31 January 2024

Lower back pain: causes, treatment, and prevention of lower back injuries and pain - Dr Peter Attia with Dr Stuart McGill

Dr Stuart McGill is a distinguished professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo and the chief scientific officer at Backfitpro Inc. where he specializes in evaluating complex cases of lower back pain from across the globe. In this episode, Stuart engages in a deep exploration of lower back pain, starting with the anatomy of the lower back, the workings of the spine, the pathophysiology of back pain, and areas of vulnerability. He challenges the concept of nonspecific back pain, emphasizing the importance of finding a causal relationship between injury and pain. Stuart highlights compelling case studies of the successful treatment of complex cases of lower back pain, reinforcing his conviction that nobody needs to suffer endlessly. He also covers the importance of strength and stability, shares his favorite exercises to prescribe to patients, and provides invaluable advice for maintaining a healthy spine.

0:00:00 Intro
0:00:30 Peter’s experience with debilitating back pain
0:14:11 Anatomy of the back: spine, discs, facet joints, and common pain points
0:24:48 Lower back injuries and pain: acute vs. chronic, impact of disc damage, microfractures, and more
0:31:30 Why the majority of back injuries happen around the L4, L5, and S1 joints
0:37:20 How the spine responds to forces like bending and loading, and how it adapts do different athletic activities
0:45:12 The pathology of bulging discs
0:48:33 The pathophysiology of Peter’s back pain, injuries from excessive loading, immune response to back injuries, muscle relaxers, and more
0:59:36 The three most important exercises Stuart prescribes, how he assesses patients, and the importance of tailored exercises based on individual needs and body types
1:12:46 The significance of strength and stability in preventing injuries and preserving longevity
1:25:33 Stuart’s take on squats and deadlifting: potential risks, alternatives, and importance of correct movement patterns
1:37:08 Helping patients with psychological trauma from lower back pain by empowering them with the understanding of the mechanical aspects of their pain
1:46:59 Empowering patients through education and understanding of their pain through Stuart’s clinic and work through BackFitPro
1:56:08 When surgical interventions may be appropriate, and “virtual surgery” as an alternative
2:05:48 Weakness, nerve pain, and stenosis: treatments, surgical considerations, and more
2:11:21 Tarlov cysts: treatment and surgical considerations
2:13:34 The evolution of patient assessments and the limitations of MRI
2:18:40 Pain relief related to stiffness and muscle bulk through training
2:26:49 Advice for the young person on how to keep a healthy spine
2:39:24 Resources for individuals dealing with lower back pain

Dr Stuart McGill's book: Back Mechanic by Dr Stuart McGill

In an age where a seemingly endless amount of gimmicky back products are in circulation, a definitive guide to self-assessment and rehabilitation is more essential than ever. Back Mechanic guides you through a self-assessment of your pain triggers, then shows you how to avoid these roadblocks to recovery. Then effective exercises are coached in a step by step progressive plan. Spine expert, Dr Stuart McGill used his 30 years of research findings and clinical investigations to create this evidence-based guide that has helped thousands reclaim their lives. This knowledge is now available to you in this richly illustrated book. You will become your own best Back Mechanic and advocate.

30 January 2024

Human evolutionary biology and how our modern environment is causing modern diseases - The Diary of a CEO with Dr Daniel Lieberman

Dr Daniel Lieberman is the Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. His research focuses on how the human body has evolved to be the way it is. He is the author of the best-selling books, ‘The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease’ and ‘Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding’.

In this conversation Dr Daniel Lieberman and Steven discuss topics, such as if human evolution is going backwards and what we can learn from hunter-gatherers.

00:00:00 Intro
00:02:00 What do you do, and why do you do it?
00:03:09 Are we actually a good species?
00:05:11 Do our ancestors hold the answer to all our health needs?
00:07:32 Have we evolved to eat meat?
00:10:33 How did we learn to hunt and gather?
00:17:03 Have we evolved to breathe wrong?
00:19:28 Why do we sweat?
00:24:23 When did our brains get so big?
00:29:55 Why do we struggle to diet?
00:38:31 Modern-day mismatched diseases
00:42:41 Why did you write a book about food?
00:45:02 Has our culture moved too fast?
00:46:15 We've decided to live with diseases rather than prevent them.
00:50:13 The modern foods we eat have affected the way we look.
00:53:02 Is cancer a consequence of our modern society?
00:58:34 How our bodies store energy
01:05:23 The keto diet and fasting
01:09:44 Are we too comfortable as a society?
01:14:59 Puberty has changed, and we’re going into it earlier than ever before.
01:16:37 The dangers of sitting down all day like we do.
01:20:08 What should people take away most from this conversation?
01:24:16 The products we put on our bodies, are they toxic?
01:30:06 The last guest's question

22 January 2024

Exploring the Most Depressed Country in the World - Mark Manson

South Korea is an incredible country with a vibrant culture... but it’s also undergoing what’s possibly the worst mental health crisis in the world.

So between playing video games, hosting a reader meet-up and eating some of the spiciest f*cking food of my life, Mark went out to discover what intense social pressures foster such high rates of anxiety and depression.

06 January 2024

Active versus Passive Learning - Morgan Housel

Active learning: Someone tells you what to learn, how to learn it, on a set schedule, on pre-selected standardized topics.

Passive learning: You let your mind wander with no intended destination. You read and learn broadly, talk to people from various backgrounds, and stumble haphazardly across topics you had never considered but spark your curiosity, often because it’s the topic you happen to need at that specific time of your life.

Most of what I’ve learned in life has come from passive learning.

03 January 2024

Why You Can’t Stop Eating Ultra-Processed Foods - Dr Rangan Chatterjee with Dr Chris Van Tulleken

An ultra-processed food (UPF) is any food that’s processed industrially and created for big-business profit, rather than to provide nutrients. And here in the UK, UPF makes up 60 percent of the average diet. The trouble is, says Chris, UPFs have been shown to be the leading cause of early death in the world, ahead of tobacco. Even if you remain at what is considered a healthy weight, consuming UPFs still leaves you vulnerable to things like Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, dementia, anxiety, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer and eating disorders.

In this conversation, Chris provides a clear definition of the difference between processing and ultra-processing, and explains how our toxic food environment is designed to be addictive. We also discuss a whole range of different topics such as the need to see obesity as a condition and not an identity and the seemingly revolutionary idea that re-prioritising food shopping and cooking as a vital, enjoyable part of our day, could be a first step towards the societal change that’s urgently needed.