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Dean Pomerleau

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  1. Dean Pomerleau

    The Ultimate Purpose of Life

    Ron, What fascinates me about the simulation hypothesis is the fact that, unlike other notions of a creator god, scientific advances could very well make the idea that we may be living in a simulation more plausible, not less. Imagine if one day, 100 or 200 years hence, we've figured out consciousness and how to create it in a computer. Couple this with almost inevitable (if we don't kill ourselves first) advances in computer games, graphics and physical simulation. Then you get the real possibility that we could create artificial conscious entities having very realistic experiences inside virtual worlds in our computers. Wouldn't that make it much more plausible that we are living in such a simulation ourselves? Here I'll give a(nother) plug for one of my favorite short stories of all time, David Brin's Stones of Significance (pdf). --Dean
  2. Dean Pomerleau

    The Ultimate Purpose of Life

    More from Leonard Susskind on the possibility there is a creator and/or we live in a simulation:
  3. Dean Pomerleau

    The Ultimate Purpose of Life

    Ron, Susskind clearly argues that events and characteristics of the early universe (and possibly even the multiverse) can be described using math. Perhaps as Susskind suggests, the universe is a 3-dimensional projection of a far distant 2D surface, which BTW sounds an awful lot like a form of simulation. But I think you are mischaracterizing Susskind's perspective on the origin of it all. In particular, Susskind isn't nearly as dismissive of the possibility that the universe is the product of an intelligent creator as you seem to be implying. "I don't reject the possibility that there was an intelligence that one way or another was involved with the creation of the universe. I don't reject it. Not at all. I simply ask, if it's true, how do you describe it? What are the rules? How did it get there? It just provokes more curiosity. And until I can answer, or at least attempt to give a hypothesis about that, I lose interest. I simply lose interest. I lose interest in questions that are so far beyond me that I'm quite certain I can't answer and this appears to me to be one of them." Leonard Susskind starting at 4:26: --Dean
  4. Dean Pomerleau

    Hot Beverages/Foods & Risk of Esophageal Cancer

    Fair enough. I agree that diterpenes appear to have interesting, potentially positive effects in vitro, including anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory actions. The question in my mind is whether these translate into demonstrable benefits relative to filtered coffee with its much reduced levels of diterpenes. In other words, the double-edged nature of diterpenes has been known since before the turn of the millenium (e.g. [1]). But I've yet to see evidence from human prospective studies or randomized trials that demonstrate unfiltered coffee high in diterpenes is any more protective against cancer (or better in other respects) than filtered coffee. Until there is such evidence of tangible benefits of unfiltered coffee, it seems to me that the association of unfiltered coffee with increased risk of CVD and filtered coffee with reduced CVD risk make filtered coffee the safer choice. Don't get me wrong - I'm not rooting again unfiltered coffee. In fact, I'd be happy to be shown convincing evidence of its extra benefits and negligible risks. I really do enjoy a good espresso and used to drink several shots per day back when my place of work had a high-end espresso machine. --Dean ----------- [1] Carcinogenesis. 1998 Aug;19(8):1369-75. The coffee-specific diterpenes cafestol and kahweol protect against aflatoxin B1-induced genotoxicity through a dual mechanism. Cavin C(1), Holzhäuser D, Constable A, Huggett AC, Schilter B. Author information: (1)Nestlé Research Center, Lausanne, Switzerland. The diterpenes cafestol and kahweol (C&K) have been identified in animal models as two potentially chemoprotective agents present in green and roasted coffee beans. It has been postulated that these compounds may act as blocking agents by producing a co-ordinated modulation of multiple enzymes involved in carcinogen detoxification. In this study, we investigated the effects of C&K against the covalent binding of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) metabolites to DNA. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with increasing amounts of a mixture of C&K in the diet (0-6200 p.p.m.) for 28 and 90 days. A dose-dependent inhibition of AFB1 DNA-binding was observed using S9 and microsomal subcellular fractions from C&K-treated rat liver in an in vitro binding assay. Significant inhibition was detected at 2300 p.p.m. and maximal reduction of DNA adduct formation to nearly 50% of the control value was achieved with 6200 p.p.m. of dietary C&K. Two complementary mechanisms may account for the chemopreventive action of cafestol and kahweol against aflatoxin B1 in rats. A decrease in the expression of the rat activating cytochrome P450s (CYP2C11 and CYP3A2) was observed, as well as a strong induction of the expression of the glutathione-S-transferase (GST) subunit GST Yc2, which is known to detoxify highly the most genotoxic metabolite of AFB1. These data and the previously demonstrated effects of C&K against the development of 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)-induced carcinogenesis at various tissue sites suggest the potential widespread effect of these coffee components against chemical carcinogenesis. DOI: 10.1093/carcin/19.8.1369 PMID: 9744531 [Indexed for MEDLINE]
  5. Dean Pomerleau

    Hot Beverages/Foods & Risk of Esophageal Cancer

    Sibiriak, So the diterpene content wasn't high enough to raise serum cholesterol and the authors doesn't speculate about other potential downsides of diterpenes. But that doesn't mean there aren't other downsides of diterpenes or other compounds in coffee that are removed by a paper filter. In short, the positive association between unfiltered coffee and CVD remains unchallenged. Sure the authors may speculate that this association may be the result of a rapid spike in caffeine level in the blood caused by unfiltered coffee. But that seems like a pretty big stretch, particularly since an average espresso has less caffeine than a standard cup of coffee. --Dean
  6. Dean Pomerleau

    Hot Beverages/Foods & Risk of Esophageal Cancer

    Interesting stuff Sibiriak, Perhaps a bit of wishful thinking going on here, given that the Italian authors of this study [1] found that the deleterious association of "Italian-style" coffee (i.e. filtered by a metal plate with small holes like with espresso or moka pots) with heart disease was independent of plasma lipid levels. Paper-filtered coffee has been repeatedly shown to be associated with reduced cardiovascular disease while metal-filtered coffee appears associated with an increased risk, independent of the coffee consumer's cholesterol level. Based on this evidence the safer choice appears clear to me. --Dean -------- [1] PoS One. 2015 May 6;10(5):e0126550. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126550. Espresso coffee consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in a large Italian cohort. Grioni S(1), Agnoli C(1), Sieri S(1), Pala V(1), Ricceri F(2), Masala G(3), Saieva C(3), Panico S(4), Mattiello A(4), Chiodini P(5), Tumino R(6), Frasca G(6), Iacoviello L(7), de Curtis A(7), Vineis P(8), Krogh V(1). BACKGROUND: The relationship between coffee consumption and coronary heart disease (CHD) has been investigated in several studies with discrepant results. We examined the association between Italian-style (espresso and mocha) coffee consumption and CHD risk. METHODS: We investigated 12,800 men and 30,449 women without history of cardiovascular disease recruited to the EPICOR prospective cohort study. Coffee consumption was assessed at baseline. In a random sub-cohort of 1472 subjects, plasma triglycerides, and total, LDL and HDL cholesterol were determined to investigate the effect of coffee consumption on plasma lipids. RESULTS: After a mean follow up of 10.9 years, 804 cases of CHD (500 acute events, 56 fatal events and 248 revascularizations, all first events) were identified. Multivariable adjusted hazard ratios for CHD were: 1.18 (95% CI 0.87-1.60) for drinking 1-2 cups/day, 1.37 (95% CI 1.03-1.82) for >2-4 cups/day and 1.52 (95% CI 1.11-2.07) for over 4 cups/day (P trend <0.001) compared to reference (<1 cup/day). Plasma triglycerides, and total, LDL and HDL cholesterol did not vary significantly (ANOVA) with coffee consumption. CONCLUSION: Consumption of over 2 cups/day of Italian-style coffee is associated with increased CHD risk, but coffee consumption was not associated with plasma lipid changes, so the adverse effect of consumption appears unrelated to lipid profile. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126550 PMCID: PMC4422699 PMID: 25946046 [Indexed for MEDLINE]
  7. Dean Pomerleau

    Coffee Revisited

    As Michael and I discussed in that thread, it appears that metal filters aren't nearly as effective as paper at removing diterpenes from brewed coffee. I agree Sibiriak's evidence is interesting and those of us with good cholesterol may be different from the general population when it comes to the health effects of different coffee brewing methods. But the point remains that the epidemiological evidence suggests that paper filtered coffee is health promoting while methods that use metal filters (eg espresso or French press) not so much. --Dean
  8. Dean Pomerleau

    Coffee Revisited

    Ron and All, The downsides of unfiltered (e.g. French press or espresso) coffee have long been topic of discussion around here. See this thread for example. I currently use a Bialetti Brikka with an Aeropress paper filter to make really strong (near espresso) coffee without the harmful diterpenes. --Dean
  9. Dean Pomerleau

    "The CR Way" vs "The Longevity Diet" tips

    Dr. Greger recently did a nice video on the benefits of time-restricted feeding with eating concentrated early in the day: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-benefits-of-early-time-restricted-eating/ --Dean
  10. Dean Pomerleau

    Altering exercise modality to benefit brain health

    Tom, I spend quite a bit of time on my treadmill and/or exercise bike, especially in the dead of winter. When I'm not running on the treadmill I try to engage my brain by reading, researching sometimes composing posts here. --Dean
  11. Note the caveat from the same article: The study also showed how fine the line can be between benefit and harm. When the researchers treated mice continually, some developed tumors and died within a week. When the scientists cut the treatment to two days out of seven, however, the mice benefited significantly. Sinclair says this should be taken as a note of caution by anyone trying to increase the human life span. “We’ve all been playing with fire,” he says, adding that this fine line will make it challenging to get a drug approved by regulatory agencies. “This is going to be what we spend the next 10 years figuring out: how to reprogram cells to be young again without taking it too far so they become tumors.” --Dean
  12. Dean Pomerleau

    Dean's Current Diet

    I hear you Tom. I consider myself very fortunate in that I find enjoyment in virtually everything I do these days including some activities that others might be considered onerous time sinks like exercise, WBV, food prep, walking the dog in the cold, etc. --Dean
  13. Dean Pomerleau

    Dean's Current Diet

    Hi Thomas! I saw Dr. Greger's video earlier today. He basically points to evidence that inflammation-causing bacteria can build up in pre-chopped veggies over time. I looked at the full text of the studies he cites. Here was the most relevant section: Stimulants of [inflammatory] TLR2 or TLR4 were not detectable in freshly chopped onion or carrot on the day of preparation, but tended to increase with time from 4 days onwards when stored exposed to air at 5 degC. What it appeared they did was buy pre-chopped onions and carrots at a supermarket where they'd been sitting at who knows what temperature for a couple days, and them stored them for a further 4-12 days at 5 degC (41degF). No wonder the freshness suffered and bacterial load increased! As I've discussed before, the key to keeping chopped veggies very fresh for up to a week is to store them very close to freezing. I've got my fridge dialed in so that cycles between 30 and 34degF. I see very little change in freshness of chopped veggies after 7 days at this temperature. But having said that, I feel compelled to report a recent shift in my eating pattern given the title of this thread. Two months ago, I underwent a medical procedure that prevented me from eating or exercising as much as I normally do. So I shifted from eating one very big meal per day to spreading my eating over a 5 hour period, and chopping veggies "to order" depending on how active I was that day and how much I thought I could eat. I'm now back to eating and exercising my normal amount but have retained the more distributed eating pattern (19:5), and daily (rather than weekly) veggie chopping. Why? Habit mostly, but also because I realized I'm not so busy anymore that the increased efficiency of weekly chopping or eating only once per day is very important. This evidence of the advantage of freshly chopped produce adds a tiny bit of motivation to continue with this new regime. P.S. I agree with you Tom that Dr. Greger appearing "in the flesh" in his own videos adds nothing and is a bit distracting. --Dean
  14. Dean Pomerleau

    Haemoglobin levels

    Shezian, I agree with Matt here. Supplementing with iron a couple times per week for a couple months won't harm you and it may improve your energy level if you are modestly anemic. --Dean
  15. Here is a new study [1] (popular account) that reinforces something we've discussed before (e.g. Michael here), namely that frequent hot pepper consumption is associated with reduced all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, by 23% and 34% respectively. Here are the mortality curves comparing hot pepper consumers (dashed lines) and non-consumers (solid lines): This was a longitudinal study in a group of Italian individuals. Similar results have been observed in longitudinal studies of Chinese [2] and North American [3] populations. Unlike many other studies of diet and lifestyle factors associated with longevity where the impact of the intervention is often attenuated when you factor in other healthy behaviors, these studies seemed to find the hot pepper consumption was even more beneficial among those with other markers of good health (e.g. non-hypertensives [1]) and healthy behaviors (e.g. alcohol abstainers [2]) Interestingly, this new study [1] found a dramatic reduction in CVD mortality, but hot pepper consumption was not associated with improvements in the typical biomarkers of CVD health (like cholesterol level) suggesting the mechanism of chili pepper (capsaicin) benefit is independent of the usual pathways for preventing CVD. As I've harped on incessantly in the past (e.g. here and here) capsaicin is what might be called a "cold exposure" mimetic, boosting the mass and potentiating the activity of brown and beige adipose tissue (BAT), thereby improving glucose metabolism among other benefits. It is interesting and encouraging to see this once again associated with longevity benefits. --Dean --------- [1] Journal of the American College of Cardiology Volume 74, Issue 25, 24 December 2019, Pages 3139-3149 Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality in Italian Adults Maria Laura Bonaccio et al Abstract Background Chili pepper is a usual part of a traditional Mediterranean diet. Yet epidemiological data on the association between chili pepper intake and mortality risk are scarce, with a lack of studies from Mediterranean populations. Objectives This study sought to examine the association between chili pepper consumption and risk of death in a large sample of the adult Italian general population, and to account for biological mediators of the association. Methods Longitudinal analysis was performed on 22,811 men and women enrolled in the Moli-sani Study cohort (2005 to 2010). Chili pepper intake was estimated by the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation Into Cancer) Food Frequency Questionnaire and categorized as none/rare consumption, up to 2 times/week, >2 to ≤4 times/week, and >4 times/week. Results Over a median follow-up of 8.2 years, a total of 1,236 deaths were ascertained. Multivariable hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality among participants in the regular (>4 times/week) relative to none/rare intake [of chili peppers] were 0.77 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.66 to 0.90) and 0.66 (95% CI: 0.50 to 0.86), respectively. Regular intake was also inversely associated with ischemic heart disease (HR: 0.56; 95% CI: 0.35 to 0.87) and cerebrovascular (HR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.20 to 0.75) death risks. The association of chili pepper consumption with total mortality appeared to be stronger in hypertension-free individuals (p for interaction = 0.021). Among known biomarkers of CVD, only serum vitamin D marginally accounted for such associations. Conclusions In a large adult Mediterranean population, regular consumption of chili pepper is associated with a lower risk of total and CVD death independent of CVD risk factors or adherence to a Mediterranean diet. Known biomarkers of CVD risk only marginally mediate the association of chili pepper intake with mortality. -------- [2] BMJ. 2015 Aug 4;351:h3942. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h3942. Consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality: population based cohort study. Lv J(1), Qi L(2), Yu C(1), Yang L(3), Guo Y(4), Chen Y(3), Bian Z(4), Sun D(1), Du J(5), Ge P(6), Tang Z(7), Hou W(8), Li Y(9), Chen J(10), Chen Z(3), Li L(11); OBJECTIVE: To examine the associations between the regular consumption of spicy foods and total and cause specific mortality. DESIGN: Population based prospective cohort study. SETTING: China Kadoorie Biobank in which participants from 10 geographically diverse areas across China were enrolled between 2004 and 2008. PARTICIPANTS: 199,293 men and 288,082 women aged 30 to 79 years at baseline after excluding participants with cancer, heart disease, and stroke at baseline. MAIN EXPOSURE MEASURES: Consumption frequency of spicy foods, self reported once at baseline. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Total and cause specific mortality. RESULTS: During 3,500,004 person years of follow-up between 2004 and 2013 (median 7.2 years), a total of 11,820 men and 8404 women died. Absolute mortality rates according to spicy food consumption categories were 6.1, 4.4, 4.3, and 5.8 deaths per 1000 person years for participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, 1 or 2, 3 to 5, and 6 or 7 days a week, respectively. Spicy food consumption showed highly consistent inverse associations with total mortality among both men and women after adjustment for other known or potential risk factors. In the whole cohort, compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, the adjusted hazard ratios for death were 0.90 (95% confidence interval 0.84 to 0.96), 0.86 (0.80 to 0.92), and 0.86 (0.82 to 0.90) for those who ate spicy food 1 or 2, 3 to 5, and 6 or 7 days a week, respectively. Compared with those who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 6 or 7 days a week showed a 14% relative risk reduction in total mortality. The inverse association between spicy food consumption and total mortality was stronger in those who did not consume alcohol than those who did (P=0.033 for interaction). Inverse associations were also observed for deaths due to cancer, ischemic heart diseases, and respiratory diseases. CONCLUSION: In this large prospective study, the habitual consumption of spicy foods was inversely associated with total and certain cause specific mortality, independent of other risk factors of death. © Lv et al 2015. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.h3942 PMCID: PMC4525189 PMID: 26242395 [Indexed for MEDLINE] ----------- [3] PLoS One. 2017 Jan 9;12(1):e0169876. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169876. eCollection 2017. The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study. Chopan M(1), Littenberg B(1). Author information: (1)University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont, United States of America. The evidence base for the health effects of spice consumption is insufficient, with only one large population-based study and no reports from Europe or North America. Our objective was to analyze the association between consumption of hot red chili peppers and mortality, using a population-based prospective cohort from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) III, a representative sample of US noninstitutionalized adults, in which participants were surveyed from 1988 to 1994. The frequency of hot red chili pepper consumption was measured in 16,179 participants at least 18 years of age. Total and cause-specific mortality were the main outcome measures. During 273,877 person-years of follow-up (median 18.9 years), a total of 4,946 deaths were observed. Total mortality for participants who consumed hot red chili peppers was 21.6% compared to 33.6% for those who did not (absolute risk reduction of 12%; relative risk of 0.64). Adjusted for demographic, lifestyle, and clinical characteristics, the hazard ratio was 0.87 (P = 0.01; 95% Confidence Interval 0.77, 0.97). Consumption of hot red chili peppers was associated with a 13% reduction in the instantaneous hazard of death. Similar, but statistically nonsignificant trends were seen for deaths from vascular disease, but not from other causes. In this large population-based prospective study, the consumption of hot red chili pepper was associated with reduced mortality. Hot red chili peppers may be a beneficial component of the diet. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169876 PMCID: PMC5222470 PMID: 28068423 [Indexed for MEDLINE]