Common sense makes a comeback

Surprising findings at the Silicon Valley Health and Performance Summit

BY HENRY ABBOTT

The cutting edge of health and wellness has always been home to kooky ideas and unstudied claims. More than from snakes, snake oil comes from slimy salespeople in this exact business sector. So maybe there’s reason to raise an eyebrow at something called the Silicon Valley Health and Performance Summit, which was put on by Sparta Science last Friday. 

But it had promise: Sparta’s founder Phil Wagner, M.D. has impeccable credentials and talks with purpose about bringing real science to sports, as did many no-nonsense guest speakers, like science writer Christie Aschwanden; CrossFit trainer, author, and physical therapist Kelly Starrett; and—pay attention, NBA fans!—R.C. Buford, who has run the Spurs through one of the most successful periods of any team in sports history.

The summit was held in a cavernous warehouse where, on most days, elite athletes get high-tech Sparta Science assessments. On this day, the turf was filled with super-fit conference goers. A guy in the th…

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