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Interviewer: We are here with author and journalist David Ewing Duncan. David is the correspondent for NPRÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Biotech Nation, he is also the director of the new Life Science Policy Center, UC Berkeley, and the author of a brand new book called, Experimental Man, which David sounds very sci-fi but it really is kind of a great mystery, and it startsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it goes to all life and lifeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s history on earth to you, of course it is all about you ultimately. David Ewing Duncan: Well yes, and in fact, some people have mistaken it for a science fiction book, and I thinkÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ I hope they are not too disappointed, although I hasten the ad until recently this was mostly science fiction actually, and sort of test. In fact, you can envision not too far on the future this even beingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ if you remember, sorry about all you trekies out there, but the sci-fi sick bay, I mean the enterprise sick bay on Star Trek where they would device over somebody and be able to figure out with this thingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: It wasnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t just TV? David Ewing Duncan: Yes, we are actually closer to that than we might realize, in fact it may happen, what was that between the 23rd century, I think it is probably going to happen more like later this century. Interviewer: It is a little bit of frightening concept, and you point this on the book, the knowledge comes not just with responsibility, but we have a lot of bad information and scary information for people, and the question really isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ how are people going to deal with that? David Ewing Duncan: Well, we are in transition phase, and we have a lot of this in history, we are transitioning from really one period to another, thanks to some new dramatic technology, and in this case it is a whole broad range of technologies that allow us to look at ourselves in a way we never seen ourselves before, our genes, and inside of our organs. I have seen the inside of parts of my organs flying around there like fantastic voyage, that movie back in the 60ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s. Interviewer: I am not sure how to feel about that, but I have seen much more of you that I have ever imagine that I would see. Because that is what this book is, it is very revealing internally, and I am wondering whether that was difficult for you, because we have known each other for a whileÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ you are an outgoing guy, but this is like [overlap] the scalpel you used to open it up. David Ewing Duncan: Well, I started this as a journalist, trying to find out good ways to report on this story, the science writer how do you talk about genetics, and it is still, even today, even to me, after all those work, it is still abstract, it is sort of computer code, now I am not a computer guyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ idea that there is all these mysterious code and background of the computer is still somewhat scary to me at times, when my computer starts breaking down, and James and some of his hidden secrets are the same way, after my initialÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ kind of hit on this as a journalist, I am finding out a little bit about. I think I carry as myself, but it is a mix of, like all technology, it is sort of a double edge sword, you might find out something about you that is fascinating. Looking around inside of your heart or something in one of this virtual reality scenarios with your heart, but you are flying around inside of it, it is kind of cool, and you start thinking. Well, that is my heartÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: Right. But it is irritating because it is you, and you do not have anything fundamentally wrong with you. I might have been more simpatico with the guy or a woman who had all sorts of things wrong with them. And you are saying throughout the book that you are basically healthy, you did have a predisposition to heart problems, but even that is a little unclear and you got contradictory messages, which personally would drive me nuts. David Ewing Duncan: Like you are saying, the science is still a little uncertain, we were between times, you do not get a lot of really clear answers in this technology, but I think we are really close on a lot of this. Now, heart attack test in fact was one of the two or three items that of news that I did learn something about myself, which I did not entirely expect. I was so much skeptical about a lot of those testing, but I did find out I have a dramatically high risk of heart attack on a certain scenarios with the test thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ but I do come from a healthy family there is no heart disease in the family really to speak up, and I had a score from my internist like people who turn 50, you will get a heart attack risk score and it was very low. Then along the hall these guys test me in a company called Intellos [ph] down South San Francisco, and they put up on the screen on a PowerPoint my risk factor and it is going up like thisÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it should be like thisÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: You mean this is your age line on the other side? David Ewing Duncan: Well, noÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it is the risk factor versus years out. So this is a 20-year risk factor. Interviewer: So how much time you got? David Ewing Duncan: The first one they showed me I did not have much time, but the interesting thing about this isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and what makes it useful is, there are different scenarios, so they can show you, if I gain a pound a year, which is average for a man over 40ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ right? I mean, unfortunately we know being over 40ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: Speak for yourself. David Ewing Duncan: Well, okay, I will speak for myself. [laughs] But that is the average for a man over 40, its getting a pound a year. So, that is what my graph said, if I have just a normal trajectory of weight gain, which I was pretty much onÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ I was at my late 40s, I probably put on a few pounds, but if I do not gain any weight at all, I zero out on my risk factor for heart disease. That is useful. Interviewer: That is practical, and you mentioned in the book that you lost 10 pounds, but I have to ask you, because you also talked about other genes and other genetic traits that predisposed one, to being a narcissist, I am not sureÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: I said those genes do not exist, but they might. Interviewer: They might. What I want to know isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ is this gleamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ naked photo on the front, before the 10 pounds or after the 10 pounds? David Ewing Duncan: Who is that? Is that you? Interviewer: Well, no. I think it is a predisposition blond year, I do not think I have that. David Ewing Duncan: Those are back in your blonde days. Interviewer: Those were my blonde days. David Ewing Duncan: I was sort of talked in to that, but that was a picture taken for the original story, that this book started with McGuire Magazine, and a great photographer named Mark Striver who does a lot of covers for Vanity Fair and People and lots of other magazines, that was what he asked me to do. Probably, because that story started with the words, I feel naked, exposed. So, anyway I agree to that, went down to Los Angeles I spent 4 hours basically running around with a towel [overlap] Interviewer: You are not going to tell, I have heard this excuse before in other cases, that you did not know that this was going to be a naked picture. David Ewing Duncan: No, I knew. In fact, I went on an emergency workout regimentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ to thread like dieselÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ I am not sure if it worked, butÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: One of the things that was a little bit disturbing in the book about the futureÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ the predictability of things through genetic testing is thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ there is a sense of hope and ignorance in a way, there is sort of a magic to it thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ you call it a belief system, or you just want to believe. And this would seem to strip away the mystery, that maybe keeps a lot of people going. David Ewing Duncan: I think there is a deep philosophical issue that goes through this whole process in doing a book like this, and we need to remember here that I am posing as every man here, this could be you, in fact it probably will beÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and certainly our kids would get this kind of test, and not only are you facing this information about your health, but you are finding out things, we have not talked about the brain yet. The brain is the scariest, and most mysterious organ in our bodies, and that part of it was much more frightening to me is some ways. These are machines that are reading your mind, and it is crude and it probably [overlap] Interviewer: Probably better machines than people, you know what I meanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ you can pull the plug David Ewing Duncan: Yes, exactly. Interviewer: But you are talking about something called the eye meterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it is a portable device that you can \ carry around with you, and would not only read up to date your genetic factors inside of you but also read environmental factors and it would include psychological and I am reading this in your book and I am thinking to myself, this is like a Woody Allen interior monologue only without the funny stuff this is like a prescription for being neurotic, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œDo not go in there, you will get depressed,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ I mean, how far do you go with this? David Ewing Duncan: Well, one of the researchers IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ in fact the guys who did the heart attack profile, I said, arenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t you going to make people really paranoid of this stuff, and they sort of look at me for a minute, and they said, well all we are going to do is give you more tools if you are already paranoid, to be even more paranoid. Interviewer: Well, I would pay money for that. David Ewing Duncan: To make yourself more paranoid? Interviewer: Yes. David Ewing Duncan: Alright. People have different sensibilities about this, I am probably the right person to write a book like this, because I do not think a lot about this, coming from a relatively healthy company, I do not think a lot about getting sick. But there are obviously families out there that do have diseases running through their families, this in all seriousness, these kinds of test might not necessarily be for them at this point, because you do get fuzzy information that might scare you for no particular reason, like some of this genetic test are really, the probabilities that are still being validated. Interviewer: One of the scientist in your book is quote in saying, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWe shouldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t do these things until we have something we can do about it,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ until we know that we have something that we can treat people for, and I think that seems to me like the danger. You start the book talking aboutÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ your firstÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ I do not know if this is your first test, but the anecdote is you are out fishingÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ you are out fishing because you want to test how much mercury goes up when you eat certain fish. Here is what I want to ask you, Jeremy Piven mercury poisoning fact or fiction? David Ewing Duncan: I think there is some truth to itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ or could be anyway, and you could alsoÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ I have been trying to get out of this contractÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it is a little strange, if you think about all the different ways he could get out of his contract, that is a pretty bizarre one. Interviewer: Uncreative actually. David Ewing Duncan: Yes, or possiblyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: In the galleys of your book. David Ewing Duncan: Well, it is a major thing throughout the book, which is of course the book is genes, environment, brain, and body. And this idea of a pollutant in the air, or in our food, like mercury plays through all of those different sections of the book. We have genetic sensitivity, some people it appears have genetic sensitivity to mercury exposure and exposure to other chemicals. The chemical itself has certain damage to your cells and then in mercuryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s case, it settles in your brain in some forms and you can actually see that in extreme levels, scansÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ so that is a case whereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ that particular pollutant works it way throughout the book. But Jeremy Piven who knows, but the scenario fits, he was sick, he went inÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ flushed his body, he was in the hospital, whatever story they were saying, and then he is out partying like a month or two later. Well, it takes only a few weeks for mercury to clear out of your body. So if he stopped eating the sushi or whatever it was. I mean, it is not an impossible scenario. Interviewer: Wow, tonight on ET, David Ewing Duncan. I want to read some quotes, and I strung them together here just sort of make the point they come from your book, and basically come from the scientist that you spoke to, a lot of scientist throughout your research. This is about, for all but a few of the SMPs there is no direct functional link, no mechanism of cause and effect, and you put Francis Collins saying, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œJust because we have identified does not mean its function or its impact has been thoroughly understood.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ But that gene has any predictive value. You had someone else saying, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œA lot of heavy breathing here but no romance.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ Your hard data, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIllustrates the using individual SMPs, to predict the future course of a disease for a human beingsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ problematic at best.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ HarvardÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s David Altshuler compared this stuff tarot card reading and fortune telling. So, there is a point in the book where you as a reader go, okay, so where are we. Are we just talking about things that will in the future be able to predict more accurately, or are we just talking about a lot of expensive fancy science. David Ewing Duncan: Well, that is partly, as you well know, that is what we journalist do, we talk to the guys and say, this is fabulous, and we talk to the guy to sayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ [overlap] Exactly. It is that, final and [indiscernible 12:36] these are the guys, being very skeptical, you also have the 23andMe of the world, and a lot of other people, especially in the google culture that think this information is fabulous. [overlap] Interviewer: Direct consumer geneticÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: Right, exactly. By the way, [indiscernible 12:51] most of them anyway were pretty famous geneticist, for those who do not know Francis Collins who was involved in the Human Genome project and David Altshuler from Harvard. But most major scientist geneticist are skeptical with this information because they understand the science, most of the genetic studies are focused on big populations, like say, Iceland because a lot of these were done, or parts of North America, and I am not really intended to be used yet for individuals. That is one of the problems, it can tell you, if you have a high risk for macular degeneration, that just places you on a population but it is not necessarily means you will get macularÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: Yes, I mean you did get contradictory information about your heart risk and that seems to be to you as you wrote about it, confusing. You sort of wonder if, I mean you write very importantly about your brother. While he shares obviously many traits with you, has degenerative bone disease, and it really sort of point at piece not because ofÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ just because of his suffering and what he is going through. And he was willing to put himself through this similar batteries of test. But because the question came upÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ would if we have known about this, would my parents have done anything differently, would they treated us differently, would we have grown up differently. And these are the kind of questions, it is likeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ you think of the presidentsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Lincoln may never have been president because he was prone to depression, Kennedy may never have been president because he had AddisonÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Disease. FDR may not have been president, because he had polio. I mean, there is a danger, you are talking about privacy issues, this is all going to be up on Facebook someday, but there is also a kind of life, taking its natural course, that has led us, and you listed, the geniuses of the 50ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s and 60ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s, like the geniuses of earlier eras. IsnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t there a danger of that we are going to lose that. David Ewing Duncan: Well, you mentioned the movie Gattaca. Interviewer: Right, you talk about it in your book. David Ewing Duncan: Right, and that was a dystopia, it was the society in the future that usesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ they do not do anything without checking their genes, they do not date, they do not get a job. In fact, you were not allowed to have a job, if you do not have the right genetics. And that turns out that is a little bit wrong scientifically, because genes are just part of the equation, the environment is also important, but the idea here is that, you mentioned a little device that I talked about in the book, which Ihealth, I just sort of made up that name, but it factors in. Interviewer: I think Steve Job is calling you right now. David Ewing Duncan: Yes, hopefully. Because that means he is doing better. But I fully believe in a generation or two, we will have so much information aboutÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and probabilities about, if we walk left or right, we eat this or eat that, or if we take this job or that job, we will actually have that information, it would not be just genetic, it would be a mix of environmentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ environmental factors and genetics. But I do not know, on the one hand, that sounds scary to us, but on the other hand, some of the technologies we use like even simple things like cellphones in car, people were terrified of automobiles and trains when they first came out. [overlap] Interviewer: One other thing, you did not talk about the brain research, which is fascinating, but also tracing your lineage back, and you kind of trace it back very successfully. And that is a cool part of the mystery of this book, you trying to solve the mystery of where you come from. And you do a pretty go job of, and then you go back the middle ages in essence, but then you take a sort of quantum leap back further and talk about, you are related to puffer fish, and some [overlap]. David Ewing Duncan: Are you singling me out of this Mr. Descendant from a puffer fish? We are all descendant from a puffer fish. Interviewer: Alright, well okay, if it is that common, then maybe we are not interested, but I was fascinated and I thought about you, I did not think about me when I thought about puffer fish, there is nothing personal, but you were the writer, but you also talked aboutÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ is the gene. The predisposition, you also talked about HelenaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ is it? David Ewing Duncan: Right. Interviewer: 30,000 years ago that, is all Caucasian are descendant, or there was some lineage? David Ewing Duncan: No, actually, Helena was the invention of a guy named Psykes [ph] in Oxford University, who wrote the Seven Daughters of the Universe, it is a bestselling book, and all that means is, that you can trace yourself backward through your DNA to very early mothers of ours, way back. [overlap] he named it. But you actually can trace yourself back, in to a single, factors of mitochondrial eve as they call her, and mitochondrial being part of your cells and they have their own particular genes. Interviewer: That was the 6,000 year ago thing? David Ewing Duncan: Yeah. But this goes back to a woman in Africa that we are all descended from, a single woman, I even have hard time wrapping around how that could be so. But when you look at geneticÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: ActiveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ veryÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦yes, very active woman. But we were apparently, homo sapiens were just a few thousand probably at one point in Africa, those sort of choke period, and you can tell that from the genetics, because we are also similar. Interviewer: Well, I do not want to degenerate too much of it, but the thing that left out of me immediately was that the only descendant today alive, closest relative to a T-Rex is a chicken and I thought, I am not sure who should be more offended there. David Ewing Duncan: Well, actually it is birds in generally, and they happen the C-F sequence the chicken so that was close, but it is probably most birds, chicken-like birds not all bird species, but what that means is that they found out more and more information. In fact, there was just a discovery the other day of feathers imprinted on a rock of a dying dinosaur, and it is pretty clear that there were certainÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ there is this avian and non avian dinosaur, and T-Rex has probably did not have feathers. But the weird thing about that story isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ that there are dormant genes in all organisms that have been around for a long time like us, descended from the puffer fish and other thing, and there are genes in the chicken that if you activate them, they would actually turn in to little dinosaurs, they are just inactive, they would grow teeth, they would have little arms instead of wings, and tailÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: This is getting very Jurassic ParkÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ [overlap] David Ewing Duncan: Exactly, and in fact, Jack Horner is the paleontologist that was the adviser for Jurassic Park and he is the one that told me about this. Interviewer: It cost you this test, it was not clear in the book, I think you said, up to $300,000, but some outrageous amount of money, you also said essentially that this stuff really is for, who is going to use this, because you talked about, the larger problems of the world, and you have talked about the larger problems of the world and your other workÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ in other interviews. And there is a quote that said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThese testsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ and it sounded like plastic surgery in me, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œAnti-current, anti-aging shamanism with testosteroneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and steroids,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ but you said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œThis would be a product for mostly wealthy, relatively wealthy, narcissistic, hypochondriacs, and health insurance is looking for new ways to exclude risky patients.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬ David Ewing Duncan: What, I said that? Interviewer: Yes, you did. So I think that, or at least there was a quote, let us just put it that wayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ from you. It might not have been accurate, but is thereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ let me ask you if there is some truth to that? David Ewing Duncan: I think I was probably saying that with a bit of a smile, but there is some truth to thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ [overlap] I am smiling, but I think there is some short term truth to that, I do not know about the hypochondriac, because I actually do not think hypochondriacs, I think they are going to flee from this, they are not going to really want to know, unlessÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: Endless quiverÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ [overlap] David Ewing Duncan: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦unless it gives them something, could prove that they do not have things, we have not talked about that. A healthy person, you basicallyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ [overlap] Interviewer: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦but they do not talk about that. David Ewing Duncan: What if you find out you do not haveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it change your whole view of yourself, right? Interviewer: Then I have to start over. David Ewing Duncan: You are some other kind of craze maniacal geneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it is a kind of wealthy personÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s product at the moment, even 23andMe in these companies, it still cost several hundred dollars, but it is going down, rapidly in price, but still do not get that information, that is useful for healthy person, I did not want to go back to my brother for a second because one of the reason I told that story is to tell people that there is very serious science in medicine coming out of genetics, a lot of what we are talking about here is still sketchy, and a lot of the testing I have done, did not tell me all that much yet. But for rare disorders like what my brother Don has, that is pretty serious and there is a lot of interesting work being done, and clearly like the computer programming analogy I mentioned earlier. You can have flaw in your genetic programming it cost really serious diseases. There is much more known about that, and my brother and IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ there is a picture in the book of the two of us, we are dressed alike, we are 7 and 5, going way back when, my mother standing there. And we look almost identical but there is a little glitch inside of him, and it has cost him to have this brittle bone disease, called osteogenesis imperfecta and he basically is disabled now over this. We have not have that in our family, although we do have some evidence, we have mild versions of that, but his came out more severe, but that is where genetics get serious and some of this other information is more for helping people with very risk small factors for things like, even when it gets good, the information is correct, there will still be pretty small risk factors, and you may never ever get these diseases. Interviewer: So, in terms of development of these test, I mean you testified I think in Washington a little while ago, about this issueÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ there was a discussion about whether government should regulate these companies, first of all do you think they should? David Ewing Duncan: I think it should be like a lot of thingsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ [overlap] we are totally unregulated, basically they are totally unregulated. I think like a lot of things, if they get their act together, they should join forces and come up with their own type of regulations, but they do not seem to be doing that, but we will see, it is still a young industry. But there should have to be some regulation, and it may just be, it is interesting somebody told me this the other day and I completely agree, a bureau of standards issue, there is a lot of whatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s going on here with this companies. I do get completely different results in some cases, mostly they were the same, but the three major online companies, deCODEme, Navigenics and 23andme, gave me completely different results for heart attack and some other diseases too, and that is partly the way that they put together their risk factors, and you do need somebody coming in, just like the early days of the railroads, you had different size track, you have different size locomotives and pieces, I mean it was chaos, so the government came in and the bureau of standards, have to go actually before that, that agency there was equivalent agency at the time, came and said okay, here is the size of the tracks we are all going to use, let us all agree to that. Interviewer: See that is a discussion among reasonable people who are not crooks, but there is also the possibility with these things, where you send information blood to a company that just feels like this, boy, girl, let us see 50% ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ let us see 25% ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ they would not ask for their money back, so we are in good shape. David Ewing Duncan: Well, that is interesting because that part is regulated believe it or not, there is a series of laws that regulate all medical test, and the test have to be accurate within a certain statistical variance for the actual test, and genetic test are very accurate, the problem is the interpretation of the test, that is the part that is unregulated. I mean, you just get a bunch of As Cs Ts and Gs ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the four letters, that is not going to tell you anything, but that is accurateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ if you are an AA for instance and I am a GG and that is four letters, that is not going to tell you anything, but that is accurateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ if you are an AA for instance and I am a GG and that is Interviewer: Every time GG appeared in book, it seemed to not be a good thing. I do not know if that is true. David Ewing Duncan: Oh you would pick up those patterns. Interviewer: You as a great journalist, fully disclosed that your girlfriend is in this profession. So tell us a little bit about that. David Ewing Duncan: Well, she is dabbling in it, she has got a lot of other things going on right now, I come home and I talk about the idea, it is something I call envirogenetics which is the linkage of the environment and genetics, and Phil if we can come up with a better sexier wordÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: Envirogenetics, it does it for me, I do not knowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: I can explain it, it is very functional, it does not have a lot of poetry in it. Interviewer: It is called Jeremy Piven. David Ewing Duncan: There you go, now it is heads cleared, he has a lot of time to rest, maybe catch him after few beers at the bar. I write about things and I like to get up and talk and go and give speeches and things like that, my girlfriend starts companies. She has seen that no one is really jumping in to this, and she has not even really. Because she was so busy with other things, but it is clearly, I think an early stage kind of push for companies like 23andMe and even a company that my girlfriend or someone else might start, and in this case it is linking, it is liking these environmental factors, say mercury, and the genetic factors, and the differences though hopefully she has been listening to my skepticism, the idea with any kind of company she might form would be to really give the pros and cons of this. Make sure that people understand that it is very preliminary, which I think these other genetic companies are beginning to do. But I think it is still not entirely clear when you go on their sites, just how squishy some of this data is, some of it is good, some of it is not. Interviewer: The risk factorÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ I think, and all of these for me, reading the book wasÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ that was not GG it was TMIÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ I am not sure I want all that information, which makes me feel likeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ okay, I pick up this tap water and I drink, I got the water, I got the cup, and I got the air, so since you now have become an expert in environmental toxicity, we have decided to have a little display here. It looks like more of the storyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ or Julia ChildÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it is kind of Julia Child in radioactive suits. David Ewing Duncan: I was kind of wondering Phil, why we have like rubber ducky and a fish here. Interviewer: Well there is a connection David and I havenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t figured out yet, but by the end of the demonstration I will. So, the idea is, each of these things presents some hazardsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ everyday items, I would not say a ducky is an everyday for me, but maybe my kids, presents some environmental danger, so let us goÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: You can play with rubber dukies? Interviewer: I used to, but I really do not want to talk about it. Why do not you start, and tell us what we are looking at here and why we should be very afraid. David Ewing Duncan: Well, I do not know about very afraid. We should certainly be concerned, I do not want to scare people, but each of these items hereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦each of these products here, which are common products have chemicals, and in fact probably one of the largest enterprises in human history has been creating various chemicals, especially in the last couple of hundred years. Interviewer: 80,000ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: 80,000 registered chemicals at the EPA, and that probably does not even covered all of themÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: Are you impressed that I remember them? David Ewing Duncan: That was good, you remember a lot of them. That is goodÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ each of these chemical poses particular danger potentially, but jus to give you an overview of it. Those 80,000 chemicals, or things like pesticides, the dioxins, PCBs, plastic ingredients, you can go on and on down the list, and mostly inside of us humans, they end up, in fact, in most organisms, they end up in tiny little traces, of parts per billion, parts per trillion, and things like that, it can actually come from burning carbon, burning wood, so we have been exposed to that since we started using fire. So some of these chemicals have been around a long time. The question is, do this little tiny amounts actually cause harm or not, to humans. And that is the open question and part of what I write about in the book isÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ do not you think we should do a little more research on this? And the federal government is beginning toÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: Say open questions about toxicity, yes, certainly yesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: In fact, Europe just passed a law, the European parliament last year, that now requires new chemicals to actually be tested for toxicity before they are releasedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: That is not going to make the chemical industry happy. David Ewing Duncan: No it did notÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ it did not make the Bush administration either. Interviewer: Let us look at thisÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: Okay, let us start with an apple here, and I am tempted to eat it, because I didnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t have lunchÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: That is a good sign. David Ewing Duncan: Yes. I do not knowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ yeah I love applesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ by the way, it kept me from using most of these products with a few exceptions. But this apple I do not really know where it came from, I think it was bought in a nearby supermarket here. Interviewer: Adam&Eve. David Ewing Duncan: Yeah, there we go Adam&Eve, there is a snake outside, I do know this one is not organic, which means that unlikely, the spray of the pesticides, it is an interesting stories with pesticides, I end up having inside of me, very high levels of DDT. Which is the famous chemicalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and I grew up in Kansas, when they are still spraying this stuff. And so, it actually breaks down to a metabolite called DDE, and I have levels that are among the higher level that are found in the average population, and because of the way DDT breaks down in your body, it has a half-life of about 18 years, that means at my age, I probably have 3 or 4 times that level when I was kid, and since they banned DDT years ago, I probably have not been re-exposed to it very much, but they do not use DDT, that would not be on this apple. They are using other types, I have no idea what they sprayed this with, but one of the curious things about DDT versus the newer chemicals, DDT was a long lasting pesticide, that was part of the problem, it persisted in the environment for so long, it did a lot of damage to birds and some organism. Now, they use really toxic quick acting, which then dissipate quickly. Interviewer: So, you just do not want to inhale that moment? David Ewing Duncan: Yes, that makes it a little better, because this stuff actually starts breaking down, but I do not know what exactly is on there, but they almost certainly [overlap] Interviewer: Next is a very un-tasty looking slab ofÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ David Ewing Duncan: You bring your wasabeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ Interviewer: No, I do not have a jar that bigÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ go ahead. David Ewing Duncan: It is a big old piece of sushi there, I guess it is tuna right? Interviewer: Yes, it is tuna. David Ewing Duncan: Okay, it is a tuna steak. Well, the tuna steak tend to come from big tuna, this is where we are getting in the mercury, so mercury comes from coal burning power plants, and one of the curious things about being here in California Coast where we areÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ is that we are getting a lot of Asian mercury coming over now, and various pollutants, I read a study the other day, up to 25% of pollutants in LA ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ on Los Angeles are actually coming from Asia, and you can actually see these cloudsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ you can see it coming across on satelliteÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ and you cannot see the mercury because it is invisible, so it drops down to the Pacific, it gets in plankton and it is absorbed, and then it goes up the food chain, the little fish eat, and as you move up to big fish like big predator fish like tuna, it got much higher concentration. Various federal agencies like the FDA, and EPA, has suggestions especially for women at childbearing age, and children, eat very small amounts like a couple of times a month, big fish like this. Interviewer: I can take my temperature with that tuna. David Ewing Duncan: Yeah, exactly. Like you want to try? David Ewing Duncan: I have to hasten to add here though, that fish are really good for you, and you should eat fish, but the bigger the fish, the more mercury it is like to have. [overlap] I do not even really like big fish, so it was not a big sacrifice for me, if you are worried about mercury, eat smaller fish. Interviewer: Okay. Plastic wrap. David Ewing Duncan: This particular type of bottle and I do not know if again this specific bottle has got something called Bisphenol A, but you mayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ people have followed this chemicals even in the popular media and they have seen this referred to Bisphenol A, congressÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ actually the state legislation of California and other states in congress, in Washington has been considering banning Bisphenol A, it is a carcinogen, and it is in some plastic bottles, that is one of the problemsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ there is supposed to be a number in [indiscernible 34:35] but I cannot tell you what the numbers are, but supposedly that identifies it. You can also, by the way, go the EPA has a fabulous site now, just recently with our new administration, it has a lot of information about these chemicals, far more than I can impart here. So that is Bisphenol A, these other products here, all have a chemical in it called phthalateÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ so that is the stuff that makes plastic malleable like this, because plastic is normally pretty rigid, it is made out of petroleum and it can be in a little rubber duckiesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ plastic wrap, so phthalates can disrupt various hormones, they have some cancer-causing properties, they have mostly been banned in toy products like thisÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ because kids used to chew on them, and they would get some higher levels of phthalates in them. It can also be released according to some studies in micro 11, if you put it on plastic. I personally, I suggest to people justÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ why use plastic, use a ceramic or some other containerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ [overlap] Interviewer: That is [indiscernible 36:04] and I wrap that fish, and I put it in a microwave, I wore the sunglassesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ ate the apple while I was waiting, and handled the rubber duckie, what would my exponential risk be? David Ewing Duncan: Phil, I hate to say this, but someday you might die. Interviewer: Okay. Well, that is the conclusion, thank you David, the book is Experimental Man, you get it I think, well David has gone through many test, it turns out the only thing that will make him glow is if you buy the book, so thanks for being here. David Ewing Duncan: That would make me glow, thanks.