“The Quantified Self: Personal Monitoring and Control for Health”

A Conversation with Larry Smarr, Director, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), UC San Diego and Irvine; hosted by André de Fusco, CEO and Director, Cynvenio Biosystems

LS: Got to La Jolla, looked around and realized he needed to fight the obesity epidemic. Decided to quantify himself. Weighs himself every morning, puts it in a spreadsheet, read 30-40 books and realized we are a biological machine. You need to put into that body what  it needs. Lost 20 lbs, brought resting heartrate down to 45, wears body media device which shows calories burned per minute. Gave up the elevator, driving across campus. Now does walk and talks. Measures quantity and quality of sleep. Been doing it for 10 years, and in the last 5 years has gotten more involved in the internal workings of his body.

Started taking 10 mg of Statin per day, 6 pharmaceutical fish oil pills a day. Dropped cholesterol by 25%- bad cholesterol by 50%.

Without Moore’s law, social networks, none of these things would be possible.

Inflammation is the core of so many of our problems. Still has problem with inflammation — 5X higher than it should be. Was spiking; spiked to 15x normal rate, was told he had diverticulitis. Had lactoferin in his bowels — a marker that’s 90% specific for inflammatory bowel disease.

Had another colonoscopy and had a polyp, but doctor didn’t take a biopsy.

Got a new doctor, a new colonoscopy and had Crohn’s disease. Checked out his genetics and had the genetic marker IL-23, proven to be associated with Crohns. Found a study, written by his doctor, William J. Sandborn on reversing the marker.

Believes the future of medicine is predictive, personalized medical care. In the future doctors will be much more like collaborators, colleagues, etc.

Kamran Elahian: Does right-brained approach to medicine work? ie Meditation.

LS: You just anticipated what I’m going to do this weekend. — Setting up software to measure effects of stress release. Meditating completely transforms the state of your body. Stress management is every bit as important as exercise and nutrition.

10X as many cells in your microbes in your colon as there are cells in your body. Has an enormous amount to do with your health. Without knowing your microbes, you don’t know your body.