Episode 30: Art De Vany Talks About Hollywood Economics, the Paleo Way, and the Role of Fitness and Diet in Aging

IHMC // Jan 31, 2017

Dr. Art De Vany is an American economist known for his work on the Hollywood film industry. He is perhaps best known, however, as the grandfather of the paleo diet, a high-protein, high-fiber way of eating similar to the way our hunter-gather ancestors ate during the Stone Age.

Born in 1937, he has had a varied career that began right out of high school when he signed a baseball contract with the Hollywood Stars, a minor-league affiliate of the Pittsburg Pirates. Even though he could “run like a deer” and “hit the ball out of sight,” his poor eyesight ended his baseball career and led him the UCLA where earned a doctorate in economics. He spent most of his academic career studying Hollywood and the film industry. His research has ranged from “Hollywood Economics: How Extreme Uncertainty Shapes the Film Industry” to “Quality Revaluations and the Breakdown of Statistical Herding in the Dynamics of Box Office Revenues.”

De Vany turns 80 in August and has spent the past 40 years living the paleo way. He outlined his diet and fitness philosophy in “The New Evolution Diet: What Our Paleolithic Ancestors Can Teach Us About Weight Loss, Fitness and Aging.”

He is working on a new book that’s tentatively titled “Renewing Cycles: Healing the Wounds of Aging Through Improved Cellular Defense and Systemic Signaling.” De Vany gave a lecture at IHMC in Pensacola last December where he talked about the New Evolution Diet” as well as his upcoming book on aging.

In Episode 30 of STEM-Talk, host Dawn Kernagis and IHMC Founder Ken Ford have a wide-ranging conversation with De Vany that covers his statistical study of home-run hitting to the dynamics of box-office revenues to the role that exercise and diet play in aging.

0:15: Dawn welcomes Ken, who talks briefly about Art’s background.

1:32: Dawn announces the winning iTunes review.

2:05: Dawn and Ken give an overview of Art’s career and research.

3:12: – Dawn welcomes Art to the show.

3:50: Art talks about his youth and how he started weightlifting as a teen-ager.

5:23: He signs with the Pittsburg Pirates and talks about playing in segregated baseball parks in the South, which was something he had never experienced before.

7:40: Ken and Art compare the lean physiques of great sluggers active in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s such as Ted Williams, Hank Aaron and Carl Yastrzemski with today’s much larger home run hitters.

10:37: Art recalls how debates with one of his professors at UCLA about central planning versus decentralized control systems led him into economics.

13:10: Dawn asks Art to talk about his research into the economics of Hollywood.

16:17: Art explains the impact of movies like “The Titanic,” which can generate 10 percent of all the box-office revenues during a year that will see 600 to 700 movies that are released.

17:06: Dawn asks Art to share his fondest scientific and professional memories.

18:11: In 1979, Art’s newborn son is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and leads to Art’s interest and research into metabolism.

20:20: Dawn asks Art to describe the most profound power laws he has discovered in his pursuit to counter the aging process.

22:26: Ken shares his thoughts about “The New Evolution Diet,” which he describes as beautifully built on Art’s personal interest in evolution and his professional interest in complex stochastic systems.

25:26: Art explains how the book grew out of his realization that insulin controls the pathways that drive growth and obesity as well as shutting down the protective pathways.

26:45: Art describes genes as Bayesian forecasters arising from non-genetic influences on genetic expression.

28:17: Ken inquires about Art’s time at the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, which Art describes as a dream place for him.

30:05: Dawn asks Art to expand upon his comment that there’s no such thing as healthy aging.

33:22: Art responds to Dawn’s question about Blue Zones and points out that the healthiest long-term aging individuals have low insulin, high strength, and they have not exhausted their subcutaneous body fat.

36:10: Ken asks Art about the role that exercise and diet play in epigenetics and molecular-level changes.

41:10: Art addresses how muscle development aids the immune system and how strength is probably the best predictor of a person’s future longevity.

44:13: Ken asks Art to expand on his comments that body composition is one of the best predictors of longevity.

46:25: Ken and Art talk about sarcopenia, the age-related loss of lean muscle mass, strength and functionality, and how baby boomers are looking for ways to fend it off.

50:22: Dawn asks Art to talk about the notion of hierarchical sets in weightlifting and what might account for their effectiveness.

52:55: Art describes his current exercise routine.

55:54 Dawn, Ken and Art discuss the negative impacts of marathons, triathlons and other inefficient training regimens.

58:18: When Dawn asks Art to share his views about the best way for older people to maintain their fast-twitch muscles, he points out that it’s possible for people to double their strength even at age 90.

1:00:39: Art expands upon his thoughts about sarcopenia and how it’s driven by general anabolic resistance. “You’re either building new cells or you’re removing damaged ones and regenerating them,” he says.

1:05:25: Ken asks Art for his thoughts on beta hydroxyl butyrate induced HDAC inhibition in treating diseases and extending longevity.

1:09:14: Art talks about antagonizing the body through fasting, semi-starvation, and intense exercise as ways to prolong longevity.

1:10:07: Dawn asks art about the evidence to support that humans were grazers.

1:12:39: Art explains his thoughts about pre- and post-workout nutrition.

1:15:56: Art gives an overview of the new book he is writing.

1:19:27: Art doesn’t think people appreciate the robust survival capacity they have, which they inherited from their Ice Age ancestors.

1:21:51: Dawn thanks Art for an interview that she describes as great fun and signs off.