Ask Adam: vol. 2

Quartzy co-founder Adam Regelmann is an MD-PhD. He bypassed a career in gastroenterology to launch Quartzy with Columbia colleague Jayant Kulkarni. Each week Adam answers five questions about science, medicine, and pop-culture.

Is diet or exercise more important toward weight loss?

Adam Regelmann

Diet. There’s no question that exercise is important. It’s important for cardiovascular health. It’s important for mental health, as well. But as far a weight loss goes, weight is determined by calories in vs. calories out.

You have direct control over the calories in. Even if you’re exercising every day, you’re only going to hit 10 percent of your calorie burn, whereas 200 calories in food is just half a sandwich or a can of soda. If you drink a can of soda every day and cut that out, that will go way further.

What’s the best science or medicine moment from Seinfeld?

I found the Junior Mint episode—where Kramer and Jerry accidentally drop a Junior Mint into Elaine’s boyfriend’s abdominal cavity during a splenectomy—most amusing.

There are two problems with that episode now, though. There are no operating theaters anymore; it’s just a closed operating room. People can’t go to see an operation like they used to. And open procedures aren’t done much anymore, especially for elective cases. Most things are done these days using minimally invasive or laparoscopic techniques.

If the Junior Mint incident would have actually happened, the prognosis would have been14444036_s poor. He would have gotten an infection and probably would have become septic and died. If he responded to the antibiotics, or on the off chance he didn’t get an infection, the body would have walled off the little morsel. It may have shown up on some study in the future, and interventional radiology would have been called to biopsy it. They would have gotten a gelatin-type substance out of it and sent it to pathology. And the pathology report would come back with “Mint, Junior-type.”

What’s the best way to stop hiccups?

I have found that the best way is to hold your breath. But it’s not just holding your breath. A hiccup is a spasm of the diaphragm, so if you think about other muscles in your body that have spams, like your legs, the way you get rid of that spasm is to stretch or flex or work that muscle out. Your diaphragm is a big muscle. When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts and moves down. You need to try to make the contraction so extreme that the spasm goes away. Spasm is basically either the nerve is sending a signal to the muscle to contract, or the muscle is contracting by itself. A hiccup is an electrical circuit that’s gone out of whack.

So what I do is stand up, take a deep breath, hold it, and then keep inhaling air. Inhale as much air as you can. Try to push your diaphragm down as much as possible and make your chest as big as possible, and hold it for as long as possible. In my case, it’s worked 100 percent of the time. And it’s worked for everyone I’ve told, too.

Could Jurassic Park really happen?

Yes, it’s possible. They took blood preserved in amber inside a mosquito, sequenced the DNA, and created the genome for the dinosaurs. Then where there were places they weren’t sure of, they filled it in with frog DNA. Then the next part, which is how they created the egg and got the temperature right to form the embryo and create the dinosaur, is unclear.

There are animals around today that are as old as dinosaurs: alligators, sharks, birds. And you can imagine that they could figure out some way to get the conditions right for the right kind of egg environment, the right kind of incubation environment. Every step is improbable, but it’s all theoretically possible.

Quartzy is rolling out big updates soon. Which one are you most excited about?

I’m really excited by everything with respect to these updates. We’ve added some much-requested features, the structure/design makes it considerably more usable and logical than the current environment, and I’m super excited by all the work that was done behind the scenes. Our engineers have significantly improved the underlying architecture. These improvements give us a fantastic foundation to push forward faster.

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Greg Schindler

Greg has a BA from Stanford (English/Football) and MS from Oregon (Journalism). He's our Director of Marketing and Pastries.