She Blinded Me With Science

Far for being a Luddite, I do love some of the implications being raised in the previous comment thread about the implications of science qua science.

After all, we already know that many studies are corrupted, and even relate in abstract in a way that the full text doesn't really support (because so many only read abstracts). I'll go out on a limb and contend that human animals have been engaging in science for thousands of years, and perhaps tens of thousands or more. My talk at AHS11 was: Self Experimentation; The Best Science. I meant it. And I still do, bias and confounding variables notwithstanding.

If you're going to test how sitting on your ass and eating Hot Pockets and drinking Coke all day effects you, you're probably going to just eat Hot Pockets and drink Coke. It's only when you exercise your mind to undertake disciplined self experimentation do you try to deal with biases and variables. Because: you have a vested interest. Scientists, for all their fame, have no personal standing in the thing most valuable to you: your life and the lives of those you love. They just have a paycheck. Nope, no bias there. Nada.

My point is that bias will always exist, as will confounders—where you can't tell what's causing what, because too many variables are in play. But, I also presume you care about yourself; and such an audacious presumption, that. I'll go out on another limb: you care more about yourself than do scientists care about you, earning paychecks you didn't sign.

But yea, the work they do is valuable. It's just not all valuable, and it certainly never, ever trumps your own science. I didn't say experience. I said: your own science. If you observe the state of your environment, wonder what results you might get if you change something up, and you reasonablly take stock in that self experiment, you are the scientist as close to home as you will ever find...the one who care about you the most.

Take note: SHE blinded you. So, guys, now you know what all you're up against. :)

Comments

  1. I personally enjoy “the science” behind nutritional theory, but it cannot ever take into account all the variables needed to provide some unequivocally proven unifying dietary guidelines for all human poplations. If you were to take Asian, Native American, African, Caucasian, Persian, and Indo-Asian populations various calorie sources in various ratios, I am willing to bet they will all respond with subtle diffences. That is at the the heart of this debate. As well as the debate that is ongoing regarding optimal kinds of exercise. The number of studies and the amount of variables that would have to be controlled to please all these people in the paleo/counter-conventional diet niches is infinite due to the number of counter arguments they can all come up with.

    What I think Kurt Harris, MD, Richard here at FTA, Lustig, Taubes, and Mark Sission (among other’s I am sorry I did not mention) have done is poinerred an eloquent way to approach how we should think about nutrition and exercise. At the heart of the matter is “what should I eat and how should I exeercise to stay an appropriate body weight free of chronic disease.” I applaud everyone out there who challenged the government agencies official dogma(because it is wrong).

    Hard Science based on clinical trials and biochemical analysis are nesscary, and help compliment evolutionary theory behind everyones suggestions. As a physician, what I am after in my analysis of all this evolutionary theory and hard science is summed up by “what is best for my patients.” I know that all patients are not created equal. What I recommend to the obese, middle aged, hispanic female will be very different to what I may recommend to the obese young black male. This is due to different kinds of genetic heritage and differences in sex hormones that will affect results. Sadly, this is how doctor should be trained to think, but instead we are trained to have tunnel vision and treat lab values with pills, and obesity with the same one size fits all whole grain, low fat, more exercise dogma.

    Science can be used for the good and bad. Critical analysis of the hard science is what I love about this new information age. For my sake and my patients I use the science as well as all my training in physiology, biochemistry, and evolution to customize treatment for patients of varying gender and backgrounds, because there is no one size fits all. In the end, all of this blogging, searching for evolutionary answers to optimize diet and exercise should be for the greater good of society. Everyone in this game should remember regardless if your a doctor or not to “do no harm.” We should all be searching for solutions to this adult and childhood obesity crisis the world is currently suffering from.

    • Sorry in advance for some of my misspellings and grammatical errors, it is late in the day for me.

    • Ryan

      May I sign you up, sir, for a guest post exactly along these lines?

      You echo what I have been saying: equator to acetic, sea level to 16,ooo feet and everything in between. Pleas email if interested.

      • Im in for a guest post I will email about what kind of content to focus on tomorrow, thanks for the offer, Ryan

      • Thanks, Ryan, knock it out of the park. That individualism angle from a clinical practitioner perspective could be huge, especially with anecdotal digressions.

    • Ryan, please take Richard up on the guest post offer! You clearly have something relevant to say. (Sorry about the paragraph crack on the previous thread. I was under the influence of absinthe and bath salts.)

      • jofjltncb6 says:

        If that was really the reason, Ryan should just feel lucky that you didn’t literally eat his face off.

        (Too soon?)

  2. N =1 is the way I roll.. fuck cancer, I have shit to do.. and I am doing it pretty damn well.
    Loved meeting you at AHS11 and your talk rocked. As do you Sir.

    • Wait til Cambridge I only have 20 m so far, so I have to make it good. That talk I did at 11 was off the cuff 2 hrs prior to giving it, which is how I prefer to roll, prepare, dry run, go. I want to really rock this one, so we’ll see,

  3. (commented on wrong post. Muh bad)

    Not to get practical or anything…

    Science helps me filter my N=1. Sometimes I get a whacky idea via a wingnut. Largely, I have a problem and want to suicide it. I look at the research. Look at other people who have done something about it (quantifiedself.com) and then attempt to put an experiment together so I can solve my issue.

    Oh, you want links? Sure.

    http://www.gwern.net/
    This dude double blinds his personal trials. Sleep, nootropics, memory, etc. I am waiting for his n=1 on love cause zeus knows I need it.

    http://www.quantifiedself.com
    They do work son. All types of gadgets and geeked out geeky geeks. If there is a device to measure they have it listed. Good conference too. The forum is slow but slow can be good. Gary wolf is a part of all that.

    http://blog.sethroberts.net/
    He tries shit. Like Richard. Only he does not use the word fuck. Though he did talk about Tucker Max once and boy did I make the wrong comment on that post. But anywho. Seth gives a fuck. He will put his neck on the cutting board. Oh, and he likes butter. Alot. See his posts.

    This guy is testing procrastination. Apparently. Rumor has it he spends to much time on FTA to start-up blogging again. But fucking cool name, right?

    I will leave it at that for now.

  4. Doel:
    Doel is the national bird of Bangladesh. It is mixed with black and white. It is common is rural area in Bangladesh. Doel have seen all over during the summer season. It can sing very nicely and not fly very high. It eats insects.

    • Razzab:

      That’s probably the first spam comment I’ve ever let stay up because it’s not pernicious and if you follow the link, cool.

      Plus, I once spent a gawd awful layover in Dhaka from Paris to Bankok.

  5. EatLessMoveMoore says:

    Very cool spam.

  6. Pauline says:

    One of my own great life lessons with regard to Paleo, low-carb, nutrition – it is all about context, the context of one’s own life. One size doesn’t fit all. What works for my partner doesn’t work in the same way for me. Our environment and genetic history does have influence. . You have to look at the variable’s in your own life and figure out what is not working and what will. I came into the paleo themepark while searching for solutions to food sensitivities which were not getting better. My weight had increased and I didn’t know what was driving that. There was so many variables. After doing a lot of research one day I sat down and wrote a list of what food I re-acted to, together with a list on what I thought I could eat. I realised I am my own best expert and the simplest test was self experimentation. That list turned out to be a stone-age diet, low toxin for me. I then wrote a similar list of things I thought were indicative of hormonal changes, and then one that looked like it might help me lose weight. They all said the same thing for me. Whereas previously I was eager to give advice I realised I was applying a pattern that worked for me to everyone else. Only in this last year have I knocked that into place and realising each person is at their own unique level of fitness, health, weight, response to individual foods. Its a learning curve I am still on.

    • Interestingly, I was just reading about context before I read this comment.

      But in the age of evidence-based thinking, our understanding of how to use medical tests has evolved. We now understand that the utility and power of a test rests on two pillars: accuracy and its context. The need for accuracy is obvious, but why does context matter? Because no test is perfect.

      Do not, for instance, test a man for pregnancy. It will only disappoint. While pregnancy tests may be intrinsically quite accurate, they are imperfect. Testing a man will give us either an answer we knew (he’s not pregnant), or an answer we know to be wrong (he’s pregnant). Both are unhelpful. Indeed testing a woman for pregnancy can also be meaningless, when it is done in the wrong context: immediately following an act of conception, for instance, the result will likely be wrong. But test a woman after a missed menses and a pregnancy test is powerful. Context trumps accuracy.

      And I was just reading that blog because Dr Eades tweeted this TEDx talk.

  7. Pauline says:

    Oh and my own unique response to stress.

  8. ryan said: What I recommend to the obese, middle aged, hispanic female will be very different to what I may recommend to the obese young black male.

    could you give an example in your guest post?

  9. Pauline says:

    And time is a context too, for instance I can eat foods now that I couldn’t eat at the start of this journey. Good fats have healed me internally an this shows in my skin. Age, sex, where we currently are in our own health continuum, metabolic profile change as we heal. It’s n evolving processan we want quick easy solutions but life gets in the way of those. We have to find ways to make it work for ourselves in the context of our own life experience.

  10. Seth Roberts on personal science vs professional science:

    http://blog.sethroberts.net/2012/05/29/personal-science-is-to-professional-science-as-professional-science-is-to-engineering/

    “I have been shocked — I sort of continue to be shocked — how much I have been able to discover via personal science. But a high rate of discovery makes sense if personal science supplies a necessary ingredient — ability to test low-plausibility ideas — that has been missing.”

  11. I have a song for Evelyn (Carbsane): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGe9EfLh-ug. Play your music, enjoy the applause, and don’t choke on the peanuts. Bravo!

  12. Pauline says:

    Yes, so many people read and then tested ideas on themselves. Art De Vany (insulin and evolutionary diet, intermittent fasting, exercise), Seth Roberts (I always liked anything to do with his self experiments, e.g. I watch faces on tv for brief periods in the morning, it works for me). Kurt with his condensing of the scientific principles in his archevore blog. Exercise – Body by Science, Kettle Bell Swing (it worked for her and turned into a lifestyle business, which keeps it working), long walks, lifting heavy things occasionally. Backpain and emotional issues, all those authors who have looked into hormones and their brain/body connection. Cold and its effect on immune system and metabolism, Wim Hof, Ray Cronise, Kruse, Richard. Daylight, Vit D, magnesium, Vitamins/minerals, teeth and bone health. I have left so many out – Cordain, Eades, Taubes and others. In the end you have to synthesise it all and work out what is relevant and useful in your own life.

  13. Pauline says:

    Science invited to Dine

    She asked for context
    and he chased her round
    He demanded some sense
    so she stood and lectured

    during this experiment
    no-one mentioned
    a brief laughter
    exchange
    kiss
    as both
    collapsed
    ravenous
    on the same ground.

    its all
    a self-serving
    merry-go-round.

  14. LeonRover says:

    For self- experimentation, I propose

    NNT=1 as a descriptor

    tho’ I am still chortling by the use of descriptor (N-1) by a certain neur0(tic)surgeon . . . . .

    Slainte

  15. Speaking of n=1, I began trying cold thermogenisis after seeing your experimentation recently. I enjoy it, but I noticed I hungry as fucking hell afterward. Did you notice this as well?

    • I really don’t notice any increase in hunger. But I’ve sure heard it reported by a lot of people.

      • marie says:

        Two years ago (but hey, I take notes, a spreadsheet even -geek praxis) I had noticed some hunger for first couple of weeks then nothing, quite the opposite, hunger suppression.
        Apart from the always possible ‘acclimation’ , I noted 2 changes in that time, one or both might be a cause : increasing darkness (I started in October in the NorthEast) and rapidly Decreasing temperature (started at around 57F and was at upper 40s in November.
        I also note that when swimming in regular pool (ours is held at 75F, pretty cool) I’m Ravenously hungry afterwards. Strong indications for temperature effect on hunger, but someone Could experiment ;-)

  16. marie says:

    Richard, so well said, thank you, maybe a big bold highlight for :
    .
    “I didn’t say experience. I said: your own science.” and the well explained process further on.
    .
    That distinction is the key and the danger – it’s where most people go very wrong. They observe alright, but then they assume some cause for their observation without experimenting on it, that is, without testing the cause – testing being the critical step in science that makes all the difference.
    After all, “experience (alone) is like the light on the caboose, it shines only on the track behind it”.
    .
    Experience without science is how an overweight sugar-addict ends up claiming that they are listening to their own body when they eat high-carb every 2-3hours because otherwise they feel weak/dizzy .
    There’s a terrific recent post on mis-leading ‘listening’ here : http://ramblingsofacarnivore.blogspot.com/
    .
    And before self-experimenting, reading up Widely (not just the most appealing things nor the supposedly most authoritative), reading Critically, and Synthesizing, as Pauline mentions, those seem rather important too in this natural scientist process where the lab is our own body.
    .
    Thank you for collecting in your blog so many of the materials people need to do all that and alerting to both pitfalls and to new ideas while sharing your self-experimentation.

  17. Pauline says:

    But maybe that science has to stay open and not closed, open to criticism and experiment, not dogma. With the internet so much information is now dispersed and we have greater ability to listen with discernment for our own benefit.

    • marie says:

      Yes.
      Meanwhile, people have no control or influence on ‘science’ , unless….they become the scientist. “Natural philosophers” will be finally resting easy.

  18. Pauline says:

    REally liked how you expressed so much in your response Marie.

    • marie says:

      Hmmm, not as much as you did in that poem above Pauline ! ;-)

      • Hey, hey, hey hey! Hold the fuck on, this conversation needs some bad language and angry testosterone.

        Okay, carry on.

      • Pauline says:

        Well that’s when your imagination comes in.

      • I’m having a hard time imagining where my my imagination comes in.

      • marie says:

        “…imagining where my imagination comes in.” – lol !
        .
        But here, let me help you.
        Now pay attention this time, I can’t keep posting this one Either! (really, have you considered omega-3 supplementation? does wanders for that memory…) :
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_Nrp7cj_tM

      • I considered writing something like, ‘Ah, thanks cunt, I actually have forgotten me fish oil as of late,’ but that’s too close to the bone for me, even though I’m pretty sure you’d have taken it in the proper manner.

        So I’m just going to post this for the fiftieth time.

        Also that reminds me of one of the (positive) things I got out of Godel, Escher Bach was that all paradoxes are self-referencing.

        Carlin is one of my favorite comedians but even in his later angry days he never really got over his liberal hippy roots.

      • marie says:

        “…all paradoxes are self-referencing”. Infinite loop. :-)

      • Yeah I know, but is it really self-evident that all paradoxes are recursive? Certainly wasn’t for me.

        “To understand recursion one must first understand recursion.”

      • marie says:

        Yes, It’s funny, no?

      • Oui, oui.

  19. http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/05/bpa-fat-obese-badge-cans

    I don’t know if this link worked, but copy and paste it? It’s an interesting view of how not only carbs ala sugars, wheat etc effect our metabolism, but the pollution around us. Thoughts?

    • I read the article, but it contradicted itself.
      “”BPA reduces the number of fat cells but programs them to incorporate more fat, so there are fewer but very large fat cells,” vom Saal recently told Environmental Health Perspectives.” and
      “Both BADGE and BPA can trigger preadipocytes—which are known as “pre-fat cells” because they can either lie dormant, copy themselves, or turn into fat—to become fat cells.” which means more but very small fat cells. Thiazoladinedione drugs for T2DM (****glitazone) do this.

      The main problem that I have with the article is that either having a very small number of very large, or a very large number of very small fat cells doesn’t in itself increase total fat mass. It’s eating more than you’re burning that increases total fat mass and burning more than you’re eating that reduces it. Here are two extremes.

      1) You can have a very small number of very large fat cells. Eating more than you’re burning fills them up and they become insulin resistant to stop themselves from rupturing. There is no longer anywhere for excess nutrients to go. You become Type 2 diabetic and die prematurely. BAD.
      You lose fat mass by burning more than you’re eating. Your smaller number of larger fat cells secrete sufficient leptin, which maintains metabolic rate and reduces hunger. You can maintain reduced fat mass for the rest of your life without too much trouble. GOOD.

      2) You can have a very large number of very small fat cells. Chronically eating more than you’re burning doesn’t fill them up, so your total fat mass grows. You become fat but you don’t become Type 2 diabetic. GOOD.
      You lose fat mass by burning more than you’re eating. Your larger number of smaller fat cells under-secrete leptin, which reduces metabolic rate and increases hunger. To maintain reduced fat mass for the rest of your life, you have to eat little food and be hungry for the rest of your life. BAD.

      I believe that the above is known as Hobson’s Choice. ItsTheWoo is stuck with 2). Going on a low-carb/keto diet helps to reduce the hunger.