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Richard Little – Thinking Your Pain Away (#89)

Innovative neuroscience technology that allows you to recondition your brain and alleviate suffering

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Richard Little - Thinking Your Pain Away (#89) | My Home Vitality

Introduction to guest:

Richard Little is the CEO, founder and chief engineer of Exsurgo, an innovative neuroscience company that develops state of the art technology to recondition a damaged brain and alleviate suffering from some of the world’s biggest health problems.

In his previous venture, Richard invented a hands-free robotic ‘skeleton’ to aid rehabilitation in walking, standing and exercising for people with severe physical disabilities. This essentially made it possible for people to walk on their own again.

If you’re interested in how pain works, how the brain can be rewired and the future of technology (including Richard’s view on the development of fully intelligent robots), listen to the podcast below, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more!

More from Richard:

Website: exsurgo.com

Key quotes and takeaways from the show:

Electroencephalogram (EEG) technology has been around since 1924 and has been used for medical purposes since 1927.

We have complete control over the electrical systems in our bodies. Neurofeedback allows you to make a connection between what’s happening in your brain and what’s happening in reality [e.g. on the screen]. When neurofeedback is positive [i.e. triggers a reward], 32 times, a positive change in brain activity occurs.

“I can’t believe I can sit in front of a tablet and move what’s on that tablet by thought control.”

Pain is a warning signal that notifies you about potential harm before it actually occurs. For example, when you put your hand over a burning candle, you pull your hand away before the burn happens.

There are two types of chronic pain: (1) Where there is a constant assault on your body (2) “Learned pain”, where the brain continues to produce pain signals after the injury has healed.

“One in five people have chronic pain. It’s the biggest healthcare issue in the world.” One in twelve have “severe pain” (rated higher than 8 out of 10).

You can control your pain!

You can control your brain!

Every session Exsurgo completes with one of their patients generates 1.4 million lines of brain data.

Robots really struggle with the complexity of the world right now.

Robots free up humans to do more important things.

We are incredible creatures that calculate millions of things per millisecond. For example, walking on two feet across an uneven surface requires millions/billions of instantaneous evaluations and adjustments throughout the body. We make these evaluations and adjustments without even noticing.

“If you focus on learning, you will enhance that learning.”

You reinforce memories and skills during sleep. Sleep on the “perfect last rep.” Forget the question and let your subconscious work on the answer overnight.

Simple questions work. “Surely you can have this done by tea time?”

Use Belbin analysis to structure your team.

Science is the easy part – that’s just a series of logical questions that need to be answered and experiments that need to be conducted and interpreted – running a team of people is the difficult part.

In a medical company, the fun bit is at the start when you find some science and invent new things. After that, you quickly find yourself in a process driven bureaucracy (e.g. testing, managing quality, managing change, etc.) because that’s what’s required when someone’s health is at risk.

“You have to test every change.”

Idea → What you want to achieve → Proof of concept → Verification → Experiment → Validation → Production.

Leading and motivating people is not something you can read in a book. Motivation is different for everyone. Lead by example.

You get around 30,000 days on this earth if you’re lucky. Get up and use them all!

There’s often a social aspect to addiction, it’s not just chemical.

It takes, on average, 30 days to diagnose a concussion.

Placebos that have been proven to work:

  • Sugar pills.
  • Blue pill = calming.
  • Red pill = urgent.
  • If the doctor hands a pill over using tongs = more powerful.
  • Feeling better when in the presence of a doctor who provides a pill.
  • Having a good relationship with your doctor = better results.

Medical equipment, like Axon, has to be better than placebo for it to be called a “clinical device”.

Placebo is a very real phenomenon. It is not nothing!

Ignore other people’s advice.

Question of the day:

“Can you record brainwave activity and then play it back into the brain?”

Links to podcast sites:

Listen on Audible
Listen on iTunes
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Overcast

The full podcast:

Related episode:

Here are some more episodes on neuroscience, AI and the future of technology…

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Show notes:

  • 00:00:00 – Coming up.
  • 00:00:20 – Where to find more and mhvpath.com.
  • 00:00:55 – An introduction to Richard Little.
  • 00:02:42 – Covid-19 & terrorism in NZ.
  • 00:04:55 – Treating chronic pain, anxiety and depression by rewiring the brain.
  • 00:09:08 – Two types of chronic pain.
  • 00:12:27 – Reducing pain through operant conditioning.
  • 00:13:40 – How to reduce pain with Axon.
  • 00:21:26 – Other benefits of reducing pain.
  • 00:23:59 – How do people “think away” pain?
  • 00:29:22 – Can you clone brain states?
  • 00:33:36 – Can you read someone based on their brain activity?
  • 00:38:51 – The role of concussion in crime.
  • 00:40:13 – Brain frequencies & self-help.
  • 00:41:55 – How far are we away from intellectual robots?
  • 00:47:19 – Reducing inflammation with your mind.
  • 00:49:46 – Techniques for reinforcing learning.
  • 00:55:00 – Structuring a team for a project.
  • 00:57:24 – A CEO’s major challenges.
  • 01:02:54 – The process of asking good questions.
  • 01:04:35 – Management & leadership principles.
  • 01:06:51 – The opioid crisis.
  • 01:15:36 – Freeing up vital resources with robots.
  • 01:19:24 – A real life Tricorder.
  • 01:22:45 – How to get the Axon system.
  • 01:25:57 – Bias & the placebo effect.
  • 01:29:25 – Key principles that Richard lives by.
  • 01:29:46 – Rich’s future vision.
  • 01:30:30 – Books that Rich recommends.
  • 01:32:02 – Advice to smart, driven college students.
  • 01:33:14 – Something that will blow your mind.
  • 01:35:32 – Making Iron Man robots.
  • 01:37:02 – The threat of modern technological weapons.
  • 01:37:59 – Richard’s final message.
  • 01:38:30 – Where to find more from Richard.
  • 01:38:54 – For more podcasts and mhvpath.com.
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