolic mapping. Over the years, much of Francisco’s brain research has focused on transcranial lasers, memory enhancement, neuroprotection, neurocognitive disorders. Current research in the Gonzalez-Lima Lab focuses on the beneficial neurocognitive and emotional effects of noninvasive human brain stimulation in healthy, aging and mentally ill populations. This research primarily uses transcranial infrared laser stimulation and multimodal imaging. Show notes: Today we have part two of our interview with Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, a behavioral neuroscientist at The University of Texas at Austin.   Francisco and his colleagues at the Gonzalez-Lima Lab are recognized as world leaders for their research on the relationship between brain energy metabolism, memory and neurobehavioral disorders.   Today’s interview focuses on two interventions Francisco has explored with the aim of protecting people against neurodegeneration: low-dose methylene blue and the application of near-infrared light. Part one of our interview, episode 106, touched on Francisco’s youth and training as well as his early research into Alzheimer’s disease and brain-metabolic mapping. Over the years, much of Francisco’s brain research has focused on transcranial lasers, memory enhancement, neuroprotection, neurocognitive disorders. Current research in the Gonzalez-Lima Lab focuses on the beneficial neurocognitive and emotional effects of noninvasive human brain stimulation in healthy, aging and mentally ill populations. This research primarily uses transcranial infrared laser stimulation and multimodal imaging. [00:04:15] Ken begins part two of our interview mentioning he would like to talk about low-dose methylene blue and the application of near-infrared light. Ken explains that Both of these interventions act by a similar cellular mechanism that targets mitochondrial respiration via the electron transport chain. Ken asks Francisco to describe for listeners what the electron transport chain is and why it is important to the function of the mitochondria. [00:08:22] Dawn asks what the clinical signs and symptoms of unhealthy mitochondrial function are, and what are markers of good mitochondrial health. [00:11:41] Francisco gives an overview of the drug methylene blue, and its mechanism of action. [00:15:02] Ken asks about the origin and history of methylene blue. [00:17:19] Dawn asks about the potential use of methylene blue as treatment for traumatic brain injury. [00:21:10] Ken asks how methylene blue might stimulate neurogenesis. [00:22:42] Dawn mentions that acute brain injury such as stroke and traumatic brain injury involves the upregulation of multiple stress-related responses, she asks how the addition of a hermetic stressor such as methylene blue alters this process. She goes on to ask if there would be an optimal window of time to administer this drug relative to the injury for optimal recovery of function. [00:23:48] Ken asks if methylene blue could be used by an individual before they engage in something that is likely to lead to brain damage, such as boxing, sports, or military operations. [00:26:32] Ken asks about the future of methylene blue in the treatment and prevention of neurodegeneration. ... Read more

26 May 2020

58 MINS

58:57

26 May 2020


#106

Episode 106: Francisco Gonzalez-Lima talks about brain metabolic mapping and Alzheimer’s

Our guest today is Dr. Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, a professor in the department of psychology, pharmacology and toxicology and the department of psychiatry at The University of Texas at Austin. He also is a professor at the university’s Institute for Neuroscience. We covered so much ground in our discussion with Francisco that we have split his interview into two parts. Today’s interview focuses on Francisco’s fascinating background as a youth and Cuban expatriate as well as his early research into Alzheimer’s Disease and brain metabolic mapping. The second part of our interview, which follows in a few weeks, covers two interventions Francisco has been exploring with the aim of protecting people against neurodegeneration: low-dose methylene blue and the application of near-infrared light. Francisco describes himself as a behavioral neuroscientist. He and his colleagues at the Gonzalez-Lima Lab are recognized as world leaders for their research on the relationship between brain energy metabolism, memory and neurobehavioral disorders. Although he has spent most of his academic career at the University of Texas, Francisco has been a visiting neuroscientist in Germany, England, Canada and Spain, and has delivered more than 120 lectures around the world about his brain research. He also has contributed work to more than 300 scientific publications. Over the years, Francisco’s brain research has focused on transcranial lasers, memory enhancement, neuroprotection and neurocognitive disorders. Current research in the Gonzalez-Lima laboratory focuses on the beneficial neurocognitive and emotional effects of noninvasive human brain stimulation in healthy, aging and mentally ill populations. This research primarily uses transcranial infrared laser stimulation and multimodal imaging. Show notes: [00:03:23] Dawn opens the interview mentioning that Francisco was born in Cuba where his father worked as a veterinarian. Dawn asks how Francisco’s family ended up leaving Cuba for Costa Rica when he was only ten years old. [00:04:25] Ken asks if it is true that Francisco got into a lot of fights as a child. [00:05:19] Francisco talks about his time as a child accompanying his veterinarian father to take care of cattle. [00:06:46] Dawn asks about Francisco’s time in college, two years of which he spent in Venezuela, and how he became known as an anti-communist student leader on campus. [00:08:18] Francisco tells the story of how he ended up going to school at Tulane University. [00:09:13] Dawn mentions that because Francisco’s father was a veterinarian, Francisco went to Tulane with the intent of working with animals. But after watching a professor dissect a human brain in class one day, Francisco changed his major. [00:10:17] Ken asks Francisco what lead him to decide to get a bachelor’s degree in biology and psychology. [00:11:49] Dawn asks about Francisco’s work with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Andrew Schalley during Francisco’s last summer at Tulane. [00:12:56] Francisco explains how he ended up of the University of Puerto Rico getting his doctorate in anatomy and neurobiology. [00:14:28] Dawn asks Francisco how learning about electrophysiology in his doctoral studies had an impact on him. [00:15:22] Francisco tells an interesting story of his doctoral dissertation. [00:16:21] Dawn asks about Francisco’s work with Dr. Walter Stiehl and the papers the two of them published in the European Journal of Pharmacology. [00:17:19] Dawn mentions that in 1981 Francisco met Henning Scheich, a German professor who had done a study involving the newly developed 2-deoxyglucose autoradiographic method. Francisco talks about why this neuroimaging approach to brain research fascinated him and led him to propose an ambitious collaborative research project with Dr. Scheich. [00:18:27] Dawn asks Francisco to talk about the work he did with Dr. Scheich to develop the human FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose) neuroimaging m... ... Read more

29 Apr 2020

53 MINS

53:55

29 Apr 2020


#105

Episode 105: Art De Vany talks about healthspan, lifespan and healing the wounds of aging

Our guest today is Dr. Arthur De Vany, who we interviewed three years ago on episode 30 of STEM-Talk. Art, who is perhaps best known as one of the founders of the Paleo movement, is the author of “The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us About Weight Loss, Fitness and Aging.” Art is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of California, Irvine. In our first interview, we talked to Art about his early research into the economics of the movie business and how he created mathematical and statistical models to precisely describe the motion-picture market. In today’s interview, Art talks to us about the new book he’s working on that’s tentatively titled, “The Youthful Brain—A Revolutionary Program to protect the Brain, Extend Youthfulness and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.” The book is a continuation of Art’s ongoing study of the human body and brain and offers his strategies for preventing brain deterioration and maintaining a healthy, lean body. Show notes: [00:03:13] Dawn opens the interview mentioning that it has been three years since Art’s first appearance on the podcast. She asks Art what it is about the modern Western lifestyle that sends so many people to an early grave. [00:05:42] Dawn asks about Art’s discovery that the world’s healthiest, long-living individuals typically have low insulin. [00:07:44] Ken mentions that Art is working on a new book that will look at brain-body signaling and provide strategies for preventing brain deterioration and maintaining a healthy lean body. Art talks about how we originally planned to write about aging, but that most aging research is bull and that nobody really understands what it is. He explains that in his mind aging is basically a directed random walk into entropy. [00:10:11] Ken asks about one of Art’s key points, that Alzheimer’s disease and many other diseases of neural degeneration and cognitive decline are largely metabolic diseases compounded by loss of muscle mass and stem-cell exhaustion. [00:13:09] Dawn asks about the evolution of the human brain, and how the most recent additions to the brain are the most dependent on glucose metabolism. [00:14:22] Dawn mentions that synapses are essential to neuronal function, as they are the means by which neurons communicate signals. She asks Art to expand on the comment he made in his recent lecture at IHMC stating that “synapses are forever young but in ever need of support and protection.” [00:16:29] Ken asks about the lactate shuttle hypothesis, which is based on the observation that lactate is formed and utilized continuously in diverse cells under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions. [00:18:51] Dawn mentions the role of mitochondria, and how when they are not working the way they should that cells and tissues of our body become starved for energy, forcing us to rely on anaerobic metabolism. This results in a number of issues. She asks Art what we can do to maintain healthy mitochondria over our lifespan. [00:21:25] Art gives advice for reprograming the metabolism of the aging brain. [00:22:35] Ken asks about mTOR from an evolutionary perspective and why people have so many concerns regarding its role in cancer and degenerative disease. [00:24:35] Art explains his view of aging as the “failure of a renewal program,” and why aging is not programmed. [00:26:35] Dawn mentions that she has heard that Art eats just two meals a day, an early breakfast and dinner, to create a long interval between meals so his body can maintain low-insulin signaling. She asks how this brings on the defensive and repair pathways. [00:28:52] Ken asks about Art’s exercise routine and why he prefers fasted exercise. [00:30:46] Dawn asks about the importance of sleep, if Art still takes melatonin to help with his sleep, and what advice he has for people in terms of getting good sleep. [00:32:56] Dawn mentions that Art has commented that physically and genetic... ... Read more

07 Apr 2020

47 MINS

47:47

07 Apr 2020


#104

Episode 104:  Katherine Eban talks about the dangers associated with relying on generic drugs manufa...

Today’s interview is with Katherine Eban, an investigative journalist who uncovered the widespread fraud that goes on overseas in the manufacturing of U.S. generic drugs. With the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, which originated in China but is now spreading across the globe and United States, today’s interview is especially timely. Katherine’s recent book, “Bottle of Lies,” reveals that nearly 80 percent of the active ingredients of all brand-name and generic drugs as well as almost all of our antibiotics in the U.S. are made outside of the country, mostly in China and India. Today’s interview highlights the dangers Americans face in outsourcing the quality and safety of its brand-name and generic drugs to overseas manufacturers. Katherine is an investigative journalist who has written award-winning stories that range from pharmaceutical counterfeiting to gun trafficking to even coercive interrogations by the CIA. Her first book, “Dangerous Doses: A True Story of Cops, Counterfeiters and the Contamination of America’s Drug Supply,” was named one of the Best Books of 2005 by Kirkus Reviews. “Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom” is a New York Times bestseller that came out in 2019 and was named one of the top 100 notable books of 2019 by the Times. Show notes: [00:03:16] Dawn opens the interview mentioning Katherine’s appearance on Peter Attia’s podcast. [00:04:30] Ken asks how Katherine how she ended up living just three subway stops from where she grew up in Brooklyn. [00:05:01] Katherine talks about how despite her talent and interest in writing, she at one point joined the circus in high school and considered going to clown school after she graduated. [00:06:02] Dawn asks how Katherine ended up in Rhode Island to attend Brown University instead of going to Florida to attend the Ringling Brothers Clown College. [00:06:47] Katherine talks about her time at Brown University editing the school’s literary magazine. [00:07:24] Ken Asks about Katherine’s time at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. [00:08:37] Dawn asks how Katherine, a woman who holds a Master’s degree in 17th Century English Epic Civil War Poetry, became a journalist. [00:10:23] Dawn asks about Katherine’s first big story, which also happened to be her first story. [00:11:49] Dawn asks Catherine long she worked at the New York Times. [00:13:07] Katherine explains how she came to write her first book, “Dangerous Doses: A True Story of Cops, Counterfeiters and the Contamination of America’s Drug Supply.” [00:14:56] Dawn mentions that after the publishing of “Dangerous Doses,” Katherine spent a decade investigating the generic-drug industry, an investigation sparked by a phone call from a colleague who asked for her help. [00:16:17] Ken asks about the difference between a generic and brand-name drug, and what is involved in the process of reverse-engineering a drug. [00:17:43] Dawn asks about the series of interviews Katherine conducted with patients sharing their experiences with generic drugs, which led to a story she wrote for “Self” magazine in 2009. [00:20:15] Ken mentions that in the “Self” magazine article, Katherine wrote about Dr. Kesselheim, an instructor at Harvard Medical school who reviewed data from 47 clinical studies. He found no evidence that patients on brand-name cardiovascular drugs had outcomes superior to those on generics. Given this study is now 10 years old, Ken asks if anyone has revisited this analysis. [00:21:25] Katherine tells the story of her anonymous informant that contacted her about a month after the “Self” magazine article, who went by the pseudonym “4 Dollar Refill.” [00:22:38] Dawn mentions that over the following five years, Katherine wrote a series of articles about generic-drug quality, which culminated in a 10,000-word article titled “Dirty Medicine” published in Fortune Magazine in 2013. ... Read more

10 Mar 2020

1 HR 00 MINS

1:00:15

10 Mar 2020


#103

Episode 103: Abe Morgentaler talks about men’s health, sex drive and the benefits of testosterone th...

Today’s interview is with Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, an internationally known pioneer in men’s sexuality and the founder of the first comprehensive center in the U.S. specializing in men’s health. Abe’s research has upended longstanding concepts regarding testosterone therapy, prostrate cancer and male sexuality.  He is particularly credited with research that has contradicted the established view that testosterone injections led to elevated risks for prostate cancer. In today’s interview, we talk to Abe about testosterone deficiency and its effects on men’s health and sex drive; the biological functions of testosterone; and Abe’s work treating metastatic prostrate cancer. Abe is the director of Men’s Health Boston and an associate clinical professor of Urology at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of “Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex,” which was retitled “The Truth About Men and Sex” for the paperback edition. He also is the author of “Testosterone for Life: Recharge Your Vitality, Sex Drive, Muscle Mass and Overall Health.” Show notes [00:02:58] Dawn opens the interview mentioning that Abe grew up in Canada, asking him what his interests were as a kid other than hockey. [00:04:28] Dawn asks what Abe’s gap year between high school and college was like. [00:07:48] Abe explains that when he was born, his mother had some specific wishes for him. He failed at one but came through on the other. [00:08:17] While a sophomore in college trying to find his way, Abe ended up studying sex hormones in lizards. [00:16:32] Dawn explains that for a long time the greatest fear related to the use of testosterone therapy was that it would lead to prostate cancer. This was based on a 1941 paper by Charles Huggins from the University of Chicago, who wrote that his research found cancers were sensitive to hormonal manipulation. Dawn asks Abe to discuss how he started questioning this long-held dogma that high testosterone levels caused prostate cancer. [00:23:29] Dawn mentions that this story is a great example of why it is important in science to question things, particularly the status quo. [00:31:50] Abe talks about his 2006 paper, “Testosterone and Prostate Cancer, a Historical Myth,” which showed that the data contradicted the old belief that more testosterone would lead to more prostate growth. [00:40:10] Ken mentions that Abe followed up his previously mentioned paper with another one titled, “The Saturation Model and the Limits of Androgen-Dependent Growth.” [00:45:19] Abe talks about the exciting work he is doing helping men deal with metastatic prostate cancer. [00:51:32] Dawn explains how Abe uses the term “low T” to describe a condition that is otherwise known as hypogonadism or testosterone deficiency syndrome. Abe describes the many biological functions of testosterone. [00:53:27] Abe responds to the criticism that because testosterone levels decline with age, the process must be natural and, therefore, should not be treated. [00:55:42] Abe discusses a paper that came out in 2013 in the Journal of the American Medical Association that reported increased cardiovascular risk in men given testosterone replacement, and how the study’s statistical analysis was seriously flawed. [01:07:03] Ken mentions that in 2017, a trial by Budoff et al., published in JAMA, suggested that testosterone replacement therapy in men with low T led to more rapid progression of atherosclerotic plaques compared to placebo. [01:13:21] Ken asks why Abe thinks that testosterone replacement therapy can actually be protective in regards to cardiovascular disease. [01:14:19] Ken asks about the seemingly rapid drop in testosterone levels in men in the western world as reported by several papers including the Massachusetts Male Aging Study, as well as a large Finnish Study, and a 2017 meta-analysis. [01:17:37] Dawn mentions that while most people are aware of the term men... ... Read more

19 Feb 2020

1 HR 48 MINS

1:48:20

19 Feb 2020


#102

Episode 102: Adam Konopka talks about metformin’s effects on healthspan and lifespan

Our guest today is Dr. Adam Konopka, an assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, who believes that aging is the greatest risk factor for just about every single chronic disease that exists. Adam’s lab, called the Musculoskeletal Aging and Metabolism Lab, is focused on aging-related research. In addition to doing research that looks at different ways to delay the onset of age-related diseases and functional decline, Adam also has done a lot of research related to the interaction of exercise with metformin. Adam and his colleagues had a paper in Aging Cell that suggested metformin may blunt the health benefits of exercise in healthy older adults, a study that attracted a lot of attention and was highlighted in a story in The New York Times back in June. Show notes: [00:03:59] Dawn opens the interview mentioning that Adam’s lab is at the University of Illinois, and asks if he decided on Illinois because he grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago. [00:04:28] Dawn asks Adam how he ended up getting into competitive swimming. [00:05:13] Adam explains how his involvement in swimming increased his curiosity about physiology and ways to improve performance, a line of thought that contributed to his eventual majoring in exercise science. [00:05:49] Dawn asks Adam why he decided to minor in entrepreneurship. [00:06:18] Dawn asks Adam about the time when a professor doing research in pediatrics gave Adam the opportunity to volunteer for a study. [00:07:01] Ken mentions that while Adam was a student, he had the opportunity to work on a study which looked at an exercise program used by crew members aboard the International Space Station. Adam explains what his role in this study was. [00:08:05] Adam talks about his time spent at the Mayo Clinic as a postdoctoral research fellow, where he focused his time on looking at skeletal muscle mitochondrial function. [00:09:00] Dawn explains Adam’s notion that mitochondria contribute to obesity induced insulin resistance, a highly debated topic. Dawn goes on to mention Adam’s 2015 paper that looked at obese women who had defects in mitochondrial efficiency and hydrogen peroxide emissions. Adam explains how exercise effectively restored the mitochondrial physiology of these women to that of a leaner phenotype. [00:10:36] Adam discusses a metformin study he was a part of while at the Mayo Clinic, where he tested a hypothesis that had been previously shown in cell culture, to learn if those findings were translatable to humans. [00:11:51] Adam talks about the significance of his findings that metformin improved fasting and postprandial glycemia without inhibiting glucagon-stimulated glucose production. [00:12:59] Ken asks about the two and a half years Adam spent at Colorado State and the research that he conducted there. [00:13:32] Adam explains the mission of, and the research being done at, his lab, The Musculoskeletal Aging and Metabolism Lab, at the University of Illinois. [00:16:25] Ken asks Adam if he has looked into rapamycin and muscle, with respect to mTOR inhibition. [00:17:01] Dawn mentions that Adam took these earlier studies, as well as the research he did as a postdoc, and started asking questions related to the interaction of exercise with metformin. [00:17:30] Ken mentions how this research led to Adam’s paper earlier this year, which was highlighted in the New York Times, and which cast doubt on the idea that exercise and metformin, both of which have been looked at in the context of healthspan extension, work well together in conjunction. [00:19:24] Dawn asks if the negative effects of metformin documented in various studies are relatively modest and or negligible. [00:20:30] Ken asks Adam to speculate on some of his findings, particularly why a certain portion of individuals dosed with metformin are likely to be negative-responders, ... Read more

28 Jan 2020

48 MINS

48:29

28 Jan 2020


#101

Episode 101: Rachel Yehuda talks about epigenetic inheritance, PTSD and the potential of MDMA therap...

Today we talk with Dr. Rachel Yehuda whose pioneering research on cortisol and brain function has revolutionized worldwide our understanding and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Rachel is also well-known for her studies on the intergenerational transmission of trauma and PTSD. This novel research has shown that the children of traumatized parents are at risk of similar problems due to epigenetic changes that are transmitted from the parents to their offspring. She has worked with war veterans, Holocaust survivors and other victims of trauma to detail the biological roots of PTSD. She is a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and the director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She also is the director of the Mental Health Patient Care Center at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. Show notes: [00:02:31] Dawn begins the interview asking Rachel about her time as a child growing up in Cleveland. [00:03:17] After Ken mentions that Rachel’s father was a rabbi, Rachel explains how growing up in an observant Jewish household shaped her. [00:04:46] Rachel talks about a biology teacher who inspired her to go beyond her interests in philosophy and pursue science. [00:05:50] Dawn asks Rachel why it seems that so many scientists start out with an interest in philosophy. [00:07:16] Dawn asks Rachel why she decided to major in psychology at Touro University in New York. [00:08:16] Ken asks Rachel why she decided to attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst after graduating from Touro University. [00:09:03] Rachel explains how she went into graduate school looking for a way to become both a psychologist and a scientist. [00:10:08] Dawn asks Rachel about something Rachel’s daughter observed about her: “You move to the beat of your own drum. You never do anything other than what the voice in your head tells you to do.” [00:11:12] Ken asks if it is true that Rachel’s first graduate advisor was not optimistic about Rachel making it through grad school. [00:12:33] Rachel tells the story of how she first met Bill Edell and walked up to him and said that she wanted to do clinical research. [00:14:38] Ken asks Rachel why she decided to do research on stress, particularly when stress wasn’t a major focus of research in the 1980s. [00:16:05] Dawn mentions that after graduating from UMass Amherst, Rachel did her postdoctoral work in biological psychiatry at Yale Medical School. Rachel met Dr. Earl Giller there, who became Rachel’s mentor and an early researcher in post-traumatic stress disorder. Rachel talks about how Dr. Giller had just completed a study on Vietnam veterans showing low cortisol levels. [00:18:40] Rachel talks about how for her post-doc at Yale she wanted to look into the biology of personality, but was told that it was a “dumb idea” for post-doc research. [00:22:06] Dawn asks about the paradox uncovered by Dr. Giller’s research into Vietnam veterans showing low cortisol levels when stress is supposed to be associated with elevated cortisol levels. Dawn goes on to ask how this finding led Rachel to interview Holocaust survivors in her hometown of Cleveland. [00:24:43] Rachel tells the story of when she talked to a group of Holocaust survivors, a woman came up to her and said: You know, Dr. Yehuda, we don’t have VA centers like your veterans do. [00:26:20] Ken asks about the program Rachel set up to help Holocaust survivors. [00:27:20] Dawn points out that in 2016 Rachel published the results of a study looking at the genes of 32 Jewish women and men. She and her colleagues at Mount Sinai studied Holocaust survivors who either had been interned in Nazi concentration camps during World War II or had witnessed or experienced torture. Rachel also looked at the genes of 22 children who were born to the Holocaust survivors after the war. Rachel discusses how the changes in the DNA of Holocaust ... ... Read more

07 Jan 2020

1 HR 04 MINS

1:04:18

07 Jan 2020