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Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode #48: Dr. Daniel Chao

Our guest for today’s episode is Dr. Daniel Chao, CEO at Halo Neuroscience.  Daniel Chao is a medtech entrepreneur, specializing devices that improve brain performance, and currently is the co-founder and CEO of Halo Neuroscience based in San Francisco developing neuroscience-based technology that accelerates performance gains for elite athletes.

Today’s podcast is all about the brain, learning, skill acquisition and achieving better performance.  Topics include neuroplasticity, neural drive, chemical vs. electrical stimulation to the brain, and more.

As we move through decades of training and sports science, it’s interesting to see what becomes common in popular culture.  Pre-workouts have become a cultural, and even meme phenomenon, but are they really helping drive better performance in competition?  Are the benefits outweighed by the cost, and is there a better way to stimulate the brain for optimal learning?

Dr. Chao goes in depth on skill learning, and the future of enhancing the brain for performance gains.

Today’s episode is brought to you by SimpliFaster, supplier of high-end athletic development tools, such as the Freelap timing system, kBox, Sprint 1080, and more.

Just Fly Performance Podcast Episode #48: Dr. Daniel Chao

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Key Points:

  • Chao’s background in the neuroscience field
  • Neuroplasticity and its role in learning
  • Neural drive and EMG in performance
  • Endurance performance and the brain
  • Physical learning and classroom learning similarities and differences
  • The importance of sleep, neurotransmitters, and learning
  • The effect of chemicals on the brain and learning

Quotes

“Drugs work well for the rest of the body, it’s arguably the miracle of modern medicine, but when you think about drugs and when they are applied to the brain, the wheels kind of fall off”

“If you put people who are moving into an FRMI scanner, or even thinking about moving, the motor cortex is lighting up like a Christmas Tree”

“Neural drive is the raw electrical output that comes out of the brain and produces a muscle contraction.  You can teach your brain to generate more neural drive to fire more muscle fibers more robustly”

“For learning a motor skill, that’s your motor cortex, your cerebellum, and deeper parts of your brain like the thalamus.  For learning facts in say a chemistry classroom, for example, that’s a part of your brain that’s more frontal”

“We’ve known this for a long time, and the science continually reinforces that we need to sleep, and we still don’t do it.  We try to shortcut sleep constantly”

“There’s the type of practice where you’re just mindlessly going through the motions… that is not going to work as well than thoughtful, really deliberate, quality practice.  From a physical standpoint, this is really important, because reps are precious”

“Practice is done through repetition, you need to be engaged in that repetition, you need feedback in that repetition”

“Dynamic range is the distance between where you are at today and your genetic potential”

About Dr. Daniel Chao
Daniel-Chao-Co-Founder-and-CEO-Halo-NeuroscienceDaniel Chao is a medtech entrepreneur, specializing devices that improve brain performance. Currently, Dr. Chao is co-founder and CEO of Halo Neuroscience, a venture backed start-up based in San Francisco developing neuroscience-based technology that accelerates performance gains for elite athletes.

Prior to Halo, Dr. Chao was the Head of Business Development at NeuroPace where he played a central role in the development of the world’s first closed-loop neuromodulation device for the treatment of epilepsy. Dr. Chao was a consultant at McKinsey & Company in their New York office and received his M.D. and M.S. in neuroscience from Stanford University.

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