All posts by Dan Pardi


Can We Reverse Aging With “Young Blood?”

Can we stave off the aging process by transfusing young blood into old people? The idea that youthful blood might have rejuvenating properties has lingered in popular imagination for centuries.

In this episode of humanOS Radio, I speak with Drs. Michael and Irina Conboy of the Department of Bioengineering at UC Berkeley. Their lab investigates the process of tissue repair throughout the body and is trying to determine why damaged tissue is not productively repaired as the body ages. In their most recent study, they discovered that molecules in aged blood may actually be interfering with the regenerative process. They are trying to identify these inhibitors, and perhaps find a way to clear them from the blood. Are we on the cusp of a breakthrough to help us stay at our peak abilities for decades longer?


Standing for Mental Clarity and Physical Health (Interview with Kelly and Juliet Starrett)

I have to admit, I love this story. Two parents saw a problem effecting their children and did something about it. But not only did they try to help their children and their children’s friends, they also are trying to help every child in the United States.

The guests of this episode of humanOS Radio are Kelly and Juliet Starrett. Kelly is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and the author of the books: Deskbound, Supple Leopard, and Ready to Run. Juliet has a history as a competitive athlete, rowing at UC Berkeley and paddling for the US Women’s Whitewater Team from 1997-2000. Together, they founded San Francisco CrossFit in 2005 (one of the first 50 CrossFit Affiliates ever), they run the healthy movement website called Mobility WOD, and most recently, they started StandUpKids.org the mission of which is to put standing desks in every public school in America. I’m also honored to be on the Board of Directors, which I mentioned in this previous post, to help this great organization achieve its mission.


New Discovery Could Mean Better, Next-Generation Sleep Drugs

Why is it that when you’re binge watching your favorite new series on Netflix, you can stay up for hours past your normal bedtime – even if you were tired before you started watching? On the other hand, if you weren’t being entertained or captivated by a game or puzzle, you’d be much more likely to be lulled to sleep at that time. Indeed, sleep and goal-directed behaviors are mutually exclusive: you can’t do both at the same time. While this relationship is intuitively clear, for the first time, scientists at Stanford have clarified the circuitry between the brain’s reward and arousal systems. In the latest episode of humanOS Radio, I speak with Luis de Lecea, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine. Recently, he and his colleagues published a study in the prestigious journal Nature demonstrating that dopamine neuron activity (in the ventral tegmental area of the brain) is necessary in order to be awake. Furthermore, when they inhibited these neurons, there were able to promote what seemed like natural, healthy sleep.


Is High Protein Actually Bad During Weight Loss? (Interview with Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D.)

Protein is really important for dieting success, right? Anyone who has interested in the science of dieting knows this, but recent research from Bettina Mittendorfer, Research Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis’s School of Medicine, and colleagues published in Cell Reports has raised doubts that protein is indeed a wholly-helpful solution. To shed light on this study and its findings, I invited Dr. Stephan Guyenet to join humanOS Radio for a conversation. Perhaps no other person has done more in the last few years to help the general public, and even health professionals, understand the true meaning of new research dealing with energy regulation and weight control.


Help Get More Standing Desks in Schools

Kids need movement to support their health, brain development, and academic performance. But, between the elimination of PE programs to video games that use the most powerful engagement tricks to keep kids locked to a controller (literally controlling them), the statistics on kids and physical activity are bleak. One easy and effective way to improve the situation is for schools to provide standing desk options for the kids. Learn more about how the StandUpKids.org is helping to solve this important issue!


A New Product to Significantly Reduce Jet Lag – Interview with Stanford Professor, Jamie Zeitzer

In Professor Jamie Zietzer’s recent research on light and the timing of biological rhythms, he noticed something curious: brief flashes of light have a greater ability to adjust body clock timing than continuous light exposure.

For instance, let’s say you wanted to adjust your body clock to wake up earlier than you typically do in the coming days (a common scenario for those who travel across time zones). In order to make this adjustment, on the morning before you leave, you could wake up at 4:00am, turn on the room light and go back to sleep. This technique can adjust your clock by about 35 minutes, which means that if you typically awake at 7:30am, you could naturally wake up tomorrow around 6:55am (and the timing of all your other body processes would shift accordingly, too).

On the other hand, if you were to get 2 millisecond flash of light every 10 seconds starting at 4:00am (instead of laying in a room with the light on) – something Jamie’s research has demonstrated you can sleep through – you could advance your clock by about 120 minutes – over 3x more than continuous light.

What does this mean? Well, one thing it means is that it would be a heck of a lot easier to be up and ready before your typical natural wake time in those moments when you have an early start to your day (e.g., early plane flight). The ability to affect your body timing in this manner is more than a mere luxury; it’s also about personal safety and performance. None of us want to be on the road with sleepy drivers, and likewise, no one wants to have to perform at a time when you’re too sleepy to keep your eyes open. This is pretty exciting technology!


Saturated fat – What’s the real story? Interview with Dr. David Katz

Dietary fat is a class of nutrients of which there are many different types. Some types appear to have clear beneficial effects on human physiology in certain contexts, like for example olive oil, while others appear to impair our health when they comprise too high a fraction of our calorie intake over time. Saturated fat has been called out for decades by health authorities as something we should monitor and limit. Recently, however, this idea has been called into question by several meta-analyses, which is a type of scientific examination where all the research on a subject pooled and analyzed together to help determine what the weight of the evidence tells us on that subject. In this interview with Dr. David Katz at Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, we discuss not only the findings but also how to best interpret them so that you can continue to make good dietary choices in your own life.


Young Forever? We’re Actually Getting Closer (Interview with Aubrey de Grey)

Can we really stay young forever? This has been a goal of humans since the dawn of time. I know I would like to keep my peak abilities and not see those diminish over the decades. Aging is a subject that I have become increasingly interested in and it’s not necessarily because I’m getting older. Understanding it can help guide how you live, even way before you start to feel old. Plenty of things we can do today can help us live longer by not dying early from disease. Diet and lifestyle make a huge difference here, but this podcast is really about something entirely different – it’s about using cutting edge biotechnology to actually keep the aging process at bay far beyond what good lifestyle practices could achieve. We’re talking about staying close to your peak abilities in life through the age of 130 to 150, or even longer.


The Most Advanced Understanding of How to Optimize Motivation, with Dustin DiTommaso

Where to you get the energy to do something hard or inconvenient? It matters because so much of what’s important in life comes from finding that strength. The topic of the discussion in this podcast is motivation, which can be described as the activation energy needed to do most-to-all volitional activities. Specifically, we’ll be discussing the leading behavior model of motivation called Self-Determination Theory. Like most complex subjects, motivation is NOT a monolithic entity, although it’s usually referred to as if it were. Rather, there are different types of motivation, and these different types have different affects on behavior. The good news is that with a greater understanding of the subject, you can better strategize when to use the specific types and, ultimately, how to use various the types together to stay engaged with something that is important but hard or inconvenient, long term.


Lifestyle Modifications to Extend Life by Limiting Growth

Does the ideal diet change across the lifespan? I couldn’t help circling back to this idea regularly while writing this article. In the last article on this subject of growth promotion and better aging, we discussed the concept of antagonistic pleotropy, which suggests that natural selection may favor genes that increase reproductive potential – even at the expense of long-term vitality and longevity. But can we harness an understanding of this idea to alter how we live in our post-reproductive window, to stay younger and live longer? In my latest post, I address just that – lifestyle modifications that may not only be effective to help us surviving longer, but also to live better along the way.