The coronavirus pandemic continues. That is the sobering truth.
There are well trained individuals dedicated to the health and welfare of society, who are striving to find ways in which to curtail Covid-19. Some of these people might be working on vaccines to prevent the virus or they might be attempting to formulate reliable treatments for those who do catch it. Others might be clinicians on the frontlines, helping the sick overcome the virus right now, with whatever treatments and tools they have available. Finally, there are those who can inform us about where we are right now in this pandemic and how to best take care of ourselves. We at CYInterview thank them all.
With that said, we had the opportunity recently to discuss the coronavirus pandemic with two extraordinary guests. They are both individuals of high achievement. One is a medical doctor and scientist. The other is a neuroscientist.
For this discussion, we welcomed back to CYInterview Dr. James Hildreth, the President of the Meharry Medical College, who was with us to discuss the current pandemic last month.
Dr. Hildreth’s curricula vitae is nothing short of extraordinary. He received his degree in Chemistry from Harvard – magna cum laude. He is a Rhodes Scholar with a Ph.D. in immunology from Oxford. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins, having done a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology along the way. He is an immunologist and a preeminent HIV/AIDS researcher. The fact of the matter is, we could go on and on discussing his kudos and accomplishments.
Then, there is our good friend Dr. Kristen Willeumier. Dr. Willeumier is, likewise, a person of incredible achievement, having received a bachelors degree in psychology from Boston College, a masters in physiological science, a masters in neurobiology and a PhD in neurobiology all from UCLA. She also received a prestigious NIH fellowship from the National Institute of Mental Health. Her accomplishments and kudos form a long list.
On December 29th, Dr. Willeumier’s book, Biohack Your Brain, will be out. We look forward to it and believe it will be a must read.
Last but not least, Dr. Willeumier has, over the years, continued to enlighten CYInterview’s listeners about health and wellness, particularly when it comes to the brain. We thank her for her wisdom, intellect and insight.
This is a CYInterview that you will want to listen to in its entirety. To give you some idea of how it went, below are a couple of short excerpts from this most important conversation:
Jay Bildstein: You know, for years a now debunked story circulated, I believe it still circulates online, what doesn’t, about how during the space race NASA spent millions of dollars to develop a pen that could write in a zero-gravity environment. The claim was that they ran into all kinds of difficulties in getting the job done. Meanwhile, the story continued that the Soviet Union gave their cosmonauts pencils. Problem solved.
As I mentioned it turned out the story wasn’t true, but it does illustrate a point that, at times, a simple answer can solve a complex issue. The coronavirus pandemic’s a complex issue. However, there are certain simple steps we can take to put the odds in our favor, while we wait for a vaccine and or a treatment, hopefully both.
Dr. Hildreth, a question in three parts for you. First, what are those simple steps? Second, do you believe those steps are being adequately followed throughout the United States? Third, what causes people to be so rooted in their thinking that they may ignore simple steps that can save their lives?
(What follows is an excerpt of Dr. Hildreth’s response, speaking about taking a more focused approach as it relates to Covid-19:)
Dr. Hildreth: “We know that if you’re older, you live in a nursing home or you’re in a prison or if you’re a member of the minority population, your risk is considerably higher, especially for severe disease and death. So that probably means that now that we know this, a more targeted approach would be more appropriate in which we do a tried and true public health approach to keep people alive. And that is widespread testing, contact tracing, isolation of those person’s who test positive and their contacts and making sure that people can get treatment when they need it. That is what should be done and of course that is not being done in a nationally coordinated way.”
Jay Bildstein: (Addressing Dr. Willeumier) You ran a weight loss program within the context of striving to improve brain health and cognitive function. From what you saw in your program, did you see an improvement in blood sugar, blood pressure kidney function, these type of metrics and do you believe the kind of program that you ran – and if you could talk a little bit, how you did and who you did it with – could this be replicated throughout the country?
(An excerpt of Dr. Willeumier’s response follows.)
Dr. Willeumier: “We like to think about weight loss and obesity as also an issue in dealing with brain health and improving cognitive function. So to your point, I think, you know one thing I’m really inspired to do is help people choose, think more about their brain and their cognitive health when they’re making these lifestyle choices and during a time when we’re in a global pandemic and we’re looking at these other health issues that are increasing our susceptibility or vulnerability to Covid-19. I’m hoping it’s a time that people are more inspired or empowered to think about their food choices and their lifestyle choices.”
Thank you again to Dr. Hildreth and Dr. Willeumier. You both continue to help the public through your kindness, depth of knowledge and wisdom.
The Editor in Chief of CYInterview, Chris Yandek, joined us for this important discussion.
Listen to the entire Dr. James Hildreth and Dr. Kristen Willeumier CYInterview: