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Current time:0:00Total duration:9:09

Video transcript

I'm here with dr. David agus who's professor of engineering and medicine at at USC and we're looking at pictures here of things that seem very different to me what what what what is the commonality right here the commonality is inflammation so inflammation can be manifest by a runny nose and a cold or getting the flu it could be manifest by an infection in your toes it could be hitting your head playing football or hitting your arm when you fall playing a sport all of those can cause inflammation and I want to because inflammation has a certain meaning in everyday language it kind of means what at least when I imagine it means something is swollen and red but here we're talking about inflammation and more of the medical or the scientific sense where it's not things are swollen and red because of inflammation right and and what so what is inflammation it isn't just swollen and redness you're talking about it I'm een you know football player isn't getting swollen in red or is or is he so inflammation was your body senses danger so when something is wrong whether it be an infection whether it be trauma in a case of football players whether it be a cold your body senses danger and sends in its frontline soldiers which are the immune cells in order to fight whatever is causing it so if it's trauma the immune cells go in there and they help rebuild the tissue that's damaged if it's bacteria that go in there and they try to take away the bacteria so you can get over that cold or that flu and so that whole process we call inflammation it's not a senior process so the immune cells going to the sign of danger to either fight the danger itself or repair the after Matt yeah of the date so that sounds like a good thing it's an awesome thing the problem is your body all of us we care about what happens today not down the road right this is you know one of the take-home points that astonish me when I start to think about it is that nature evolution selects out for who has good kids and that's what evolution is about is that about having children we call progeny right it's not about what happens when you're 80 years old or 90 years old right and so inflammation is fantastic about dealing with today's ramifications right the problem is if you get the flu today your risk of cancer and heart disease a decade or two decades from now or up if I get the flu once if you get the flu once really so those five six days when you feel horrible your inflammation is through the roof right that's having ramifications down the road right and I mean just to take a sign this is already getting a little scary for me because I've had the flu so I already feel worried about my can't you tell by looking at you and I looked at that but but and and the the symptoms that we get when we have the flu or cold these are actually it's not the viruses the virus is causing the inflammation which is causing the symptoms yeah and that's what's wild is that when you get a virus your immune system attacks it and then you get a fever I still don't know why we get fevers it's one of those things where that we call the cytokines which are proteins the immune cells make to send out and get more reinforcements and tell the body what to do it causes a fever is it fever good is it fever bad I don't know we take tylenol to lower a fever but is that a good thing nobody really has looked at the long-term ramifications they look at short-term but how does it affect a decade from now what's going to happen we just don't know Wow well and what you're saying is is that the reason why we have inflammation is yeah something has happened to my body has some trauma some injury and you were setting this to go you might have to run away from a lion tomorrow so fix fix fix Sal or fix David up right now so that you can run away from the line tomorrow but it you know in in in in the wild I might have a live to 40 anyway so so why even worry about whether that person might get cancer if they get to 40 or 50 once they're past the age of rejection body has to choose priorities right priority clearly is today rather than tomorrow right and so an amazing study was done in that we gave patients what we call a statin so statins were drugs st atin they were drugs that were developed because they block the synthesis of cholesterol right and we thought you know people with higher cholesterol particularly the bad one called LDL those people have a higher incidence of heart disease so if we block the synthesis we're going to affect heart disease and what do you know we did a dramatic effect where we lowered the death from heart disease with these drugs right so it seems like they worked it worked that a company or a very clever group did a trial where they gave people with normal cholesterol these drugs right and they had a dramatic effect that Adelaide heart attack and stroke by almost a dozen years Wow and it reduced the incidence of cancer by about 40 percent so cancer something I mean we don't associate cholesterol Wow so it turns out these drugs which were the biggest drug in terms of sales we've ever had right worked by lowering inflammation so they're affected heart disease wasn't by lowering cholesterol it was predominantly bellowing inflammation right and the effect on cancer was by lowering inflammation in fact remember when the swine flu came out a couple years ago right right so if you got the swine flu the only thing that protected you from your lungs collapsing and going on we call a ventilator a breathing machine was being on one of these statins it would stop the inflammation swine flu people were dying from this inflammation going nuts yeah and and so that this is fastly it isn't even necessarily the people who are dying of heart disease is it necessarily the cholesterol that's killing them or is it the the inflammation that's causing plaque it's this chicken in the egg fin right right right the inflammation allows cholesterol to deposit rise together I see so really it's really the statin affects inflammation inflammation which then which then reduces cancer by stopping the inflammation and stopping though exactly what are those problems we have in biology you know medicine it's what you can measure right so I can measure cholesterol right I don't really know how to measure inflammation well right so while we can make these Association and big studies when we look back if I had a metric if I had a blood test or something to look at for inflammation I can optimize things can do not measure just the amount of cytokines and other inflammatory type of type of things that become increased in your eyes right happened your different types of information right so I see some inflammation can be good some can be bad some can be really causal right some could be a little bit causal and so we're putting them all into one basket now which is inflammation the key is to start to tease them out and be able to modulate them you know you could develop a drug but then you have to optimize it for a particular purpose right right so these were optimized to lower cholesterol and they do that very well they also lower inflammation and they work beautifully in that regard but how do we optimize going for right what it also means is that when you look at your lifestyle and my lifestyle we have to limit inflammation right so what are the easy ways to do that one is which I think should be mandatory things like the flu shot right so again the flu shot will certainly delay you from having to prevent you from having bad flu that's good today and good tomorrow tomorrow yeah it's heart disease and cancer down the road that's did that I did add no clue that the flu I thought was just a nice thing avoid a week of sneezing and you know but flu shot you can actually reduce your cancer and heart disease down the road and then we have to think long term as a society what about statins I mean it seems like these are drugs like lipitor Crestor and you hear that you see the so I mean would you I mean I meant no one should take our medical advice based on a thing in a video but right I mean is is it are people taking it just for heart disease or are people taking it more broadly now listen I mean I'm a believer that these drugs have such a profound effect on cancer heart disease stroke potentially Alzheimer's that you should consider taking it to prevent these diseases right and again giving no recommendations but what I say is you your parents they should talk about with their doctor right and so why shouldn't I be on this drug right and there are some side effects but they could they're easy to test for and they're test for and then they're reversible right okay so you're not going anything you got to do a risk and a benefit right and you have to look at you and say am i high risk for XYZ if you are what can prevent it or delay it right the name of the game is not treating disease it's preventing disease right right that's this is fascinating i well I might talk to my wife about getting some well no no advice here everyone should talk to their doctor hahaha I mean by the way another great medicine to reduce inflammation is called aspirin aspirin I've heard of that that's a hell of a drug again there's side effects to aspirin can affect bleeding but at the same time it's a dramatic effect by lowering inflammation right and that that is its main side effect I'm is this age-old drug it's made it's a blood thinner so if you you get a cut or you bleed or while you have why you're taking aspirin that you might bleed more right blood thinners a funny term I'm not quite sure to me thinking paint thinner when you suffer done how it it binds to the platelets and blocks them from activating I stopped them from working really was more anti-clotting write and play those are one of the key components of clotting they certainly affect it right so your blood will have the same viscosity won't just won't clot as easily exactly and you can certainly paint a wall with either one that's a little morbid all right well that thanks a bunch