Re: Life extension in practice

From: John Thomas (
Date: Tue Feb 15 2000 - 23:03:47 MST

At 11:28 PM -0800 2/15/2000, Technotranscendence wrote:
>> >What about the UCLA study of vitamin C published in 1992? This was not
>> >most rigorous study, but it tracked over 11K individuals over about a
>> >decade. The findings? Men taking 800 mg of vitamin C per day lived
>about 6
>> >years longer than those taking 60 mg of the same per day. Another 9 year
>> >study completed in 1996 with a similar population size seemed to confirm
>> >this, though the study focused on vitamins C and E, rather than just
>> >C. Granted, those are only two studies, but that beat Lee Daniel's above
> > >statement.
>On Tuesday, February 15, 2000 7:03 PM John Thomas
>> The problem with these studies is that there's no way to control
>> for other variables.
>> The kind of person who takes 800 mg of vitamin C probably does a
>> great many other things to enhance life extension: e.g. exercise, eat
>> a low-fat diet, and of course take other vitamins. The person who
>> takes 60 mg probably isn't too serious. Until it's possible to do an
>> extensive long-term study of individuals so isolated that every
>> possible variable affecting their health is controlled it won't be
>> possible to take these studies seriously. And who would volunteer?


>I think that while long term such studies are not perfect, they indicate
>something. Also, the particular studies I mentioned are not the only ones.
>There are plenty of short term studies with vitamin C where the variables
>are controlled much more fully and other factors are measured (e.g.,
>homocysteine levels in blood) and the lot of these seem to point in the
>direction of the two I mentioned. Extrapolation is not forbidden...:)

    Long term studies, if not "perfect" (i.e. replicable), prove
nothing; what they "indicate" is in the mind of the believer. Short
term studies by definition can't tell anything about life extension.
Extrapolation is not forbidden in science fiction, but in science...?

>Also, the mechanisms by which that particular nutrient works are becoming
>more well known. Ultimately, what one wants is a causal explanation of why
>it works at all. (This is typically how one finds out why it does not work
>in all cases and how one can develop a regimen.)

     Your first two sentences appear to contradict each other and I
don't understand your third. Maybe it's just me.

>There are plenty of short term studies on other supplements which show them
>working to alleviate one problem or another. One must study them and make
>judgements regarding the costs and benifits. But anyone who says there
>aren't any studies on this (as Lee Daniel did several posts ago) is
>misinformed. (Or a lot of what I've read on the subject for the past decade
>is all wrong. I sure hope not.:)

     Please cite the peer-reviewed studies that appeared in
professional journals.
"Prevention" and news articles don't count.

>Also, remember, my original post in this thread was _not_ in advocacy of
>popping pills, but of a broad spectrum, informed approach to life extension.
>My goal -- and I hope the goal of all or many of you reading this -- is to
>live longer, healthier, and happier -- not merely to adhere to some doctrine
>of self-medication.:)

   I actually take vitamins myself (just bought more ester-C today)
because I've never heard of a reputable study showing that anything I
take is *harmful*, and I can afford to waste the money if they don't
really help. I'm still waiting for the research that will "prove"
any vitamin supplement to be helpful for anything, but I remain
(forgive me Robert Owen) a hopeful agnostic.

-John Thomas

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