130 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

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.7 • 578 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 130: Josh Turknett talks about holistic approaches that help people end chronic migraines

    Episode 130: Josh Turknett talks about holistic approaches that help people end chronic migraines

    Our guest today is Dr. Josh Turknett, the author of “The Migraine Miracle” and “Keto for Migraine,” two books that have helped thousands of people use a holistic approach to end their chronic migraines. Josh is often referred to as “public enemy number one to migraines” everywhere.



    He is a neurologist, musician, author, and entrepreneur. He has more than two decades of experience in the field of cognitive and behavioral neuroscience. Josh practices medicine in Atlanta at the Turknett Center for Neurology and Cognitive Enhancement.



    In today’s episode, we talk to Josh about his own history with migraines and how migraine is a common and complex neurological disorder that includes a genetic component.



    Josh earned a bachelor’s degree in cognitive neuroscience from Wesleyan University, an M.D. from Emory University, and completed his residency training at the University of Florida.



    In addition to his medical practice, Josh also is the founder of Brainjo, a company that creates educational resources that utilize a system of instruction based on the science of learning and neuroplasticity. He’s a musician who plays in the band The Georgia Jays and teaches people to play the clawhammer banjo, fingerstyle banjo, fiddle and ukulele. As if he didn’t have enough to do, Josh also is the president of Physicians for Ancestral Health and the chief medical officer for humanOS, which was recently acquired by Restore Hyper Wellness. Josh also is the host of the Intelligence Unshackled podcast, which explores the many ways that human potential is constrained and how people can go about optimizing it.



    Show notes:



    [00:03:22] Dawn opens the interview asking Josh about his mother’s struggles with migraines.



    [00:04:59] Dawn asks Josh how old he was when he first started having migraines.



    [00:06:15] Ken asks Josh how he first became interested in science.



    [00:08:24] Dawn asks Josh how he ended up in the Connecticut at Wesleyan University for his undergraduate degree.



    [00:09:35] Ken asks if Josh knew he wanted to major in neuroscience when he first arrived at Wesleyan or if that was a later decision.



    [00:10:49] Dawn asks if it is true that Josh’s girlfriend at the time played a role in his decision to move back to Atlanta to go to medical school at Emory after his undergrad.



    [00:11:55] Dawn asks what motivated Josh to attend the University of Florida for his residency after being a lifelong Gator-hater.



    [00:14:39] Ken mentions that despite all the hype around neuroscience when the field was emerging, the last major breakthrough in neurology was in the ‘90s with the discovery of triptan drugs for migraines. Ken asks if we have made any major neurological advances since then, and if not, why?



    [00:17:41] Ken asks Josh what he would suggest to today’s neurology residents and neuroscience graduate students who might want to avoid the recent failures of the modern approaches to treating neurological disease.



    [00:19:57] Dawn explains that a migraine is a complex neurological disorder affecting 15 to 20 percent of the population, with many subtypes including a genetic component. Dawn asks Josh what is currently understood about the genetic component of migraines.



    [00:21:28] Ken asks Josh at what point in his career did he decide to specialize in migraines.



    [00:23:17] Dawn asks Josh to explain to people who have not suffered from migraines what it feels like to experience a cascade of symptoms such as numbness, tingling, visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue,

    • 1 hr 23 min
    Episode 129: Morley Stone talks about biomimetics and human performance augmentation

    Episode 129: Morley Stone talks about biomimetics and human performance augmentation

    Our guest today is Dr. Morley Stone, the former Chief Technology Officer for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and former Senior Vice President for Research at Ohio State University, who is now IHMC’s Chief Strategic Partnership Officer. Morley is recognized as an international leader in biomimetics and human performance.



    In today’s interview, we talk to Morley about his time as AFRL’s chief technology officer as well as his stint as the chief scientist for the Air Force’s 711th Human Performance Wing, which is responsible for providing technical oversight of projects geared to optimize human performance for the nation’s air, space, and cyberspace forces. We also have a fascinating conversation with Morley about his early career and research into biomimetics, which is the study of using biological structures, materials and principles as models for the development of new materials, structures, and devices.



    In his new role at IHMC, Morley will become the institute’s point person for public- and private-sector partnerships. He also will work with IHMC’s scientists and research staff to help coordinate and implement the multitude of scientific projects the institute has in its pipeline.



    Show notes:



    [00:03:07] Dawn mentions that Morley grew up in a small steel producing town in Pennsylvania and asks him what he was like as a kid.



    [00:03:56] Ken asks Morley about his days as wrestler growing up and why he still today views wrestling as a special sport.



    [00:05:00] Dawn asks about Morley’s move to Dayton, Ohio, when he was 17.



    [00:05:36] Dawn asks how Morley decided upon Wright State as opposed to the University of Dayton.



    [00:05:57] Morley tells the story of how a girl in college pointed out an ad for an internship and how that helped him decide to become a biochemistry major.



    [00:06:43] Dawn asks what happened to the girl who pointed out the aforementioned ad.



    [00:08:28] Ken asks Morley to talk about the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and the role of the lab’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate.



    [00:09:53] Dawn mentions that after earning his bachelor’s degree, Morley had a short stint as a materials research engineer at the directorate before heading off to Carnegie Mellon University to work on a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Dawn asks why Morley chose to attend Carnegie Mellon.



    [00:11:08] Dawn mentions that in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Morley had the good fortune to work with scientists who had the foresight to know that there was going to be a radical change in material science, which up until that point had been dominated by metals and ceramics. Morley talks about the most important lessons he learned from these colleagues and mentors.



    [00:12:41] Dawn asks about Morley’s time as a research biologist, and eventually principal research biologist, at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate after his Ph.D.



    [00:14:41] Ken asks Morley to explain biomimetics and discuss the systems that Morley and his colleagues looked at during his time at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, ranging from infrared sensing to instances of biological camouflage.



    [00:18:01] Dawn mentions that the creation of nanoscale materials for advanced structures has led to a growing interest in the area of biomineralization, she goes on to say that during Morley’s time at the directorate, he especially researched the process of biomineralization and the assembly of nanostructured inorganic components into hierarchical structures, which led to the development of a variety of approaches that mimic the recognition and nucleation capabilities found in biomolecules for inorganic material synthesis. Morley discusses his 2002 paper in Nature Materials where he described the i...

    • 48 min
    Episode 128: Tommy Wood talks about high-fat diets and the metabolic flexibility of the human gut

    Episode 128: Tommy Wood talks about high-fat diets and the metabolic flexibility of the human gut

    In today’s episode, Dr. Tommy Wood returns for his fifth appearance on STEM-Talk. Tommy is a UK-trained physician and an assistant research professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington. He also is a visiting research scientist and a valued colleague of ours here at IHMC.



    Today’s interview focuses on a new paper that Tommy just had published by the American Society for Microbiology. It’s titled, “Reframing Nutritional Microbiota Studies To Reflect an Inherent Metabolic Flexibility of the Human Gut: A Narrative Review Focusing on High-Fat Diets.”



    We discuss the paper and follow up on some research Tommy has done since his last appearance on STEM-Talk, a two-part interview that took place a little more than a year ago. In that two-part interview, episodes 110 and 111, we touched on Tommy’s research into the importance of metabolic health and how only one in eight Americans is considered metabolically healthy.



    We also talk to Tommy about a new grant he just received to examine the effects of azithromycin on premature brain injury in a ferret model. As part of this grant, Tommy will be collaborating with his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Nance, who also is an assistant professor at the University of Washington and was our guest on episode 71 of STEM-Talk.



    Show notes:



    [00:03:15] Dawn opens the interview mentioning Tommy’s new paper published by the American Society for Microbiology titled “Reframing Nutritional Microbiota Studies to Reflect an Inherent Metabolic Flexibility of the Human Gut: A Narrative Review Focusing on High-Fat Diets.” Dawn mentions that in our last interview with Tommy, he talked about the importance of insulin sensitivity and metabolic health, yet as Tommy has pointed out, more than 80 percent of Americans have some kind of metabolic disease or dysfunction. Given that, Dawn asks Tommy to revisit key points regarding insulin resistance; the importance of metabolic health; and why so many Americans struggle with this issue.



    [00:06:18] Ken points out that the common view held in much of the nutritional-microbiota research is that high-fat diets are harmful to human health, at least in part through their modulation of the gut microbiota. Ken goes on to say that there are a number of studies that support the inherent flexibility of the human gut and our microbiota’s ability to adapt to a variety of food sources, suggesting a more nuanced picture than the commonly held view. Ken asks Tommy to give an overview of the gut microbiome and how research in the past decade has explored the effects of the gut microbiome on our metabolism, immune systems, our sleep, and our moods and cognition.



    [00:09:50] Dawn asks Tommy to explain the history of how fat, and high-fat diets, became public enemy number one in many circles, including gut microbiome research.



    [00:12:46] Ken mentions that there are many limitations when it comes to preclinical nutritional research, with many studies on the role of fat in the diet being based on animal models, particularly rat models, which presents several problems since the natural diet of a mouse is low in fat and high in carbohydrates.



    [00:15:50] Ken asks Tommy about the need for a more nuanced view of fat and our microbiota’s ability to adapt to different food sources.



    [00:17:33] Ken points out that while people might throw around the term “healthy gut microbiota,

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Episode 127: From UFOs to fasting to the keto flu, Ken & Dawn answer questions

    Episode 127: From UFOs to fasting to the keto flu, Ken & Dawn answer questions

    It’s time for another Ask Me Anything episode. In today’s show, Ken and Dawn tackle a wide range of listener questions about:



    -- Protein intake on a ketogenic diet.

    -- A new study on the efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted therapy.

    -- The Pentagon’s new report about UFOs.

    -- Virta Health’s two-year pilot study that demonstrated people diagnosed with prediabetes had normalized their glucose through carbohydrate restriction.

    -- The FDA’s controversial approval of the Biogen Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm.

    -- The deepest man-made pool and diving research facility that just opened in Dubai.

    -- Strategies to deal with the so-called “keto flu.”

    -- And a lot more. Enjoy.



    00:02:49 A listener asks Ken about protein intake on a ketogenic diet. The listener says they have heard some experts say that protein intake should be fairly low on a ketogenic diet while other experts suggest protein needs might actually be higher than what is generally recommended. The listener, who is physically active and on a ketogenic diet but isn’t seeing much muscle growth, asks Ken what the research says about what proper levels of protein on a ketogenic diet.



    00:05:05 A listener asks Ken about STEM-Talk’s interview with Gordon Lithgow, episode 120 of STEM-Talk, mentioning that Ken and Gordon referenced arginine AKG, a supplement often used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve their performance and reduce muscle fatigue. The listener asks if arginine AKG, or calcium AKG, or something else can help them recover from exercise as they get older. In his response, Ken discusses a 2017 meta-analysis by Robert Wolfe. Ken also mentions two essential amino acid blends, MAP Master Amino Acid Pattern. The other blend is called Mass Pro Synthagen.



    00:12:09 A listener mentions in their question that there is a new study that just came out in Nature Medicine looking at the efficacy and safety of MDMA-assisted therapy for people diagnosed with severe PTSD. Nearly 70 percent of the participants who received MDMA therapy no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD after two months of treatment. The listener asks Ken and Dawn if they have read this study and what their thoughts are. Ken in his response mentions two STEM-Talk episodes that touched on MDMA-assisted therapy, David Rabin in Episode 99 and Rachel Yehuda in episode 101.



    00:14:37]A listener asks Ken what the justification for spending almost $3 billion on the Perseverance Mars mission is, going on to ask with all the needs here on Earth, how does NASA and Congress justify the billions that will be needed for a manned mission to Mars.



    00:19:06 A listener asks how Dawn’s research on glymphatic function in extreme environments is going.



    00:22:31 A listener asks Kens for his thoughts on the recent media coverage of the Pentagon’s new report on more 100 UFOs, or “unidentified aerial phenomena,” that the Pentagon cannot explain.



    00:25:49 A listener mentions that Virta Health is wrapping up its data collection of a five-year trial that looks at nutritional ketosis as a treatment for type-2 diabetes and prediabetes. Virta recently published the results of its two-year pilot study that demonstrated people diagnosed with prediabetes had normalized their glucose in the blood through carbohydrate restriction. The listener asks Ken to comment on this two-year pilot study since Ken is affiliated with Virta. In his response, Ken mentions Amy McKenzie’s 2021 paper.



    00:27:17 A listener asks Ken about the controversial FDA approval of the Biogen Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm. Despite murky clinical trial results, the drug was fast-tracked, even though it will cost a person $56,000 annually.



    00:30:57 A listener asks Dawn, given her diving background, about the deepest man-made pool and diving research facility that just opened...

    • 46 min
    Episode 126: Christoffer Clemmensen discusses therapeutic strategies to correct obesity and its disorders

    Episode 126: Christoffer Clemmensen discusses therapeutic strategies to correct obesity and its disorders

    Our guest today is Dr. Christoffer Clemmensen, an associate professor and lead researcher at the University of Copenhagen’s Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.



    Christoffer’s lab at the university explores pharmacological and therapeutic treatments for obesity and its related diseases and disorders. He and his colleagues focus on dissecting the neuroendocrine signals involved in coordinating appetite, food-motivated behavior, energy expenditure, glycemic control, and lipid metabolism.



    We have a fascinating discussion with Christoffer about his lab’s efforts to turn molecular and physiological insights into innovative therapeutic strategies that Christoffer hopes someday can reduce obesity and its associated metabolic disorders. Christoffer is a native of Denmark who earned his Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology from the University of Copenhagen in 2013.



    Joining Ken for today’s interview is IHMC colleague and senior research scientist Dr. Marcas Bamman, who was our guest on episode 116. Marcas is the founder and former director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Center for Exercise Medicine.  Marcas joined IHMC last year as a Senior Research Scientist.



    Show notes:



    [00:03:24] Marcas asks Christoffer about growing up in a small rural town in Denmark in the 1980s and ‘90s.



    [00:04:05] Christoffer’s talks about his days as an elite tennis player when he was a youth.



    [00:04:41] Ken asks Christoffer when he first became interested in science.



    [00:05:48] Marcas asks Christoffer what changed his mind about wanting to study computer science at university.



    [00:07:04] Christoffer explains how he decided to attend University of Copenhagen.



    [00:08:19] Marcas mentions that Christoffer’s original focus at university was on exercise biology, but that he became fascinated by the mechanisms of obesity and that interest took him in a new direction. Marcas asks how that shift in interest came about.



    [00:10:01] Marcas follows up on the previous question and asks if there were a particular instance that persuaded Christoffer to switch from focusing on exercise to focusing more on weight control and obesity.



    [00:10:40] Ken asks what led Christopher to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology after attaining a bachelor’s degree in exercise biology and a master’s degree in human biology.



    [00:12:11] Marcas asks Christoffer why he went to Munich, Germany, as a postdoctoral fellow at the Helmholtz Diabetes Center after completing his post-doc at the University of Copenhagen.



    [00:14:00] After mentioning that Christoffer eventually became the group leader at Helmholtz, Ken asks Christoffer why he then transitioned back to the University of Copenhagen.



    [00:14:52] Marcas asks Christopher to talk about the big questions that get to the heart of his research.



    [00:16:20] Ken mentions that Christoffer is now an associate professor at the Nova Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen, where he is the head of the Clemmensen Group. Ken goes on to mention that the Clemmensen Group’s website says the lab focuses on dissecting the neuroendocrine signals that coordinate appetite regulation, food-motivated behavior, energy expenditure, glycemic control, and lipid metabolism. Ken asks if Christoffer could give an overview of what all these research focuses entail.



    [00:18:17] Marcas mentions that obesity and its related diseases, such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have become serious problems affecting the world’s public health and global economy.

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Episode 125: Gary Taubes addresses common arguments used against ketogenic diets

    Episode 125: Gary Taubes addresses common arguments used against ketogenic diets

    Today we have the second part of our interview with science and health journalist Gary Taubes. In the first part of our interview, episode 124, we talked to Gary about his new book “The Case For Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat Eating.”



    In today’s episode, we talk in detail about a growing body of research and evidence that demonstrates the health benefits and safety of ketogenic diets. We also address why there remains stubborn resistance to low-carb/high fat diets in some nutrition circles. Plus, Gary responds to common arguments used against the ketogenic diet, ranging from health and safety and climate change to claims that ketogenic diets don’t work for women.



    Gary turned to journalism back in the 1970s after receiving his master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Stanford University. Today, he continues to practice journalism and is the founder and director of the Nutrition Science Initiative.



    Be sure to check out part one of our interview, as well as our 2016 interview with Gary which followed the release of his New York Times best-seller “The Case Against Sugar.”



    Show notes:



    00:02:58 Ken starts part two of our interview with Gary by mentioning that there is now substantial evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of low-carb diets. Ken mentions more and more physicians are prescribing this way of eating to their patients and large numbers of people are having success losing weight and managing type-2 diabetes using ketogenic diets. In light of that information, Ken asks Gary for his thoughts on why the U.S. News and World Report annual diet ranking stubbornly continues to describe the ketogenic diet as a detrimental way to eat.



    00:09:25 Ken asks Gary to respond to some of the common arguments against the ketogenic diet ranging from human health and safety to climate change.



    00:12:50 Ken asks about the claim that people on a ketogenic diet might lose a lot of weight in the short term but gain that weight back in the long term.



    00:13:56 Gary tackles the criticism that ketogenic diets do not work for women.



    00:16:02 Ken asks Gary to address concerns about the supposed unsustainability of ketogenic diets, noting how it is possible some people might have difficulty maintaining the diet for long periods of time.



    00:19:20 Ken supposes that perhaps some of the anxiety surrounding a low-carb/high-fat diet has to do with LDL cholesterol. Ken mentions that some people on the diet, often referred to as hyper-responders, experience elevated levels of LDL and are warned by their physicians that this increases risk for heart disease. Ken asks Gary what he thinks the road forward should be for hyper-responders and others who are anxious about their LDL levels.



    00:28:55 Dawn mentions that in 2018, Lancet published a study that aimed to make sense of the increasingly crowded world of low-carb diets. The authors, a team from Harvard, studied more than 15,000 American adults (aged 45-64) from four different communities over a 25-year period using dietary questionnaires. Dawn goes on to explain how these questionnaires revealed that consumers of both extremely low-carb diets and extremely high-carb diets had higher death rates over the course of the study. The lead author of this study was quoted as saying, “Our findings add to the growing evidence that animal-based low-carbohydrate diets...

    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
578 Ratings

578 Ratings

Liz_E. ,

“STEM Smart”

I feel so smart when I listen to Stemtalk. The topics open up a whole new world for me. One that I can share with my elementary school students. I especially love when I can follow along (and understand)certain topics because of the Science-y background I’m building with each episode…thank you for the variety of topics and guests you bring on your show.
Sincerely,
Miss Liz

HenrytheFirst ,

Wide World of Science

This podcast keeps getting better and better. The Josh Turknett episode was particularly good. I especially enjoy the often accidental ways people get into science, whether it’s from watching the Apollo missions or working on a science project in middle school or something that a professor says in college. For me, STEM-Talk is a reminder to keep your mind open.

doctorpew ,

Informative, actionable information

I am a primary care physician, and this podcast is full of informative, valuable information. It is a wealth of recent, scientific findings and data, that can lead to actionable change for all of us. Art Delaney is especially fantastic!

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