Welcome to Pushing The Limits. The show that helps you reach your full potential with your host, Lisa Tamati. Brought to you by lisatamati.com
Lisa Tamati: Hi, everyone. Welcome to Pushing the Limits. This week I have found another fantastic guest for you. I have Commander Dr Joe Dituri. Now, Dr Joe is an ex-Special Forces, Special Operations Navy retired officer. He also has a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and is an expert in everything aeronautical engineering. He works on spaceships and spacesuits as well as hyperbaric oxygen therapy in real deep-sea diving. He is an absolutely fascinating character. And I know you're going to get a heck of a lot out of this interview with Commander Dr Joe Dituri.
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So if you want to find out, get a user manual for your body, please go and check out what we do at lisatamati.com. Hit the Work With Us button and you'll see our epigenetics program. We also have our NMN Longevity and Anti-ageing Supplement that I'm working with Dr Elena Seranova, the founder of NMN bio. So if you want to check that out, go to nmnbio.nz.
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Now we're over to the show with Dr Joe Dituri, and I do hope that you find this as a fascinating conversation as I did both from a mental toughness point of view, from a work ethic point of view, from an aeronautical engineering point of view, from hyperbaric, from extreme environments. We go all over the place. So enjoy, Joe Dituri.
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Pushing The Limits. Today, I have a superstar, amazing man for you. He's laughing over there at the camera. Dr Joe Dituri, welcome to the show. I'm really fascinated to be able to talk to you. Dr Kirk Parsley, shout out to you for hooking me up with Joe. I appreciate the connection.
Another fascinating man. Joe, welcome. It's lovely to have you here today.
Dr Joe Dituri: Thank you, thank you. I appreciate it. Thanks for the invitation.
Lisa: It's going to be a fascinating conversation because your background and story is quite an amazing one. Were you always an overachiever?
Joe: No. But God's honest truth is I finished the lower middle third of my high school graduating class. I went to go to college, and they were like, “Yeah, we think you did too poorly on the SAT to get into college.” I almost had nothing left but to join the Navy. I mean, I could have been a lightbulb salesman. So I joined the Navy. And from that point on, it was like, “Oh, you learn this way? Not that way. Ah, we've been fucking that up. Sorry. We've been messing that up.”
Lisa: That’s fine. So, did you have anything like dyslexia already? Or learning disabilities or anything like that? Or was it just, you know, boy stuff?
Joe: I had what you would probably consider a learning disorder right now. I have congenital ocular albinism, which leads to very poor vision. Therefore, my vision is really, really poor as opposed to wearing the coke bottle size glasses in school — because kids beat up kids with glasses — I decided that that was not going to happen. I decided that I was just gonna walk around like this.
So when you walk around and you can't see the board, you don't do well in school. There you go. But then I stopped and I got a piece of humble pie and said, “Okay, I can do something different than this.” Then I found something that interests me.
Lisa: That's part of the problem with kids at school. I think, you know, a lot of kids fall through the cracks at school because we're teaching them to suffer. They don't see any relevance in big classes and all of that sort of stuff. But then you went into the Navy.
Was the Navy something for you that just opened up your world? Because it does for a lot of kids who go into the military at all. It sort of teaches them discipline and wakes them up, and makes them into adults.
Joe: The Navy gave me basically everything that I have right now. My mother gave me the work ethic. Short of that, it was really easy. Because imagine you went to boot camp, and they threw a trash can down the aisle at five o'clock in the morning, and you've already been up for like, 20 minutes.
You're laying in bed, you're awake. Why? Because mum made you get up at the crack of dawn, go do chores, go do all your crap. Then when they said stand up straight, you stood up straight. Why? Because they would yell at you if you didn't. And if they did yell at you, then it's like, “Oh, you're just like my mum and dad, You do love me.”
Lisa: You felt right at home.
Joe: Super easy. I was like, “They're yelling at me. They love me. This is something I want to be doing.” You show up on time. If you can't be on time, be early. Then do your damn job. I was like, “Okay, this is pretty easy and straightforward. Now what? Like, that's it? That's all you got?”
Then it was like, “Well, you could be an officer and go to college.” I’m like, “I can go to college?” They’re like, “Yeah, you can go to college at night.” I'm like, “Oh, I can do that.” I went to college at night.
Then it was like, “Oh, yeah. Ah, okay. You now know how to learn. Got it.” Now I got my new learning method on. Then I got a commissioning program, I got commissioned into the Special Operations community, and it's all downhill from there.
Lisa: Let’s dive into the Special Forces a little bit because that’s a fascinating world as well. You say you did go to college. What did you study in the beginning?
Joe: Computer Science because it was the easiest thing that I could get a really quick degree in. That’s God's honest truth. I was one of these computer protegees when I was in high school, right? There was a whole thing in New York City, over these companies that would hire these kids. We would write programs, and then they give us $100 for writing a program, which is like everything in the world to a freaking teenage kid.
They would sell them for a couple of $100 a piece. So they did this whole thing and it was like a big story. But the bottom line is computers were easy for me. They made logical sense, like, zeroes. Logic left, right. Got it, you know. Computer science was an easy thing for me to get a bachelor's in and I did that. Okay, I had two years and nine months to get a four-year degree. So they were like, “Ready to go.” I was like, “Oh, okay.”
Lisa: Wow. You must be pretty, bloody bright to do it because I look at a computer and I can’t work out what changed after opening it all.
Joe: No, it's just a different way of thinking, right? Now I'm talking to you on the web on a dying HP and I couldn’t do a damn thing on right now. I can barely open Windows if you know what I mean. The insides, I can work. But that's about it.
Lisa: So you did that and sort of opened up your world. You realise you weren't dumb and you could do all this sort of stuff. Then you went into Special Forces. Everyone knows going into Special Forces is not a walk in the park. What was that like for you?
Joe: It was really interesting. A minor distinction point just to be very clear: Kirk was in Special Forces, I was in Special Operations. Minor difference in it. That is diving, explosive ordinance disposal, and mine countermeasures. That's what I did.
Nobody ever shot at me in anger. I want to make sure I was not a Navy SEAL. I was a Navy Special Operations Officer and my event was diving, salvage, and I did a little bit of explosive ordinance disposal stuff, but not a lot. That was mostly on the diving side of the house, too.
The bottom line, it was not a walk in the park. It was physically very demanding, mentally very challenging. These were the hardest schools I'd ever been to. By this time, I already had a master. I have a bachelor's degree. And it was like, “Wow, this is pretty tough to do.” But you work through that, and then mentally, physically challenging and then you push down the road.
Lisa: Amazing. A lot of people don’t get that far along. Let's talk a little bit about your diving stuff because you've done some extreme stuff in your life. You've gone to incredible depths. I heard in one of your interviews. What was that? 1,947 feet was your deepest dive or something? And I'm like, “What the hell?” That's just insane.
You're an expert also in the area of hyperbaric, which I wanted to dive into a little bit today because it's one of my favourite subjects as well. I wanted to ask you a whole lot of stuff. Do you know what you remind me of? I hope this isn't an insult. But you’re like one of those dudes in the Clive Cussler novels. Do you know the Clive Cussler novels?
Joe: Oh, Clive Cussler. Dirk Pitt. Yeah.
Lisa: You remind me of one of those characters.
Joe: Oh, thank you. I think? I hope that’s good. Dirk is described as a handsome man so I’m down with it.
Lisa: Exactly. A handsome man, very good on the sea and diving. Crazy.
Joe: Wait until you see the book that I’m writing. I just met with my publisher and my editor is finishing up the edits. So hopefully in the next two months or so, we'll have the semi-final edit. Then publishers are going to get crazy.
Lisa: Awesome. I can’t wait to read it.
Joe: It’s fiction but is based upon fact. We call it “Faction” so it’ll be fun and interesting.
Lisa: Oh, wow. That does sound really interesting. With your stories, I'm sure it'd be packed full of action. Can you tell us a little bit about diving? How do you get to do these extreme dives? You've worked in some of the most extreme environments on Earth, as far as the diving stuff is concerned. Tell us a little bit about it because for someone who's never been diving. I've never dived except snorkelling, so I have no concept of any of this sort of stuff. Tell us all about that.
Joe: As a Navy diver, they basically don't train you to swim, they train you to walk on the bottom. Once we did that school, you get Navy dive school, which is six months long. For us, it was six months long. Then salvage officer school and all that other stuff that went with it. We learned how to salvage ships off the bottom of the ocean. Think, Pearl Harbor, right? Pearl Harbor — the ship sank, you bring them up, that kind of thing.
We learned how to do that kind of stuff. Then I realised that I learned how to walk on the bottom that I needed to learn how to dive. So I increased my civilian knowledge prior to going to Navy dive school, during Navy dive school, and after Navy dive school.
I was working on all my civilian knowledge. I became a great diver from the perspective of all diving because I made the opportunity to do it. It was one of these, “Alright, I want to get better at my job and I want it to be the best at my job.” So I get in the water and I would be more functional, better at kicking, better at swimming, better at upturn, better at downturn, better at working underwater in general. Because I want to be good at my craft.
It was like, “Okay, you got to be good. Remember the work ethic that my mum beat me into.” So if you're not going to bring your A-game, otherwise, stay home. That's what I wound up doing. And it afforded me more opportunities to get into stuff. Then I started writing papers on it and I was impressing the upper brass. I was like, “Listen, what if we did it this way? What if we use this gas? What if we use this style of dive? What if we did this? What if we did that? We could change this. We could change for the better.”
They were like, “That's not a bad idea. You're not so dumb as you look.” Before you know it, some guy called me in the middle of the night. One night where he was and I happen to be on the East Coast and he said, “Hey, listen, I'm the guy that's in charge of the deep submergence unit, the diving detachment. I would like you to relieve me.” And I'm like, “Wait, what?”
I said, “I have a payback. I just finished my master's degree in astronautical engineering.” I had to do a payback tour at the National Reconnaissance Office. I was already slated with orders, as a matter of fact, where I was, was at a place going to the National Reconnaissance Office.
As I'm there, the guy called me he said, “No, no, we took care of all that. I want you to relieve me. You're gonna be out here. I need you to be out here by mid-December.” I'm like, “Okay? Why?” Because he saw a couple of papers that I wrote. He saw how much diving stuff I did. He saw that I was an expert in the field. And you know, he's like, “I think you could do a good job here.” Alright, let's rock on.
Lisa: So where did that take you?
Joe: So I became the officer in charge of the deep submergence unit, diving detachment. That’s where I met our illustrious friend, Kirk Parsley. He comes walking in with this seal pin on, but he's got doctor epaulettes on. I'm thinking to myself “Damn it, you know Doc? You can't just go to the store and buy any freaking device you want and put it on your pin. Oh, wait, look at the size of this quad. Wait a minute. That guy's got broad shoulders. Oh, geez. Oh, he just might be here.”
Lisa: He’s actually that plus that.
Joe: That plus that, and the bag of chips to go along with it. The bottom line — I went through that. I became a one-atmosphere suit pilot. I did the transfer and pressure protocol. I did a lot of stuff there, including a pressurised rescue module. We brought that into existence.
Then when I was done with that tour, the Navy and US Special Operations Command asked me to go build dry combat submersible at SOCOM in Tampa. I was like, “Okay, no problem.” So I came back to Tampa, which is where I live now. I did about four years designing and building dry combat submersible from a program of record where the admiral just said, “Hey, aqua, knock it up to my office, here's $22 million. Go build me dry combat submersible.”
I'm like, “Yeah, but wait, I need more money.” And he's like, “Commander, which part of go build me dry combat submersible don't you understand?” I said, “Yes, sir.” Recognises correct answer untold, so I just went on. I didn't know that I couldn't do it. I just did it.
You're breaking rules. And the underlings of the admiral were like, “You're breaking rules.” And I was like, “Okay, so here's what the admiral told me. He said, ‘Look, you can break any rule that you want because I make it.’ He said, ‘You can't break any laws. But you can break all the rules that you want.’ And I was like, Yes, sir.” Delegation. “I want you to fix that, Joe.” I'm like, “Yes, sir. I can fix that.”
Lisa: Wow. So you took over this massive project and just did it somehow. By bending and breaking a few of the, obviously, not so important rules.
Joe: And making our own rules. What we wound up doing was making what we call organisation state rules for the American Bureau of Shipping. We make our own rules to classify things, to certify something though. It has to be doing this. It has to do that. It has to be able to do this. So we made those rules, then all of a sudden, now, I think it's a $1.4 billion programmer record.
We have three with two in build right now. So it's like, we're finally building them. One of the things that we did wrong, as the United States of America, is we decided to stop building rockets and we used a reusable spacecraft. What did that do? It screwed up our ability to make new rockets. Here we are using the same old rocket over and over and over and over.
Where we could have been redesigning and making the new one and keeping the energetic base alive. Making sure that we had rocket experts in the United States. We don’t have a rocket expert. Man, we relied upon solid rocket boosters and a couple of Port nozzles that have been designed in 1975. Now here we were going into space with something that, I had more computing power in my phone than it did on the space shuttle itself.
Lisa: That's where they've gone wrong. Have they, because you've gone and done.
Joe: In my opinion.
Lisa: Not so humble opinion, I would say. One that you actually know what you're talking about. So you went and also did a PhD? What did you do the PhD in? Because you didn't have enough sort of achievements under your belt.
Joe: When I finished the Navy after 28 years, they offered me a great job doing almost the same thing that I was doing only in civilian clothes. They said, “We'll let you grow your hair long.” I am done suckling off the government. I'm done. I want to do something totally different. So I sat around, and I thought about a bunch of stuff.
Then I wanted to write a paper. It started with the ketogenic diet. Because there's something called an epileptic seizure. The epileptic seizure is somewhat similar to a central nervous system oxygen toxicity seizure. So we hypothesised back in the early 90s. I'm sorry, the early 2000s. That if you use a ketogenic diet, you can stave off this seizure activity on one side. I wonder if it'll work for hyperbaric oxygen.
Since I wanted to do that, I started to write a paper. Then I remember distinctly somebody was like, “Oh, well, you really can't submit this paper because you need to be a PhD.” And I was like, “What? Like, it's hard?” He was like, “Well, yeah, it's actually very hard. It's a lot of work.”
Now I know exactly what I'm gonna do and I know exactly why I'm gonna do it. You realise that I have 28 years as a diver—diving is my jam, right?
Lisa: You know your shit, yeah.
Joe: I’m a Commander in the Navy. I was the special boat guy.
Lisa: Nothing. You had no PhD.
Joe: Nothing, right? Then I went back. Five years later, I got a PhD in Biomedical Engineering with an emphasis on life support stuff. The long term answer was, I went to go submit that paper. And I was like, “Oh, by the way, I have a PhD, and I'm a Commander. So we could play this game where you call me Doctor or Commander or Mister or Joe, I don't care. But now you can't say that I can't play the table.”
Lisa: Isn’t that a stupid system though? I’ve been toying with the idea of going back and doing a PhD myself. I’m not like you. I don’t have as many achievements as you, but I’ve got a background in doing crazy action and running.
Joe: Oh no, I’ve read. Yeah, you’re actually pretty cool. That look like it hurt.
Lisa: Yeah, it was quite a lot of hurt. But you know, you have all these experiences. I get pissed off when I see that really intelligent people like that lady, I was just mentioning before, Jane McLelland, who I just had on my podcast who saved her own ass from cancer three times.
Then it's been 20 years, so deep in the research. That she's really revolutionised the way that doctors all over the world are using her protocols and systems, right? But she hasn’t got a PhD, and she hasn't been to medical school. But I tell you, that Navy lady knows her stuff. She doesn't actually need a PhD to tell her that.
We don't need her to go to waste another five years going to do that instead of doing what she's doing. Sometimes there's this because your story sort of resonated with me. But you went and did it anyway, which is just kudos to you. And you would have learned a heck of a lot more, of course, in that process. So you wrote this paper
Joe: I wrote this paper on ketosis and the ketogenic diet, and it being prophylactic to the central nervous system oxygen toxicity. We went right to manual testing, man-testing because I didn't know any better. I'm just like the other item. Then once the paper was done, I got some attention from Dom D'Agostino.
He was like, “Hey, you should come and work in my lab.” So, I was working with Dom for a little while. We did some junk together, not full-time like paid or anything like that. I don’t want to mislead you. But he and I wrote a couple of chapters and books together.
Lisa: He’s a cool dude. You did a lot of work together on this oxygen toxicity thing. For the listeners, when you're doing deep dive — say, SEALs underwater, doing really deep dives. They've got to be on rebreathers so they’re not getting away with the location. Correct me if I’m going off track here.
They are on oxygen at those depths with that amount of pressure, you’re hyper-oxygenating the body and can cause seizures in the brain, which can of course be deadly for divers under the sea. This was the problem that you were tackling along with epileptic seizures or similar sort of…
Joe: Same general principle. We think it's the same or similar mechanism of action. We're trying. The jury's still out. We still don't know for sure. But it seems to be prophylactic to central nervous system oxygen toxicity. So you're exactly right.
One thing I would add is, it's not a seizure that kills you. It's the drowning. You spit the regulator out. When you spit the regulator out. When you're done with the seizure, it ends. Then you take that first breath and you don't have a regulator in your mouth, you're dead because you just drown.
Lisa: And this happens very quickly. In a hyperbaric environment, it can happen within 10, 20 minutes.
Joe: Pressures like if you lock out of a submarine. Now, remember, I was helping build dry combat submersible where we were going to try and thwart some of these things. But if you lockout at 60 feet, you're at 2.81 PaO2. That's a high partial pressure of oxygen to be in the water on alar five or swimming around with 100% Oxygen. Yeah, it's really good to not have any bubbles, but it's really bad to have a seizure.
Lisa: This is a problem. A lot of divers, of course, are not going to tell you if they’re having problems in the sea, are they?
Joe: That’s what my PhD was on, an early warning detection system for when the autonomic nervous system is stressed such as in oxidative stress, or in hypercapnic stress or in decompressive stress. I found that if you draw out the autonomic nervous system and the heart rate variability a certain way on a plot that we designed and patented, that you could definitely show changes in the autonomic nervous system prior to the physical symptom of either central nervous system oxygen toxicity, pulmonary oxygen toxicity, hypercapnia, or decompressive stress.
It's like, this is a pretty damn good thing, right? This is an early warning detection. What we did was we wound up putting a vibrating alarm inside this thing that is this heart rate variability. Basically, a cell phone vibrating. And whatever I'm doing in the middle of it, you can't ignore it, right? You can't ignore a cell phone that's on your chest.
Therefore, whatever you're doing, you stop. You look at your display, and you go, “Okay, what the hell's going on? Am I hypercapnic? Am I hyperoxic? Am I hypoxic?”
Lisa: You get in there. So the divers can get that information in real-time, and then take the necessary steps to innovate. Wow. That's insane.
Joe: Interestingly enough, we also redesigned the current spacesuit, because it's all the same, right? Remember, astronautical engineering degree, right? We redesigned the current spacesuit into a simple board that is about this big, it's about maybe a couple of centimetres across.
We were able to put everything on that one board including the O2 controller, the heart rate variability monitor, all the processing equipment. It was time for an upgrade anyway. Then we wrote a chapter in the book, myself and another cat. It’s just like, “Look, man, would you see it? See the need, right? We’re fixing problems, right? You know, Elon Musk was going to go to space. And he's like, “Oh, we're going to Mars!” I'm like, “Pay it up, all the way to Mars.” We’re not going to Oklahoma. We're gonna need a bigger boat, as they say. We're going to need a better way of getting there. A better spacesuit to get us there, something that is electronically controlled, that self-monitors. Then I went ahead and helped design that thing for him.
Lisa: Really? That is just insane! Now, theoretically, can we get to Mars with a special spacesuit?
Joe: Yeah, we can get there and maybe back in 12 months after that. But it's still like a three-year trip to get these planets to line up, but it is what it is. It's a crazy, you don’t want a one-way trip and everybody's gonna die out there.
Lisa: Yeah, it's a pretty — well, you can't say he hasn't got a big vision, that's for sure. I don’t know why.
Joe: He has this vision and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals. But you know, he’s, God bless him. Myopia is great to have when you're limited to an 80 or 90-year lifespan. Myopia is a pretty good characteristic.
Lisa: Yeah, being obsessive is a good thing to be if you want to. Just on all that toxicity stuff, because you know, having mum been put in initially in a hyperbaric chamber with her rehabilitation, we had to watch. Not with the mild ones, they’re alright because they're only on an oxygen concentrator. But you know, every 20 minutes in the other chamber, where we had to take her off oxygen. Because that's what could have happened. She could have seized if we didn't take her off, we would have oxygen toxicity there. Is that right?
Joe: That would probably be right. The central nervous system oxygen toxicity is associated with that.
Lisa: Well that’s what they did. You got to work with Dom. Dom’s coming on next week which I’m super excited about.
Joe: Mind you, Dom is a whole lot cooler than I am. So I really hope that you get a good interview with Dom. He's got his stuff on one side. He's a smart PhD. I'm just very passionate. He's very smart.
Lisa: I think you've been a bit humble. We do think you're a pretty amazing dude. Both of you, amazing, amazing, amazing people. The work that Dom's been doing in cancer, I'm super excited. Given my situation with my mum at the moment to find out more about these ketones and hyperbaric, and the whole shemozzle here.
Because that's really exciting research. Were you part of the experiments that he did within the hyperbaric chambers where he had those are no special cameras in special microscopes that could tell what was going on in the brains of the rats or the mice?
Joe: I was at the lab at that time, but I was not part of the experiment. That is cool stuff.
Lisa: That is amazing.
Joe: That guy. He’s freaking cool. It's really good stuff. It's cutting edge research. But he came up and he was like, “Hey, how did you get to man-testing?” And I was like, “I don’t know, I just did it.” He's like, “We started on rats.” And I’m like, “Okay?”
Lisa: You went straight to man-testing.
Joe: I went straight to man-testing because I didn’t know any better. As I said, I’m not that smart. I plod along at a good pace, and I will—slow and steady win the race, right?
Lisa: Crazy. Joe, tell us, what is it like diving at these extreme, like—you’re an extreme athlete. You have to be an extreme athlete as well, you know. What’s it actually like to be in this scary environment that you’re working in?
Joe: You realise that you're at 810 pounds per square inch, right? So if there was a leak in your suit, at 810 pounds per square inch, it would literally cut you in half and fuse you. So we went through all these thought processes. And I'm like, I wonder if you could survive. I wonder if, I wonder if, I wonder if.
Then it's like, it doesn't really matter. It's not something that you want to survive anyway. So it's one of these like, if it started to implode, I would rather just implode and take me all with it. Not even mess around, you know? So what's it like? Resolute that you will die if something goes sideways, which makes you, really anal-compulsive on the top side.
And you get to double-check everything, triple-check everything. Make sure this works, make sure that works. I was in charge of that detachment. I was in charge of those guys. I remember this distinctly, the guy who I relieved said, “Look, I want you to look in this mirror.” And I looked in the mirror, and he says, “Every morning, I look in that mirror, and I think, is today the day that I'm going to kill somebody?”
And I'm like, “Wait, what?” He's like, “Yeah, responsibility on you. Got broad shoulders. Do you want to do it? Let's do it.” God damn, you know. Then you realise everything that happens on this ship is my responsibility. Even if your doctor decides to jump off the third floor of the bridge wing, and into the water when you just said swim call. Everybody was just gonna jump off the side of the ship, climbs up to the third and jump off. Nothing happened, thank God, but you never know. But if you get hurt.
Lisa: Your responsibility. How do you come to terms with it? I often think of it, you know, I was watching brain surgery last night for I don’t know why. But mum just had brain surgery. I was sort of morbidly curious as to what they do in there, right? I’m weird, I know.
But how the hell do you cut into someone’s brain? Like when you’re standing there with a saw ready to go. And I talked to the neurosurgeon who was doing it and I said, “How do you do that three or four times a day, by the way?” And he says, “I love it. I just love doing it.”
That responsibility. I can’t handle that responsibility. I just want to be a kid again. Let alone doing something like that. How did you come to terms with that?
Joe: Two things. You develop the most robust training plan that you can possibly do and you surround yourself with really smart people to help you execute that training program. I told my training Master Chief, I said, we dove our last unfalted dive yesterday. I said every single guy will have training. Every single one. And he was like, “Are you kidding me?”
And I'm like, “Everyone. We will train like we fight, we fight like we train. This way, by the time it's all said and done, we are firehouse-ready. Ready to get out the back door and we have done everything that we ever wanted to do. We did it in the training pool before we ever tried to execute it anywhere else.”
It made us think about things and think of ways to do things. Ship Salvage is, you know, a bunch of loosely coupled together people that are working on vague assumptions with people of questionable mentality, right? Here we are, we like doing this stuff and you're trying to salvage this ship or do something or recover this thing off the bottom of the ocean. You've got currents, you've got animals, you've got flaws in your machinery.
There are enough problems that can kill you, and the ocean will happily and gleefully kill you without blinking an eye. It won't even recognise that you're there. You actually have to give it a good dose of respect. As I said, training, training, training. Now we did great things.
Lisa: One of the things I read on, did you do dives on the Titanic?
Joe: The Britannic.
Lisa: The Brittanic, sorry I read that wrong.
Joe: The sister ship of the Titanic which sunk in 400 or I say 410 feet of water off the coast of Greece. We did a scientific expedition to find out why she sank because if you remember the Titanic sank since the bulkheads didn't go all the way up to the ceiling and the water toppled over? Well, they fixed that on Britannic. So they said, “Why the hell did this thing sink?” Turns out that they had the engine room to fire room doors all open. So the whole underneath had the doors all open in the engine room. While steaming in more time in a minefield.
Lisa: Very intelligent. Obviously, you weren’t the head of the ship.
Joe: I was not the head of that ship. That guy should have been fired.
Lisa: It’s long been.
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Lisa: You've also done the Black Coral dive. Give me a bit of background on that one.
Joe: Black Coral dives are great. I ran into a bunch of people that we harvested black coral for the coral industry. We harvested it the right way through permits and so forth and so on. But that's the most dangerous diving I've ever done in my life.
I tell you, when you swing a hammer underwater, it is the most energetic thing you'll ever do. I can tell you this for sure, that sharks are very attracted to this. Oh, you're banging on the water? What's that? Hey, what are you doing? What do you do? You’re going to eat that? That looks good. Yeah, so sharks will come up and find what's going on and when you're swinging that hammer underwater.
I've never worked so hard, I've done everything underwater. I've never worked so hard swinging a hammer and axe. Three, four hundred feet trying to pull up a tree of black coral. You know the guys that have done this have died doing the same tree that you’re on. You can see because it’s partially hacked, you can just see it. You know that a cat died on this.
Lisa: What do they do with it?
Joe: The black coral is made into… it’s a very shiny black tree-looking structure. I had one here at one point.
Lisa: Is that used in jewellery or something?
Joe: Yeah, it’s really shiny. You can polish it and it looks like a black hole.
Lisa: Wow. I've spent years polishing opals. It was one of my things. I love it. I didn't know black coral much. When I do my snorkelling, which is nothing right? And I only go down a few feet, I'm already feeling that pressure. And I'm keen to get back up. I can't imagine what it feels like when your lungs and everything sort of collapse when you do diving, don't they? Don't they go small and your whole body? How does that work?
Joe: Remember, your body has these compensatory mechanisms. You are mostly water, right? You're mostly water. So that's incompressible fluids in a compressor. Your air spaces have combined volumes in them. So, if I take a breath from a regulator and the regulator has more pressure than the surrounding air, it will fill my lungs and my lungs will be filled.
To tell you, if you can clear to 33 feet you can clear it without blinking an eye. The deepest recorded depth of the dive is 2,265 feet I think. That's a long way down, right? But if you can clear to 33 feet, you clear to 2,000. No problem.
Lisa: So that initial part is when you feel that pressure. It doesn't feel more?
Joe: The greatest pressure change. You don’t even feel it, right? Because look, how much pressure do you feel on you right now? No, because we just did the math with your mum, right? It’s 14.7 PSI. But that's the pressure that we're at right now. It's equal. Why? Because you have equalised with it.
So I don't feel any pressure on. When I go down, I don't feel any pressure differential on me. I don't feel any different at all. Like there are little things in my ears that go — you’ve flown in an airplane? Clear your ear?
Lisa: Yep. Same sort of deal. They even taught me to hop on the hyperbaric if you’ve got a cold, you’re not going to get far.
Joe: Nope, you’re not going to get far at all.
Lisa: Yeah, because you’re going to start to have real pain. But just at the psychology of doing things underwater, where you can't just. You know, I've done extreme running and I've done stuff in altitude and things like that. You can't get out of the situation. And you can't when you're at altitude, either, by the way, but it's not quite as —- it's different.
Like, you know, you're still going to get your next breath somehow, you might not have enough oxygen when you're at altitude. But when you're under the sea, in incredible depths, there's no like losing your shirt. You can't lose your shirt under the air and come back up. Have you been in those long decompression dives where you have to be down there for weeks?
Joe: Yeah, so thirty some odd days. And we're looking, by the way, we're looking to break the world record for doing 100 days underwater. The record right now is 73. Generally speaking, the longest dives that we did in the Navy were in the 30-day time frame, but that's not. It's not truly underwater.
It's in a chamber, right? You do it in the chamber, and then the bell brings you to go to work. Then you come back up in the back of the chamber, and you go to sleep. It's not living. But in this case, we will be living 100 days in an aquatic environment, and the chamber will be in the water. So we're looking to break that. That'll be kind of cool.
Lisa: Wow, when is this project kicking off?
Joe: Well, if not for COVID, we would have done it this year.
Lisa: So everything slowed down a little bit. And what was the point of doing these types of things? Does it push the industry further to be able to do more and deeper and harder…?
Joe: Well, first of all, we're looking to travel to Mars, right? It's a couple of months trip to Mars. So we need to be able to stay in an isolated, controlled, extreme environment — AICE environment, for a period of time. We're gonna find issues and problems that come with it. Like if you're in a spacecraft, and that spacecraft only has 15 feet of visibility. What's your eyesight right now? 20-20, right? It’s 20-20 because you can see an object at 20 feet. Because you have that visual depth perception, you can see it at 20 feet. If you're not looking 20 feet, you become progressively and progressively and progressively more myopic.
When you're in this short tunnel vision things, like in a spacecraft for six months. This is us solving problems, right? You have to figure out how you can survive and how you can extend your vision so that when you hit the ground on Mars —.
Lisa: You can see.
Joe: Yes. You’ll be looking at your buddy who's six feet apart from you for the past six months? You learn how to get along and live in that type of environment. So that's the first thing. The second thing is, look, I firmly believe that everything that we need on this planet exists on this planet to survive.
The cure for cancer and Alzheimer’s, I believe it's here. Let me tell you why. Because I worked with a filmmaker named James Cameron when he went to the bottom of the Marianas Trench, he found a new species of lice, sea lice, which are normally this big. But this one was like this, right? I hope your viewers can see me.
About a foot. Sorry, about a third of the feet. You get this really big sea lice and when they brought it up and collected it, they found that it had a synthesised cure for Alzheimer's that we had made up on the surface. Anything existed in the wild at 35,000 feet. If you look where you always look, you will only find what you've always found.
You can go down underwater, stay down underwater for a long period of time and really start to look around, right? I mean, really look around. When you're down there for a couple of days you’re really not going to see much. But when you start staying there. Like when you lived in your house for a long period of time you go, “I never knew there was a grocery store in the corner of fourth and main? Damn.”
Piggly Wiggly down the road. I should have gone to the one at fourth and main. It's better. You learn. I think that you can find this stuff. There's all kinds of stuff including antifreeze type stuff in fishes because fish don't freeze obviously. Barnacles stick really well. Maybe we can use it as some kind of novel agent for sticking our cavity protection in our mouth or something.
Lisa: The answers are here. We just have to look further.
Joe: So there's all kinds of good crap. But everything is here. And guess what? 70% of the Earth is covered in water.
Lisa: Yeah, we haven't even looked. Like the story of Rapamycin. I don't know if you know what Rapamycin is but it's a drug that's having a really powerful anti-aging and — fantastic thing. They found that on the Easter islands, one day when they were finding a mushroom or fungi or something that some scientists totally took back to them. And then they realised how powerful this thing is.
Now it's saving lives around the world, you know? And it's this sort of crazy pioneering spirit. One of the things I'm always talking about is that we live in this very comfortable environment. We have everything at our fingertips, we have an endless supply of food and light and warmth and everything that we have. That makes us very complacent. Because our our own ancient DNA wants to be out exploring adventuring, having — pushing the limits, you know?
Joe: Exactly, no, no, I totally get it. You're talking about that right now. And I'm thinking to myself, this is exactly what I did when I decided to retire. I put together a vision board. And this hangs on my wall. You can see right down here, right? Right down here. Yeah, it says: I want to perform studies to make aquanauts, airshots, and undersea structures and submersible paper.
It's like, what do you want to do when you grow up? Yes, start with the end in mind. Right? Like Demmings? Start with the end in mind and then work backwards from there. You got to look where you’ve always looked. You got to look in a different spot than you've always looked. Otherwise, you'll find the same stuff.
Lisa: And you never give up. Like it's an attitude of, “I don't know how the hell I'm going to do this, but I'm just going to keep moving forward,” and “I didn't know that I couldn't, so I just did.” You know, it's that type of stuff that is super powerful.
Joe: How does that saying go? “The journey of a thousand miles start on the first step.” It's like, look, if I don't know any better, I don't know that I can't find the answer. Let's just assume that I can find the answer and start running. From going the wrong direction, somebody will go, “Idiot. This way.” Or better yet divine intervention will do it or predetermined, whatever.
Lisa: Yeah. Whatever you believe in.
Joe: We're on this roller coaster ride, right? We're just trying to figure it the hell out. So look, man, I don't know what I'm here for. But I, you know, I'm trying to have fun. And I'm trying to figure stuff out that it turns me on, right? For 28 years, I did stuff that turned my Uncle Sam on. Now I’m done with that. So it's like, I want to do stuff that turns me on. And this kind of stuff turns me on.
Lisa: You get to a certain age where you start to think about what the hell you've done. When I look back at my life, and I think I wasted years doing stupid shit. What was like using my brain for something a little bit more productive, perhaps. But on the other hand, when I look back, I think I learned so much about how to handle myself and how to push through barriers.
And when it came, like to a situation like with Mum, I had a mental skill set that I wouldn’t have had and an attitude of—.
Joe: The mentality.
Lisa: Yeah, like “I Can Mentality”. I don't know how but I'm gonna keep moving until I work it out. In like two days —.
Joe: Necessity. You were made to do that. This is your lot in life. All this was predetermined because you needed to be there, to be here. And now you're here. And you had to do all this crap.
Lisa: And waste a lot of life —.
Joe: And waste a ton of time doing stupid stuff before you realise where the important stuff was.
Lisa: Yeah. And I think a lot of us have that. Two days ago, we went to hematology-oncology at the hospital with my mum. And I've been researching, you know, up to here and cancer research because I believe there's an answer out there and I can find a way around. We go in there and they tell us basically, she is stuffed. There's not much we can offer you and get your affairs in order.
I'm sitting there with my mum thinking, “No fucking way.” Honestly. And I quizzed them on a couple of questions on things like ketones and metabolic approach to cancer and things like that. He just rolled his eyes at me. And I just know that ain’t going to help. I just thought, thanks very much. We'll see you later. I walked out with my mum. I took her into a side room immediately, because I was worried about her mental state after just being told that she's dying.
I just said, “Ma, I want you to completely ignore what he just said to you. I've got the plan. I know which direction we're going. I don't know how rough it's going to get, Ma, but I've got your back. We have a plan and we have a team behind us. So I want you to ignore everything.”
My mum who's freaking legend just goes, “I didn't listen to any of that. Because I know you. You'll find a way around this.” And I'm like, holy shit, man. I'm faking it till I make it too in front of her because I have to. Because I have to be the leader. If you're the one that says “Alright, mum, this is the direction we're going, follow me.”
Even if I don't have all the answers yet, I'm moving forward. I'm keeping her brain, mind, and mindset in the right place to come with me. If you're told that you're going to die in the next two or three months, you believe it, you're going to. No way in hell that I'm going to let that thought into her head.
Joe: I found that to be a very true statement. And I found that, if you can kind of let me just tell you this. I'm a researcher, right? There is a 14-year farm-to-table gap from medical knowledge to present state of the art, science research. 14 years.
If you graduate med school today, you know how to treat oncology, how to treat cancer/ This is what we do, we get this much chemotherapy. Right? You learn that in school, and that's it, you're done. 14 years later, you can get up with the current research. 14 years from now you'll get here.
Lisa: I think 14 is actually conservative, I think it's 20 years behind, you know,
Joe: I think it's shortening, it's kind of a Moore's Law sort of thing. Up to date that is bringing it, that is keeping physicians up to the current state of the art. But remember, it's not about the state of the art. Listeners take this away: It's about the art of the possible.
The state of the art is yesterday and right now. The art of the possible is way the hell out there. So let's run towards the art of the possible. Do you think we can make it? I have no idea. Throw them rocks against the wall. We're playing nice.
But when somebody goes, you don't have any chance or choice left, well, I do. And I have dice that I can roll. I love it because when physicians tell me, “Oh, you just don't understand.” Now, I teach physiology in school, right? Do me a favor, let's have a discussion about how the red blood cells work and how the white blood cells work and phagocytes and leukocytes.
You go ahead and start and I will tell you. They're like, “Oh, well, you just don't understand.” I really do. But I want to look. I want to learn. So let's talk.
Lisa: Yeah, and you've got the brain, I mean, you're lucky. Well not lucky, you've worked hard to have the brain to be able to answer them. I'm not so sophisticated yet in a way that I bring things across with my knowledge is deep enough. And I get things backwards and round and sideways sometimes in my explanations. But you can be a quick study.
You can learn… If you have a problem, if you say a medical problem, or whatever, you go and spend a month studying that particular problem all over the internet, all over finding people, and interviewing them before I tell you what—.
Joe: It has to be the right sources, stuff like that, you know, you can't just believe every article you read.
Lisa: Oh, no, no. But in a month, you can be an expert on your particular thing.
Joe: I could offer a different opinion. That's my thing. It's called diversity of thought. I mean, that's my true gift. Thank God, I have a diversity of thought, right? I'm not smart enough to know this way of doing it. I've only ever learned this way which came right around to the same way that you got, but that's the way I learned. That's my thought process. And it works that way. I'm an engineer, so you know.
Lisa: What's your take on — I mean, this is a completely left field question coming at you. The current COVID situation. What's your take on— what the hell is actually going on in our world? Which is pretty much knocked out. Are you willing to make any comment on it?
Joe: Look, I'm a grown man. I have an opinion just like everybody else. But the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily like those, any organisation with which I may be affiliated. I think that did say it's a virus and we've had these viruses out there and viruses are gonna be viruses and they're gonna kill people.
It's like, yep, you have 98.7% chance of surviving any bout that you have with COVID and you have like 99% chance of surviving any flu that you get. At the least, you're gonna get sick, you're gonna have a problem. You have this, you have that. It's going to be an issue.
You got to frickin figure it out. To me, it's one of these pain in the ass things. Everybody is trying to make what I would call much ado. Not about nothing. But they're trying to make much ado, because, remember, nobody listens to me. I'm a science geek. Now everybody wants to hear from me like I'm EF Hutton and all of a sudden, I'm the guy that knows everything. Oh, stand back, I'm gonna tell you, this happens. Oh, you got to listen to me. And the last time you didn't listen to me, people died. And then you can — It’s not very helpful.
But what we need is a common sense approach to doing this stuff as opposed to a blanket, doctoral approach to doing it. Coming from the medical background, a little bit, not a lot, but coming from that background—Biomedical Engineering, certainly, I firmly believe that it needs to be rooted not in politics, not in medicine, but in a combination of politics and medicine, and business and acumen. All these decisions take part because even if you save everybody, and the economy's dead—.
Lisa: You've just killed a lot.
Joe: Like when a patient dies, you put that up. I'm not looking to be — if somebody has a loved one that passed away with COVID; I have had friends that have passed away that had COVID, that also had many other comorbidities. Had that not killed them then, diabetes would kill them. The present state of where we're at right now is definitely interesting to say the least. And I will. I will leave it at that.
Lisa: Just thank you. Because I like to talk to people who have critical thinking abilities because it is a very freaking confusing time. And for the average person. I was going to say the average Joe, that doesn't really sound appropriate, does it?
The average person is like, “What the hell do I believe?” Half of the scientists are coming out on the side, half of the signers are coming out on that side. My politicians, I can't trust them as far as I can throw them. Big pharma, definitely can't trust them. Where the hell do we go? You know, like, where do we go to for the right information and to try to make the right decisions for you and your loved ones. And then the divisiveness of this whole thing is just scary. This is just bloody.
Joe: It's shaming and blaming, but it's a fear tactic. That's a fear tactic. Shaming and blaming is a fear tactic. Right? If you get a shot, and I don't get a shot. Not that I'm pro shot or against shot. But if you get one, I don't. Who's at the risk here? You got the next shot. So why are you blaming me? How he blamed me because, oh, well, I'm going to transfer COVID. Do you realise that even with the shot, you can transfer COVID?
So it is not a vaccine, it is a shot. It is a flu shot of sorts, it's a viral shot with a little bit of bacterial component to it, but it's a viral shot. Right? That is really trying to help your body to fight and board this thing. Now, the novel method that we have for delivering it, honestly, it has been around since the 80s. These mRNA vaccines have been around since the 80s. We don't have a cure for AIDS, because it wasn't that we could have had a cure for AIDS. But you know, so I haven't heard a lot about AIDS lately.
Lisa: No. Yes. Very interesting.
Joe: Yeah. We could have had that cure for AIDS a long time ago, but just wasn't enough people were infected by it. But now what we said everybody's going to get infected by this, we got herd immunity and all these.
Long story short, everybody's trying to point that to China or Australia, or a pangolin or a bat. Doesn't matter. Why does it matter? That's like going “Hey, look, barn door’s open. The horses are all gone. But let's figure out why the horses got out. Who let the horses out?
Lisa: Yeah. Which doesn't really matter anymore. Let's get on with the actual problem.
Joe: Horses are out. Let's freaking go get the horses for Christ's sake and then we come back, tie him up and then we'll figure it out.
Lisa: Exactly. I like your thinking. Joe, what are you currently—spin away from COVID because that could be a big, deep hole. And what are you doing currently? So you work for the deep sea? What's the name of the place that you're at deepsea.com or something?
Joe: Undersea Oxygen Clinic. So I’m working at the oxygen clinic right now, which I own part of. We're doing a little bit of clinical research, but mostly treatments on a daily basis. We're treating people with hyperbaric oxygen therapy from traumatic brain injury, PTSD to all kinds of other stuff.
Lisa: Can you comment on that then? Because this is like one of my pet things like hyperbaric obviously, I credit that with saving her brain and bringing mum back. Why the hell isn't this available everywhere? Why isn't it not used generally for TBI, concussions, strokes, and cancers, and all that sort of stuff? What is your take on how powerful this therapy is?
Joe: 14-year farm-to-table gap is one thing that I blame it on. We already discussed that. The other thing that I blame it on is the fact that doctors have something called standard of care. Right? So right now we have an established standard of care for stroke.
Now I have to tell you, once you can do things to reset and to reabsorb or to get rid of the clot. After that, I would opine—not a medical opinion here—I would opine that you should take me to the chamber before anything else. Right after I get that absorption stuff for the clot, short after that, bring me right to the chamber.
Because it's better and I can get people. But the neurologist will be like, “Oh, no, I can't bill that.” So I want to build a 991A3, a G0277, and a TT77014XX, because that's the highest billing rate that I have. First, I got to do the G. Then the induction tests. Then I got to figure this out….”
It’s like, if Medicare runs the country, which means it runs the answers. Now, is that right? I personally don't think so. But where do we go? I think we look to an HMO or something like that because they have good interest in heart. Here's $100,000 that we have to do your care for the year. Ready? Go! What do you want to spend it on best?
The best thing that you can do — and you are professional athletes — the best thing you can do for your body is workout. Why? Oh, because it decreases something called Interleukin 6. You have an inflammatory response. It increases something called Interleukin 15, which is a powerful anti-viral. Why would you do that? Why would you shut down—again, mid-COVID—when people can get powerful antivirals for free! For going to the gym?
Lisa: Because no one can make money out of it.
Joe: No one can make money out of it. Exactly. No. So you see what I'm saying? You see the issue. That's why I think the state of affairs is what it is, but like we're treating post-COVID patients here. Yep, they self pay here and they're doing great. The study that I have going has nine out of nine people so far at Increased breath function, and the only thing that I have…
What do you have post COVID? Lethargy, nausea, brain fog, headache, and reduced vital capacity. Of those, the only thing that I can measure objectively, because I'm a scientist, is pulmonary function tests or reduced vital capacity. I can show that you went from a forced expiratory volume of 65 to a forced expiratory volume 93.
That's objective quality evidence that says that you're getting better, right? The rest of it is, I feel better. I can't write, but I feel better. Unfortunately, I can't say I feel better but on a scale of one to 10 of how you can feel alright, I can put that in there. But everybody feels better on certain days. So really, you can't fight this. You really can't.
You got to write it up to contemporary professional scientific standards. And that's the one thing that we've been able to do. With every single one of them who have gone from the mid 60s to mid 90s. And they are very, very pleased with their outcome. So short of that. Is Medicare going to pay with an end of nine? No.
Traumatic brain injury and PTSD, here we are pushing this. Guys are able to survive more now from combat wounds than they ever were before. Why? We have better options. Guys and gals are living through this stuff. And all of a sudden, you get this kid back that has scrambled eggs, like what can I do?
Well, first of all, what do you have to do? You’re talking about breaking synaptic pathways, right? In your head, you're talking about separating. Do you know how much it takes to separate a synaptic pathway? 1.3 times gravitational acceleration.
Lisa: It’s not much.
Joe: 1.3 G's. Geez, I was here in a car and I jammed on the brakes rip. Oh, well, I was 1.5 G's. You know, many roller coaster rides. I've been on that or two or three G's. I know many. Rockets are six G's, jet planes are a couple of G's. You could break a synaptic pathway, anytime, any way, anyplace. So what you have to do is something called neurogenesis, which re-grows those.
It re-grows the pathways. That is stemmed by hyperbarics. Peer-Reviewed published literature that says hyperbaric helps stem neurogenesis analysis, and angiogenesis, increases cerebral blood flow, all that stuff works. Well, what we did was we did EEGS on people prior to, and what we found is that if the theta beta brain ratio is close, then, they could do with less hyperbarics. Like in the 1.5, PO