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32 minutes | a year ago
#087 - Carnosine and LactiGo - Dr. Brad Dieter
On this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Brad Dieter. Brad has a PhD in Exercise Physiology from the University of Idaho, and did further training in biomedical research examining how metabolism and inflammation regulate molecular mechanisms of disease. He is a scientist, a coach, an entrepreneur, a writer, and a speaker, so he wears a lot of different hats. Brad has been leading research behind transdermal delivery of carnosine. Carnosine is a buffer of acidosis in skeletal muscle, and exercise trials have shown that higher levels of carnosine in muscle can help delay the onset of fatigue during exercise associated with acidosis and enable athletes to work longer at a high intensity. But oral supplemental methods of boosting carnosine - such as beta-alanine - can be cumbersome and time-consuming. You have to take relatively large, divided doses every day for up to 4-6 weeks before you see a benefit. To that end, he helped with the research and development of LactiGo, the first effective topical carnosine product for humans. LactiGo is a fast-acting gel which delivers carnosine to skeletal muscle through the skin, and tests of this product are pretty persuasive. In one double-blind pilot study, elite soccer players were able to cross the finish line up to 5.9 feet sooner when running the 40 yard dash. And this was just after a single application of the product! To learn more about how carnosine works, and about LactiGo, check out the interview!
36 minutes | a year ago
#086 - Gut Microbiome and Immunity - Dr. Lucy Mailing
Within our gut resides a vast ecosystem that guides countless facets of health and performance. Emerging research shows that your gut microbiota may impact many different and seemingly unrelated aspects of health and bodily function, including appetite and body weight regulation, lifespan, mood, cognition, and even athletic performance. We also know that the gut plays a role in the immune system. In fact, it is thought that over 70% of the body’s immune cells reside in the gut. Throughout life, gut microbes shape and regulate the immune system, and the immune system in turn guides the composition of the flora in the gut. We think gut microbes work a lot of their magic by generating crucial metabolites, and these metabolites can help modulate the immune system response to invading viruses. For example, one remarkable study from a couple years ago found feeding mice a high-fiber diet increased their probability of survival when the rodents were infected with influenza, and it appeared to be due to increased production of SCFAs. So, does this mean that eating lots of fiber can help protect us from getting sick? What other components of the diet might modulate the immune system? And how does aging figure into this puzzle - could maintaining a healthy gut microbiome help protect older adults, who are generally at greater risk of infection? On this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Lucy Mailing. Lucy has a Phd in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Illinois. Her research focused on the effects of diet and exercise on the gut microbiome and gut barrier function in states of health and disease. She recently wrote a broad overview on what we know - and what we don’t know - about the role of the gut in the immune system, as well as some ideas of what we can do to support the gut-immune axis. This is, obviously, a very important and painfully relevant topic, so we knew we had to have her on to discuss it. To learn more about how gut health affects resistance to infections, check out the interview!
36 minutes | a year ago
#085 - The Complicated Relationship Between Sleep and Mood - Dr. Jennifer Goldschmied
In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Jennifer Goldschmied. Jennifer has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, and is currently faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research explores how altering aspects of sleep can produce changes in mood and emotional regulation, particularly in those with major depression. Jennifer’s work has led her to investigate a long-recognized but poorly understood clinical paradox: Certain individuals actually experience mood improvement in response to sleep loss. You read that right - total sleep deprivation has been shown to have antidepressant effects. Remarkably, an estimated 40-60% of people with major depression may experience significant improvements in symptoms. Of course, these benefits dissipate once the patient’s sleep is restored, which is probably why interest in this as a therapy has lagged. But Jennifer and her colleagues are starting to figure out why precisely sleep deprivation seems to improve mood, and which individuals might stand to benefit from sleep manipulation. You can imagine that gaining insight into this strange phenomenon may eventually lead to new treatments for depression and other mental disorders. To learn more about her fascinating research, and what is on the horizon for this work, check out the interview!
28 minutes | a year ago
#082 - Novel Light Intervention to Fight Social Jet Lag in Teens - Dr. Jamie Zeitzer
In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan welcomes Dr. Jamie Zeitzer back to the show. Jamie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, as well as at the VA Aging Clinical Research Center at Stanford. In our previous interview, we discussed his research on light and timing of biological rhythms. He and his colleagues determined that brief, intermittent flashes of light have a much bigger impact on clock timing than continuous light exposure. This has interesting implications for shift workers, as well as for people who travel across multiple time zones and are subject to jet lag. In theory, you could expose yourself to brief flashes of light while you are asleep and effectively trick your brain into adjusting to a new time zone. Pretty cool. But could it also be useful for social jet lag - meaning a chronic misalignment between the biological clock and the time when one is forced to be awake and active? In particular, could it be effective for teenagers who have to get up to go to school at a time when their body is driving them to sleep? To answer that question, Jamie and colleagues conducted a two-phase, randomized controlled clinical trial testing how exposure to brief flashes of light affected sleep onset and total sleep duration in high school students. Here’s what they did: The researchers recruited groups of teenagers who had expressed difficulty going to bed and waking up early. In phase 1 of the trial, 72 participants were randomly assigned to two groups. One group received 4 weeks of light therapy, delivered from a device in the teens’ bedrooms (3-millisecond light flashes every 20 seconds during the final 3 hours of sleep). The other group was administered 4 weeks of sham light therapy (three bright flashes of light per hour, which isn’t enough to affect the body clock) as a placebo. This protocol was largely ineffective - neither sleep timing nor duration were significantly altered in the experimental group. Zeitzer and his team switched things up a bit for the next phase. In phase 2, the subjects received a slightly different light therapy (3-millisecond light flash every 20 seconds during the final 2 hours of sleep). But in addition, the researchers had the adolescents attend four cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions to try to motivate them to go to bed earlier. Happily, this combination of interventions actually worked! The light therapy plus CBT moved sleep onset 50 minutes earlier, and increased nightly sleep time by an average of 43 minutes. Very impressive. To learn more about the study and what it means, check out the interview!
34 minutes | a year ago
#081 - Urolithin A from Pomegranate for Brain Health - Dr. Julie Andersen
In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Julie Andersen. Julie has a Ph.D in neurobiological chemistry from UCLA, and subsequently did her post-doctoral fellowship in the department of neurology at Harvard. Presently, she is a professor and researcher at the Buck Institute, an independent biomedical research institute that is dedicated to investigating aging and age-related disease. Her lab is working on identifying novel therapeutics to delay or prevent the age-related molecular processes that drive neurodegenerative diseases. For example, she and other researchers at the Buck have been investigating compounds that could clear out senescent cells, which have been linked to age-related functional decline, as we have discussed previously on several shows. Recently, Julie and her colleagues received a grant from the NIH to examine a natural bioactive known as urolithin A. Urolithin A does not come directly from the diet - it is actually a metabolite that results from the biotransformation of ellagitannins and ellagic acid via the gut microbiota. These phenolic compounds are found abundantly in edible plants, most notably in pomegranate, walnuts, berries, tea, and fruit juices (as well as certain types of wine). In animal models of aging, urolithin A has shown great promise. Older mice that were given the compound exhibited a 42% improvement in endurance while running, compared to control rodents of the same age. And nematodes that were exposed to urolithin A experienced a 45% boost in lifespan. And the first clinical trials in elderly human subjects suggest that the compound is safe and effective for reversing age-related muscle decline. So what makes urolithin A so powerful? It appears to enhance autophagy, the natural mechanism through which cells effectively cleanse themselves by removing dysfunctional proteins and cellular components. This property makes it an enticing therapeutic compound for addressing neurodegenerative disease. One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of irreparably misfolded proteins in the brain. It is thought that deregulation of the autophagy pathway with age leads to reduced clearance of these broken proteins, which in turn leads to the formation of toxic aggregates that are typically found in deceased patients. Unfortunately, the capacity to generate urolithin A also appears to decline with age. To that end, Julie and her team plan to try to rejuvenate the gut microbiota of older mice using targeted probiotics, which should enhance production of urolithin A. They will then track neuropathology, memory loss, and mortality in a rodent model of Alzheimer’s disease, and compare outcomes in mice treated with urolithin A and controls. To learn more about this fascinating research, check out the interview!
31 minutes | a year ago
#080 - How Sleep Loss Impairs Entrepreneurship - Dr. Jeff Gish
On the surface, sleep looks like a colossal waste of time. Think about it. We spend about a third of our lives lying down with our eyes closed...basically doing nothing! It’s easy to see why high-achieving people throughout history - like Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin - aspired to get by with less of it. Even today, people who are trying to maximize productivity are prone to shortchanging sleep so they can get more done. Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, for instance, reported he was only getting four to six hours of sleep per night in 2011. I’m sure you can think of plenty of others who have made similar compromises. For most of us, though, this is not likely to be a winning long-term strategy. For one thing, we know now that sleep loss increases our risk of chronic disease, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity, and more. Inadequate sleep duration and poor sleep quality are linked to most of the great maladies that plague the modern industrialized world. But even beyond that insidious physical toll, research is now revealing that sleep loss also has a negative impact on our cognitive abilities. We need sleep for focus and attention, for staying alert, for learning and remembering things, and for a host of executive functions that are required to be at our best at work and in other endeavors. So, you might gain an extra hour or two if you cut out some sleep, but your ability to perform mentally during that time may be compromised, and you may actually get less done in the long run. Or the quality of your work may suffer. You might think this doesn’t apply to you. But bear in mind that the cognitive impact of partial sleep loss can be quite subtle, and difficult to recognize in ourselves. This, of course, is why we need controlled studies to elucidate these effects. In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Jeff Gish. Jeff has a Ph.D in Management from the University of Oregon, and is presently a professor of entrepreneurship at UCF. His research focuses on the behavior of entrepreneurs, including the processes through which entrepreneurs decide to found new ventures and make business decisions. Recently, he has begun to explore how these processes are influenced by day-to-day variations in biological dynamics - including sleep. He and his colleagues recently performed a series of elegantly designed studies which investigated how sleep, or the lack thereof, might affect two functions that are fundamental to the role of an entrepreneur: the capacity to generate new business ideas, and the ability to assess the viability of business ideas being presented to them. These studies overall suggest that sleep plays a vital role in the cognitive processes behind successful entrepreneurship, and losing sleep makes it harder to recognize how a new technology or service might align with a market. To learn more about the study and what he found, check out the interview!
62 minutes | a year ago
#079 - Is Fruit Fattening? - Dr. Stephan Guyenet
For much of our history as a species, the threat of chronic food shortage and malnutrition has loomed over us. Fortunately, due to global economies and remarkable advances in technology and agriculture, most of us living today in industrialized countries will probably never need to worry about starvation. But ironically, we now must battle the consequences of excessive abundance of readily accessible food. All over the world, modern societies are confronting the challenge of obesity and diseases emanating from obesity. An analysis of trends in adult body mass published in the Lancet puts the progression of this public health crisis into useful historical perspective: It revealed that the number of obese individuals has risen from 105 million in 1975 all the way to 641 million as of 2016. Over the past 40 years, we have gone from a world in which prevalence of underweight was more than double that of obesity, to a world in which people with obesity outnumber those who are underweight. There has been vigorous debate on what aspects of our food supply are responsible for this relatively rapid shift in collective body composition. Recently, sugar has come under particularly fierce scrutiny, and understandably so. We do know that overconsumption of simple sugars can contribute to obesity and related diseases. So what about fruit? Most types of fruit are naturally high in simple sugars, and we have essentially unlimited access to fruit year-round, even in the dead of winter. Could sweet fruit be a hidden contributor to the obesity epidemic? And that brings me to our guest. On this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan welcomes a familiar face back to the show - Stephan Guyenet. Stephan spent 12 years at the University of Washington researching the neuroscience underlying body fat regulation. There is perhaps nobody else, at least in our view, who has done more in recent years to help the general public understand the evidence related to energy regulation and weight control. This is why he is uniquely qualified to address the question of whether fruit actually does make you fat. Last year, Stephan decided to answer the question of whether fruit was fattening in the most rigorous manner possible. Specifically, he wanted to look at the impact of whole, fresh fruit (as opposed to fruit juice, or other processed forms of fruit) on energy intake and adiposity. To that end, he conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies, and that is what we have brought him on to discuss. To learn about what he found, and what it means, check out the interview!
44 minutes | 2 years ago
#073 - Can We Beat Insomnia by Cooling the Racing Mind? - Dr. Eric Nofzinger
Insomnia is a uniquely vexing medical problem. It is the most common sleep-related issue, thought to affect around 10-40% of the population in the US. So it is a challenge that affects a whole lot of us. Yet despite its prevalence, treatments for the condition are lackluster at best. Why is this the case? Perhaps because it remains poorly understood. Insomnia has been known and documented for thousands of years, but it has proven to be difficult to study for a number of reasons. It’s hard to develop good animal models for the condition, it’s difficult to objectively define, and symptoms manifest quite differently in individuals. In order to address a complex disorder like insomnia, we need to get to the root cause. Generally speaking, it seems clear that the origin lies within the brain. This has compelled some very clever researchers to take snapshots inside the heads of patients with insomnia (via positron emission tomography, or PET), and compare them to normal controls. The results of such studies have been enlightening. And that brings me to our guest for this episode. In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Eric Nofzinger. Dr. Nofzinger has spent more than 35 years practicing sleep medicine and studying the neurobiology of insomnia at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. As a researcher at Pittsburgh, Dr. Nofzinger frequently interacted with patients with insomnia. They would often attribute their inability to sleep to a “racing mind.” If you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep due to incessant rumination, that characterization probably sounds pretty relatable. Furthermore, they would often claim to have hardly slept at all, even when polysomnography showed that they had experienced normal sleep. He, along with other scientists in the field, suspected that there was a biological basis for these commonly reported complaints. To gain meaningful insight into what was going on, he couldn’t just look at sleep patterns - he needed to look inside the brain. To that end, he started conducting functional imaging studies on patients with insomnia to examine patterns of brain activity and metabolism during sleep. In one such trial, subjects completed regional cerebral glucose metabolic assessments while awake and while asleep using the FDG PET method. These scans were telling. During normal healthy sleep, there are typically substantial reductions in brain activity, particularly in the frontal cortex. But imaging for individuals with insomnia painted a very different picture. Their brains remained comparatively active during sleep, particularly in the frontal cortex, and they exhibited greater cerebral glucose metabolism during sleep and while awake. So, when these people claimed that their minds were racing throughout the night - when their brains should have been resting - that was actually a remarkably accurate assessment. These kinds of studies demonstrate that insomnia is, in essence, a disorder of hyperarousal of the brain. With this revelation, what can be done to slow down the racing mind? Cooling it down. It has been known for some time that application of a cooling stimulus to the head can lower the brain temperature in the underlying cortex, and in turn reduce brain metabolism. This insight led to the development of Ebb, a sleep therapy unlike any other that has yet been invented. Here’s how it works: the device is comprised of a headband attached to a bedside unit. Cold fluid circulates through the forehead pad from the bedside unit, keeping your forehead at a cool temperature throughout the night. In this way, Nofzinger and his colleagues hope to target the root cause of insomnia, calming the mind and body. To learn more about Ebb and Dr. Nofzinger’s research, check out the interview!
21 minutes | 2 years ago
#070 - Seasonal Changes, Sunlight, and Metabolic Health - Dr. Sander Kooijman
In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Sander Kooijman. Sander is a post-doctoral researcher at Leiden University Medical Center, where he is investigating brown adipose tissue activation as a therapeutic target to attenuate obesity, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis in humans. He and his colleagues recently published a paper examining how light exposure and environmental temperature affect measures of glucose and lipid metabolism in two large population-based European cohorts. It is well established that exposure to bright light at night is linked to metabolic perturbations. A number of studies have found positive associations between artificial light exposure in the evening and risk of type 2 diabetes. In particular, one experiment from Phyllis Zee’s lab at Northwestern showed that just a single night of blue light exposure during sleep increased insulin resistance in healthy adults. But what about bright light during the day? Now that’s a different story altogether. Observational evidence suggests that light exposure - particularly sun exposure - may in fact be beneficial for glucose metabolism. For example, a cohort study found that participants who received a lot of sunlight exposure during the day had a 30% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to those who didn’t get much sun. In the study discussed on this show, the researchers collected data from a combined cohort of more than 10,000 healthy middle-aged subjects enrolled in the Oxford Biobank study (OBB) and the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study (NEO). Participants in these studies have provided body composition measurements (weight, body mass index, body fat percentage) as well as bloodwork (fasting glucose, insulin, fasting lipid concentrations, insulin resistance, etc). However, these studies do not assess temperature or light exposure. To capture the impact of these variables, Sander and his team very cleverly collected data on mean outdoor temperature and hours of bright sunlight (defined as global radiation >120 W/m2) from local weather stations. From this information, they were able to calculate mean outdoor temperature and bright sunlight duration during a 7-day and 30-day period before the date of blood sampling. Sure enough, increased bright sunlight exposure was found to be associated with lower fasting insulin (−1.27% per extra hour of bright sunlight), lower triglyceride levels (−1.28%), and reduced insulin resistance (HOMA-IR; −1.36%). After adjustment for bright sunlight, there was no association between outdoor temperature and measures of glucose and lipid metabolism, suggesting that it was indeed the light that was responsible here. But why? What mechanisms mediate this relationship? To find out why Sander thinks bright sunlight might enhance cardiometabolic health, and more about his fascinating work, check out the podcast!
28 minutes | 2 years ago
#066 - Sunlight for Weight Control? - Professor Scott Byrne
In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Scott Byrne. Scott is a professor at the University of Sydney School of Medicine. He is a cellular immunologist who is studying how the ultraviolet part of the solar spectrum activates regulatory pathways that result in immune suppression and tolerance. When Scott and his team were investigating skin cancer development in mice, they happened to notice that mice receiving ultraviolet radiation gained less weight than counterparts. These observations inspired Scott and his team to perform a series of experiments examining how regular exposure to physiologically relevant doses of solar ultraviolet radiation (like an amount that you could realistically get on a sunny day) influences weight gain and cardiovascular disease. And the findings were pretty eye-opening. To learn what they discovered, and more in general about the far-reaching effects of sun exposure on human health, check out this interview!
20 minutes | 2 years ago
#063 - Sleep and DNA Repair - Lior Appelbaum
Why do we sleep? This is a question that has bedeviled researchers for decades. But we think one major reason may be to facilitate DNA repair. In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Lior Appelbaum. Dr. Appelbaum and colleagues have performed some elegant studies elucidating the molecular mechanisms that underlie sleep, using zebrafish as a model organism. In a recent study, the team engineered zebrafish larvae to express colorful tags on their chromosomes, making it easy to monitor them. They then followed the activity of the chromosomes in their neurons, as well as DNA damage and repair, and were surprised by what they observed. To learn about their findings, check out the interview!
34 minutes | 2 years ago
#062 - Does Metformin Block the Health Benefits of Exercise? - Ben Miller, PhD
On this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan welcomes Ben Miller to the show. Ben is a principal investigator in the aging and metabolism research program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. In his study, Miller and his team randomly assigned 53 participants to consume either placebo or metformin for 12-weeks, while completing a supervised aerobic exercise program. This exercise regimen elicited measurable improvements in blood sugar control, insulin sensitivity, and aerobic fitness for the volunteers, as you would obviously expect. But when the groups were compared, some meaningful - and troubling - differences emerged, suggesting that metformin was counteracting some of the benefits associated with exercise. Check out the interview to learn more!
56 minutes | 2 years ago
#054 - An Introduction to Heart Rate Variability (HRV) - Professor Phyllis Stein
Stress is something we all experience all too frequently. The effects of different stressors accumulate, and when the resultant load is excessive, we are at increased risk of a range of diseases. So, to avoid the amount of stress we experience exceeding our bodies’ capacities to cope, it would be useful to have a way to monitor how we’re responding to stressors. In the last few years, numerous wearable devices that claim to monitor how we’re responding to stress have become available, and most of these measure either heart rate variability (HRV) or pulse rate variability. In this episode of humanOS Radio, Professor Phyllis Stein explains what you need to know about HRV, including what it is, why people measure it, and whether you should measure your own HRV.
78 minutes | 2 years ago
#053 - Stephan Guyenet, PhD vs. Gary Taubes on the Joe Rogan Experience - Post Discussion
Nutrition is perhaps the most emotionally charged of all of the applied sciences. It’s not hard to see why. For one thing, all of us eat, meaning that every single one of us is personally invested in this topic, and we interact with it all the time. We all develop a sense of expertise, in a way that we might not for something a bit more removed from our daily life, like robotics or civil engineering. In addition, food is arguably the most powerful and primal motivator for animals, ourselves included. And every single one of us has cultivated deep-seated dietary preferences, often established in our formative years. In other words, we are all biased, to varying degrees. It's hard for us to view our favorite foods in an entirely objective way - even when they are slowly making us sick. To further complicate matters, nutrition is very difficult to research rigorously, and studies are often rife with confounders and apparently contradictory results. The controversial nature of nutrition science was on full display this Tuesday, when Stephan Guyenet and Gary Taubes appeared together on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast to debate the causes of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Gary and Stephan have very different points of view on this subject, informed by rather different approaches to scientific literature. But as is often the case in debates, there was much that Stephan wanted to say but didn’t get an opportunity to address. That’s why we have welcomed him back to humanOS Radio, to reflect upon his experience on Joe Rogan’s podcast and to further elucidate the causes of obesity and insulin resistance. Click below to check out the interview!
48 minutes | 2 years ago
#051 - Ketones for Brain Injury? - Tommy Wood, MD, PhD
Brain injury is more pervasive and problematic than many people think. Every day, about 150 people die from traumatic brain injury-related deaths in the US alone, and whether you participate in a contact sport, work in the military, or simply travel on roads, you may at some point suffer the kind of event that incites brain injury. The problem is that brain injury is associated with numerous negative health consequences, including mental health issues and diseases such as Parkinson’s. Fortunately, there are things that we can do to help us protect against the negative consequences of brain injury. There are good reasons to think that we may benefit from using exogenous ketones for brain injury, for example. This episode of humanOS Radio explores these subjects with Dr. Tommy Wood.
54 minutes | 3 years ago
#050 - Protein and Muscle Mass - Professor Stu Phillips
Whether you want to look great at the beach, perform better at sports, or ward off disease, it’s important to optimize your protein intake. This brings us to the latest episode of humanOS Radio, in which Dan speaks with Professor Stu Phillips from McMaster University. Tune in to find out more!
45 minutes | 3 years ago
#048 - Atomic Habits for Achieving Your Goals - James Clear
Why is it so hard for us to make healthy lifestyle changes - even when we have the knowledge to do better? Most of us have a list of things we would like to change. Maybe you’d like to lose thirty pounds, or be able to do fifty pushups, or run a marathon. But each of these comes with a long list of associated behaviors - many of which aren’t intrinsically rewarding - that are required to achieve and maintain these goals. It’s no wonder the statistics on weight loss are so underwhelming. On this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with James Clear. James is an author and entrepreneur who is focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Time magazine, and other major media outlets. In his latest book, “Atomic Habits,” James draws upon a wide array of evidence from psychology, biology, and cognitive neuroscience to construct a guide for building and reinforcing good habits and abolishing bad habits. So what are habits? James defines habits as behaviors that are repeated enough times to be nearly automatic. This means they are not demanding cognitive effort or willpower. Like brushing your teeth, or heading to the gym at 5:00pm every day, or eating a smoothie every day for breakfast. These automatic processes, which are mostly mundane things that we take for granted, are actually foundational to all of our goals. The problem, of course, is that we generally don’t see the immediate payoff for any of these behaviors. You don’t drop twenty pounds just switching from regular to diet soda one time. It is only after you’ve committed to these behaviors for a while - after your efforts have compounded - that we start to see the difference. That is why we need to develop a system to assess our current habits and build better ones. This is where “Atomic Habits” comes into play.
27 minutes | 3 years ago
#047 - Good Sleep Helps Reduce Oxidative Stress - Professor Mimi Shirasu-Hiza
Why do we need to sleep? Part of what makes sleep so fascinating, as a field of research, is that it is such an enigma. Sleep is a profoundly vulnerable state, leaving us at the mercy of predators and the environment, and unable to defend ourselves or our possessions. It's also largely unproductive. Yet we spend about a third of our life in slumber. Moreover, sleep also seems to be nearly universal in the animal kingdom. Indeed, we have yet to identify an animal that clearly does not sleep at all, or even one that can forego sleep without experiencing physiological consequences. All of this, taken together, unambiguously shows that sleep is extremely important. And this makes it all the more remarkable that the actual purpose of sleep remains elusive. One idea is that sleep may function as an antioxidant for the brain, protecting neural tissue from the ravages of oxidative stress. This hypothesis largely fell out of favor, but researchers have recently started to revisit this compelling notion. In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan talks to Mimi Shirasu-Hiza. Mimi is an associate professor of Genetics and Development at Columbia University. Her lab uses circadian mutants of fruit flies to unveil the molecular mechanisms that underlie circadian-regulated physiology. Mimi and her colleagues hypothesized that fruit flies with various genetic mutations that reduce their sleep might share a common physiological defect due to that sleep loss, but independent of the specific mechanisms driving their reduced sleep. And if they could find such a defect, that might reveal the core function of sleep in animals (including us). Through an elegant series of experiments, Mimi and her team did indeed uncover a shared defect, which points to a possible purpose of sleep in fruit flies and perhaps in humans. Check out the interview to find out what they discovered and what it might mean for us!
31 minutes | 3 years ago
#046 - Can Enhancing Slow Wave Sleep Boost Your Brain Function? - Professor Kristine Wilckens
All of us know that lack of sleep impairs cognitive performance. But we are now realizing that sleep quality, and how long that you spend in deeper restorative sleep, also plays an important role in brain function. Today on humanOS Radio, Dan talks to Kristine Wilckens. Kristine is an assistant professor in the Sleep and Chronobiology Center in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research has focused on how sleep structure can be altered to enhance cognitive function. In this interview, we review the role of slow wave sleep in learning and memory consolidation, and the kinds of activities that have been demonstrated to promote slow wave sleep. Many of these techniques - like heat exposure - are things that you can experiment with yourself right now. Check out the interview to learn more!
18 minutes | 3 years ago
#041 - Probiotics and Triphala Extend Lifespan - Susan Westfall, PhD
We now know that the gut microbiome is intimately connected to our own health. You can even think of these gut bugs as though they are another organ. But while we know of the great importance of the gut microbiome in our metabolism, oxidative status, brain health, gut health, and more, knowing exactly how to intervene to promote health is a science in its infancy. In this episode, however, Dan chats with Susan Westfall, who recently published a study in Nature looking at the combination of various probiotics prebiotics, including the ayurvedic polyphenol formula, triphala. In short, the formula promoted widgespread benefits to the fruit flies in which is was tested, but the most remarkable statistic on the research was a 60% extension in lifespan! Listen here to learn more.
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