Pizza on the Brain

Pizza on the Brain

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Meet Carlo, a self-described pizza addict looking to answer the age-old question, "Why pizza?"

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- [Carlo] My name is Carlo. I came to America to play progressive rock and photograph beautiful people, but my real obsession is pizza and its many mysteries. My mission, to understand the strange power it holds over me, and so many others. Join me as I discover All The Pizza. Pizza, once the craving takes ahold of me, my mind cannot focus on anything but getting that fix. So I turned to the only thing I knew that could give me answers on this obsession, science. Hi. - Hi. - How are you doing doing? - [Receptionist] How are you? - Very good, very good. I'm here to see Doctor Adyea. - Great. Oh, would you mind signing in right there? - Yes, absolutely. - I'll see if he's available. - Absolutely, thank you. Besides all my other problems, like I have a straightforward addiction, let's see what we can find out. - [Receptionist] Here's Dr. Jafi for you. - [Carlo] Hello, nice to meet you. - Nice to meet you. - Carlo, pleasure. - Carlo. - [Carlo] How are you? - Welcome to Alternatives. - Oh, thank you. I hope I'm in the right place. - I hope you're in the right place too. - I don't know if they told you already, I have to eat pizza every day. - You have to? - I have to. - It's almost like a pizza addiction. - Yeah, maybe it is. - I think we should maybe talk a little privately for a little bit. - Okay, absolutely. - Tell me a little more about it? - Absolutely, absolutely. - Alright. Okay, why don't you sit in that chair right there. - Nice. - Comfortable for you? - Ooh, it's jiggly. I feel like I'm in therapy right now. - No, but you know, it's all about making people comfortable, right? - Yeah. - Especially when people come in, maybe you wanna talk about a problem you've got. - Here's the thing, I don't see that as a problem, but you know, society thinks that if you do something compulsively every day, just because it makes you happy. - You have to eat a pizza every day. What does that look like? - I just have to have it. Like, if I have the thought of a pizza during the day, while I'm working, whatever, like at night, I'll have to drive, even go out of my way. And then it will give me extreme happiness. - Because everybody wants to feel happy, right? - Yes. - Isn't that the ultimate goal anyway? - Amen. I come from Italy, and in America there's a lot of great pizzas. Whatever, New York style, Neapolitan, deep dish. - That's a big thing, right? When you move to a new place where you don't know that many people, having an external thing that you can take in that can bring you back to home, that's a big role. - I know. That's why I don't see it as a problem, but I'm very curious to see why I feel that way about it. I just love it so much, and it gives me so much happiness, at a chemical-- - It's like a euphoria. Oh my god. - Yeah and it's crazy. And it works on other people too. I call it pizza inception. - I love it. - And you all noticed that too, like you all have to have pizza after we talk about pizza for a second, and you think it's your idea. - It's actually contagious. - Oh, for sure. - Oh wow, I'm a little scared right now. - What's a non-sexual transmittable disease? Well, whatever. - A disease. Yeah. - It sounds like there's some feelings of either embarrassment, or something else, shame, something that's going on for you, where the fact that you need it has made you decide to come in and kind of see what it's all about. Do people kind of go man, I wanna hang out with you tonight, but I really don't wanna have pizza. Can we do anything else? - Ever time. - So it's almost like everybody just knows you as the pizza guy. - I don't think it's healthy that my most stable relationship is with pizza. Right? - Typically people come to me because they're struggling with sleep or anxiety, or alcohol addiction, or things like that. I just never actually ran across somebody who feels like the pizza is the issue. So maybe it is. Maybe it's producing a little strain on your relationships, because it keeps interfering to some extent. We can look at what happens to your brain, what's your brain like without pizza, then when you're just sort of on your regular, everyday kind of experience. And then we can add pizza to that equation, and see, does it change in any meaningful way? For all we know, maybe it solves a problem that you don't even know you have, and that's why you have such a draw to it. - I like that. - I just can't wait to see what your brain looks like on pizza. - Me too. I can't wait. - Alright. - [Doctor] Alright, Carlo, we're gonna put this cap on you. Hannah, if you can come in, please. - Hello. - Hello. - Hannah is gonna place this cap on you. She's gonna try to get through all the hair, but I think we'll be okay. I hope. - We'll be fine. - You think we'll make it? - We'll be fine, yeah. - Cool. There are 19 different electrodes. We're gonna measure the cortex, that's sort of the outer shell of the brain. And your brain generates activity across neurons, emitting different frequencies, all the time. Depending on the level of activity around the world and what you're absorbing, what you're hearing, what you're seeing, what you're thinking, feeling, et cetera, the frequencies go up and down in your entire brain. What we're gonna do is, by being able to measure that across all these different locations, we're gonna look at, over time, what is happening in your brain, overall. Is there anxiety? Is there a kind of obsessive-compulsive thinking? And we're gonna look at that in a couple different states, eyes open and eyes closed, so that we can tell, as you transition through the world, what are you probably experiencing. And then we'll try some things that are more related to the problem you came in for, right, pizza. - Ready for a bit of gel. - Oh, my God! - Doesn't hurt. - Wait, where are we going with that? - [Hannah] I'm just gonna put some gel right here, to get the activity. - Oh, okay, 'cause that's scary. You didn't announce that. - Surprise! - Oh also I'm afraid of heights, like on a table, on a jiggly table, or a thin balcony, I will just faint. That's very professional. - It was the jiggly table thing that got me. - I think it got worse during the years. I don't know if it's just because I was in America, like the pizza situation. I wasn't eating pizza every day before. - The pizza situation. - I do eat pizza every day now. It looks like a bath cap, like something that I would wear 40 years from now. How's it looking? - Oh! It's really great. - Great. - [Hannah] Does that feel snug? - It feels fantastic. - Okay. - That same gel she put in your ears, we're gonna inject some of that to each one of those electrodes, and that column of gel will actually serve as the connecting piece between the electrode and your scalp. - [Hannah] This should feel nice, actually. - It feels very nice. Oh, my God! - Uh-huh. - [Hannah] It's in specific placements on your head. - Oh, Jesus! Is this gel organic? - Yes. - Okay. - Organic. - Really? - Uh-huh. - I'm glad to hear that it's organic. - Yeah. - Is it vegan? - I'm literally tearing up. - Yeah, non-GMO too, I think. - That's amazing. I don't think I can compare this to anything else I've ever done in my life before. - Alright, so first name is Carlo, you said? - Carlo Alberto Orecchia. - Right, or left-handed? - Right. - Right-handed. - Is that a thing? I like it. - It can lead to switching of the brain directions, yeah. - Wow! - And are you taking any medication? - Am I taking any medication? No. - No, okay. - Beside pizza. - Beside pizza. Okay, got it. - Alright, so if you look on the screen right here, what you're seeing is across all 19 of those placements. - Oh, my God! - You'll see up here, - [Doctor] kind of movement, right? That's your motor cortex. - Oh, my God! - When you talk, there's a lot of tension in your jaw. - Oh, my God! - Actually, I'm just gonna ask you to sit back, legs flat, feet flat on the ground, kind of really comfortable seating position. For the first part of this, we're gonna do a reading with your eyes closed. Kind of let your brain roam free. We're gonna get a reading of the baseline levels you've got, nice. Really try to just relax your body as much as you possibly can. For the second part of this, look in front of you, and just pick a spot that is about at eye-level, so your face is kind of projecting forward like it was before. Really soften your gaze. That's perfect. Alright man, so you did great. We got a really clean scan. For the last part of this, we're gonna see, what does eating pizza make your brain look like. I think it might know this particular pizza. There's a guy named Joe. You know Joe's Pizza? - Oh, my God. - Giuseppe from-- - Joe. - Hey, what's up? How are you? Nice meeting you. - Carlo. Nice meeting you. - Nice meeting you. - Big fan. - Oh, yes? - Giant fan, yes. - Let me show you that beauty. - Oh! - Beautiful. - It's called Margherita. - Oh, I love it, I love it. - I love it, just smell it, take it in. - I'm so happy right now. I don't know what's on there, but thank you. - The next phase is to really just take one and start eating it. - Oh, my God! We fold it, that's how I do it. Mmm! Mmm! Joe, please. - Oh, no, no. - Joe, please. - Alright, listen-- - You have to have one. - I have almost, between four and five slices every single day. - [Carlo] So you do eat pizza every day too? - Every single day. - How does it make you feel? - It feels great. - Right? That's what I'm trying to understand, 'cause I eat pizza every day, and I feel it's like an addiction. Do you feel weird about eating pizza every day? - No. Not at all. - You're proud of that, right? - [Joe] I love it, yeah. - I'm very proud of that, but society makes me feel like I should have more variety to my diet. - Maybe Joe figured it out. You just have to open a pizza place. - I might. This is such a pleasure right now. Joe, thank you. - Ciao. - Ciao, thank you so much. I'll see you very soon. - [Doctor] Alright, Carlo. How are you doing? - Great. - Hannah analyzed the data for us. So we're gonna sit around and kind of just look at your brain a little bit. So what I'm looking at, is, I can say this is sort of like your brain before pizza and your brain after pizza. It's actually a very clean brain scan. - It looks great. - Oh, my God! It literally made the frontal beta go away? - Yeah. - That's insane. - [Doctor] We think this is noise? Right? - I think that might be real. - You sound both worried and excited, and - [Hannah] That's real. - So this is your brain split up across all these different frequencies, from the slowest frequency, delta, all the way up to high beta, which is kind of your highest frequency. When we see green in these, green means average. - Okay. - Deviations from that will look either down, which means less activity than we would expect that goes into the blues, or oranges and reds which means more activity. With eyes closed, I'm not seeing any anxiety markers here at the back of the brain, although this one is a little bit of one. Sleep disregulation, or anything like that. But then, look what happens when you go to eyes open. One of the things that I'm seeing pretty clearly, is this red spot right here. Typically when we see this, we think ruminative thinking, obsessive-compulsive thinking. Sometimes it feels like you're getting stuck on things repetitively. Does that sound like something you struggle with? - Absolutely. - What's interesting is, after you've had the pizza, relative alpha has grown. So your brain is a little bit more relaxed, and has a little bit less of the beta hyper frequency, than you had before, after you had the pizza. - Is it the same effect of a sedative, or a drug-- - A medication? - Or a medication? - [Doctor] Well let's look at the amazing part of this, because, remember that part of rumination? It's gone. - Oh, my God. That cures my compulsive behavior. - This is sort of bizarre to talk about, but yeah, the signal that was there before, saying that your brain is kind of stuck, and had some internal anxiety, went away after the pizza. - Oh, my God. - There are slight signs of depression. - Oh, shit! - And actually, well I'm seeing a little bit more of it actually, after the pizza. So maybe pizza helped resolve the anxiety and the rumination, but what I'm seeing is a little bit of a suggestion of depression. - Or nostalgic. Is nostalgic a feeling that's kind of like in that area? Because every time I eat pizza, I taste my home country. - [Doctor] Right. I think these results support that idea. - Wow, so pizza helps me in meditation brain waves. That might be like a major publication. - Yes, yes, yes. This is going out in some of the best journals. - So now I feel like the solution is opening a pizza joint. - Maybe start a show about pizza. - Or maybe starting a show about pizza. - [Doctor] It was really great meeting you. - [Carlo] Ciao, thank you. Thank you. Am I still linked? Ciao. - Ciao. - Thank you so much. - You too. - That was a bizarre discovery. I loved it, but that didn't really explain the emotions behind my behavior and my addiction. I didn't need a doctor to tell me that pizza made me happy, but I'm glad that chemically, and electromagnetically, it kind of solves my anxiety. Pizza is the cure for anxiety. That's pretty incredible. Pretty sure that some scientific magazine should be interested in this discovery. Still, I'm very hungry for answers, very hungry for pizza. Now I'm going to Marino, my friend Marino, from DeSano Pizza Bakery. He's the pizza guru, he's the food guru. He's been in the food industry for his whole life. He's been working with the best chefs in the world. Hopefully he will have some answer, more answers for me. Ciao, Marino. - Ciao, Carlo! - I'm so confused, man. Make some pizza. - So? - So it turned out, my brain is weird. And before I eat pizza, I'm obsessed with some stuff, so my compulsive behavior is strong, about a few things. And after pizza, it's gone. It cures my compulsive behavior, but it shows that I'm a little depressed after pizza. - After the pizza? - And I think it's because it reminds me of how wonderful our country is. And it makes me, you know. - So you miss it even more. - I think so. - That's why you want to have it at least once a day. - It makes me feel-- - You know what? - Fantastic. - Some people take pills, we need to eat pizza. There's nothing wrong with that. - Do you eat pizza every day too? - You know what? At least one slice has to come in. - See? - At least one slice. If I see a slice going like this, I say come here. - If you can not have it, not not have it-- - The pizza is calling, it's like eat me, eat me. So hey. - We had your competitor, Joe's, today, and asked him: Do you eat pizza every day too? And he said absolutely. For sure. - It's a disease. It's a beautiful disease. - And that's why I went to get a brain scan, but it's not a disease at all. It's just like a wonderful addiction. - But it makes sense. - It makes us stronger, it makes us like, more free, and having a more creative brain. - But I can see that on you, the pizza didn't affect you yet. - I'm holding it. I'm holding it. - But for me, I have the mini guy. - I'm holding it in. - You're holding it in? - I'm holding it in right now. Shh! Don't tell anybody. Oh, my God. Look at those blisters. Nice, we're gonna eat it together. We'll share it, we'll share it. - I know, I know in Italy we don't cut the pizza, but we are in America, and we like to cut it. - Oh, my God. It smells so good. - Pecorino? - Yes, yes. Little bit of basil. Never cut the basil. Always break into it. - [Marino] It's perfect. - You break it a little bit. It brings out the-- let's go eat, let's go eat. Let's do it. Yeah, good job. - Thank you. - Good job. - I'm learning. - So I'm curious to hear from you, because this morning I got my scientific approach. I got gel in my hair, to get a brain scan, and you know, something interesting showed up. But I wanna hear from you: why pizza? 'Cause your background is a three-star Michelin, best chef in the world, Gualtiero Marchesi, Gordon Ramsay, and now you're doing pizza. - Yes. - Which is up there, beyond, it is the best cuisine in the world. Why? - It's the next step, before heaven. It's not purgatory, you are right there. You see the door, with San Pietro opening the door on heaven. For me it's like that. I always thought that pizza was the ultimate food, because it's so simple. There's three ingredients, and it's the essence of Italian cuisine. Even though I'm not from Naples, so everybody makes fun of me, because I'm from Turin. - Which is the deep north. - Exactly. - Of Italy. - But I always loved pizza, and I always said this is our go-to food when you're sad, when you're something. You just wanna go to this one, because-- - It makes you feel great. - It makes me feel great. - So what I love the most, besides making you feel fantastic, it brings people together. You saw me, my last two birthdays, I did my two birthdays here. And everybody loved it. It felt like a high school, like a high school night. - And the thing that I love about pizza, if you think about it, it's the only food that every religion can eat. - I'm so much happier already. - Especially when pizza is well done, with the right ingredients, with the right proportion of everything. It's important, the ingredients are very important. What upset me, and I'm sure upset you too, is when you go and eat the pizza, and then it's not done. - That's what's good about this place. I come here a lot. I come here by myself, come here with friends, and it's always like the best time ever. - Thank you. - For even first-timers, that they come here, not only the location, the food is so good that you forget about anything else, and you just enjoy the moment, you just enjoy the present, great conversation, which is bringing back what we do in Italy. We dine, in no rush, and we talk, in front of amazing food. I love the conversation, the people, the great beauty of life, brought to you by just a simple dish. - Are we elevating it into like a magical food? I want to believe so. - I will always get the Margherita, no garlic, because I love the simplicity of that, and it reminds me of the pizza that my mom makes at home, which is like tomato, mozzarella, and basil, and olive oil, that's it. In Italy, two, three ingredients. - Poor people food. But it's the best. - Exactly. - It's the healthiest, it's the best food. All you need to do, you're from Parma, so maybe a slice of Prosciutto, but that's it. Otherwise, just like that, you're fine. - You read my mind. - A slice of Prosciutto. - Absolutely, absolutely. I love it. The doctor kind of told me that before I eat pizza, I have anxiety, I'm agitated, I have, part of my brain, in the center area, it gets all fixed by just, it was just a bite of pizza. It wasn't much, but it was just the desire, the smell, the wait, the thought, and then eating pizza, that calmed down completely, the spot, those activities in the brain. - That's very interesting. - That's the first time I ever even approached the scientific version, the scientific approach of our pizza love. This is the first chapter for me, of a long journey that I'm gonna take, kind of like across the world. I'm gonna go to Las Vegas and Chicago, to New York, to Italy. I'm trying to find an answer to the question: why pizza? - Why Pizza? - In general. - [Carlo] For both, for the world. - For the world. Pizza, it was the easiest thing to put in front of another person, without offending. Everybody knows pizza in the world. You cannot translate it in any other language, it's pizza. Okay, even in Germany they call it pizza, even in Saudi Arabia they call it pizza. So I kind of wanna say it is a pizza. The first thing people do, they come down, and they start to eat, so yes, we do enjoy everything with pizza. Are we elevating it into a magical food? I want to believe so. It puts everybody from the same level, rich and poor, intelligent and not that intelligent, you know. You put pizza in front of you, and then all of a sudden it's like we are both on the same level. We are just two persons eating a slice of pizza together. - That was beautiful. Thank you. - Thank you. - That was a great answer to pizza. I approve your message, completely. - Any time. - Thank you. Ciao. - Ciao. - Okay? - Ciri, what is the meaning of pizza? - [Ciri] Hmm, let me think. - [Carlo] I want deeper answers. - [Ciri] I'm not sure I understand. - [Carlo] Ugh! Why pizza? - [Ciri] A dish of Italian origin, consisting of a flat, round base of dough, baked with a topping of tomato sauce and cheese, typically with added meat or vegetables. - Ugh, thank you. - [Ciri] You're welcome.

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