CU Boulder – COVID Test Innovations

sawyersara-boulder_0CU Boulder has just opened up dorms and in-person classes.  The CU Boulder Covid Research Strategies Webinar presents innovative testing plans that include ultra-fast COVID tests from the Sara Sawyer Lab and an automated sewage sampling system from Creston Mansfeldt.  Both tests may speed early warning of Covid.  Both testing strategies are innovative and ambitious.  But funding and testing capacity mean only dormitory students receive these tests.  Dorm students represent around 20% of CU Boulder students.  Roughly 80% of CU students live off-campus (not in the dorms).  They are not slated to receive these special tests, or basically, any regular tests.

Currently, CU-Boulder COVID infection rates are low.  As questions on next week’s show, we will be watching for . . . how does all this influence the ability of CU-Boulder’s innovative tests to help CU keep Covid-19 cases down and to help the campus stay open?


Hosts:  Beth Bennett, Angele Sjong, Shelley Schlender
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Maeve Conran



Salmonella Biofilms – Extended Version

Salmonella and Curli Proteins
Salmonella and Curli Proteins


(Extended Version – Transcript — For Broadcast Audio Version, go HERE)

Overview:  Foodborne Salmonella infections MIGHT pave the way for arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and ALS, according to a  new study about the potential long-term effects of a salmonella infection.  Symptoms of salmonella infection can include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.  Healthy people usually get over a salmonella infection after about a week.  But sometimes, people later develop creaky joints and pain — you know, arthritis.  Why a brief gut infection can lead to long term arthritis has been a mystery.  The  new study  documents how the inflammation of joints and other symptoms of reactive arthritis may involve curly “curli” proteins that cover a salmonella bacteria.  These curli proteins can stick together like velcro, to produce a biofilm.  Even after our bodies vanquish a salmonella infection, biofilms can remain in body tissues.  If the immune system keeps attacking the biofilms, it can inflame our tissues and hurt them.  For more, here’s one of the lead researchers on the new paper.  He’s  Aaron White from the University of Saskatchewan School of Medicine.  White is Chair of Biotechnology at the School of Medicine. 



Salmonella have curly curli
Salmonella have curly curli

Aaron White:  So this study came about because Cagla Tukel is at Temple University. She had studied the Curlii protein itself and showed that if you injected into an animal, you get auto immune responses.

Shelley Schlender  So there’s just a lot even in that one sentence, that is fascinating. Let’s start out with the body of a bacteria. I’ve always pictured a bacteria as this teeny tiny thing that looks kind of like a gel cap. You know, it’s just this blob that is kind of smooth on the outside, but in reality it has these proteins that stick out that look a little bit like fusilli noodles. They’re kind of curly.

Salmonella (Microscope View)
Salmonella (Microscope View)

[Yeah. The organisms that a lot of people study in the laboratory are different than the wild type ones. So the ones in the wild are covered in these, like you say, fusilli or pasta-(shaped proteins). Their surfaces are very complex, adorned with proteins and sugars, things that enable them to interact with their world.  Like with our immune system, for example.

Shelley Schlender These little bacteria are not just smooth on the outside. They have what could be antennas. They could have channels coming in.  To the naked eye, under a microscope, it looks like they’re furry. It looks like they’ve got curly hair.

Aaron White That’s very accurate. I’ve been studying what they do for salmonella, enable the cells to stick together. And in the past, we had thought that that only happens kind of outside of an animal or outside of a human like as a way to survive in the environment. (SS COMMENT:  In other words, when the diarrhea caused by salmonella causes the microbes to be expelled back into the world, a curli biofilm helps them survive heat, UV rays from the sun, drying out, etc etc during them time they’re on the ground, in the water, on the surface of a fruit, etc.  The biofilms give the salmonella a way to survive the part of their life cycle when they’re out in the world, waiting for next next time  they can will be eaten and enter a new digestive tract and go through their life cycle once again.)

Curli Let Salmonella Stick Together in "Biofilms"
Curli Let Salmonella Stick Together in “Biofilms”

Shelley Schlender OK, we’re going to get back to how this is involved with creaky joints and maybe Alzheimer’s, maybe other autoimmune conditions like lupus and Parkinson’s disease. But it starts with the fact that these bacteria have this kind of furry curly outside that lets them stick together like Velcro to make something called a biofilm.

Aaron White Yeah, biofilm is a large group of cells that are stuck together and it provides a survival advantage for the bacteria. So they survive better as a group than they do as an individual.

Shelley Schlender:  Does that mean that when there’s a biofilm with a lot of microbes hanging out together, bacteria in this case, they’re harder for invaders to find? They’re protected from the elements. What does the biofilm do for the bacteria?

Curli Biofilms protect Salmonella from drying out when exposed to the elements, such as the sun
Curli Biofilms protect Salmonella from drying out when exposed to the elements, such as the sun

Aaron White So that’s been a major focus of my research, is the function of biofilms. Imagine the bacteria ends up in a situation where it’s very dry. There’s no nutrients. Right? If it was this individual cell, it would be very fragile. But as a group, as a biofilm, they cover themselves in this protective coating. And that’s what Curli is part of.

Shelley Schlender Excuse me. I’m hearing a lot of beeps of e-mail.

Aaron White: You know what that is? Twitter! Because I just joined Twitter. It’s beeping at me.

Shelley Schlender: Is it beeping at you about your article?

Aaron White: Yes.

Shelley Schlender: Oh, my gosh.

Aaron White: Scientists that I know that have been on Twitter for ages. Congratulations. Or people I don’t know.

Shelley Schlender: They’re literally all atwitter about your new study.

Aaron White   Yes.

Shelley Schlender So biofilms are in nature. It’s a little bit like these bacteria form a union or they form a co-operative, so that if it’s too dry, if it’s too hot, they can shelter themselves a little bit by combining together.

Aaron White: Yes, you can think of it as nature’s way to survive better. Many, many bacteria do that.

Shelley Schlender: And they’re not a multicellular animal like a mouse or a frog or us. But it gives them some advantages of cells sticking together. How about the biofilm, the bacteria on the outside? Do they sacrifice their lives?

Aaron White:  There is a bit of that. Originally when we studied this, we thought how ants come together and cross the stream. They make sort of an ant raft.  We thought of that for biofilms in these bacterial cells. There is some aspect, it seems like, of cooperation, but it’s all aimed at survival, to better withstand stresses. Basically, the cells themselves, too, in the biofilm are more stress resistant than individual cells would be if they weren’t in a biofilm.

Shelley Schlender: And so all of that, Aaron White, is happening out in the world, like in ponds, on the surfaces of rocks, in soil. There are biofilms.


Shelley Schlender:  There has been talk among health care professionals and scientists for a long time that sometimes biofilms can form inside of us.

Aaron White You know, in our lungs, in our mouths, even in our digestive tract. Bacteria do need biofilms to help them survive too. You know, when you get a medical device or a catheter put in? Certain bacteria, It’s very accepted and known that they form biofilms on medical devices in your body, artificial joints. That’s a huge problem. Bacteria forming biofilms on the surfaces.

Shelley Schlender Ewww!! it sounds like these things end up with biofilm slime.

AARON WHITE:  “(Biofilms on Medical Implants and Artificial Joints) They’re very hard to treat with antibiotics. Much harder than the individual cells are.  They become a major problem. Doctors have known for many years, 50 years, that the ability of bacteria to stick together makes them more resistant to treatment. They’re associated with hospital acquired infections, those kind of things.”

Aaron White Yes, it’s very accurate. They’re very hard to treat with antibiotics. Much harder than the individual cells are.  They become a major problem. Doctors have known for many years, 50 years, that the ability of bacteria to stick together makes them more resistant to treatment. They’re associated with hospital acquired infections, those kind of things.

Shelley Schlender OK, so we know that biofilms can be inside of people. And when they’re inside of people, does it make it harder for us to detect that the microbe is there or does it just make it harder for us to wipe it out?

Aaron White Harder to wipe it out. You can detect them fairly easily in some case because they’re accumulating greater numbers than they would just as individual cells. But they’re hard to treat.


Shelley Schlender: Is it like they put a layer of Saran Wrap on themselves or a skin?

Aaron White: Tougher.  Concrete.

Shelley Schlender: Concrete? So these biofilms end up with kind of a concrete layer on themselves?

Aaron White:  Yeah. That’s what’s unique about Curli. They’re incredibly tough, resistant proteins. Hard for your body to break down.

Shelley Schlender: There’s another complication with these. Our bodies make something like Curli.



Curli Protein artists rendition cc Wikimedia
Curli Protein artists rendition cc Wikimedia

Aaron White This is a complex area to explain.  What is unique and what we come to appreciate about Curli is that they’re a protein called an amyloid.

Shelley Schlender Oh, I know that term amyloid.

Aaron White Right.  It’s is a very characteristic three dimensional structure.

Shelley Schlender That word amyloid comes up with Alzheimer’s disease especially.

AARON WHITE:  “That was sort of the scary part of our research, really was realizing …. that Curli shares the same three dimensional structure as the amyloid plaques that form in Alzheimer’s disease. . . . Scientists, doctors have wondered how … human (amyloid) proteins start to mis-fold and how that process is speeded up. And that’s where the connection to our works comes in. ”

Aaron White Yeah, and that was sort of the scary part of our research, really was realizing, through reading the literature and other papers that were published fairly recently, that Curli shares the same three dimensional structure as the amyloid plaques that form in Alzheimer’s disease.

Human amyloid beta peptide on Wikimedia
Human amyloid beta peptide on Wikimedia

Shelley Schlender Those amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. There’s been a longtime debate about whether those cause Alzheimer’s or they’re a sign that there’s been brain degradation. Whichever one it is, when they’re present in high numbers, it’s more likely that there’s been brain damage.

Aaron White I don’t claim to be an expert about Alzheimer’s disease. I’m learning about it. So it’s my understanding that these plaques, when they’re in the brain, they sort of cause dysfunction in the brain.

Shelley Schlender There’s the debate about whether or not the amyloid actually generates dysfunction or whether they’re a bandaid that the body puts in as a structure to keep damage from cascading. So there’s lots of questions about it. But there’s no doubt that the amyloid itself is a sign that there’s been stress inside the brain.

Aaron White Right.

Shelley Schlender Our bodies make amyloid. So not just bacteria. Our bodies make this structure that is very similar to the one in the curli proteins in microbes.

Aaron White: The difference is that the human proteins that become amyloids have a normal function, that’s not an amyloid. It’s just that they mis-fold and make these amyloids.

Elderly Man - Wiki
Elderly Man – Wiki

Shelley Schlender I’m going to stop again then, because you just said something else, that the proteins that we call amyloids that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. We know that they’re a mis-folded protein. There’s something about them is folding that may make it cascade, meaning more and more get made.

Aaron White 7The scary part is how similar the three dimensional structure of curli is compared to these amyloids that are caused by mis-folded human proteins. Scientists, doctors have wondered how these human proteins start to mis-fold and how that process is speeded up. And that’s where the connection to our works comes in.

Shelley Schlender 8:16] OK, so strangely folded curli proteins on a microbe are a good thing for the microbe. It’s a good thing because it helps them stick together and make a skin and protect themselves from all kinds of things. However, the properly folded protein in the microbe looks very much like a protein looks inside of a human when it’s mis-folded and starting to do some things that are associated with a lot of damage.

Aaron White: That’s exactly it. What was so surprising about our paper, why it was such a big discovery is that these biofilms were thought to be outside the body only. So to actually discover some of these things inside the body means there is a greater chance for interactions to occur between these curli proteins and these human proteins which mis-fold.

Shelley Schlender n the case of your study, you weren’t studying what’s happening inside of a human body. You were studying what’s happening inside of the body of a mouse. But it was with these curli proteins that came from salmonella. Is salmonella unique in making a curli protein that is very similar to the mis-folded amyloid in human bodies, or are there other bacteria and microbes that can make this furry outer stuff that ends up looking very much like an amyloid, that’s mis-folded in a human?


AARON WHITE:  “That’s again, a bit of a scary point. . .”

SHELLEY:  “You keep saying scary and I’m getting scared. I didn’t think I’d be scared talking with you!”

AARON WHITE:  “Escherichia Coli, So E. coli, the most commonly studied bacterium in history, also makes curli.  In their intestines, most people have E. coli.”

Aaron White I guess what what I mean is, maybe scary is the wrong term. But I mean, what makes this more of a generalized, wide scale thing is that  Escherichia Coli, So E. coli, the most commonly studied bacterium in history, also makes curli.  In their intestines, most people have E. coli. I’m not saying that they do made curli, but they have the ability to do it. Plus, there’s other members in normal bacteria that can make curli as well.

Shelley Schlender:  All right. So there’s a fair number of microbes that can make this furry curli outer coating that can look very similar to the mis-folded amyloids that doctors find in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s when they do autopsies. You’ve used this the word scary. Let’s stick with that, Aaron, White, there in Saskatchewan. .

Aaron White: (LAUGHS).

Shelley Schlender: Let’s stick with that word, because are you implying that you started wondering what if a load of these microbes with these curli proteins, if they get into the body too much? What if they do something to how our immune system works, or how our own protein folding works, so that our good proteins say, Hey!  Let’s take an idea from these mis-folded proteins and let’s do that, too!

Aaron White:  Yeah, that’s exactly what there’s a potential for. We end up eating in our diet. A lot of these bacterial amyloids.  If your intestine in your gut is functioning normally, those amyloids never get exposed to anything in our body other than the digestive tract. And the same thing goes for the auto immune responses that we noted in response to Curli. That seems to only happen once the lining of the intestine is breached.

Shelley Schlender:  Well, then you’re telling us, even though there’s some scary implications to this, this has been happening for millions of years in mammals. And usually it works out OK because our digestive tract keeps the curli proteins from filtering into our blood.

Aaron White: Well, into the tissue surrounding the intestine and then, I guess, ultimately to blood. But as scientists, we tend to think of it as more into  what we call the systemic tissues, so the tissues that are outside the intestine.

Salmonella & LEAKY GUT (also known as intestinal permeability)
Salmonella & LEAKY GUT (also known as intestinal permeability)

Shelley Schlender That’s good news, but also not good news because there is a condition that’s been talked about for decades now called Leaky Gut.  (SS COMMENT.  Go to Leaky Gut Medical Sceptics for an overview about why medical groups have said a “leaky gut” is quack science.  Go to Loren Cordain founder of the Paleo Diet, for a viewpoint about Leaky Gut being a real issue for many people.)  A more specific term for leaky gut is intestinal permeability , where proteins from our food don’t get digested into small enough teeny tiny pieces and instead find some cracks to get through that are bigger, and so larger fragments of proteins can get into our other tissues, outside of our digestive tract. You’re nodding as we’re talking.


Reactive Arthritis Symptom - Red Eyes
Reactive Arthritis Symptom – Red Eyes

Aaron White:  You’re absolutely right. So that’s a problem. It just gives a greater chance that there’s interactions between, quote unquote, bad proteins and human proteins. That’s what was surprising to us in this paper that we published. First of all, that we could detect salmonella biofilms in the gut, but that we know salmonella during its normal infection, like food-born illness, causes mass inflammation in your gut. And that creates sort of a leaky gut syndrome, for a time period, until salmonella is cleared. But during that time, we know that these biofilms are then there, and that the curli proteins are there, and the gut becomes more permeable. And suddenly you have a situation where these curli proteins could easily be leaking out into the tissue surrounding the intestine.

Reactive Arthritis symptoms - feet & hands (dermatology advisor)
Reactive Arthritis symptoms – feet & hands (dermatology advisor)

Dr. Tukel has studied for years now, what happens when you inject Curli into a body and it causes autoimmunity? And so we teamed up because my specialty really is on the biofilms and detection of Curli. She had a lot of evidence that salmonella made biofilms in the body, but she’d never been able to detect it directly. And that’s where I came in and helped to detect it. And so now all the things that she had measured in previous years, we learned could happen in the course of kind of a natural salmonella infection.  The biofilms were there, plus curli proteins cause these autoimmune reactions. In this case, arthritis, which is again, a surprise.



Shelley Schlender:  Let’s hold onto the fact that you have said that the good news is that a healthy gut that is not leaky is likely to keep these microbes and their curli proteins from going into the bloodstream.

Aaron White:  Yeah. And it makes sense from a historical perspective that if our bodies reacted to every amyloid protein we saw, it would be hard to survive. You’re right. It is comforting. And that was, for me, a quite an interesting part of this paper. If the gut is intact and functioning normally, they even restrict the access of these type of proteins to the outside.

Shelley Schlender:  I’m going to give my gut a little pat right now. It’s amazing some of the things her digestion does for us and the reasons to help it be healthy. There has been some thought among some health researchers and maybe some scientists too, or both, that some of the modern practices of how we live do more to mean that there’s cracks in the gut, meaning that more things leak out. There’s foods that people can eat that will mean that the gut is not in as good a repair. There are medications people can take that can mean that the gut tends to have more leaks to it. There’s the stress of pollution. There’s the stress of just stress or not getting exercise. All of these things can affect how healthy the gut is. And there is a rise of autoimmune conditions. And it looks like possibly conditions like Alzheimer’s, that may have some relationship to how healthy the gut is. Are you shaking your head going? Yeah, I’m listening to you. Or are you shaking your head going? I agree.



AARON WHITE:  “You probably couldn’t pick a worse protein from salmonella to be inside your body.”

Aaron White:  So to put it put this in perspective. And I’ve thought about this for maybe the last six months, to a year, as our paper’s in different stages of getting reviewed and then published, you probably couldn’t pick a worse protein from salmonella to be inside your body. Imagine why salmonella makes them in the first place? It’s to stick together and prevent themselves from getting wiped out. So now you’ve got that protein potentially leaking into the tissues surrounding your intestine. And they’re really, really tough. They’re really hard for the body to clear.  In terms of arthritis, maybe these curli proteins can lodge into joints and things like that. And because they’re so resistant and tough, the body doesn’t clear them fast.

Shelley Schlender All right. So they’re hard to scrub away.  I keep wanting to have a Brillo pad somewhere inside my body.

Aaron White:  That’s very accurate way to to think about it. I 100 hundred percent agree with that. That’s the way I think about it, too. If you could scrub them away!  Bacteria making a biofilm to stick together and make themselves hard to eliminate. So Curli is part of that.

Shelley Schlender Is there a possibility that our bodies, when they’re healthy, do have the ability to do good housekeeping and scrub away some of these biofilms on their own?

Aaron White:  Yes, very much. And we probably encounter biofilms every day. Why it’s significant with salmonella is that salmonella has mechanisms to disrupt normal gut function, so they can make greater numbers of themselves. So they sort of disrupt the gut and then take advantage of it at the same time. Even if your immune system is perfectly healthy, salmonella has ways to disrupt that.

Shelley Schlender: Other bacteria do as well.

Aaron White:  Yes.

Shelley Schlender: And when they do that, that means that the gut can be leakier. More stuff can get out. We can’t really hate these microbes, because they’re just trying to get after our hydrogen.  They’re just hungry.

Aaron White: Yeah. Exactly. It’s their life cycle. They invade us. And then salmonella case, food borne illness, pass back out into the environment to infect other animals, other people.

Shelley Schlender: They’re trying to survive.

Aaron White: Yep.

Shelley Schlender: When our bodies are in good enough balance, a little of them survive, but not too many. But we want our bodies to survive.

Aaron White: Yes.

Shelley Schlender; We want to do what we can to minimize the damage they do inside of us. The problem isn’t just that it’s a curli protein.  It’s that there’s often a bacteria coming out with it that’s colonizing some place. And then the Curli protein skin makes it hard to scrub away.  Or concrete, as you say, the concrete of the curli protein makes a biofilm that’s hard to scrub away.   But the body can scrub it away, if it doesn’t have too many other jobs it’s doing it once.  You think?



Curli Biofilms Hard to Clear Even after Salmonella Die
Curli Biofilms Hard to Clear Even after Salmonella Die

AARON WHITE:  “(Curli proteins) can go into the tissue surrounding your intestine and perhaps lodge away for months. Right?  To joints. Your immune system does recognize curli and react to it. That’s the problem, because they’re such resistant proteins that could persist in your body and then you get an immune response to them.”

Aaron White: Yep, I think that’s accurate. I think the curli proteins, once they’re made, the bacteria, doesn’t necessarily have to be there anymore for them to cause problems, because they’re just so resistant.  So they can go into the tissue surrounding your intestine and perhaps lodge away for months. Right?  To joints. Your immune system does recognize curli and react to it. That’s the problem, because they’re such resistant proteins that could persist in your body and then you get an immune response to them.

Shelley Schlender: That’s another layer of all of this, because now we’re talking about something called autoimmunity. (SS COMMENT:  Actually, he’s not talking about autoimmunity yet.  He’s talking about hyperactive immunity, where the effort to clear out the curli proteins causes a lot of collateral damage in surrounding tissue.  ie, “friendly fire.”).  Even after the bacterial infection is killed, are you saying that our bodies can start to say, oh, my gosh, if we see a Curli protein, we need to fight it!  We need to get rid of it! Even if there isn’t a bacteria underneath it.

Aaron White: They work through something called the innate immune system.

Shelley Schlender:  That innate means that it’s part of the immune system that doesn’t need any training. It just goes, uh-oh, that’s a bad guy. Let’s get it out.

Aaron White:  Exactly. As part of our innate immune system, they recognize certain things that they know are foreign or from the pathogen and they react to them. So this is, again, research done by a Cagla Tukel showing that these curli proteins actually bind to bacterial DNA. And it’s the two of them in complex together that really alarms the innate immune system and causes autoimmunity.

Shelley Schlender: Isn’t it amazing that our bodies can tell that a little tiny thing, teeny, tiny, is not supposed to be in our body? And try to get it out of there. That part’s good. Except for two problems. Immune cell warriors have to push their way in to try to get rid of the bad guy. And when they do that, they can damage the healthy human cells around it, as an example.


Creaky Joints
Creaky Joints

Aaron White: Yeah. And that’s one of the major things we found in this paper is this inflammatory arthritis.  The problem on the joints is the immune response to the bacterial protein that’s there causing inflammation in the joints and then pain.  Friendly fire, like you said.

Shelley Schlender:  Yeah. And so somebody who’s had a salmonella infection or a bad bout of diarrhea as an example. And then two weeks later, goes, gosh, my joints hurt.

AARON WHITE:  “… a certain number of people that have salmonella infections or other food borne illness do end up with this long term condition of inflammatory arthritis. And scientists and again, doctors have maybe assumed that that was related to the bacteria. But again, in many cases, they can’t detect the bacteria in the body anymore. So then it becomes sort of a mystery. And that’s where maybe Curli can fill in some of the gaps”

SHELLEY:  “So it could be that even if the bacteria is gone and the doctor looks at someone and says, ‘I’m sorry, but there’s no evidence that you have an infection. So maybe that pain is all in your head.’  Actually, maybe the pain has something to do with the body still fighting the curli proteins.”

AARON WHITE:  “Yes. That potentially leaked out from the intestine into the surrounding tissues, eventually perhaps reaching a point near a joint. And, yes, the immune system responding to that.”

Reactive Arthritis Tongue (Dermatology Advisor)
Reactive Arthritis Tongue (Dermatology Advisor)

Aaron White:  Yeah. There’s a certain number of people that have salmonella infections or other food borne illness do end up with this long term condition of inflammatory arthritis. And scientists and again, doctors have maybe assumed that that was related to the bacteria. But again, in many cases, they can’t detect the bacteria in the body anymore. So then it becomes sort of a mystery. And that’s where maybe Curli can fill in some of the gaps there because it’s such a resistant protein. It’s possible it could be in your body. It persists for months. Perhaps it could explain inflammatory arthritis.

Shelley Schlender: All right. So it could be that even if the bacteria is gone and the doctor looks at someone and says, “I’m sorry, but there’s no evidence that you have an infection. So maybe that pain is all in your head.” Actually, maybe the pain has something to do with the body still fighting the curli proteins.

Aaron White:  Yes. That potentially leaked out from the intestine into the surrounding tissues, eventually perhaps reaching a point near a joint. And, yes, the immune system responding to that. That’s exactly right.


AARON WHITE:  “Anybody’s immune system is going to clear some of the curli. It’s just whether it clears at all or not.”

SHELLEY:  “… getting enough sleep, eating food that’s good for your body and good for your digestion, doing things to reduce stress. You might actually be helping your immune system in some huge ways.”

AARON WHITE:  “Yeah, absolutely. Keeping it in balance.”

Shelley Schlender:  All right. And as we’re telling this story, that is somewhat scary. It’s also possible that if a person hypothetically could pull out enough stress from the body and let the body go through a full healing process, that the body could get rid of the curli proteins and heal, and the pain potentially might go away.

Aaron White: Yeah, it’s it’s always a battle. Anybody’s immune system is going to clear some of the curli. It’s just whether it clears at all or not. And in certain individuals, maybe it doesn’t all clear. And then they have problems. But then there’s other people where their immune system does clear it all.  I tend to not think of it as they cleared or they don’t. The immune system is always battling and fighting.

Shelley Schlender: The immune system is always battling and fighting. And it’s also always, in a healthy immune system, telling the troops, “It’s okay now. You can go home.” And that’s an important part of the immune system, too. Or, it says to the immune system troops, “It’s okay now. Right now, we want you to put on your medical badge and we want you to go in and start helping repair the tissues.”

Aaron White: Yeah. The ability to activate, but then also just shut itself down and prevent this friendly fire, where they damage the tissues surrounding what they’re actually trying to fight. You’ve got to keep that in check.

Shelley Schlender: Just as a reminder, getting enough sleep, eating food that’s good for your body and good for your digestion, doing things to reduce stress. You might actually be helping your immune system in some huge ways.

Aaron White: Yeah, absolutely. Keeping it in balance.



AARON WHITE:  “The immune system recognizes Curli. But then because of similarities to our own DNA,  it starts to cause auto immunity where it starts to actually fight our own DNA. That’s the problem. That’s the auto immunity.”

SHELLEY SCHLENDER:  “Oh, dear.  There’s been a term among scientists and some other folks for decades called … molecular mimicry.”

AARON WHITE:  “Sure. … It is a case of almost mistaken identity where the Curli complex, the DNA shows similar to other things in our body that then our immune system would target. ”

Shelley Schlender: Let’s go back to these curli proteins that are the furry curly outer shell of a bacteria like a salmonella. There’s another thing that you keep saying, because so far we’ve actually been talking about normal immune response causing friendly fire and all of that. You’ve been using a different word. Aaron White, there at Saskatchewan University. As an expert in immunology, you’ve been using the word auto immunity. That means the body fighting itself on purpose.

Aaron White:  The immune system recognizes Curli. But then because of similarities to our own DNA,  it starts to cause auto immunity where it starts to actually fight our own DNA. That’s the problem. That’s the auto immunity.

Shelley Schlender: Oh, dear. There’s been a term among scientists and some other folks for decades called 3-way molecular mimicry.   (SS COMMENT.  April 2000 Science Paper from Loren Cordain about how gut inflammation may be part of inflammatory arthritis.)

Aaron White: Sure.  … It is a case of almost mistaken identity where the Curli complex, the DNA shows similar to other things in our body that then our immune system would target.

Shelley Schlender: Something like an undigested protein ends up in the circulation.  The body sees it as similar enough to one of the body’s own proteins. Then The specialized warriors’ that it sends out to really take something out like the T cell warriors, they will go, gosh, that’s the bad guy. And this other one over here looks almost like the bad guy. Let’s just say that’s another bad guy.

Aaron White: Yeah. They can’t tell them apart. I’m not an expert in immunology, Dr. Tukel knows more about that. But that’s one of the next things to look at is the mechanisms behind why Curli actually causes auto immunity and what the process is and the involvement of T cells and things like that. But it is a case of almost mistaken identity where the Curli complex, the DNA shows similar to other things in our body that then our immune system would target.

Shelley Schlender 25:16] And that’s auto immunity. You know, there is some evidence that all of our cells work very hard to say what team they’re on. They have little markers that they send up, little flags that say, I’m part of us, I’m part of our human body. And it’s a specialized tag that should be different from what’s on something like a Curli protein.

Aaron White: Yep.


Ellery Queen with Magnifying Glass
Ellery Queen with Magnifying Glass

Shelley Schlender: If the immune system’s healthy, it has sharp glasses on. It can really tell the difference between those things, as opposed to having poor vision. Maybe the immune system gets too exhausted. It’s still fighting very hard, but it doesn’t have the ability to discriminate and communicate with other cells enough to tell whether that’s really a good guy or a bad guy. So a tired out immune system that’s been fighting something really hard is more likely to make these kinds of mistakes.

Aaron White:  Yeah, it’s, as most things with infection and immune response, there’s many, many factors to it. But certainly that would be one aspect of it, how well they recognize our own molecules as self versus foreign, but also the pathogens that come in. They can turn it upside down, create dis-balance right. And then suddenly know your immune system stats targeting our own tissues.

Shelley Schlender: In auto immunity instead of sending in the medics to say, it’s OK, let’s start repairing things now, let’s cool things off. These exhausted immune system says we’ve got to throw everything we can at this and fight and fight and fight.

Aaron White:  Picking up from there. So now imagine a foreign protein that’s clearly foreign that is really, really hard to clear. So it stays there for a long time. That’s the problem. It’s kind of like this constant stimulus to the immune system, these really resistant proteins that have similarities  to amyloids, which is another aspect, but also persist for a very long time, can trigger auto immune reactions. And that would be fine, maybe, if that was approaching, that could be cleared right away. But if it’s a protein that can persist in your body for a long, long time, it becomes chronic.

Shelley Schlender: And it makes it easier for the body to start to make mistakes about, It looks so much like these other proteins in me, maybe they’re enemies, too.


Aaron White: Exactly. There’s more chance for errors to occur because it’s this constant stimulation of your immune system. It’s doing its normal natural thing. It’s just maybe that proteins aren’t supposed to be there.

Shelley Schlender:  OK. So the paper that you’ve written with that complex title, In Vivo Synthesis of bacterial amyloid curli contributes to joint inflammation during salmonella infection. All of this stems from those observations. And some of this is new, especially the idea that these biofilms of this concretey kind of curli protein could actually be inside the body.

AARON WHITE:  “The discovery (of curli biofilms) inside a body (due to gut inflammation during a salmonella infection) is totally revolutionary for me and my research because it opens up this whole area of interactions with the immune system. And so that was the big surprise.”

Aaron White:  Yeah. That’s. For me, as for somebody who’s been studying the biofilms and the environmental aspects, like how they’re involved in helping salmonella to survive outside of a body, the discovery inside a body is totally revolutionary for me and my research because it opens up this whole area of interactions with the immune system. And so that was the big surprise. I for years thought that these biofilms, you know, we know they’re involved in resistance and persistence. Now, imagining that this might be a normal natural part of a food borne illness, that they form these biofilms before they pass out of the body.

Shelley Schlender:  And it’s one of many examples of ways that something that was inside of our digestive tract can end up in our bodies when it’s really not good for it to be inside our bodies, unless we have a healthy digestive tract to keep them out.

Aaron White:  Exactly. And to be clear, like we need to do more research on this, but I think salmonella is making these curli and these biofilms for its own end to help it survive, As soon as it passes out of the body.  (Ie, getting ready for bright sunshine, dry air, etc on the ground, on water, etc)  It’s just unfortunate that these curli proteins are so resistant, and that they are like these amyloid shape.  Because they can persist and then perhaps leak out into the tissues. It’s almost like collateral damage.  Salmonella doesn’t need to do that. It’s just unfortunate that these proteins just are so difficult to clear and cause these autoimmune responses and potentially even have these interactions with amyloid in our bodies.

Shelley Schlender:  It’s not that these bacteria that are looking for food inside of us are saying, “When we leave the body, let’s be sure that we squirt a lot of curli proteins into the tissue to wreak havoc inside this body just because why not?”  That’s not how they’re thinking.

Aaron White: Exactly. It’s a consequence probably of just the infection. It’s just unfortunate. And that’s what came to me and to Dr. Tukel as we were writing this paper. Like I said, you couldn’t pick a worse protein from salmonella to be hanging around in your body.

Shelley Schlender:  Well, this is a very Canadian attitude. You guys are really live and let live.

Aaron White:  Sure. I just think the ability of Salmonella to make the curli doesn’t really appear to help them in the infection. It doesn’t help them, infect better or anything like that. It seems to me, and to other researchers, that the function of the curlis is to help salmonella survive, probably when they’re outside the body (in the air or on the ground). It’s just that our immune system is exposed to these proteins sometimes, and it does maybe bad things to our immune system.


SCRUBBING THE DECKS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter/Released)
SCRUBBING THE DECKS. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Bookwalter/Released)

Shelley Schlender Well, thank you. It’s it’s a fascinating area of research. And there’s two ways that my mind wants to go on this.  One is I wish I could be little tiny, long enough to go and watch all this happening inside the body. It’s so fascinating that these little tiny things we can’t even see, have these complex lives that they’re living. The other part, though, is on the side. That’s my life and the lives of people I care about. How will medical science and healers use this kind of information to see if they can help people be healthier? Could it be that a naturopathic physician would say, clean up your diet, avoid foods that cause intestinal permeability, and somebody who’s in pharmaceuticals would say, let’s find a drug! There will be a lot of different ways, for better or worse, to try to change the fact that these biofilms probably do form inside our bodies.

SHELLEY: “Could it be that a naturopathic physician would say, clean up your diet, avoid foods that cause intestinal permeability, and somebody who’s in pharmaceuticals would say, let’s find a drug! There will be a lot of different ways, for better or worse, to try to change the fact that these biofilms probably do form inside our bodies?”

AARON WHITE:  “I used the term scary. It’s also helpful to learn these things. Because then as scientists and doctors and pharmaceutical companies, at least we will know more the story of why it’s happening.  And then the second you know that, then you can start to work on strategies to stop it from happening.”

Aaron White:Yeah. And, you know, I used the term scary. It’s also helpful to learn these things. Because then as scientists and doctors and pharmaceutical companies, at least we will know more the story of why it’s happening.  And then the second you know that, then you can start to work on strategies to stop it from happening. If you know the molecules that are involved, the proteins involved, like these curli, perhaps then we can think of ways to protect ourselves from them in future. And certainly some of my research will be doing that.

Shelley Schlender: How to protect ourselves from the Curli inside our body. These Velcro like proteins that are on the outside of the shell of a bacteria, and find ways that our immune system can be constructive in how it responds as opposed to overreacting and hurting us more.

Aaron White: Exactly. You know, these types of discoveries that maybe open up a new avenue of interactions that we didn’t even know occurred before. You know, you have a target now. Our discovery is uncovering more to this story, helping us determine better ways to treat autoimmunity or inflammatory arthritis, things like that.

Shelley Schlender: Maybe Alzheimer’s, maybe Parkinson’s, maybe lupus, a lot of different things, possibly have some connection to what you’ve figured out.

AARON WHITE:  “Maybe the scary part is just how similar the structure of these curlis is to the human amyloids that are known to be part of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and ALS and things like that. They’re very, very similar. Knowing that these bacterial proteins, these curli, can persist for a long, long time. We haven’t made that connection yet. But it certainly seems logical from a science perspective that it would make sense that these can potentially interact.”

Aaron White: You know, there’s still lots to be tested and researched. And maybe the scary part is just how similar the structure of these curli is to the human amyloids that are known to be part of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and ALS and things like that. They’re very, very similar. Knowing that these bacterial proteins, these curli, can persist for a long, long time. We haven’t made that connection yet. But it certainly seems logical from a science perspective that it would make sense that these can potentially interact.

Shelley Schlender:  Well, it’s probably too early for there to be a consensus about how to deal with this. But I’ll bet you in your Twitter feeds that you’re getting right now, you’re going to be seeing a lot of ideas.

Aaron White: Yeah, for sure. And because I’m not an expert in these human amyloid diseases, I haven’t really delved into it deeply yet. We’ll be collaborating with other scientists who are experts in these other diseases to try and see if there actually is a link and then perhaps how to slow down the process, if it is happening, lots to think about there.

Shelley Schlender: Well, that would be another two days worth of conversation.

Aaron White: Thank you. My pleasure speaking to you. Really good questions. Yeah, it was good.

Shelley Schlender:  Thank you for the good explanations and thank you for the research.

Salmonella Biofilms — Inside of Us

Curli Protein artists rendition cc Wikimedia
Curli Protein artists rendition cc Wikimedia

Salmonella Biofilms — Inside of Us.  (starts 4:06) Foodborne Salmonella infections MIGHT pave the way for arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and even Alzheimer’s.  We talk with Aaron White, co-author of a new study documenting how a salmonella infection can “leak” out of the intestines and form velcro-like biofilms in body tissues.  These biofilms are made of curly-shaped, curli (scientific name) proteins on the surface of a Salmonella bacteria.  These curli proteins help the cells stick together.  They’re hard for the body to scrub away, and they might contribute to a number of health problems.  (GO HERE for Extended Version TRANSCRIPT with links to related research)

Headlines – WHY Covid causes loss of smell; Sensors from Louisville Vaisala on new Mars Explorer, Perseverance.


Host/Producer:  Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran



Carl Safina – Becoming Wild (Animal Culture)

Carl Safina Becoming Wild Sperm WhalesCarl Safina – Becoming Wild:  How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace We talk with bestselling author Carl Safina about his new book, Becoming Wild, which features sperm whales, scarlet macaws and chimpanzees  Safina also he reflects on what the Covid-19 pandemic means for the entire kingdom of Life on Earth.  (Entire Show)

Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer:Maeve Conran

Listen to the show:


Ron Rosedale – Leptin, IL-6 and Cytokine Storms (Extended Version)

Listen here to this extended version of the abridged interview with Ron Rosedale that broadcast on HowonEarthradio April 14, 2020.  Transcript is below.

Host/Producer/Engineer: Shelley Schlender


Ron Rosedale, MD, Talks about COVID 19, the Immune System and Cytokine Storms

DATE: April 14th 2020

Introduction — The Centers for Disease Control reports that people are at greater risk for Covid-19 hospitalization and often deadly cytokine stoems, if they have pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease.  Everyone says that healthy eating might reduce these risks – but does healthy mean the New York Times distractibaking comfort foods of brownies and Nutella shortcake?  Does it mean taking dozens of supplements and cutting out fatty junk foods, as Cristina Cuomo recommends for her husband, CNN’s Chris Cuomo?  Up next, we talk with Medical Doctor Ron Rosedale about why he believes that eating and sleeping in a way that reduces high levels of the hormone leptin might reduce the chance of severe symptoms of Covid-19, such as cytokine storms.

This is an interview to help you ask questions about the science behind your health choices.  This is NOT an interview to take the place of medical advice.  Talk with a doctor you trust, if you have questions about your health, and especially if you’re taking medications, and monitor for changes to your need for medications whenever you’re doing a lifestyle change, such as changing your diet.  



Can you hear me?


I’m using the high tech method of recording this phone call on my handheld zoom recorder as you speak on What’s App from India.


Yes, I am in India.  I’m actually here helping a family known as the Ambani family. Very, very, very prominent. Probably the most prominent, not even probably — they are the most prominent family in India, with their health. And they have they’re mostly located in Mumbai, but ended up getting locked down in a town called Chandigarh.  So that’s where I am in a town north of Mumbai called Chandigarh


We’ve certainly been thinking about India from here in the United States, because there’s so much concern that India’s population density, meaning it’s in great danger from what will happen with Coronavirus.  On the other hand, there’s also a thought that perhaps India and Pakistan, because they do tuberculosis vaccines, might have an unusual amount of protection.


Not just tuberculosis, but Malaria. So, you know, malaria is fairly rampant so many people have taken quinalones, chloroquine, things like that, which is being touted as there is a medication to help treat the Coronavirus. So that’s one way of looking at it. 



However, the most important thing to fight any infection, especially viruses, is going to be a strong immune system. And that’s really the only way epidemics subside. It’s not that the bug goes away, but that people become immune to it. And that’s especially true for viruses. 


And the problem here in India is that many people have deficiencies that impair their immune system.  So, for instance, whereas in the US, people eat too much protein, which also impairs the immune system, actually, because excess protein is made into sugar. And it raises insulin and it causes what’s called glycation when sugar molecules combine with other proteins and other molecules that impair their function. And antibodies for the immune system are proteins. Protein is very necessary for the immune system. So in the US they eat too much protein, but in India, they eat too little in general, and they don’t have enough protein to actually mount a strong immune system to make antibodies. And so one of the problems with India is a deficiency of protein in general.


And then there’s also some micronutrients that are deficient in general in India, such as B12, which found more in animal products. Many people here are vegetarians.  Vitamin D, which people are surprised to hear, even in India. But due to the dark skin, and people who are very modest, so they cover up when they’re out in public, so they’re not exposed to the sun very often, and often it’s really kind of too hot to be outside. And so there’s a gross deficiency in Vitamin D here. And D is very important also for the immune system. And despite having thousands of miles of shoreline, ocean surrounding India. And also because of vegetarianism, they don’t eat very much fish. And so they’re deficient in omega 3 fatty acids, also, which is required to make any new cell, and cholesterol, required to make new cells. So cholesterol is actually a big friend.  They’ve shown that a deficiency of cholesterol also impairs the immune system, which also includes taking cholesterol lowering drugs, oddly enough. Not really, oddly enough. But I guess paradoxically, if you want to call it that. So there’s quite a few immune deficiencies in India.



And then also, from a societal level, people in India really love to congregate. I mean, they’re very, very sociable people. And so they really crowd together.  They love being with one another. It’s really nice, but not so much when there’s an epidemic going on. I’m not in general in favor of lockdowns, and we can go into why a little while. But in India, it’s a bit of a different story, because if they didn’t have a lockdown, then the first thing people would do is get together in large groups. And that’s kind of good and bad.  A lockdown keeps people indoors, which of course, impairs the vitamin D even more. No sunlight.   



But from an ideal circumstance, what you want, as we were mentioning, to fight any virus is to become immune to it. So rather than hide from it, ultimately we have to be exposed. You don’t become immune to something unless you are exposed. That’s the whole idea of vaccines, for instance, is that it exposes you to the virus or bacteria that then allows your immune system to build up antibodies to it so that you can fight it. Ultimately, that is what has to occur.

The virus itself doesn’t go anywhere.  It’s going to continue to be transmitted. Every breath people take at this very moment, they’re breathing in some coronavirus. It’s not the Covid-19 that people are talking about. But the cold virus, influenza viruses. They’re everywhere. And the reason everybody doesn’t get sick and die from breathing these viruses is because they’re built up immunity to it. And what is troublesome about the Covid 19 virus that is affecting people around the world right now is that it’s novel. And so there is no path to immunity to it.


Our bodies don’t yet know how to fight this particular virus. And we’re right now, with all of the lockdowns, we’re buying some time so that we can see if there’s some way that we can medically intervene either through a vaccine or have better testing so that we at least know who has had this virus and who is at most risk for it. And what the general pattern is for how somebody gets sick. There’s so many unknowns that we’re buying at least a little time with the lockdown is my understanding. Does that fit with what you’re thinking, too?


Partially. I think that the main benefit of the lockdown is, not that we really don’t know who is exposed or getting tested. I think all of that is really not worthwhile. Everybody’s going to eventually test positive to it. Or the vast majority of people will ultimately test positive to it. And the vast majority of people who test positive will have no symptoms because they have a strong immune system. There are certain predispositions, however, that we do know, and that has to do with diabetes, for instance. We know that the vast majority of people who do have a hard time with this virus have respiratory difficulties, have preexisting conditions. One of the prime ones being diabetes, hypertension, previous respiratory difficulty, cardiovascular disease. And I’ll tell you why in a moment, or at least I’ll tell you why. I think that strokes in a little bit.

But the major reason that a lockdown is beneficial is really not to help people as much, but because this virus is so novel, and many people will get sick because nobody has had the opportunity to build immunity to it, that it overwhelms the medical system. And so, so many people are getting it all at the same time, there will be a fraction of those people who will get quite ill that require hospitalization. And the hospitals and doctors can’t handle the onslaught of such a novel virus. And so, so many people reporting to the hospital being sick, many people need ventilators now, if everybody were to get the infection at the same time, that proportion of people who would get seriously ill wouldn’t be able to get the medical care that they need. And so that’s the benefit of a lockdown is to try and get out the frequency of infection so it doesn’t all happen at the same time. It’s really more for medical care. It’s really more for the hospitals and the doctors than actual people, is really how it turns out.

Trying to hide from this virus is probably futile. As I say, the virus isn’t going anywhere. At some point, people have to go outside and breathe. And we know now, in fact, it should have known before. Surprised me that the World Health Organization expressed surprise that when recently it was found that the virus is in aerosol particles when people breathe, it stays in the air for days. I don’t know why there was such a surprise, because that’s what happens with every virus and not even just viruses, but any tiny particle, like pollen, that’s how people get allergies because they breathe in ragweed pollen, because it’s floating in the air, because they’re tiny particles, and that happens with all tiny particles. So one can expect the Covid virus to be in the air and it’s going to stay in the air. And finally when people go outside, they’re going to breathe.  people generally do build an immunity to it. And they’re finding now that the vast majority of people who  test positive, if they were to test the general population, and not just sick people. They’ll find the vast majority of people who do test positive have no symptoms at all, that their immune system is up to the task. It fights the virus, and people don’t even know that they’ve been exposed.


Most people with Covid-19 might feel somewhere between absolutely awful to a little bit under the weather for a little while. But it won’t be as serious as what we’re hearing about so much in the news about people fighting for their lives in the ICU. And if we get an antibody test, if an antibody test becomes available, maybe people would even know if they’ve been exposed and they might be at less risk for both contaminating other people and also for getting as bad a case of COVID-19 sometime in the future. Still unknowns about whether those two possibilities are there, but they’re more likely if someone could get an antibody test.


Sure. That would be really helpful because then they don’t have to be scared anymore. They can go out dancing in the street.



Ultimately, the ideal situation is if people were to get something little micro-doses of the virus so that they do build up an immunity because that’s the only way that they’ll ever survive it.

As I say, almost everybody is going to be exposed at some point. And the real competition is really between building the immune system versus the immune system getting overwhelmed by the virus.  So if we could be exposed to small doses, that’s a good thing. And actually, as I say, in India, it’s a little bit different because people just tend to congregate together. And so a lockdown in India is probably the only way to slow down the spread of the virus, with so many people, and a medical system that just cannot handle so many people being sick at the same time.

But other than that, it’s probably better to be outdoors, because then the virus will just kind of dissipate into the atmosphere. When people do breathe, they will breathe a small dose of it and they will be able to build up an immune system. And some people will get, like you say, they’ll get a little bit sick. Many people won’t get sick at all. They won’t even know they have it.  Some people get a few symptoms. That’s probably, the majority of people get a few symptoms. And then there’s a small percentage of people that will get seriously ill, but only because they have other conditions that impair their immune system or increase inflammation to a great extent.



I will tell you where, right now, where I think that what the major preexisting condition is and what people can actually do about it. One of the major problems that ends up really killing people and then really, really presenting with the respiratory difficulty, is a mass of inflammation. You know, people have heard of inflammation, where they get swelling due to infection or other things.  And injury, inflammation is there to save your life. Yes. The personal immune system.

People are starting to hear more about the term, “cytokine storm,” and it’s being described as something that does not happen at the beginning of having a Covid 19 infection. A cytokine storm is more when they’ve had the infection for a little while. They’ve had some aches, they’ve had some other symptoms. And then a little later, it’s as though the body goes into another phase of reaction where suddenly the lungs and other body organs are basically fighting themselves. The term cytokine storm is used quite often to describe this very sudden change, where some people are short of breath. Other people, they’re not short of breath, but their oxygen levels go very far down.  And whatever symptoms they have at that point, it can mean a very life-threatening situation that has to be dealt with, very quickly.



Right. And that’s when people need ventilation, when they can’t take in enough oxygen themselves and they need to be hospitalized on ventilators and you’re exactly correct, when you talk about the term cytokine storm. And so here’s what I think ties it all together that I have not read about anywhere. But I think that if I can mention it, maybe people could start researching it. We know that diabetics are very much at risk. People with hypertension are very much at risk. Obesity, obese people are far more at risk. And then there is the cytokine storm that you mentioned.



Well, there’s a hormone called leptin, and leptin itself is a cytokine.


What is a cytokine?


A cytokine is a hormone, essentially, a hormone that acts very locally.  They’re very powerful; most of the cytokines are inflammatory. And so, you know, we hear hormones such as thyroid and insulin and estrogen and things like that. But the body has hundreds, maybe even thousands of other lesser known hormones that don’t necessarily circulate 100 percent in the bloodstream, circulate everywhere, but work more locally.  (NOTE — “Locally” means that instead of being active throughout the body, a cytokine is released within a certain region of the body, such as in your thumb or in your lungs or heart)  And cytokines are sort of like that, although leptin does circulate in general, although it is a cytokine itself. So we know that if you have high levels of leptin, it also causes inflammation. But its major problem is that it elicits the manufacture and the release of other cytokines, one being IL-6. And we know that the major cytokine storm that is occurring with Covid is mediated by IL-6.


IL-6. That is Interleukin 6. That’s an an inflammatory hormone that the body makes.


Yes, and it’s very, very inflammatory, and one of the treatments, in fact, one of the main treatments for people with this cytokine storm is to give IL-6 inhibitors, which are given to, for instance, people with bad autoimmune arthritis, for instance, rheumatoid arthritis, which have excess inflammation.  So they give IL-6 inhibitors. So the drug already exists, and is being used to treat the cytokine storm because they know that IL-6 plays a huge role in these storms, and I know the strong connection between Leptin and IL-6.  When most people have too much leptin, they’re hyper leptinemic. They’re leptin resistant. It’s the major cause of obesity. It’s one of the major causes of diabetes, one of the major causes of hypertension. So all of the predisposing factors that we know exist that put somebody at risk of an adverse outcome with Covid-19 (ie, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc), are tied together by excess leptin. And it mediates hypertension and autonomic system dysfunction. So a lot of these people have a difficult time breathing, not just because air doesn’t get in, but there’s a kind of a central way that people’s almost  … wouldn’t say “desire,” because they want to breathe, but they can’t. And not because of obstruction, but because there’s an impairment in their ability to take a breath. And that’s elicited essentially in the brain and hypothalamus. And once again, leptin largely controls the hypothalamus and autonomic dysfunction. And the sympathetic nervous system, vasoconstriction (meaning narrowing of blood vessels), hypertension (meaning high blood pressure). All these things, everything that puts a person at risk for serious disease with Covid has at least partially, if not mostly, to do with leptin. So you want to bring down leptin, and it’s relatively easy.



You can bring down leptin . . .  not totally down to where it should be, because of some of that is mediated by how fat a person is. But what’s not appreciated is that there’s a surge in leptin, a spike in leptin, depending on what a person eats.  So if a person eats a high carbohydrate meal, for instance, it causes  leptin, that day, to perhaps double, from what it would be if a person hadn’t eaten. So we know that if a person asks, for instance, or if a person follows a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, high diet, that I’ve been recommending for 25 years, that leptin levels will really fall. It can probably go to maybe half of what it was prior to having eaten a poor, high carbohydrate meal,  When you lower leptin, I think you can greatly reduce the incidence of inflammation, excess inflammation, cytokine storm, hypertension, all the factors that make surviving this virus far more of a challenge. But this is not recognized. So people go into hospitals, and they get glucose, and everything that occurs, everything they eat inside the hospital, all the IVs they take will raise leptin and make surviving this virus far more of a challenge.

So they take medications to reduce the inflammation, they need to eat also to reduce the inflammation, and to reduce leptin and reduce the IL-6 that’s causing the inflammation in the first place.



Well, Ron Rosedale, you’ve been giving a lot of information for people to check out about things like leptin, about the role between high blood pressure and high leptin levels, and how the way somebody eats can start to affect the levels of hormones such as leptin.  Evidently how someone sleeps also affects their leptin levels. Leptin levels also tend to be higher if someone’s not getting enough sleep.






If somebody has suddenly found out that they have symptoms of Covid-19? Is that too late to start sleeping more, and eating in a way that lowers leptin levels? Would it be stressful to the body to shift to these lifestyle changes?


No. Well, there is a transitional period, and that’s a great question. In other words, whenever the body, kind of shifts gears, then there is somewhat of a stress put on the body, but probably not near as much of a stress as, for instance, a high carbohydrate meal would be caused in raising leptin and raising insulin. And a meal like that raises leptin within hours. And when it raises insulin and raises leptin, we know that it almost immediately increases so-called sympathetic nervous system activity. Basically, the fight or flight stress. And so it’s not a mental stress, but it’s a physical stress.

And you mentioned sleep. One of the major reasons, and probably the major reason why a lack of sleep raises leptin is because of lack of sleep causes an increase in the sympathetic nervous system to keep a person awake. In other words, it causes secretion of adrenalin and noradrenaline from the adrenal glands to allow the person to stay awake when they ought to be sleeping. And that raises the blood sugar. And then the raising of blood sugar, raises insulin and raises leptin, which increases sympathetic nervous system activity, which also then secretes glucose. And you’re into a vicious cycle.

And we know, for instance, and they did this to college students who will pretty much do anything for some meals. They kept college students up for several days straight. And the vast majority of them actually clinically became diabetic. The diabetes was able to be reversed with sleep.  But it just shows the power of lack of sleep in causing an increase in blood sugar. That increase in blood sugar is due to an overabundance of adrenal hormones, the stress hormones — hormones of stress, such as adrenalin, cortisol, noradrenaline, things that raise blood sugar. And a lot of that is also then mediated by leptin. And it also raises leptin, again, as I mentioned, a vicious cycle also, with insulin . . . throw that in there also.


Well, Ron Rosedale with as much as you’re mentioning stress adding to a dangerous situation, we should try to think of a joke to tell right now. But I’m a little short on jokes at the moment!



Many Americans are on many different kinds of medications for high blood pressure, for high cholesterol, for diabetes, including insulin or insulin lowering medications. When somebody starts to eat and sleep differently, their need for those medications can start to change, so that they can suddenly become overmedicated very quickly. If somebody is not used to eating in a way that lowers leptin levels, would it be best if they work with a medical doctor to help them adjust their medicines?



I’m really glad you brought that up, because medicines do have to be adjusted, because this is not something that takes days or weeks, but can occur almost immediately, like within hours of changing to a low-carb, high fat, adequate protein diet. So yes, when people bring down their leptin, then they bring down their insulin because of the change in diet again, and again, bringing down insulin and bringing down leptin can occur in one day.  Leptin before insulin, actually.  It generally does certainly lower fasting blood sugar. So if they’re on diabetic medications, those diabetic medicines have to be lowered. Many diabetics measure their own blood sugar. So that’s easy when your blood sugar start falling. You take less medication. They can probably do that themselves. Great if they can do it under a doctor’s supervision.

Many doctors don’t understand basically the power of diet in reducing insulin and leptin and therefore blood sugar. But great if it can be done under a knowledgeable doctor’s direction.



The other thing that you mentioned is hypertension, and blood pressure, more often than not, probably at least 75, 80% of the time, will come down fairly rapidly when one drops insulin and leptin, not the least of which is because it reduces the sympathetic nervous system activity, which causes vasoconstriction, constriction of blood vessels and fluid retention, which causes an increase in blood pressure. And so by reducing insulin, which allows the release of retained body fluid, so like when people go on a diet, they know, well, you’re losing a lot of water weight. Yes. You’re urinating away retained fluid, but you’re also then dilating arteries.  When this happens, the blood pressure can come down very rapidly and quite significantly. That does also entail a reduction in blood pressure medication.


And so, I would encourage anybody who was on to quite a few medications for blood pressure or for diabetes or anything like that, to home monitor.  Get a blood pressure cuff, measure your blood pressure, and as your blood pressure comes down, you can start reducing your blood pressure medication because you can’t wait for a doctor’s appointment, especially at this time when there’s so many lockdowns. So people are going to have to start taking their own responsibility for their health. Many times they’ve been told not to. And so it’s not people’s fault. But everybody wants your doctor to be in charge. And that would be great if they were available, that if they actually knew about such things. But because many of the measurements can be done by people themselves, at home, with blood pressure cuffs, with glucose monitors, it’s relatively easy to measure these things and then recognize that they will not be doing themselves harm.  And in fact, doing themselves a lot of help if they can reduce the medications that they’re on, many of which have adverse side effects.



There does seem to be a strong correlation between people with underlying conditions and having a more serious case of Covid-19 when it does arrive. And yet, I have to say that Ron Rosedale, what you’re describing, even though it’s much more well-known, this topic of a ketogenic diet or a low carb, high fat, adequate protein diet, or even just cutting out a lot of the junk food that people eat, the kind that’s sweet and comfort food . . . ice cream.  What you’re saying is not quite consistent with people do in a time of crisis and worry.


Yeah, and that’s unfortunate. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it pertains to chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes and obesity and autoimmune diseases. In fact, I would say that the vast majority of what people have heard about these things is absolutely wrong. And we can see where it’s  leading to, you know, heart disease is on the rise. Cancer is on the rise. Lifespan now is going down for the first time in human history.  The deeper science that has come out about diet and nutrition over the last 30 some years that I’ve been talking about, this supports the notion that you need to keep insulin and leptin down so that a person becomes more insulin and leptin sensitive. That then allows the burning of fat as opposed to sugar. 



Nutrition itself can boil down to in a very, very simple sentence. Nutrition, health in general. And if I had to integrate literally tens of thousands of research articles that I’ve read, it can boil down into a single sentence. That is that a person’s health and longevity is going to be determined most by the proportion of fat versus sugar that they burn over the lifetime. You can essentially burn two fuels, you can burn fat or you can burn sugar or you can burn products of burning fat, such as ketones. And if you burn fat and ketones as your primary fuel, most of the time, you’re gonna be quite healthy. Your incidence of diabetes and cancer and obesity and hypertension, autoimmune diseases, all of the so-called chronic diseases of aging, and even aging itself, are going to be much reduced. Whereas if you’re burning sugar, most of the time, it will be the opposite. You’re going to be much more disease prone.

Sugar was never meant to be a primary fuel.  The reason we have glucose in the blood is not to burn it on a continual basis, but as an emergency fuel because it can be burned without oxygen. So it’s an anaerobic fuel. So if we had to run away from a lion or a tiger and we’re sprinting and we can’t breathe oxygen fast enough to be able to burn fat, then we have sugar because you can burn sugar without oxygen, whereas you need oxygen to burn fat. So it’s a kind of an emergency turbo charged fuel that is there for just that —   anaerobic emergencies. But because people constantly eat sugar–by sugar, we’re talking about also foods that turn into sugars, like all of the carbohydrates and starches that people eat, bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, all of that. 

You know, we call them different names and even we even call it complex carbohydrate and think that it’s good for you. But as soon as you chew it and swallow it and initially digest it, it all turns to glucose. It’s your cells that actually do the eating. So we think of ourselves as putting food in our mouth, chewing it, and we’re eating. But we’re not, we’re just processing the food, ultimately making little molecular pieces out of it so that we can feed ourselves. So whether it starts out as as rice, potato, cereal, and then we put it in our mouth and we chop it up into smaller pieces and swallow it and then we we basically chemically “cook it,” and we make it into even smaller little molecular pieces to feed our cells, who actually do the eating, what they’re going to see is glucose. And so that’s what we’re feeding them.  We’re feeding them glucose.

It doesn’t matter what our perception is, when we put it in our mouth. While it circulates, and it’s glucose, it also raises insulin and raises leptin, and our cells then  become bombarded with insulin and leptin, day in and day, out almost 24 hours a day. Ultimately, the signal, the really critical, life-giving signals of insulin and leptin become corrupted because they’re overused. It’s like being in a smelly room too long. Pretty soon you can’t smell it. And so there’s you know, there’s reasons for this. And so people become insulin and leptin resistant. And that produces even more insulin and leptin because the body wants to get those life-giving messages heard. And so it produces more insulin and more leptin. But the problem there is that there’s an orchestration, whereas, for instance, with insulin, we want your liver to essentially get a higher signal than your fat. But as you become insulin resistant, your liver becomes resistant first, and then it can’t hear insulin’s message. So it makes too much sugar, so diabetics wake up in the morning, haven’t even eaten, and their blood sugar goes up rather than down. And that’s because the liver has made too much blood sugar, because it can’t hear insulin, because it’s insulin resistant, and the orchestration of insulin becomes corrupted. And so the fine orchestration of signals in the body becomes impaired. That’s what causes disease.


A new novel virus such as coronavirus-19. adds another way to make a lot of noise in the whole system.





Something like coronavirus will bring out deficiencies in our health. You know, it becomes very apparent when a person’s immune system is impaired, and the person’s immune system will be impaired when they are leptin resistant and when they have high levels of leptin, which occurs because of that resistance.  Leptin itself, although better known to be a hormone that regulates fat metabolism and fat storage, we know that leptin is elevated in almost all obese people, what is not appreciated is how important it is for the immune system. 

The white blood cells, which are critical to our immune system, have leptin receptors, in other words, leptin signals white blood cells very extensively. And so when a person’s (cells) can’t listen to leptin properly, their immune system is automatically impaired.  So they can’t fight the infection as well. And then in addition to that, what we talked about is the high levels of leptin predispose to this so-called cytokine storm because it makes too much IL-6 to begin with. And leptin itself is a cytokine and is itself inflammatory. So when it’s high, they body’s already too inflamed. And then the predisposition to manufacture and secrete IL-6, which causes even more inflammation, which also then raises blood sugar . . . so you get all these vicious cycles.

So, yes, you want to try and improve your health as much as you can. And your immune system is certainly going to be a huge part of that. And so improve your health in general.  One of the main ways is by burning fat as your primary fuel, as opposed to sugars. And the only way that you can do that is by having leptin and insulin being signaled properly. People have to look at eating as, it has nothing to do with calories.  You want to eat to regulate the hormones, such as insulin and leptin, that then tell your cells what to eat, i.e., sugar or fat. You don’t just, burn what you eat. You have to go through a whole complex symphony of metabolic orchestration that then tells your cells what they should be eating. And they’re the ones that actually do the eating. And that is what your health depends on. So, again, you eat to regulate insulin and leptin that then tells your cells, whether they should be burning fat or burning sugar, which then has a huge amount to do with inflammation in general and health in general and whether you’re going to be able to fight off his Covid virus or not.


And so you want your body to be able to fight this new virus and figure out the way to fight it. But you also want your body to know when to not OVERfight, not to fight so much that it causes the cytokine storm.


You don’t want a bunch of collateral damage. You don’t want your immune system to just start flailing around like a berserker with a sword and killing all the people around. You want to specifically kill the Covid virus, not your own cells. And when the immune system is dis-regulated, what you’re getting is a whole bunch of collateral damage. Your own cells die. You’re killing your own cells as opposed to the virus. Obviously, that will not lead to a very good outcome. So inflammation has to be controlled. And we certainly need inflammation to be able to fight anything, any kind of stress. But certainly you need inflammation to fight viruses. And fight bacteria. But again, it has to be controlled properly and to control it properly. Insulin and leptin have to be controlled properly. And to control insulin and leptin properly, you have to eat properly.



Leptin levels tend to be higher in somebody who is overweight or obese.  Does it take losing 20 pounds to create this protection. What makes this protection more likely is to get enough sleep and to eat in a way that doesn’t push the body into lots of leptin and lots of insulin.


Yeah. And again, an excellent point, and this is something that is misunderstood, especially by most doctors and even the people who know about leptin. Many people feel that leptin levels are determined by how much fat a person has. And that’s partially true. The more fat you have–most leptin, not all — most leptin is produced by fat itself. And so it’s thought that the more that you have, the higher your leptin and the only way you bring down leptin is by losing weight, and that you can only bring down leptin by losing weight. And of course, that is a many months long process. That’s not true.  Your leptin levels are determined by two factors, not just one, not just by how much fat you have.  How much fat you have kind of sets kind of a baseline level. So if you are fat, you will have a higher baseline level. But that baseline level can dramatically rise, depending on what a person eats for breakfast or lunch or dinner. And that can be controlled, almost immediately.  Change what you have for breakfast, lunch or dinner and you can cut your leptin levels almost half in one day. And that’s been shown for many years. But it seems still to be unknown to people that you can greatly bring down your leptin. And when you bring down your leptin by preventing the big surges, the big spikes in leptin caused by what a person eats, then you increase the sensitivity, you reduce leptin resistance, and when you reduce leptin resistance, you’re allowed to burn fat. And then, over a longer period of time, you start burning your fat, and then leptin goes down even further. That takes a while, but it doesn’t take a while to bring leptin down dramatically. Very quickly, just by changing what you eat, when you mentioned that leptin tends to be higher in obese people, I would actually go a little bit more emphatically with that, and say that leptin, almost always is higher, in overweight and obese people. It’s very rare for an obese person not to have higher leptin.  There are very, very rare genetic mutations that a person might have. But that would be,  probably less than one in a thousand.  So the vast majority of people who are overweight and obese have high levels of leptin. And they can bring those down, as I say, within one day, if they eat properly. They won’t bring it down all the way. You know, they won’t bring it down as far as we like. That would entail some fat loss. But certainly by bringing down the spikes in leptin, you can improve dramatically, very quickly. And then it also then allows you to burn fat, so that over the long haul, you can bring it down even further as you lose your excess fat, especially your visceral fat, belly fat.  It’s the belly fat, we know, that produces a lot of these inflammatory chemicals, such as IL-6, that causes over inflammation and predisposes to diseases such as diabetes and auto immune diseases. And the cytokine storm that you were referring to earlier.



If somebody has a higher weight than they think that they should have, or if they’ve been told that their obesity is a is a danger to them, that simply by starting to eat differently, they’re significantly changing the inflammatory response in their body to one that is not going to be as much of a roller coaster, that will probably fight the virus better, but also not create a cytokine storm. There’s three things that I think we could give people as take away points from what you’ve said.

  1. Whatever somebody’s weight, eating a low carb, high fat, adequate protein diet, may have some  protection. If what you say is correct, this way to eat could have protection for people, to help their body fight the coronavirus.
  2. Starting now is probably better than starting in the middle of finding out you have symptoms.
  3. The last is that even though some doctors don’t know about this way of approaching health and wellness, there’s an increasing number of health professionals  who do. And additionally, for anybody that’s on medication, if they can monitor what’s happening with their body’s response to the medicines and let their doctor know, that’s probably important because anybody on medicine will probably see some significant shifts and could be overmedicated very quickly if they don’t let somebody know to help them adjust their medicine.


It’s always best under an educated doctor’s supervision. Right. Somebody that actually understands the changes that occur when a person changes to a diet like we’ve been recommending for decades. So that would be ideal, but  I wouldn’t necessary dependance really. As you say, it depends on the doctor. Totally depends on the doctor. There are some doctors that are very knowledgeable. It would be great to listen to their advice. And there’s other doctors who know very little about this and whose advice actually might be more harmful than not. So it’s really hard to say. But one thing I would urge people is to take their health in their own hands.  Read a little bit about what leptin does. Read a little bit about the power of a low carbohydrate, high fat diet, which now being called a ketogenic diet, which I don’t agree with the name.  It’s not the ketones that are so beneficial, but the actual burning of fat. And don’t be afraid really to adjust your own medications. If your doctor is unable to do so, if your doctor does not really know about the physiology for instance, of insulin and leptin and what it will do to the blood sugars. If your blood sugars fall. You must reduce your blood sugar medication.  Reduce your diabetic medication. It’s really quite simple. Start off slow.   If blood sugar stays high. Reduce it a bit more. Same with blood pressure. If your blood pressure is going down, reduce your blood pressure medication. Don’t be afraid to do it. Great If you can talk to your doctor, and he can, maybe if you’re on multiple medication, he could tell you which medication might be best to reduce to begin with. But if you, for instance, can’t get ahold of your doctor because they’re so busy because of the viral infections that are going around, then take your health in your own hands. It’s not really that hard to do.


If they do feel like they need a doctor’s advice, if they could start calling today to interview different doctors and find one who they could shift to, who could walk them through this. There’s an increasing number of agencies and places that offer ways to coach people on how to eat in the way that you’re describing.


Absolutely.  There’s even like online apps that can help people in this sort of thing. So there’s certainly help out there. And a person just has to be diligent and look around. As you say, interview, interview doctors, look at different websites. But I think that certainly the situation right now calls for self  education, you know, educate oneself about what they can do on their own to take their own health in their own hands. You’ll know your health better than anybody. You’ll know what your blood sugars arel you’ll know what your blood pressure is. You’ll know what it is this hour, because you might not be able to call your doctor this hour. So I would certainly recommend a person going and purchasing a blood pressure cuff and a blood glucose monitor. Those are the two indexes that can change quite dramatically when they change their diet and need adjusting as far as medication for sure.



Well, good luck with what you are doing yourself. Have you had this virus yet that you know of?


You mean have I personally?


Yes, have you had Covid-19 as far as you know?


No.  I’m actually locked down in a beautiful facility, actually, so I can’t really complain. I’m taken very good care of it. Right now, there’s virtually no chance that I could be exposed. So I have not had it. I actually would like it.  That might sound funny to say.  But I would like a low dose. I would like to actually be exposed to a little bit, because I know eventually I’m going to have to be. And I would just as soon be exposed a little bit so that my immune system would start building up tolerance and building up immunity, building up antibodies and building up white cells to the virus, so that when I do get a bigger exposure, you know, it’s not going to affect me so much. So as I say right now, where I am and I think in India, I don’t necessarily disagree with the advice for a lock down only because in India there are so many people, and the medical system can be so easily overwhelmed. And because the society here is so social. I mean, people just love to congregate, that I think the prime minister didn’t have much choice but to kind of insist on a lockdown to keep people from spreading it so fast that would overwhelm the medical system. But I think in most countries, I kind of agree with the approach, that Sweden has taken, which is just actually go about your business. But pay attention, keep your distance. Wash your hands. Don’t cough on people.  If you have it, stay on there. They seem to be doing just fine. I think that probably for most countries, including the U.S., I think or at least most places in the US, would do probably better, with that approach, than trying a more complete lockdown. In other words, don’t be afraid of getting it. You just don’t want to get a high dose of it. You know, you don’t want people to sneeze on you or you don’t want to sneeze on other people. Or cough on other people.


And, you know, there is new evidence that indicates that people get the highest, most virulent dose of it. When people are early on in the infection and may not even have symptoms, which is quite a different thing about this virus, that it’s at its most potent when it’s early on, that’s when it’s most likely to be shedding and spreading. Probably an exception is if somebody is in the hospital and having to be intubated for a ventilator. Somebody who’s doing that from a health care perspective is very much at risk because they’re just so close to somebody. But in just general hanging out with people, it’s when people don’t have symptoms, and it’s early on that they’re most likely to spread this virus, which would mean that the more that people get lots of rest and eat, not for comfort, but for health, it might be a smart idea to do those things.


I think that’s exactly correct. Once again, that the major superpower, I guess, of this virus is that it’s new. So people have not developed an immunity to it. And therefore, early on, like you say, it’s going to be much worse because people have not yet developed an immunity to it. So the more a person has the virus, the more, if they have a good strong immune system that build up antibodies against it that will be able to engulf it and kill it. So then it becomes less virulent, as time goes on in a particular person and then over the weeks and months between people, as people start developing an immunity to it. But early on, when that immunity is lacking, certainly the virus becomes the most contagious and the most powerful because the immune system is not fighting it then.


Yes. And so here we are in this situation where it would have been so fun to talk with you additionally about what just what is going on. How does the immune system fight things? What is the mechanism of what causes high blood pressure? We could have had a fun conversation about those things, too, but right now what’s on people’s minds is how do they do what they can to protect themselves? How do they do what they can to share information with a loved one that they care about that they’d like to have around in another year? These are real questions that people are facing.


Yes, absolutely. Well, you know, for me, eating properly is paramount in any disease. But certainly the chronic diseases of which an impaired immune system is one which then can manifest and is brought out by this virus. You want to eat properly.  In addition to eating properly. There are certain micronutrients a person can make sure that they have enough of such as vitamin D. That’s why staying indoors sometimes might be counterproductive because certainly the best way to get vitamin D is to get sunlight. So I would not be afraid of going outside.

And also, as you go outside and you’re breathing, your aerosol particles will dissipate into the atmosphere. So they’ll become less concentrated, whereas indoors they’ll become more concentrated. So being indoors might not actually be the best thing. Outdoors, it’s fine as long as you don’t congregate with people so that, you know, they’re not directly getting a huge dose of coronavirus. Let it dissipate off into the atmosphere. So keep your distance a little bit or. You can take certainly take very easily, Vitamin D soft gels. 


You still think that outdoors is best. And for people in Colorado where this will broadcast, what a beautiful place to be outside and people are learning to keep their distance from each other during this virus crisis.


Exactly. I think being outdoors is great. I would encourage it. that the fact that there’s more awareness than it can be an aerosol is why now the Centers for Disease Control is recommending face masks.

Yeah, well, I it actually surprised me more than anything when the World Health Organization a week ago or so was surprised that Cauvin can be in the air for days.   I was surprised that they were surprised because that’s pretty well known on almost all viruses. For instance, influenza is known to be in the air for days. I don’t know why this virus would be any different, but anyway. I would certainly encourage sunlight, encourage open air. Make sure you do get enough vitamin C. I don’t necessarily believe in going overboard with it. There are downsides to taking too much, but something like 500 milligrams or so twice a day or high. I particularly like the form of vitamin C.


Scientists Help a City Run COVID Tests // A Diet to Reduce Cytokine Storms

Berkeley Scientists help their city test for Covid 19 (Starts 1:00)   Fyodor Urnov of Berkeley’s Innovative Genomics Institute explains why and how scientists anywhere can help their local community test for the Covid-19 virus.  

Cytokine Storms Explained (Starts 13:05) CU Boulder Biology Professor Beth Bennett explains the “cytokine storms” that people are hearing more about in serious Covid-19 infections.

Image from IAS Gateway
Image from IAS Gateway

A Diet that might Reduce Cytokine Storms (starts 16:43) Ron Rosedale, MD explains why eating a low carb, high fat, adequate protein diet lowers levels of the hormone leptin can lower IL-6 and might reduce the risk of Cytokine Storms.  This is an excerpt from a longer interview.  Go Here to listen to the extended version audio (40 minutes).  Here is the extended interview transcript

Host/Producer/Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:


Ice Age Bone Fire // Backcountry Skiing & Wildlife

HOE Ice Age Bone FireBackcountry Skiing & Wildlife (Starts 1:00) Margaret Hedderman reports on how off-trail use of wilderness areas is causing increasing harm to wildlife . . . and what to do instead.

Ice Age Bone Fire  (starts 6:15)  We join Archeologist John Hoffecker and a team of volunteers to recreate a Paleolithic campfire. This “campfire” was used over 20,000 years ago in bitter cold areas of the North, where trees were scarce, and the fuel for making campfires depended on the ability to burn bones.  Special thanks to the volunteers who helped with this project — Josh Steinsiek, Dustin Goodew of Arapahoe Meat Company, Outdoorspeople Lin and Henry Ballard, Amber O’Hearn and Siobhan Huggins.

Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributions:  Margaret Hedderman; Edie Hill, Composer
Engineer: Maeve Conran

Listen to the show:


Voyager Passes Heliopause//Xmas Bird Count

The Heliopause

Voyager Passes Through the Heliopause   (Starts 1:00) LASP scientist Fran Bagenol explains how the over 40 year old Voyager Mission, that launched in the 1970s is still providing incredible surprises, including passing through the border between the solar system and “outer space.”  As part of making that journey, the Voyager spacecraft have passed through cosmic plasma that has temperatures of 60,000 F.  Bagenol will explain how that’s possible . . . and why Voyager could pass through that incredible heat unscathed.   Fiske Planetarium will present a special show about Voyager in March.


Boulder Xmas Bird Count  (Starts 13:45)  Naturalists Steve Jones and Scott Seevers   explain how  to join Boulder’s December 15th Xmas bird countand why the scientific data gathered by citizens during this event is so important.  All ages are welcome , and all regions have these counts, from Boulder to beyond.  For more info, go here.


Host/Producer/Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributions:  Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker


Buzz: Inside the Minds of Thrill-Seekers

kenneth carterBUZZ:  Inside the Minds of Thrill-Seekers, Daredevils and Adrenaline Junkies.    We speak with clinical psychologist and author, Ken Carter about his new book BUZZ, and high-sensation seekers who can’t get enough “new” and love to seek out more.  Carter is a consultant for the Denver Science Museum’s Extreme Sports exhibit, running through spring 2020.  He speaks at the Boulder Bookstore Wednesday Nov 6th.  Check out his sensation-seeking survey on how to rate your own thrill-seeking . . . or chill-seeking, personality.

Host, Producer, Engineer: Shelley Schlender


Almost Human – Julius the Chimpanzee Caught Between Two Worlds (FULL INTERVIEW)

Almost Human Julius PhotoAlmost Human – The Story of Julius, the Chimpanzee Caught Between Two Worlds (Extended Version) by Alfred Fidjestøl.  This is the full version of the interview.