Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Synthetic biology to reprogram life

What if we could screen the body for early signs of disease by swallowing a tiny capsule, packed with futuristic diagnostic tools?

Prof. Timothy Lu, a synthetic biologist at MIT, draws on his combined expertise in computer programming, electrical engineering, and microbiology, to envision as an entirely new way of practicing preventative medicine.

The idea is that capsules packed with tiny electronics and genetically engineered living cells will eventually be used to spot health problems from inside the gut. Early signs of cancer could be detected without the need for a colonoscopy.

In this LLAMA podcast interview with Peter Bowes, Prof. Lu explains the principles of synthetic biology and why he believes it could help us all live healthier, longer lives.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Aging tactics for Gen-Xers and Millennials - Episode 87

The Beatles song, When I’m Sixty-Four, pays homage to the aging process and is a tribute to the value of enduring friendships. The light-hearted ditty encapsulates some of the values and aspirations of The SCAN Foundation, which focusses on improving the quality of health and life for older people. SCAN’s mission is to advance a coordinated and easily navigated system of high-quality services for older adults, preserving their dignity and independence. Bruce Chernof MD currently serves as the Foundation's President and Chief Executive Officer. In this LLAMA podcast interview with Peter Bowes, recorded at TEDMED, Dr. Chernof explains the challenges for all generations, as they get older, and why he believes embracing the Internet of Things will be crucial to healthy and active aging. He also suggests that the planning process for old age should start much earlier than most people realize, with the sharing economy playing a pivotal role in our way of life.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Improving sleep hygiene for better health


The cumulative effects of chronic sleep deprivation could be shortening our lives. There is evidence that potentially killer diseases are more likely to occur if we get too little sleep over a prolonged period. One reason why we may not be getting enough shut-eye is excessive noise. Mathias Basneris Associate Professor of Sleep and Chronobiology in Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and President of the International Commission of Biological Effects of Noise. For the past two decades he has been studying the effects of noise on sleep. It could be the sound of airplanes overhead, the rattling of a heating system or noisy air conditioning that keeps us awake, but research suggests there is a significant connection between noise, sleep, and recuperation.  In this LLAMA podcast interview, recorded at TEDMED 2018, Dr Basner explains the basis for his research and the lifestyle lessons he’s learned through the study of environmental stresses and society’s big problem of sleep deprivation. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Avoiding stress and overwhelm to live longer


’Tis the season to be stressed, overwhelmed and chronically fatigued. There’s a festive thought. But that feeling of being swamped by to-do lists, meetings, appointments, shopping lists and good old daily chores, is not exclusive to the holiday season. 

We live connected lives - sharing, posting and liking - often at the expense of more wholesome activities such as spending quality time with loved ones or taking a quiet walk to nurture the soul.  Stress is snapping at the heels of our daily lives and possibly our longevity. So what can we do about it? 

Dr. Felice Gersh is founder of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine in Southern California and in this return visit to the LLAMA podcast we take on the worries that overwhelm us. 

Dr Gersh explains the 'stress response' and the action we can take to better manage our lives in a frenetic world.