Hannah Went, Co-founder and director Trudiagnostic—The Epigenetic Company. She attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in biology. During that time, she had multiple research internships studying cell signaling and cell biology. After graduation, Hannah worked for the International Peptide Society as their director of research and content. Through work in the integrative medicine industry she saw an opportunity for methylation-based age diagnostics and started Trudiagnostic in 2020. Trudiagnostic focuses on methylation array- based diagnostics for life extension and preventative health care. Since the company’s inception, they have created one of the largest private epigenetic health databases in the world with over 20,000 patients tested to date. Hannah has since created a podcast called: Everything Epigenetics, where she shares insights on how DNA regulation has an impact on your health.
Dr. Barrett 01:04 Discusses Hannah’s journey into epigenetics and the development of TruDiagnostic
Hannah Went 02:54 Her Journey from University of Kentucky until now
Dr. Barrett 04:45 The Horvath Clock
Hannah Went 04:54 Defines epigenetics and DNA Methylation
Genetics is just going to be your baseline DNA sequence, right, your A's and T's and C's and G's, and those aren't ever going to change in the cells and your DNA and the body. Whereas on the other hand, you have these epigenetic markers. And EPI is actually a Greek prefix that means above, so we're literally looking above or on top of the DNA. And the definition of epigenetics is going to be modifications that are happening at a cellular level to the DNA. There are all sorts of different modifications, but what we focus on, and what we'll really dig into is going to be more of the DNA methylation modification. But epigenetics is going to be much more exciting. And it's, you know, this huge buzzword at the moment, because again, we can change the, essentially the expression of our genes and what genes are being turned on and turned off.
Dr. Barrett 06:30
Epigenetics is what happens to DNA expression from the DNA genetic code.
Hannah Went 06:49
A good example to use is a computer. The hardware of the computer is going to be the genetic component, that's not ever going to change, whereas you have the software, computer component of the computer, and that's going to be related to the epi genetics, right? It's going to be sending those signals out. You can think of your epigenetics as light switches almost right? Controlling what's on and what's off.
Dr. Barrett 07:18 Discussion of what affects epigenetics
Hannah Went 07:43 The STRONG association of Cigarette Smoking and DNA Methylation
You're not going to find a stronger signal than the one that there is between smoking cigarettes and methylation. There's one gene actually, and if that one is unmethylated.
Dr. Barrett 08:29 Defines Methylation
Hannah Went 10:23 Epigenetics and Environmental Stressors
The idea originally is that most of your genes are going to be unmethylated at birth, and then you're going to gain methylation as you age. However, I think what we're starting to find out is again, it's more location dependent, where, you know, methylation may be a causal effect as to why we may be aging, right? So, throughout our life, we may not actually want more methylation, we want to be picky and choosey on what we want turned on and turned off. We really specialize in more of the aging process, because that's really where these methylation markers actually got its start where we started to notice them, because there's just a very, very strong correlation with these methylation markers being able to predict age.
Dr. Barrett 12:51
Now, once these things are methylated, can they be unmethylated?
Hannah Went 12:55
They can and that's why epigenetics and DNA methylation is so exciting because I was, you know, I'll use the smoking example, that we were we were chatting about previously, you can actually change your methylation there. If you smoked 20 or 30 years ago, you may have a tiny bit of a signal still, but you can actually make it to where it looks like you've actually been a non-smoker, thus actually reversing your risk for smoking related conditions. So that is why these these simple lifestyle changes can be so important, and that they have a huge impact on your health. And sometimes we don't realize that.
Dr. Barrett 13:38 Specific Methylation Testing
Hannah Went 14:01 We look at 900,000, almost a million methylation positions
Dr. Barrett 15:56
Okay. So, when you do the testing, and you I mean, if you're looking at 900,000 Plus sites, I would imagine this is like, what they call big data, machine learning these types of things.
Hannah Went 16:40 Machine learning
Dr. Barrett 18:04 The Horvath Clock and Telomeres
Hannah Went 20:06 Explains the history of the clocks and Crime Scenes
I would say the first clocks were really created in 2011, and 2013. And 2013. That's really when that Dr. Steve Horvath came out, it's looking at about 353 positions out of, you know, the 900,000 that we test, and it's, you know, the, that's going to be what's called a first-generation clock. First generation clocks are great, we could not be where we are today with without them. For example, Dr. Steve Horvath is probably going to win a Nobel Prize for all of the great work he's done in this space. But what a first- generation clock is, is it is really trying to predict chronological age. It's still a biological age, but it's trying to get closer to your actual chronological age by looking at methylation markers. These clocks that were first created, were actually really useful in crime scenes to investigate a blood sample and see the DNA and how old that person may have been from a crime scene, or even for refugees to seek asylum to see if they were of age. There's still value there. In those clocks, so that's what a first- generation clock is, again, I want to stress their importance, because if they're older, if they come out older than your biological age, or excuse me, if the first-generation clocks come out older than your chronological age, you're still at risk for almost every single chronic disease and death. It's a great starting point and gave us an amazing foundation to work with.
Dr. Barrett 21:51 Age is a predictor of disease
We know that age is one of the great predictors of chronic disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, unfortunately, all of the all of the bad things so that the whole point of it is like, let's try to keep our biological age as young as we possibly can to ward off the development of these chronic diseases. So how static is DNA methylation versus telomere analysis?
Hannah Went 22:20 DNA methylation versus Telomeres
DNA methylation is going to be very malleable.
Dr. Barrett 23:39 NASA and Twin Study
Hannah Went 24:31 Discusses Telomeres
Dr. Barrett 26:19
what would be the optimal timeframe for somebody who's really getting into this, okay, I'm going to change my deal, I'm going to go in becoming a biohacker. I've got my initial test, because I want to see where I'm at. This is my baseline. And I'm going to do all of these really good things from a health perspective for the next how many months until I run another test?
Hannah Went 26:39 Testing and Re-testing
Dr. Barrett 27:17 Other data points that Trudiagnostic can discern
Hannah Went 27:44 Longitudinal Studies
Dr. Barrett 29:58 Aging Index
Hannah Went 30:42 The Dineen Study
Dr. Barrett 34:21 Do all tissues undergo the methylation process?
Hannah Went 35:01 Intrinsic and extrinsic
Dr. Barrett 37:03
Got it? So that brought up a great point, how does the clinician take your testing and testing results, more importantly, and integrate it into a treatment plan for that particular patient? Because I think it's safe to say that almost all disease boils down more what's happening at the core level, metabolic level, genetic level, whatever you want to say, you know, and what we tend to treat, as different specialists is usually symptoms of that underlying core. I don't want to say disease, but maybe aberration. I mean, you're not ideally, calorically restricting or all of these things. So how would a clinician take this testing and integrate it into their care for a patient?
Hannah Went 37:50 When should you test—what age?
Dr. Barrett 40:02 Discusses biomarkers and patient compliance
Dr. Barrett 45:08
Well, that's, that's the nice thing about these discussions is, you know, a lot of times you can't give definitive answers, but sometimes speculation and conjecture, you know, you can think about things. And then that's how studies get designed, whether or not they, you know, support your hypothesis or on support your hypothesis. So, you see that though in the biohacking world, you know, the NR versus the, you know, the other forms and you wonder, well, nNr supplementation is not cheap. And it's, it's fairly expensive. And NMR, is it? What is it? NMR NMR, or nm N? Mn? And, yeah, okay. Yeah, I don't know, I think they're both pretty expensive modalities, as far as supplementation and everything. Well, at the very least, maybe you get better urine. There you go. Which, you know, a lot of my hackers have very good urine. Maybe it doesn't translate to health. But anyhow, we'll tell everybody how they can start getting, you know, to true diagnostic, not only for their patients, but for themselves, I would think that, I don't understand why virtually everyone wouldn't want to know, this data, you know, this would be I would consider foundational personal health data that you would want to have. So tell the folks how they can get it, I know you, you're gonna give the listeners a code, where they can get a little bit of a discount, and get signed up and get get it go on. So tell us about that. And
Hannah Went 46:46 How to reach her!
Go directly to our website, trudiagnostic.com. And we're giving all Spelunkers a 12% off discount code, that is going to be POISB.
Hannah Went 47:34 Announces her epigenetics podcast
Website - https://everythingepigenetics.com/
Spotify - https://open.spotify.com/show/2uD4PF21qtUNafKEvNx0xw
YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrce-dJj1wM
Apple Podcast - https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/how-fast-are-you-aging-really/id1670455778?i=1000598523653