Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dr. Michael Rose - when does aging stop?

LLAMA episode 23: A hundred years from now, "physicians will have the capacity to keep people alive indefinitely,” says Dr. Michael Rose, director and professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Rose has spent over 40 years working with fruit flies to try to unravel the mechanisms at work as we age. He believes that there is a point (which can be manipulated) in our lives, when aging ends. It is followed by a "post-aging phase of biological immortality" before we die. Dr. Rose, co-founder (with Dr Larry Cabral) of Lyceum Pharmaceuticals, a research startup in California, focuses on trying to "re-tune" patterns of aging to help us live longer and better lives. In this in-depth interview, he explains his “four-steps to the conquest of aging,” and the importance of living an “age appropriate lifestyle."

Listen to Michael Rose at the LLAMA website 

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Phil Libin - tech entrepreneur and Evernote co-founder achieves weight loss and euphoria through fasting

LLAMA episode 22 - Phil Libin (@plibinco-founder and former CEO of Evernote, the note-taking app, recently moved into a new phase of his life. He turned 45, launched a new AI startup studio, All Turtles, and perhaps most significantly, lost a ton of weight. Phil has been a big guy since his late teens. 

He knew he was obese but did nothing about it until eight months ago. That’s when he decided to join the growing clan of fasting enthusiasts in Silicon Valley. It worked. He has lost 86 pounds (39 kilograms). Blood tests suggest he could be 20 years younger. 

And here’s the kicker: Phil says he plans to continue fasting indefinitely - not because he needs to lose much more weight but because he enjoys a sustained feeling of "mild euphoria" while not eating. He fasts periodically for up to eight days at a time. In this in-depth interview, Phil explains why his extreme regime is so invigorating; how he pushed back at his doctor, who thought it was a bad idea; and why he likens fasting to skydiving.

Listen to Phil Libin at the LLAMA website 

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Dr. Duke Han - detecting Alzheimer's disease long before symptoms emerge

LLAMA podcast #21: As human life expectancy continues to increase, age-related diseases are the main impediment to enjoying the fruits of longevity. High on the list is Alzheimer’s disease, the incurable neurodegenerative condition that robs sufferers of their memory and eventually leads to death. But valuable progress is being made in the understanding and prevention of the disease. A new study at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles has revealed that biological changes in the brain occur long before symptoms of Alzheimer’s become apparent. The research, led by neuropsychologist Dr. Duke Han, suggests that cognitive tests are able to detect early stage of the disease in people without symptoms. In this in-depth interview, Dr Han argues that routine brain testing should be incorporated into annual physical check ups for people of all ages.


Listen to Duke Han at the LLAMA website 

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dr. Felice Gersh - gynecologist and integrative medicine doctor advocating for a new approach to health care

LLAMA podcast #20:  Why do women live longer than men?  Does the ability to bear children play a role and to what extent do evolutionary forces discriminate between men and women?  Dr. Felice Gersh is a board-certified (1984) gynecologist and the founder of a private medical practice, the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, California. Fellowship trained in a relatively new medical field, known as functional/integrative medicine, Dr. Gersh believes longevity is connected to estrogen. She argues that it is the “most maligned and insulted” of all hormones and acts a natural anti-inflamatory agent to promote good health in both women and men.  Dr. Gersh is a leading voice on women’s health issues. She advocates for a better understanding of the role stomach bacteria play in living a long, healthy life. A prolific speaker, she believes doctors should “expand their tool boxes” to include acupuncture, herbal medicine and meditation. 

In this in-depth interview Dr. Gersh explains why she “had to unlearn” about half of everything she learned at medical school calls for a fundamental “shake-up” in the delivery of health care.


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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Geoffrey Woo - biohacking to live a healthier, more productive, longer life

LLAMA podcast #19:  Human enhancement is the new mantra in Silicon Valley. The tech world, hitherto known for phones, computers, games and personal devices, has embraced biology as its as its new frontier for self-improvement. If proof were needed, a burgeoning nootropics company, Nootrobox, has just changed its name to HVMN (pronounced "human") to better describe its mission to quantify, manipulate, and optimize the human system.

"We fundamentally believe that humans will be the next platform of innovation," says Geoffrey Woo

HVMN co-founder and CEO. A biohacker and entrepreneur, Woo sees the body as a machine, with inputs and outputs, that can be manipulated to improve its performance. The evolving science behind nootropics, which are legal compounds designed to improve cognitive function, is a growing field. Woo, a Stanford-trained computer scientist, with no formal training in medicine or physiology, adopts an evangelical approach to self-experimentation for self-improvement. When we met in San Francisco recently, he was wearing a continuous glucose monitor to get a minute by minute read-out of his blood sugar levels.

"I think everyone will be fasting in the next couple of years"

Woo, who works closely with doctors and like-minded "biohackers," has also embraced intermittent fasting, to optimize the performance of his body. Inspired by scientific data that suggests fasting can promote good health and longevity, he takes part in a weekly 36-hour fast, along with almost every other employee at his company.

"It really became like a cultural thing where it was a fun to do it together," he explains.

The practice has evolved into a rapidly growing community, known as WeFast. Strangers around the world are linking up online to share fasting experiences and take park in post-fast BREAKfasts, to celebrate their adherence to the art of not eating. Woo's ultimate goal is to optimize the "living experience" and delay death for as long as possible.

"It's sad to see people lose function. We've all had experience with grandparents and you see them deteriorate over time - I think it's a fact of life that we've gotten used to."

Woo refuses to accept the traditionally accepted "trajectory of becoming weaker and dying". I share his enthusiasm for pushing the boundaries of science and human potential, although there is much research still to be done to test whether fasting enhances the human body over the long term. Nootropics are also in their infancy and continuing studies are needed to analyze their efficacy and long term safety.

I am a willing self-experimenter too. The data looks promising. Woo is correct - going hungry can be fun and BREAKfasts are even better.

No one should adopt a fasting regime without first consulting their doctor. It can be dangerous and could kill.

Listen to Geoffrey Woo at the LLAMA website 
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