Today I got to interview Heather Heine from Talking20. I hope you enjoy it!
Ari: Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today we’re talking with Heather Heine of Talking Twenty. Hi, Heather.
Heather: Hi, Ari. How’s it going?
Ari: Good. Thank you for making the time. So first of all, let everyone know what Talking Twenty is.
Heather: Sure, Talking Twenty is basically a new type blood test service. We are bringing as much of your personal information, essentially to the tip of your fingers. You put a couple drops of your blood on one of our filter cards, let it dry and then mail it in to us. We run, initially, a few dozen blood tests off of that drop and we’re basically working out to run hundreds of tests off that drop with our technology. It’s pretty exciting.
Ari: Well, that’s amazing. Getting your blood tested is usually an unpleasant process for people so if you can kind of do it at your convenience, when you’re ready to do it, and doing it at home, that’s really nice. What kinds of things are you able to test for right now?
Heather: Right, so what we’re doing is we’re offering a couple of different panels. We’re testing for almost all the vitamins so many of the d vitamins; vitamin d3. We’re also running hormones so estradiol, progesterone and testosterone, CRP, a couple inflammatory markers – we’re just getting started right now. As well as cholesterol and sort of cardiovascular health mixture. And markers that everyone’s interested in and obviously several folks have just discovered that they need to be watching those things on a regular basis. Our hope is that you can begin to find out what your baseline is for a number of these molecules in your blood. As you try things, whether it’s taking vitamins or different supplements to adjust your PMS or what have you. You can watch how things change inside you and literally do this any time you want. To give you an example, we did an in-house test where I ate hamburgers and chicken mcnuggets and I tested my blood on ours cards by putting a couple drops on the card every hour, for ten hours. I watched my cholesterol actually double from baseline in an hour and a half after the meal. We saw that to be consistent with eating these high cholesterol foods and I’ve got now, this cholesterol going into my intestine and being absorbed into my blood and then now I am measuring it. And we did the same thing actually with multivitamins. We took a couple of those and we saw b vitamins go up within the hour that I took it. It’s pretty exciting to consider what might be possible when you start getting feedback from your own body with what you’re doing. Every meal you take and you have everything you eat, stress that you’re under, if you’re under, cortisol is a measurer of stress. Moment to moment if you're driving in traffic and you’re stressed or have a rough meeting a work, you’re going to see changes in cortisol. These are some of the examples of what we are trying to make available to the public in a way that no one has ever been able to do before.
Ari: Yes and you brought up a really, really fascinating thing that I hadn’t even thought of. Dealing with the most accessible blood testing services out there, it’s very 2010 internet style where you would post something and wait for a response. So with a lot of the blood testing, you’re getting your blood taken and then you wait and maybe it takes a few days or a week and then you deal with those results. But what you’re talking about is literally taking a test, having a meal, and then doing another test because it’s a small amount of blood obviously. That enables you to detect really interesting things as far as you can go test your sleep, you could test sexual activity, testosterone levels. You can test all sorts of things on a very, very granulated level. That is amazing.
Heather: What’s kind of a breakthrough here is ordinarily to get that information with the current way that the medical system has setup, you have to go into a lab and sit there with a big needle in your arm and give blood every couple of hours or however often you wanted. So, I think we’re just kind of making this much more accessible and my plan actually, I just finished a medical degree I did also a PHD, and I saw that the system I was training in are doing their best. There are a lot of really hardworking people trying to figure out our problems and share them with everybody and they’re a little overwhelmed. In medicine I'm sure we can all agree that there is the sense that there are so many people to treat and research takes a really long time to get after. So what we’re, I'm hoping to contribute here is getting everyone involved and participating. Even in just ways that are how to reduce stress. Frankly, somebody figured out that doing 30 days of yoga was better for their cortisol levels than doing running every other day. They told me about that online. I would be like I'm gonna go do that yoga right now. I think like harnessing the interest and the curiosity of the crowd, what we’ll start seeing is the discovery happening at an unprecedented rate. That’s what I hope we can do here by just giving everyone access to their own information, any time they want. Just let it go and just empower everybody and just let the thing go and when the sharing starts, I think it’s going to get really interesting.
Ari: I'm thinking further on that. Like C-reactive protein, like CRP you had mentioned and for those that don’t know C-reactive protein is kind of a generalized inflammatory marker that is particularly prevalent with endurance athletes and people with chronic inflammatory illnesses like myself with Chron’s where I was testing my CRP levels every 5 weeks because when they do a blood test in the lab, their taking quite a bit of blood so you really can’t do that very often. It would have been amazing for me to say Oh, is my CRP elevated today because I ran 13 miles or is it because my Chron’s is acting up? That’s a really scaffolding level of granularity. Most people obviously are used to going to a lab and having an IV stuck in their arm and having several vials taken, and then solution, and then sent off to the lab. So, is it as accurate and as accessible? I assume you send little lancets with the card they have?
Heather: We send the little lancet, that’s right. Just like a diabetic would have. You prick the front of your finger, it’s like a little bee sting, and the blood drops on the card and we caught 5 drops on the card on we only actually need one. But for our quality control purposes it’s better for us to take, we take little punches of that drop and we basically run this through our system with the same quality control that they do in a clinical setting. Something that’s not widely known is that most of the people that are listening here actually had this done to them when they were born. These cards and this technology have been around for decades actually. You get a little heel prick when you’re born and we put some of that blood on a card to make sure you don’t have certain metabolite disorders that can be quite dangerous. That’s legally required right now. This technology is quite established, there have been some improvements in the last couple of years that have helped us to recognize we need to bring this to the general public. And also we’ve committed that we’re going to be publishing all of our quality control and explain to everybody how we do that in-house and make this very clear like what the accuracy of every test is and how we are doing it. We want to encourage everyone who’s doing blood tests in the traditional way to actually run their test on the same day that they get other blood work done and share that with us too. I think it’s interesting to just sort of get everything out in the open and talk about how accurate tests are. I wanted to mention, you did mention CRP and I think there’s an interesting point I want to make on that. Inflammation, as you know quite well, it’s the immune system that acting sometimes against our own bodies, inappropriately. There’s different news that we are really familiar with. We’ve done a lot of research on it. We know how the system reacts to bacterial infections to viral infections, fungal infections, to auto-immune cases. We know actually the signaling molecules like CRP, these types of molecules involved in each of those processes we can actually tell the difference between those types of infections. This is something that we want to build. We haven’t got it running but we’ve been asked about it a lot. So now that you can get a blood that tells you you’ve got, like when you’re fighting the flu but you’re in the ten days before you can feel you have the flu, your immune system has been fighting this thing. You have like 50% of the flu but you can’t feel it. We can actually test things in you that will tell us that you’re fighting that or if you’re living in a home that has fungal or fungus in the basement and you’re sort of constantly getting this slight immune reaction to that you can’t feel. There’s a lot going on in there that you are not aware of. Your system is actually trying it’s hardest actually to keep you from noticing but you’re probably feeling a bit tired all the time. This is something that we are hoping to kind of crack the door on is actually types of infection and inflammation and what we call in hospitals like subclinical infections when you don’t have the symptom that you can see. If you’re coughing or your nose is running that is a symptomatic infection. Your system is screaming out that there is something wrong. You actually feel it and see it. But there is so much more happening that you can’t. I think when we begin to look at all that stuff and find out what it is, I think we can do a lot for health that we haven’t realized like why am I always tired? There’s a lot of things you kind of wonder What the hell’s going, pardon my French, What the heck is going on? I'm really interested to see what that starts to show. In your case as well, I think it could have been very helpful years before you really notice it.
Ari: Oh, 100 percent. Now, what are these tests gonna cost? Are they available now and what do they cost?
Heather: They are available now; we’re in the pre-shelf phase right now. We run a campaign so we have folks in line. The testing is available at TalkingTwenty.com and anything that is ordered right now, we have what we are calling a gold subscription that’s really popular. You basically get 36 or 24 of what we call gold cards and they will allow you to get every test that we develop in the next three years. Those are 12.99 and 9.95 right now. Basically, we’re shooting for this summer and we’ll have 17 tests up and running. We’re just going to be adding tens of tests on each week, each month – we’re basically developing those. Those are available now. I'm going to give you guys listening a discount. Anyone who types in LESS DOING, all caps, will get 15% off for the next two weeks. I think it ends March 20th or so. We’re gonna put 100 up there but if you guys want to basically go on for that discount, we’re happy to do that. This offer, actually if you compare it to conventional testing, this isn’t like 50 to $60,000 worth of tests over the lifetime of this subscription so you avoid to go into a lab and order each one. We’re doing it on a limited goal. Go ahead.
Ari: That is a really generous and amazing offer. And an amazing price to begin with for what you are offering. Thank you in advance for that. The last question that I like to ask in these interviews always is what are your top three personal productivity tips? The things that keep you on task and keep you being effective.
Heather: Right, right. Really good question. My answer is kind of interesting. I use my phone calendar and Google Docs and everything that everyone else uses. I think, to be honest, the productivity things for me have always been like doing what I actually love to do. It sounds very weird but when I left my career to do this company, suddenly I'm up at like 7, automatically every day. I'm in a good mood and I'm doing what I love and I think that combined with not commuting as much as I used to has really improved my productivity. I think I am happier and I'm thinking clearer. I think just doing what I really want to do is been my thing. I'm not working anymore. I just feel really good about what I'm doing. Most of the stuff that I'm up to is just easy. It’s kind of strange to say but I hope that’s okay Ari. I can give you the Google documents, not commuting, and just sort of doing what you love.
Ari: Wow. I think those were great. Those were absolutely great. If it’s working for you then I like to hear about it. I really appreciate those. Well, thank you so much for your time. I'm so excited to try these out myself, honestly, and I know that there’s lots of people who are listening and reading who will be trying them out as well. Heather, thank you again and I hope to talk to you soon.
Heather: No problem, thanks for your interest Ari.