109 episodes

The most interesting people in the world of science and technology.



STEM-Talk is an interview podcast show produced by the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, a not-for-profit research lab pioneering ground-breaking technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human cognition, perception, locomotion and resilience. Twice a month, we talk to groundbreaking scientists, engineers and technologists. Our interviews focus on the science that our subjects are engaged with, as well as their careers, motivations, education, and passions. Think of them as “profiles in science.” Tune in every other Tuesday to our show—and if you like us, please write a review of STEM-talk on iTunes—and spread the word. 

STEM-Talk Dawn Kernagis and Ken Ford

    • Natural Sciences
    • 4.7, 511 Ratings

The most interesting people in the world of science and technology.



STEM-Talk is an interview podcast show produced by the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, a not-for-profit research lab pioneering ground-breaking technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human cognition, perception, locomotion and resilience. Twice a month, we talk to groundbreaking scientists, engineers and technologists. Our interviews focus on the science that our subjects are engaged with, as well as their careers, motivations, education, and passions. Think of them as “profiles in science.” Tune in every other Tuesday to our show—and if you like us, please write a review of STEM-talk on iTunes—and spread the word. 

    Episode 109: Robb Wolf discusses whether eating meat is bad for you and the environment … and his new book “Sacred Cow”

    Episode 109: Robb Wolf discusses whether eating meat is bad for you and the environment … and his new book “Sacred Cow”

    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,

    • 1 hr 46 min
    Episode 108: Ken and Dawn tackle questions ranging from AI to amino acids to methylene blue to ketosis to COVID-19

    Episode 108: Ken and Dawn tackle questions ranging from AI to amino acids to methylene blue to ketosis to COVID-19

    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.

    • 58 min
    Episode 107: Francisco Gonzalez-Lima discusses methylene blue and near-infrared light as therapies for cognitive disorders

    Episode 107: Francisco Gonzalez-Lima discusses methylene blue and near-infrared light as therapies for cognitive disorders

    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 methy...

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

    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.

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

    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.

    • 47 min
    Episode 104:  Katherine Eban talks about the dangers associated with relying on generic drugs manufactured overseas

    Episode 104:  Katherine Eban talks about the dangers associated with relying on generic drugs manufactured overseas

    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.

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
511 Ratings

511 Ratings

Regialc ,

Bigger fan now

Have been a fan for some months, and now an even bigger fan after the Rob Wolf episode. Thank you!

casey.mon ,

Stunning.

For the learner fascinated by so much in life and finds difficulty in the pursuit of one discipline, this podcast is a wonderful antidote. Phenomenal content and conversations, high-quality production, and no hidden agenda. Just science. And some humor. But mostly science. Love it.

Robin OS ,

Compelling and Concise

I listen to dozens of health & fitness podcasts, and some of them are tedious or wacky. STEM-Talk, however, is engaging and sensible. Dawn and Ken have pleasant rapport. They press their guests for relevant information without being confrontational. I feel smarter every time I listen to a new episode!

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