Episode 26 - Floyd Norman

August 14, 2017 - Floyd Norman is busier than ever. He is 82 and still working at the job he started in the 1950s. A cartoonist all his life, Floyd enjoyed a hugely successful career creating some of Disney’s most iconic characters. As a young cartoonist he was handpicked by Walt Disney to be part of the team behind The Jungle Book. He also worked on classics such as Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Mary Poppins. Later, at Pixar, Floyd brought his creative flair to Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. But Disney’s first black animator says he was “pushed out” of the job that he loved when he reached the traditional retirement age. With cartoons and a love of animation in his blood, he refused to accept that his career was over. He returned to work and has since been honored with the title, Disney Legend, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to The Walt Disney Company. In this in-depth interview Floyd explains how being busy in his 80s helps him stay young; how, as an “old codger,” he reinvented himself by learning to use digital editing software; and why “not clinging to the past” is the key to keeping his mind active and vital.

Listen now

Subscribe

Sign up

Receive the latest episode in your inbox. Enter your email address below:

About the podcast

Why LLAMA?

LLAMA, an acronym for Live Long and Master Aging, is a podcast that explores the science and stories behind human longevity.

In a series of one-to-one interviews, the LLAMA podcast hacks the aging process. Our guests include world-renowned scientists, future thinkers and biohackers, all of whom have a common goal of figuring out how we can live longer and healthier. We also talk to inspiring individuals who have already mastered the aging process.

The LLAMA philosophy is that there is much can do to extend our natural healthspan or the length of time when we enjoy optimal health. We talk a lot about food, fasting, fitness, the brain and good fortune.

We also put safety first. The information provided in the podcast is not intended as medical advice. The opinions expressed by the host and guests are for discussion and entertainment purposes only. Do not attempt to replicate the ideas or research protocols that we discuss. The advice of a qualified health practitioner should be sought before engaging in any dietary or exercise regime.

Your host

Peter Bowes

A British-born, naturalised American, Peter Bowes is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. He is trained as a biologist and has spent much of his career working in news, current affairs and documentary-making for the BBC. A self-experimenter, when it comes to his own diet and exercise, Peter is fascinated by lifestyles and science-based regimes that promote healthy aging. He lives on a ranch in California with his partner, dog, goats and a llama called Arthur.

Peter Bowes on LinkedIn Connect on LinkedIn

Peter Bowes on twitter Follow on twitter

Get in touch



Episode archive:

Episode 26 - Floyd Norman

August 14, 2017 - Floyd Norman is busier than ever. He is 82 and still working at the job he started in the 1950s. A cartoonist all his life, Floyd enjoyed a hugely successful career creating some of Disney’s most iconic characters. As a young cartoonist he was handpicked by Walt Disney to be part of the team behind The Jungle Book. He also worked on classics such as Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Mary Poppins. Later, at Pixar, Floyd brought his creative flair to Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc. But Disney’s first black animator says he was “pushed out” of the job that he loved when he reached the traditional retirement age. With cartoons and a love of animation in his blood, he refused to accept that his career was over. He returned to work and has since been honored with the title, Disney Legend, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to The Walt Disney Company. In this in-depth interview Floyd explains how being busy in his 80s helps him stay young; how, as an “old codger,” he reinvented himself by learning to use digital editing software; and why “not clinging to the past” is the key to keeping his mind active and vital.

Episode 25 - Sarah Barber

August 08, 2017 - Senior moments and the aging process go hand in hand. As we grow older memory lapses and cognitive problems are often assumed to be the normal course of events. But should we really worry about losing the car keys, now and then? The biological and psychological explanations for declining cognitive performance are many and varied, but Dr. Sarah Barber, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at San Francisco State University, says memory slips are not always signs of worse to come. Dr Barber’s work at the University's Cognition and Aging Laboratory explores how emotional wellbeing and social factors affect our ability to process information. In this in-depth interview she argues that memory and attention spans in older people actually improve when they are in a positive environment; and explains why being aware of the passage of time influences how we do with memory tasks.

Episode 24 - Ethel Travis

August 01, 2017 - Ethel Travis wants to make history. At the age of 102, the former ballerina, artist and fashionista has her sights set firmly on the future. With a busy social calendar, good health and the support a loving family, Ethel embraces life with giddy enthusiasm. She loves to talk, reminisce and make new friends. A centenarian with the mind and body of someone decades younger, Ethel recently welcomed LLAMA host Peter Bowes into her home, in Newport Beach, California, for a conversation about age, attitude and humanity.

Episode 23 - Michael Rose

July 24, 2017 - A hundred years from now, “physicians will have the capacity to keep people alive indefinitely,” says Dr. Michael Rose, director and professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Rose has spent over 40 years working with fruit flies to try to unravel the mechanisms at work as we age. He believes that there is a point (which can be manipulated) in our lives, when aging ends. It is followed by a “post-aging phase of biological immortality” before we die. Dr. Rose, co-founder of Lyceum Pharmaceuticals, a research startup in California, focuses on trying to “re-tune” patterns of aging to help us live longer and better lives. In this in-depth interview, he explains his “four-steps to the conquest of aging,” and the importance of living an “age appropriate lifestyle.”

Episode 22 - Phil Libin

July 18, 2017 - Phil Libin, co-founder and former CEO of Evernote, the note-taking app, recently moved into a new phase of his life. He turned 45, launched a new AI startup studio, All Turtles, and perhaps most significantly, lost a ton of weight. Phil has been a big guy since his late teens. He knew he was obese but did nothing about it until eight months ago. That’s when he decided to join the growing clan of fasting enthusiasts in Silicon Valley. It worked. He has lost 86 pounds (39 kilograms). Blood tests suggest he could be 20 years younger. And here’s the kicker: Phil says he plans to continue fasting indefinitely - not because he needs to lose much more weight but because he enjoys a sustained feeling of “mild euphoria” while not eating. He fasts periodically for up to eight days at a time. In this in-depth interview, Phil explains why his extreme regime is so invigorating; how he pushed back at his doctor, who thought it was a bad idea; and why he likens fasting to skydiving.

Episode 21 - Duke Han

July 11, 2017 - As human life expectancy continues to increase, age-related diseases are the main impediment to enjoying the fruits of longevity. High on the list is Alzheimer’s disease, the incurable neurodegenerative condition that robs sufferers of their memory and eventually leads to death. But valuable progress is being made in the understanding and prevention of the disease. A new study at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles has revealed that biological changes in the brain occur long before symptoms of Alzheimer’s become apparent. The research, led by neuropsychologist Dr. Duke Han, suggests that cognitive tests are able to detect early stage of the disease in people without symptoms. In this in-depth interview, Dr Han argues that routine brain testing should be incorporated into annual physical check ups for people of all ages.

Episode 20 - Felice Gersh

July 4, 2017 - Why do women live longer than men? Does the ability to bear children play a role and to what extent do evolutionary forces discriminate between men and women? Dr. Felice Gersh is a board-certified (1984) gynecologist and the founder of a private medical practice, the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, California. Fellowship trained in a relatively new medical field, known as functional/integrative medicine, Dr. Gersh believes longevity is connected to estrogen. She argues that it is the “most maligned and insulted” of all hormones and acts a natural anti-inflamatory agent to promote good health in both women and men. Dr. Gersh is a leading voice on women’s health issues. She advocates for a better understanding of the role stomach bacteria play in living a long, healthy life. A prolific speaker, she believes doctors should “expand their tool boxes” to include acupuncture, herbal medicine and meditation. In this in-depth interview Dr. Gersh explains why she “had to unlearn” about half of everything she learned at medical school calls for a fundamental “shake-up” in the delivery of health care.

Episode 19 - Geoffrey Woo

June 27, 2017 - The enhancement of the human body is the main goal of Geoffrey Woo, a biohacker and entrepreneur based in San Francisco. A Stanford-trained computer scientist, Geoffrey is the CEO and co-founder of HVMN (formerly Nootrobox), a nootropics company that melds biology and technology to optimize the human system. The evolving science behind nootropics, which are legal compounds designed to improve cognitive function, has become big business in Silicon Valley. Geoffrey sees the human body as a quantifiable and manipulable system, and the next platform for innovation and growth. Along with his employees, he is also an enthusiastic proponent of fasting, Together, they have built a vibrant community of like-minded followers, known as WeFast. They regularly deprive themselves of food, in the pursuit of good health and longevity. In this in-depth interview, Geoffrey shares his enthusiasm for biohacking and explains why he believes everyone will be fasting within the next two years.

Episode 18 - James Maskell

June 20, 2017 - James Maskell is a writer, public speaker, entrepreneur and advocate for a new paradigm in healthcare. The author of The Evolution of Medicine, James is the founder of the Functional Forum, an integrative medicine conference that curates discussions with leading medical practitioners around the world. Next week, James will co-host the launch of an ambitious project to make Guernsey the first community in the world to achieve a life expectancy of 100. Named 'Journey to 100,' the goal is to radically improve the health and longevity of people living on the island through a greater emphasis on preventative medicine, purpose in life and a proactive approach to wellbeing.

Episode 17 - Curt von Badinski

June 13, 2017 - Curt von Badinski is a serial tinkerer, inventor, entrepreneur and businessman. As a mechanical engineer he worked on secret projects at the aerospace company, Lockheed Martin; he developed network equipment at the IT giant, Cisco Systems, and he built a family company making camera accessories. It was during this enterprise that Curt realized his work-obsessed and sleep deprived “crazy” lifestyle was making him sick. It was a light-bulb moment that convinced Curt to use his tech expertise to focus on his health and longevity. He created Motiv, a San Francisco-based startup, with the initial goal of developing a discreet hand ring to monitor physical activity and sleep patterns. The Motiv Ring launches during the summer. Curt still lives a moderately crazy lifestyle, as LLAMA host Peter Bowes discovered, when they met in Burbank, California.

Episode 16 - Sue Albert

June 6, 2017 - In the months before her retirement, Sue Albert was worried that she may not survive to enjoy her golden years. She spent a lifetime in nursing, and ended her career as the dean of a health department at a California college. But Sue was burned out and sick. She had neglected her own health needs and was overweight, hypertensive and physically challenged. She decided to join a gym and, albeit reluctantly, embarked on a life-changing – possibly life-saving – workout regime. This week Sue heads to Belarus to compete in the World Powerlifting Championships. LLAMA host Peter Bowes met Sue at her gym, Results Fitness, in Newhall, California, for an inspiring conversation about her new-found youth and vitality. She reveals the secret to her physical and mental transformation - swapping her “can’t do” attitude for the mindset of a champion weightlifter.

Episode 15 - David Gems

May 30, 2017 - The biological mechanisms at work during the aging process have long since intrigued and baffled scientists. Indeed, the very definition of aging continues to be the subject of much debate. The relationship between growing old and chronic disease is pivotal to the understanding of human longevity and the focus of many clinical studies. Dr. David Gems is a professor of biogerontology at the Institute of Healthy Aging, University College London. A leading voice in the quest to unravel the mysteries of aging, he works with tiny worms, called nematodes, to try to shed some light on the process. In this in-depth interview, David reveals why his theories about aging have shifted over the years. He argues that there is no central “underlying aging process” caused by damage or the body wearing out, as scientists once thought. The reality, he says, is “more complex and nuanced”.

Episode 14 - James Cole

May 23, 2017 - People with a brain age older than their bodies could be at greater risk of dying early, according to a recent study. Dr. James Cole, a neuroscientist at Imperial College London, led a research project using MRI scans and a computer program to predict a person’s brain age. The system, which is still in development, could help spot people whose lifestyles put them at greater risk of poor health and early death. LLAMA host Peter Bowes visited Hammersmith Hospital in London for this in-depth interview with Dr. Cole, who explains how data for the study was collected and how the findings could be used to help people live longer lives. He also discusses what some people call “the mosaic of aging”, the idea that different tissues and systems in the body can age at a different pace.

Episode 13 - Leslie Saxon

May 16, 2017 - Implanted devices that monitor the internal functioning of our bodies, in minute detail, could soon be part of our daily lives. Many of us already take for granted the wearable gadgets and apps we use to keep track of exercise and food intake. Technological advances in the field of body computing are moving quickly and are about to revolutionize the way we manage aging and everyday wellbeing. Dr. Leslie Saxon is a professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC). She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and the prevention of sudden cardiac death. The founder and executive director of USC’s Center for Body Computing and the newly formed USC Virtual Care Clinic, Dr. Saxon is a global authority on the development of wearable and implanted technology. In this in-depth interview, she discusses the potential for body computing to enhance our lives and longevity.

Episode 12 - Steven Eisenberg

May 9, 2017 - Living a healthy lifestyle goes a long way towards reducing the chances of an early death, but some diseases still strike with little warning and deadly effect. You can do everything right and still get cancer. Dr. Steven Eisenberg is an oncologist, based in the California city of San Diego. Board-certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology, he has been recognized for his compassionate bedside manner. He is best known for singing to his patients. Not only does he burst into song on the ward, he writes heart-lifting and personalized lyrics for his patients. In this in-depth interview he talks about his desire to provide an empathetic environment for people as they face up to their diagnosis. Dr. Eisenberg also shares his thoughts on the roles of diet, exercise and mindfulness in cancer prevention.

Episode 11 - Edith Avise

May 2, 2017 - Edith Johnson Avise recently moved into a care home, at the age of 100. After a lifetime of independent living, she is finding it difficult to adapt to her new surroundings. The home, in Southern California, is comfortable and safe, but Edith still has a spirited attitude towards life. She enjoyed a successful career as an agricultural educator, or extension worker, in her home state of Michigan. She traveled the country and worked closely with 4-H, the youth organization that teaches young people life skills through practical programs. In this candid interview Edith shares her life experiences and wisdom. She reveals what she considers to be the key tenets to living a long and healthy life and puts into context the value of living to a ripe old age. Edith is sharp, quick-witted, and remarkably honest.

Episode 10 - Paul Irving

April 25, 2017 - Paul Irving has no intention of ever retiring. As chairman of the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging, he is a leading campaigner in what has become known as the purposeful aging movement. A lawyer and former president of the Santa Monica-based Institute, Paul is an advocate for the elderly population, whom he sees as a talented and “dramatically underutilized” resource for society. Author of The Upside of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing the World of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose, he says longevity is creating an entirely new definition of what it is like to be old. From going back to school in your sixties to romances springing up late in life, Paul views aging with relish and optimism. In this in-depth interview, he explains why he considers aging, along with climate change, to be the “great challenge of the 21st century”. He also discusses the Institute’s upcoming global conference, ‘Building Meaningful Lives,’ taking place in Los Angeles from April 30-May 3, 2017.

Episode 09 - Nathaniel “Ned” David

April 18, 2017 - Imagine a future where we grow old but do not succumb to the diseases that typically define the aging process. Dr. Nathaniel “Ned” David, a molecular and cell biologist, wants to create a world where it does not hurt to grow old. The founder of multiple biotech companies, Ned is the President of UNITY, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company which aims to develop drugs that prevent, halt, or reverse age-related diseases. Named one of the Top 100 innovators in the world under 35, by the MIT Technology Review, Ned combines personal experience with a passion for changing the definition of old age. In this in-depth interview, he discusses his goal of producing a drug to target senescent cells that are linked to some of the diseases of old age. Ned also talks about his personal quest to avoid age-related cognitive decline and to overcome a debilitating condition, degenerative disc disease, which means he is no longer able to run.

Episode 08 - Caroline Cicero and Matthew Hoffman

April 11, 2017 - When Matthew Hoffman decided to interview elderly people, to hone his skills as a TV host, he stumbled across a unique community project. Matthew, a writer and actor, is the founder of Tuesdays with Matthew, an acting class and video series for senior citizens in Los Angeles. The program, at an adult day care center, takes iconic scenes from famous movies and reenacts them with senior citizens in the lead roles. At a time when many elderly people say they enjoy good health, but often feel socially isolated and lonely, the class is a fun and novel way to inject new purpose into their lives. It may just help them to live longer. Dr. Caroline Cicero teaches social policy and aging at the University of Southern California, Davis School of Gerontology. She focusses on the intersection of aging, urban planning and the delivery of services to make local communities better places to grow old. For this episode of LLAMA, Dr. Cicero reviews Tuesdays with Matthew. She explains why it could promote longevity by focussing on aspects of life such as socialization, participation and inclusion. LLAMA host Peter Bowes spoke to Dr Cicero in Los Angeles and visited Tuesdays with Matthew to meet some remarkable, age-defying, seniors.

Episode 07 - Ben Hwang

April 4, 2017 - Ben Hwang is the chairman and CEO of Profusa, a San Francisco-based biotechnology company, that is developing micro sensors to monitor body chemistry. A former management consultant, Ben earned his MA and PhD in biology from the Johns Hopkins University. He has worked in a variety of biotech roles and is dedicated to developing technology that promotes good health and longevity. Profusa (@profusaInc) is on a mission to make the inner workings of our bodies more accessible. The goal, using micro sensors, is to gather information about internal biochemical changes, in real time. The 3 to 5 mm long sensors are designed to be compatible with the body’s tissues for long-term monitoring. They collect data, transmitted to external devices, providing a stream of information for long-term health and wellness. Ben Hwang spoke to LLAMA host, Peter Bowes, at TEDMED in California.

Episode 06 - Eric Verdin

March 28, 2017 - Eric Verdin is the president and chief executive officer of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. The institute, based in Novato, Northern California, is America's first and largest independent body focussed on the biology of aging. Until recently, Dr. Verdin was a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, in San Francisco, where he studied the role of metabolism and diet in aging. A world-renowned expert in the field, Dr. Verdin is trying to better understand the mechanisms linking caloric restriction to increased health span and longevity.

Episode 05 - Alia Crum

March 21, 2017 - How is human longevity influenced by our mindsets on aging, diet, exercise and stress? Inspired by research on the placebo effect, Alia Crum (@AliaCrum), an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford University, investigates the role mindset plays in health and lifestyle choices. She is trying to understand how mindsets can have a positive impact on the way the body heals and whether they can be influenced to bring about physical and psychological well-being.

Episode 04 - Nir Barzilai

March 14, 2017 - Nir Barzilai is a professor of medicine and genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the director of the Institute for Aging Research. He is best known for his work with some of the world’s oldest populations and is currently leading an international effort to aprove drugs that could target aging. Dr. Barzilai was born in Isreal and has had a life-long interest in the mechanisms that control the aging process. He hypothesizes that centenarians have protective genes which delay aging or protect against age-related diseases.

Episode 03 - Aseem Malhotra

March 7, 2017 - Aseem Malhotra is a campaigner against the excessive consumption of sugar. A National Health Service (NHS) doctor and consultant cardiologist in the UK, he believes that too much sugar in our diets can lead to medical conditions commonly associated with aging – including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. A global health advocate and avowed foodie, Aseem is also a writer, and recently completed ‘The Big Fat Fix’ – a film which highlights what he sees as the myths behind our understanding of sugar, fat, and exercise.

Episode 02 - Olga Connolly

March 7, 2017 - Olga Connolly is an Olympic gold medalist, who triumphed during the 1956 games in Melbourne. She threw the discus for her home country, Czechoslovakia. During the competition, she fell in love with, and later married, American athlete Harold Connolly – a controversial move at the height of the Cold War. Now 84, Olga has forged a career in fitness, working as a personal trainer at the University of California, Irvine, specializing in holistic fitness studies and training.

Episode 01 - Valter Longo

March 7, 2017 - Valter Longo is Director of the University of Southern California (USC) Longevity Institute and a professor in biological science. Originally from Italy, he is a cell biologist who specializes in the mechanisms of aging in yeast, mice, and humans. His laboratory has identified genetic pathways that regulate aging in simple organisms and reduce the incidence of certain diseases in mice and humans. Valter has also developed a dietary regime – known as the fasting mimicking diet – that may reduce risk factors for aging in people.

Episode 0 - Welcome to LLAMA

March 2, 2017 - Peter Bowes, a journalist and Los Angeles-based broadcaster, presents the launch episode of the Live Long and Master Aging (LLAMA) podcast. In each episode, we interview leading longevity scientists and remarkable people who have mastered the art of aging, exploring the science and stories behind human longevity.