A New Era for Exploring the Brain

Bryan Johnson
3 min readMar 7


This week at Kernel, I handed over the CEO role to Ryan Field, current CTO. Ryan and I have been connected at the hip building Kernel — from nothing, through the pandemic and now onto our first commercial applications. With our tenacious teammates, we successfully brought to life the world’s first brain interface — Kernel Flow — capable of imaging every brain on the planet; an unimaginable possibility just a few years ago. Our publications on Ketamine, Alcohol and Flow demonstrate our neuro technology is real, it works, and it’s ready for prime time.

The Flow Wiggle

Ryan has been central to everything we’ve accomplished. He inspires the confidence of customers, partners, investors and teammates. He’s an exceptional human as well. In my continuing role of Chairman of the Board, I will work closely with him and the Kernel team.

We are training our sights on depression and cognitive decline. Kernel is going to demonstrate that the best way to solve problems associated with the brain is to do so with precise measurement.

Flow’s potential is not limited to our individual minds, but can also re-engineer society around mental well-being.

This moment we share together, the early 21st century, is more consequential than any of us have the wisdom to identify or words to describe. If we try to muster up peak levels of sobriety and clarity of mind to assess what’s really going on, we may observe that computational intelligence (AI) is advancing rapidly. Our planet is at risk. We humans are dangerously at each other’s throats. We are suffering individually from the taxing circumstances of modern society.

When we aren’t well, society isn’t well; and the technology we build mirrors that.

If we quiet the cacophony of the world’s noise, we realize it’s time to get serious about our next evolutionary step. We are accustomed to thinking about evolution on the time scales of hundred or even millions of years; not a single lifetime, let alone ours. How might we do that?

Progress begins with counting, for we improve what we can measure. We can routinely and easily count steps and measure our sleep — but not our brain and minds, until now.

When we buy a washer and dryer, we don’t wonder if it will fit through the front door. We know it will because society engineers and scaffolds based on measurement. This is how progress systematically and reliably compounds.

Humans have struggled to scaffold progress around the brain because we don’t have the data. No neuroimaging technology has existed that can be used broadly, in natural environments and affordably. Until now. Flow solves that.

With Kernel Flow, what if…

  • instead of using words to describe our mental malaise, our brain patterns could speak for themselves in the form of biomarkers?
  • we could achieve new levels of peak performance, creativity and bravery
  • it was possible to predict our brain’s responsiveness to treatments to avoid years of trial and error?
  • we could learn our brain’s age and how to reverse it
  • we could be informed how our lifestyle choices are helpful or hurtful to our mental well-being
  • we had access to a library of biomarkers from routine brain scans to optimize brain and mind health.
  • we could catch cognitive decline the moment it begins, not decades later

What might a neuro inspired world look like? I have some ideas from my Project Blueprint.

Two years ago I asked a question about what’s possible with today’s best anti-aging science. For example, can we dramatically slow the speed one ages and reverse aging that’s happened? We got to work…

  • digging through tens of thousands of scientific papers
  • extensively measuring every organ of my body
  • creating clinical grade protocols, and
  • maintaining perfect adherence to the designed algorithm

My results are compelling:

  • 5.1 yrs epigenetic age reversal
  • Reduced my pace of aging by the equivalent 31 years in 18 months
  • Now aging slower than the average 10 year old
  • Ideal muscle & fat (MRI)
  • 50+ optimal clinical outcome biomarkers
  • 100+ markers less than my chronological age
  • Several fitness tests = 18yr old
  • Body runs 3F° cooler

The one thing that made this question and endeavor possible: measurement.

With routine measurement of our brains and minds, what questions could we ask and what aspirations can we have?

Here is to a new era for mental thriving.



Bryan Johnson

Founder of Blueprint, Kernel, OS Fund & Braintree Venmo