Dr. David Haase | Fountain of Youth? New Developments in Biohacking and Longevity

Dr. David Haase, MD is a renowned medical educator trained at Vanderbilt and Mayo Clinic. His expertise touches on a wide range of specialties from personalized computational systems medicine, brain performance optimization, and more. Dr. Haase is also the author of the best selling book Curiosity Heals The Human, and he presented a TED talk in which he described how treating dementia starts by changing our paradigms about health and disease. 

In this week’s episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, host John Corcoran interviews Dr. David Haase about the newest developments in biohacking and longevity. Dr. Haase explains what blood washing or therapeutic plasma exchange refers to and what it involves, and he also shares details about a study done on mice to investigate the blood washing procedure.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Dr. Haase talks about a journal article about research done at UC Berkeley
  • What does the process of blood washing involve, how long does it take, and can it be done on humans?
  • How frequently should a patient do blood washing and why do few clinics do it?
  • The training process for blood washing and the problem posed by the lack of medical specialty for the procedure
  • Dr. Haase discusses a blood washing study done on mice and the results observed from this study
  • What does it take for clinics to offer blood washing therapy and how much does it cost?
  • Why there is a lot of resistance to innovation in health care
  • What people with family members with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia should do 
  • Dr. Haase explains the benefits of blood donation

Resources Mentioned:

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:14  

Welcome to the Revolution, the smart business revolution podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.


John Corcoran  0:40  

Hey, everyone, john corporate here, could there be a new fountain of youth bonus episode I share an interview which raises a real question about whether there could be this is an interview I conducted with one of our clients on his podcast, but I wanted to share it here as well because I think the topic was really eye opening the client, I’m interviewing Dr. David Haase and he’s a pioneer in systems medicine, which integrates science, philosophy, data, and other areas to reveal new possibilities for creating health, optimizing human performance, and even reversing dementia. So in this episode, we talk about a new development in the world of biohacking. It’s a bit technical, I’ll warn you, but hopefully you will follow along because we discussed some exciting new medical research which could add some big implications. Enjoy.

Dr. David Haase  1:29  

Hello Dr. David Haase here. So host to the super humanizing Podcast, where we explore how new developments in systems medicine enable us to work with our bodies, not against them to treat complex chronic disease and really create health from the ground up. I have John Corcoran here who’s done thousands of interviews with some of the top health and longevity experts. We’ve flipped the script today, and he’s going to be interviewing me to talk about some recent developments.


John Corcoran  2:00  

Right, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me Dr. Haase. This is gonna be really interesting. First, let me tell everyone those who don’t know about you. Dr. Haase is a renowned medical educator trained at Vanderbilt, and Mayo Clinic. His expertise touches a wide range of specialties. He’s also the author of the best selling book, curiosity heals the human and presented a TED talk in which he describes how treating dementia starts by changing our paradigms about health and disease. And now in this episode, we’re going to be talking about new development myths in the world of biohacking and longevity research. And you know, Dr. Haase we were talking beforehand about a new journal article, medical journal article, which came out recently, as a result of some really groundbreaking research that was done at UC Berkeley. And why don’t you share a little bit about what that article was about and why it was so groundbreaking?


Dr. David Haase  2:53  

Yeah, absolutely. You know, nerds like me get really excited with things like journal articles, right? Other people may say, Wow, what a great car that was or what a great meal. I mean, I get, I get all excited about exactly, you know, having somebody find a new piece of information to kind of understand reality is that’s really what science is. Science is the exploration of reality and always trying to find out where we were wrong before. Scientists are just about changing your mind again and again. And we have to keep changing our mind with thank goodness, because we don’t want life to be just the way we are right? We want progress. So yeah, this article came out of the Journal of aging, and it’s a very mainline well renowned journal, mellowed, Millipore was the primary author and included in the journal where some very important researchers Michael and I arena convoy and I’ll tell you by their importance later. But in this article, they did some amazing experiments on mice to prove that the by just removing old plasma out of old mice and replacing it with albumin, which is the major protein that comes from mice, or needles is in the blood. If you just did what we’d call a blood washing, or more specifically a therapeutic plasma exchange, and you just got really old plasma. What happened is multiple different tissues started to rejuvenate. They started to act young and have, you know, a youth suffocation that began, it’s really a confirmatory result of a lot of prior research that has come up till this point. And for those of us who are very interested in creating health. This gives us an opportunity to look completely different at a problem and to have a higher level of certainty that by removing old plants, we can actually help reset the body’s healing setpoint and make a big difference. I believe in health and longevity long term. So it has a huge number of applications. Wow.


John Corcoran  5:25  

So I know this is probably a ways off. But is this a possibility? You think this is this blood washing ease as you describe it? the removal of old plasma replacement with a sailing albumin? You know, I’m not a doctor. But is that something that could happen in humans that they could recreate this therapy in humans?


Dr. David Haase  5:45  

Absolutely. We’ve been doing it for many decades already. This is essentially the application of a current medical therapy called therapeutic plasma exchange. And I’m a certified pharmacist. specialists. So, I do this plasma exchange and have overseen this and many patients but the indications for this particular procedure in the past have been people with very severe autoimmune disease like multiple sclerosis or neuromyelitis optica or gi on barre syndrome drum. And these individuals have their blood pulled out via one tube and separated the old plasma or I should say the disease plasma, in that case, is discarded, and then a fresh replacement fluid is put back into the body mixed with their own cells. And by diluting out the disease causing factors in the plasma, many of these autoimmune conditions can be halted or individuals can have remarkable symptom relief from that. So this therapeutic plasma exchange is already A current well known, well understood, well studied medical procedure, and we’re having this opportunity to look at it differently. But the problem is there’s very few doctors out there that do this type of work, and certainly not yet for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, or frailty, or those people who are interested in the biohacking world.


John Corcoran  7:26  

Okay, so got lots of questions here. So, first of all, for those who aren’t familiar with the process, what is it like for the patient? Did they sit there as it took all day? Is it a couple of hours? It’s a tube that’s in their arm or something like that. What’s the process? Like?


Dr. David Haase  7:41  

Yeah, there’s a lot of variation to the answer to that question. It depends a lot on what the systems are of the clinic that you are receiving the service from. So it can range from everywhere from having a surgical large catheter Put into a very large blood vessel, and then tunneled underneath the skin to just a peripheral IV being put in a large IV, nonetheless. And that depends upon the hardware and the software and a lot of other factors. But let me describe what we’ve been pioneering at our clinic to really be overthinking. How do you have an increase in the safety of this particular procedure? The process is you have a large IV, put in each arm, blood comes out of one side, and it immediately gets mixed with an anticoagulant, so that that blood doesn’t start to clot. And then that blood goes into a centrifuge that’s running continuously. Then in that centrifuge, the lighter plasma is separated from the heavier cells, and then that plastic smoke comes off into one tube and is discarded. The cells go off in another tube. And then they get mixed with a replacement fluid because right it’s just this thick group of cells with almost no fluid in it. It needs to be diluted before it goes back into the body. And there are many different substances one can use for dilution. The most common is albumin. And albumin is a protein that is in every human, really every mammal. And that albumin holds on to the water that is inside the blood. And that’s a major constituent of plasma. So the replacement fluid can be albumin, or it can be antibodies like immunoglobulins. It can even be sailing, just saltwater, but you can only give a little bit of salt water and then you start having a whole bunch of other problems. Or it can be plasma itself. So you can have donated plasma from another person as the replacement fluid. But regardless, you take the cells then get combined with a replacement fluid to bring the volume of that new combined blood up to the same amount of volume that got pulled out. And it goes down another IV and goes in the other arm. So the blood is coming out being processed and goes right back in again.


John Corcoran  10:29  

How long does that process take how long to be hooked up sitting there


Dr. David Haase  10:33  

that can take anywhere from an hour and a half to sometimes three and a half, four hours depending upon how large that person is how good of blood flow we get through the veins. And you’re sitting in a chair and comfortably watching Netflix or something. Yeah, yeah, we have great staff. You know, we got amazing nurses that run this procedure and are doting over you the entire time. It’s a very personal experience. And it, but there are some side effects that can go on. But we do everything possible to minimize those, of course. And side effects could be like your calcium levels getting slightly low that causes tingling around the mouth or nausea, or muscle cramping. And we have things that we can add into IVs or slow the procedure down to deal with those or there’s a lot of nuance to this, this is not something that you can go do a, you know, weekend conference and learn how to share. So it’s a substantially involved procedure.


John Corcoran  11:43  

So I want to ask a bunch of questions about it. So including how frequently Someone has to do it. I’m sure it varies by you know what different conditions they’re in, they’re dealing with their disease. Yes, that’s one but I do want to ask, why is it that there aren’t more clinics that do this procedure, you said it’s not very common.


Dr. David Haase  12:04  

Well, there’s many of these. So first of all, answering your question, how frequently would a person need this to be done? There was a large study that was done looking at utilizing this procedure to actually reverse Alzheimer’s disease. That is called the Ambar trial. And it was where they looked at over 450 patients and then, with Alzheimer’s disease and they separated them into a placebo group, you know, which just got to kind of a fake plasma exchange. And then individuals that had various types of replacement fluids put in, and in those individuals, they got 18 of these kinds of exchanges over 14 months. So it was six, you know, initially once a week for six weeks, and then once a month thereafter. And so that was one protocol in that group of individuals in people with moderate Alzheimer’s disease had a slowing of their progression of 60% compared to placebo, over those 14 months, six zero percent. Wow. Yeah. Wow is right. It is absolutely earth shattering.


John Corcoran  13:17  

So why doesn’t every organ do that natural question, you know? Yeah, exactly.


Dr. David Haase  13:22  

So there’s lots of it. Here’s a little more data about that is that the individuals with mild Alzheimer’s disease in comparison to placebo actually had some improvement in their memory and improvement in their attention over those 14 months. So they’re actually better than last start better off, you know, so when you started with so the observation is made just like how it looks like if this is applied earlier. There’s more benefit that can occur. And, and so we’ll come back to why more clinics aren’t doing this. Well, number one, it’s a very complex, complex, it’s there’s expensive machinery and lots of procedures, highly trained staff. And this is not yet an established intervention for Alzheimer’s disease. You know, we, the process of science is a patient process, you know, we need to prove something and then prove it again. But there’s another side of this, that a lot of the things that are utilized in this process are generic materials. So there is nobody really promoting this process, because there’s nobody making a lot of money on it. That’s a little cynical viewpoint of that.


John Corcoran  14:40  

You could call it cynical. You could also say realistic Yeah, that’s interesting. Yeah.


Dr. David Haase  14:45  

And so and interestingly enough, this study, even though it’s been reported extensively to the shareholders of the company, who wrote who did it, and it’s been presented at three large international meetings has not been published, yet. So it’s not okay, we’re going to see this. And we’re not sure when it’s going to actually be published and released. And then you’re going to see a flurry of information around it. Cotton. So, you know, you’re actually getting the scoop right now.


John Corcoran  15:14  

So it’s a very bleeding edge. So how long have you been involved in doing this therapy? How long


Dr. David Haase  15:21  

leading edge? That was a good pun. I was really good.


John Corcoran  15:25  

It went totally over my head, actually. Yes,


Dr. David Haase  15:30  

yeah. Yeah. And so the, but let’s talk a little bit about how it or the training process of learning to do this. And one of the reasons there are not more specialists that do this is that it’s kind of a procedure that doesn’t have a specialty. So individuals from er doctors to internist to nephrologist to hematologist a path ologists Yeah, family doctors do I, there’s a broad array of individuals who trained to do this, basically out of a particular passion around a set of patients, of neurologists could interview neurologists as well because many of the indications for this are autoimmune neurologic disease. And so it’s really fascinating to step back and to say, Wow, here we have a procedure that just kind of doesn’t have a specialty to advocate for it. Now I am a member of the American Society for apheresis medicine. And that is really the specialty for rhesus medicine. And that a phrase just means pulling blood out, doing something with it, and putting something back in. And that can be pulling out white cells, red cells, platelets, and there’s cancer therapies that are in this particular specialty, but it’s it’s just interesting to think about kind of the social aspects of why something’s promoted or why it’s not right. Right. But let’s get back to talking about the science part of it because I, if that’s okay because I think this is just it was absolutely amazing this article so what we why we started to think about this was two reasons. One is that many a for recess doctors in the past had witnessed that people just got better when they had a recess, maybe from conditions that weren’t exactly what we’re being treated. They just seem to get healthier overall, especially individuals that had a lot of Let’s call frailty started to become just stronger and more robust. And that was just an observation, no studies around that. But then to the co authors of this study, Michael On arena, Conboy, really, arenas, the principal author and Michael, as her husband and partner in research did a remarkable study and they replicated a studies have been done many times before in previous decades, but they measured a few unique things. And that was a study of parabiosis. This is where you take mice and mice that are clones of each other. And you take a mouse that’s old, and a mouse that has the same genetics but a little younger. Then you bring them together, and you sew them together side by side, so they share a little bit of circulation. So some of the plasma from the old mouse is getting into the young mouse and some of the plasma from the young mouse is getting into the old mouse. But they’re running around the cage attached by this skin and sciences and all is a pretty not pretty, not pretty, right? Yeah. And they are very careful when we do this to as few as necessary, but But amazing thing happened in the process. So that old mouse as it was attached to the young mouse started to turn young, liver regenerated, kidney regenerated, shimmy, muscles get stronger hair started growing back in. And cardiac output improves exercise capacity improved and new neurogenesis happened. It means the mouse started to smell smells that hadn’t smelled before. And on autopsy, they were actually able to see new sprouting of neurons. Now all that happened with just being attached to a young mouse, but an amazing other thing. The other part of it was that young mouse was stunted by exposure to old, so just old, they found was toxic. So the question remains, then after that The experiment was done. Hmm. Was it that young things were taken from that young mouse and put into an old mouse? And that’s what did


had the effect? Or was it that they the young mouse diluted and removed factors from the old mouse that were suppressive that were maintaining an advanced set of aid, as at advanced age. So the idea that our stem cells, which are the cells that do all the repair in the body, those stem cells have this opportunity to continue healing lifelong. But when those stem cells are in an environment, say a plasma that is old, those stem cells act old, they don’t do the repair and regeneration that they would if they were young, but if you just switch the environment, you change the environment you put in Young plasma or in this study, just albumin and sailing, guess what, those old stem cells wake up and they start acting younger again. That is what this new study demonstrated very clearly. That a, just a single plasma exchange done on an old mouse pulling out a portion of the old plasma and putting in just albumin and sailing, no components from a young mouse at all. started the process of neuro regeneration, it caused the liver to turn around and become non fibrotic essentially liver D aging and muscles to increase their capacity for becoming larger and stronger. So that will all happen with just one exchange, and it made a measurable difference in that old mouse. So we’re at a young point yet, no pun intended, again, the word a young point of understanding just how frequently This is beneficial, and for whom and it’s beneficial, and how it is beneficial. You know, you may know the rest of my practice is dealing with systems medicine, and using some advanced laboratory testing to understand just how old people are. We use these broad scale methylation panels that do genetic aging evaluations, and we’re tracking people through that. We’re tracking people through the types of proteins that they make, or measuring and organ function to see does the heart You know, the heart and blood vessels and skin and hair improve? And we’re very determined to figure out why what works best for whom, but we’re still at an early stage right now. We know that some are beneficial. And exactly which protocol is going to be most beneficial. We’re just going to continue studying that in a way that keeps people as safe as possible.


John Corcoran  23:21  

And how far off Do you think that something like this could be done in humans? Is it something that


Dr. David Haase  23:29  

can 20 pounds now? Absolutely. We have, we have patients that like I said, we don’t have


John Corcoran  23:37  

people who don’t have a disease who come in and do it just


Dr. David Haase  23:40  

Well, that’s under anything that is any procedure that is done is done under a relationship under a clinical relationship and adequate counseling. But yeah, this is something that if under a full understanding of the risks and benefits should be available for turning back the clock. And the question was, how much does it work? You know, does it work? How much does it work? What are the safety, the risk factors? Those are all important conversations to have in a doctor patient relationship. You know, one of the things that are important, the American Medical Association has guidelines for innovation in medicine, and we follow those. And that is an exciting thing to see that wow, we are able to actually treat these patients that have neurodegenerative disease and to say, you know, we know these people are going to get worse, and we don’t have anything else meaningful to offer them.


John Corcoran  24:49  

What would it take for this to be in front of more clinics to offer this type of therapy is sort of groundbreaking therapy.


Dr. David Haase  24:58  

Yeah, well, Unfortunately, our healthcare system is based upon, in our belief systems are based upon Oh, insurance should cover it. So, you know, we think, oh, if insurance doesn’t cover it, or Medicare doesn’t cover it, then it must not be good for me. No, that’s not it at all. There are many examples in healthcare that have well validated, safe, effective therapies that are not covered by insurance companies. And therefore, you don’t see a lot of individuals practicing those particular types of medicine. Because right now, this is an out of pocket cost. It has a repeated test. It is expensive at present time work, we’re doing everything possible to bring the cost down. But you know, the cost can range, you know, anywhere from you know, 30 550 $500, you know, and it’s usually in the upper end of that curve.


John Corcoran  26:00  

session or session? Yeah,


Dr. David Haase  26:02  

yeah. In the hospital setting, though, you know, the billing that, you know, there’s a hospital system well familiar with, you know, bills 14,000 for each one of these sessions, like I said, so many things you’re going to have to happen and that we’re working to make those happen to decrease the cost by increasing the efficiency by creating economies of scale by finding equipment and personnel that are just not so in time and, you know, and training intensive. But I believe this is going to be a major component of wellness moving forward. I think that I’m joking about blood washing, I think it’s a pretty good term. You know, if you know that eating a clean diet is good for our health. And why is that because we’re putting less junk inside the system. Fewer toxins. Fewer inflammatory molecules. So we have less irritating substances in our system, it stands to reason that we’re going to have less degradation. And we don’t know what this is. And here’s the other thing, I think we’ll have some great technologies moving forward, various filters, we can actually maybe we can identify what the compounds are in plasma, that should be removed. Maybe we can use a filter to do that very selectively. But people with dementia don’t, they don’t have time to wait right now. I think that it’s a moral obligation for us to do what we can to move this science forward. And that’s why I’m speaking about it. We’ve got people that come from all over, to engage with us to help them in this way. And the more that it’s done, the more it will be done. And that’s in I think it’s an imperative for people who are looking to maximize their wellness and decrease their aging curve. That’s a separate conversation. But it’s a reasonable, basic science backed conversation. And the evidence and the experience we have utilizing these procedures is extensive. So this is not some cowboy medicine. We’re not talking about an unknown population of stem cells. We’re not talking about anything that is not inside the current drawer of possibilities in standard healthcare. Yeah, that’s, that’s really important for people to recognize. It’s amazing to me how many people are resistant to innovation in health care, and people, especially doctors. And I think it all goes back down to this. We have something called the standard of care and the standard Care means what did the other doctors in your community do? Oh, did they practice? And that’s how you should then practice,


Unknown Speaker  29:09  

right? Well, guess what?


Dr. David Haase  29:10  

That becomes a status quo. It’s an incredible barrier towards innovation. Now part of that there’s a good reason for it because doctors and properly prescribed medications are the third or fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Wow, that’s, that’s real. So we need to be cautious about what we do. But we believe we’re exercising extreme caution and also moving forward. Well, we have to change the standard of care as we get new data.


John Corcoran  29:44  

Well, this has been fascinating. For those who listen to this, what can they do? First of all, how can they learn more about you? So remind everyone where they can contact you but also what can they do if they have a loved one that has dementia or Alzheimer’s or a loved one they care about. What can they do?


Dr. David Haase  30:04  

Yeah. So number one, go to my website. Davidhaasemd.com. That’s David-H-A-A-S-E-M-D.com And, we’ll have some videos on there. We have additional learning and there are ways to contact us. And to learn more information. We’ll be doing more. If you go on and sign up for webinars, we’re going to be doing a large number of webinars and talking more in detail about this process. So please, again, it’s davidhaasemd.com. And as far as what you can do now, there’s an interesting thing you could give blood.


Unknown Speaker  30:49  

One of the things you can do


Dr. David Haase  30:51  

is just to give blood because you’re actually going to get rid of a substantial amount of your own old plasma and it’s been known for a long time that the donation of blood has a survival benefit present, we’ve always kind of thought it’s like, oh, that’s getting rid of extra iron. Or maybe it’s thinning the Blood Sweat flows better. But I actually think that this is an inexpensive way for us to get rid of some old plasma, and then you drink water and now your body doesn’t, your body’s going to have to make its own fresh albumin, but it can do that quite well. So that’s just something that I and giving blood helps so many people, right blood can then be processed in ways that can be a gift of life in truth. So don’t say just because I can’t afford I don’t have access to this, I can do nothing. That’s not accurate either. People have an immediate opportunity to make a difference in the quality of their blood, which affects the quality of their stem cells. And then there’s a whole host of other things we can do to stimulate stem cells for better function. But we can talk about that another time. And I’ll put something up on the website so people can learn more about the topic.


John Corcoran  32:14  

Yeah, yeah. That’s great. Thank you so much.


Dr. David Haase  32:19  

Hey, thank you, John. Great being with you.


Intro  32:22  

Thank you for listening to the smart business revolution podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com. And while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the Revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution podcast.