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TomBAvoider

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  1. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    replacing vegetables with bacon and drinking a bottle of wine a day is probably not a wise decision for anyone That "probably" does a lot of work there, Ron. If you wanted something more definite - and about equally useful as your observation - you could have said "replacing vegetables with arsenic and a gunshot to the head is probably not a wise decision for anyone". But if instead we move to a real-life scenario, it may in fact be that someone will do much better by replacing those F&V with fat in a more high fat and very low carb diet. Those are the kind of diets that are studied, and we know that for some that is more effective - again, no one size fits all, even with F&V. Dean, I agree with Pollan's maxim, but I think my point rather is that compared to, say, ten years ago, I am far less excited by nutritional studies - at this point I just think that those results are not terribly relevant to me as an individual, as I figure it's purely a matter of chance whether they apply to me or not. In other words, my general level of doubt has escalated the older I get - it doesn't mean that I therefore jump to some kind of opposite conclusion, rather, that I hold my opinions much more tentatively and with much less conviction compared to a decade or two ago. And a corollary to that - I am equally doubtful of the certitude of others in these matters, which might result in arguments on these boards :)
  2. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    Dean, thank you for your very reasonable response. I agree that obviously we operate in a world of imperfect information and imperfect tools. How do we formulate a strategy in such an environment? My approach is really a very traditional one, the same as utilized in most longevity studies in humans: biomarkers. I have regular blood tests (quarterly in the last 18 months, although that will be tapering off to once yearly) and I use a glucometer daily. I have attempted to modify my diet and see what impact they may have on biomarkers. Of course, this is extremely hazy as there are so many moving parts that it's extremely difficult to pin down any particular variable as responsible - f.ex. I lowered my protein intake in an effort to lower BUN, and that worked, but I have no idea if that wasn't confounded by a thousand other things that were going on at the same time, like exercise changes etc. I did that in response to my taking a statin as it can be hard on the kidneys and liver so I thought I'd do all I can to get good liver and kidney numbers through diet and exercise. Given how crude those tools are and how many variables there are, it's really groping in the dark. But it's the best I have. In this context, I pay much less attention to nutritional studies, but rather follow a few very simple principles. My thinking is based on this: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2673150 The study put people on different macronutrient diets, but took pains to use only the highest quality ingredients (to avoid quality of food disputes) and the conclusion was that in aggregate it's impossible to point to any one as superior - however the flip side of it is that some people did very well on one and very poorly on another, and there was no way to predict who would do what. There was no one "best" diet. Consequently, the lead researcher reached the conclusion that rather than attempt to follow any particular diet, it's better to follow a very few crude principles, as he outlines in this 4-minute video: Although there is no "best diet" - ultimately, he boils down the principles to just three: cut out added sugar, refined grains and take in tons of F&V. This emphasis of the third principle on F&V is of course highly ironic given the previous study we just discussed, where evidence shows that people respond differently even to F&V. Which only says, we may know even less than the 3 principles Gardner outlines. Still, I take that as a good baseline for a generalized approach, always keeping in mind that it may prove wrong at some point - hence, I use my glucometer, and if I find a given food is suboptimal, I cut if off, no matter its reputation (in my case bananas - supposedly a good fruit!).
  3. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    AHA! I found the thread I spoke of, Dean! Very interesting: Absolutely stunning. Here we have in BLACK AND WHITE a scenario where the vaunted F&V don't do jack sh|t. You wrote: "In summary, this study suggests that if you have one or (especially) two G alleles for rs4977574, you are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, and that consuming wine, but not vegetables, can help lower your risk." Take that WFPB! Again, and again, it's all about the individual. I might benefit not at all from F&V - despite all of Ron's probabilities. I was supremely correct to be deeply sceptical about the applicability of any population based study for any individual application. Now, to throw another wrench into this, upping the complexity even more - who is to say that if I combine F&V with a very particular health regimen and some intervention or another, those F&V might not be beneficial to me after all! See, as I said, I'm sceptical a priori of all such studies, including this one. My point is - until we have much better tools, we should take all such studies, including WFPB and this genetic F&V and wine one with a metric ton of salt. Personalized medicine for the win. I rest my case.
  4. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    Small steps - we're barely beginning, a long way to go. But at least it's small progress in the right direction, a gathering of tools: https://www.cell.com/cell/pdfExtended/S0092-8674(16)30849-2 https://phys.org/news/2016-07-quantitating-human-proteome.html
  5. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    Dean, where have I attacked you or anyone else? I rather resent your stating "You can attack Ron (or me) all you want." - I have done no such thing, other than respond to Ron's attacks which were based on attempting to smear sources and not focus on the merits of arguments - in fact the opposite, I urged Ron to please stick to arguments and not range wildly questioning my credulity/scepticism, comparing to Russian misinformation, medieval times, antivaxxers etc. Please desist from making such inaccurate accusations. Thank you. In any case, Dean, certainly genetic differences aren't the only factor. In fact, we know that, because if indeed identical twins can have drastically different physiological reactions to food, that's kind of the point. And while I've cited the gut biome as one variable among many, it is hardly the only one. The point rather is that an individual constitutes a totality of influences that are both internal and external. In other words, there are literally millions of variables, and hence why it is impossible to get exactly the same effects on two different individuals. Even the argument about gut biome is not entirely correct - it is NOT true that as long as you consume an identical given diet to someone else, your gut biome will become substantially the same - that is clearly untrue because diet is not the only factor impacting your gut biome, it is your physiology as in your immune system, your anatomy (example, when I had my colonoscopy, the doctor who perfomed it told me I had an unusually long gut, which has all sorts of discreet health impacts, susceptability to diverticulosis etc. - all nothing to do with diet, or rather the same diet will have a different impact on someone with a different gut anatomy), your lifestyle choices, medications, supplements, exercise etc. - on and on and on. In fact, not too long ago, we had a study showing the dramatic impact of whole body vibration on the gut biome and drastic physiological impact to the point of powerfully influencing diabetes and blood sugar. And WBV has nothing to do with diet - so that's an example of how a completely non-dietary factor impacts the gut biome. Who would've thought that vibration would have such an impact? Again, that points to the fact that we are dynamic systems with millions of variables in extremely complex interactions. We can therefore never simply assume that "whelp, change your diet to vegetarian/vegan and your gut biome will be just like the other guy" - nope, it won't be just the same, because there are tons of non-dietary factors that impact that. Furthermore, while we talk about genetics and gut biome and blood surgar, these are just a few factors. Who has the odd idea that somehow those of us who recognize the importance of personalized medicine limit ourselves to just those factors? Just blood sugar, or just gut biome? Not in the least! As I said, there are tons and tons of variables. We know that even the exact same genetic profile will have a different health outcome based on slight external enviromental differences, which is why the whole giant field of epigenetics exists. Every individual is... an individual. As to plant based diets or any other kinds of diets - yes, there will be genetic differences. In fact, I remember a few years ago, we were exploring SNPs that impacted health and diet and Dean you were participating in it - wherein I discovered that I was one of those individuals (according to 23 and me data), for whom F&V did nothing, and in fact with more consumption tended to slightly negative outcomes. If you remember, you can probably dig up that thread. Yes, there are drastic differences between individuals - and I'll come back to the idea that just because WFPB diets may be better as a class for large numbers of people, it means a hill of beans wrt. an particular individual, as in you. Ron, you make very puzzling remarks, indicating to me that you did not understand my points at all: This actually seems to support the notion that there are some general guidelines which apply to human populations regardless of specific genetic attributes. Come again? Where did I say that genetic differences are the only factors that affect health outcomes, period, never mind gut biome? I cited that study to make the opposite claim - that even if, the genetic profiles were identical (as in identical twins), you would still have different gut biomes (similarity is greater only by 2% from 35% to 37%) and different reactions to food, and different health outcomes. In other words, I'm making the opposite point - even if you normalize genes and diet (as in identical diet down to the molecule), you would still have differential outcomes, and furthermore you could go down a long list of other factors you can normalize (exercise, medications, supplements etc., etc., etc.) and still come up with different health outcomes. Because we are unique individuals, there are widespread differences with all those factors in turn - which is why we all react differently to exercise, to how we gain/lose weight, how we react to medication and supplements and so on. Not merely do these factors work differently for different people, but their interactions in turn explode the complexity of dynamic systems for differential health outcomes. And so, one diet does not fit all. Now, can one make crude observations which would hold true for health outcomes for large groups of people, or indeed everyone? Sure. For example, eating lobster and then undergoing cephalectomy (i.e. beheading) will have a negative health impact on all individuals. But what is the value of such crude observations? My argument in a nutshell: all such nutritional studies are to be treated extremely sceptically and are of limited value for any individual application, because the recommendations are far too crude/blunt as an instrument. In the same spirit I have a salad recommendation - please avoid adding hemlock to your dressing if you care about health outcomes; thanks, I guess. Let me try one more time - even though I've already made this point which you somehow are not absorbing. I have not claimed (in effect) that smoking tobacco "does not signifacantly increase[blah, blah]" - I have not claimed that studies showing WFPB diets don't show large numbers of people benefitting healthwise vs another diet. Here, I'll cite it for you again, since you somehow missed it - see my post you are responding to: Meanwhile, I never claimed that certain diets/behaviors compared to other distinct behaviors don't lead to better health for great numbers (NOT ALL!) of people. I guess I'll just have to repeat what I said, because the answer to your point has already been made: "You need to tailor the dietary advice to the individual even if they do better on a given diet (say, whole food) that's true for the majority, or percentage X of the population. If everyone followed exactly the same whole foods, plant based or whatever the best diet study says, and even if everyone was an identical [genetic] copy of everyone else, you would still have different outcomes for any given individual compared to another - this clearly follows from the study showing that even identical twins react differently to the identical food." Let us not forget (Dean and Ron) where all this started from. It started with my claim that vast numbers of nutrition studies have limited value for any given individual to the point where they may in fact be irrelevant - because if we all have our unique responses to any given diet, then knowing that "oh, a large number of people react X" is of little value to you (other than perhaps probabilistic). Perhaps an analogy would help. Every one of us has a unique set of fingerprints. I think we would want for any crime investigation to focus on us as unique individuals with our unique fingerprints and not be told, well, "we performed a survey study in our prisons, and the largest group of criminals has an X pattern of fingerprints, and since your fingerprints fall into this broad group too, we've decided you belong in prison" (fingerprints fall into different group patterns). It does me no good to know that X diet is good for large (or small) numbers of people according to this or that study. I am a unique individual with a unique health signature, and I'd like to tailor my health interventions and diet to myself, not some statistical group identified somewhere in some study. As to ZOE and attacks on the credibility of the sources - what I really care is about the strength of the arguments and casting aspersions on the author of those arguments is not useful in my opinion - we should be a priori sceptical of all. Because I can do exactly the same for any number of those studies you cite - in fact, we know nutritional studies and medical studies in general are notoriously unreliable and fail replication. Just because you don't know about the various conflicts of interest and machinations behind the scenes for academic credit, publish or perish pressures, bias and so on for a particular study, doesn't mean you should relax about it. Tons of scientists have had commercial ventures - including the favorite around these boards, David Sinclair. Guarante has Elixir, Longo has Prolon, Barzilai has his, and on and on it goes. I am equally sceptical of ALL of them. In fact I've said so repeatedly, including in a previous post: "In any case, they are trying to develop a system whereby you send in a sample of your gut microbiome, which they test and then attempt to tell you what an optimal diet would be for you. At this point, I'm sure it's super crude if it works at all, but this is the general direction I think future dietary recommendation must go of necessity - precisely because each of us is unique, therefore each of us will have a unique diet that is optimal just for us." [emph. mine] I don't get hung up on ZOE or any other commercial ventures - I suspect they may not even work at all! That is not the point. The point is that the direction is correct - toward personalized medicine, personalized recommendation, personalized practices, even if these early commercial applications are not worth much or anything at all. Sibirak: If, however, this precise individual diet calibration you propose can't be done in a reliable, systematic, scientifically-proven way at this point in time, what are the implications of that fact? The implications are that something is true or not, even if we don't have the tools at present to affect outcomes. We need personalized medicine, even if at present we are barely starting out and don't have many tools at all. It means we should treat sceptially all studies, including WFPB studies, because ultimately we're all individuals. The study may, or may not be applicable to you. Call it trivial, but it's not trivial given potential outcomes down the road. We should still acknowledge the limitations of population based studies when attempting to address a particular individual.
  6. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    Actually, all that's needed for you to be wrong is to show broad correlations which can be tested by their broad predictive power. And this is exactly how we know that certain habits are healthier than others and certain habits are worse than others. Sorry, but this is logic class 101 - unless you can show that all commonly consumed human diets lead to identical health outcomes in any two individuals, my claim is exactly correct. In fact, this applies even to genetically identical twins: Nutrition: Even identical twins respond differently to food "The largest ongoing study of its kind finds that people's responses to food vary depending on a wide variety of factors. The findings suggest that the future of nutrition lies in personalized dietary advice." That pretty much says it all, really. Good luck trying to show identical responses to the same food from disparate individuals. If that is so, then my claim is necessarily logically correct - food impacts people differently as it's impossible for two individuals, even identical twins to reproduce the exact same physiological conditions. Meanwhile, I never claimed that certain diets/behaviors compared to other distinct behaviors don't lead to better health for great numbers (NOT ALL!) of people. But the fact that those differences exist, is irrelevant. All that's relevant, is that for a given individual, you cannot predict the peak optimal diet from any given population based study. You need to tailor the dietary advice to the individual even if they do better on a given diet (say, whole food) that's true for the majority, or percentage X of the population. If everyone followed exactly the same whole foods, plant based or whatever the best diet study says, and even if everyone was an identical copy of everyone else, you would still have different outcomes for any given individual compared to another - this clearly follows from the study showing that even identical twins react differently to the identical food. Sorry, those are the facts. Making - false - claims that my arguments are like tobacco industry misleading arguments are simply a tactic you keep using, thinking that ad hominem attacks or attacks on the supposed credibility of the source has any impact on the validity of the argument itself. Ooh, scary Russians and their conspiracy theories. This gets us nowhere - after all, I can make the same claims about your arguments (and frankly with more justification, given the paucity of actual arguments you make), that they are in the nature of Pizza-Gate, Anti-Vaxxers, 17th century this and that, and tobacco industry. Where does that get us? How about we stick to the evidence and the arguments and leave "credibility" attacks and ad-hominems and such out of it? Because I did note that you are not able to refute my arguments - not surprising, as it would be hard to do, as you'd have to show that large groups of people respond identically to diet, when the fact is that even identical twins don't and can't, as there are still too many differences (as the study noted, identical twins share 37% of the gut biome compared to non twins of 35% - hardly a big difference). And the gut biome is just one variable among scads of others. Stick to the arguments please. Unless you have none. I feel very justified in claiming that any truly optimal diet will need to be tailored to the particular individual - this is where medicine is going anyway, personalization. Broad population based studies have serious limitations when applied to any given individual.
  7. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    Dean, my thesis is that the diet should be calibrated precisely to each individual, and therefore is unique to each individual. As such, I don't think there is much danger that fad diet proponents would make an easy buck off my approach :) - a fad diet tries to get as many adherents as possible, whereas what I advocate is a diet for 1 individual. Would a diet as you described (whole food, plant based etc.) be deleterious? What it really comes down to is the word "deleterious". If our baseline is that anything that is suboptimal is ipso facto "deleterious", then it really all comes down to very detailed considerations. After all, if a diet causes you to live one day - or one hour - less in lifespan than the optimal diet, then it is by that definition "deleterious". Now, in common usage, most people would probably think that describing such a minute difference as "deleterious" is way too strong, but it's always a matter of degree - at what point do we apply that word - at one year, 2 years 3 years off your lifespan? Remember, by some reckoning (Aubrey de Grey), CR might only give an adult human a 2-3 year lifespan advantage anyway, so all that CR effort is an effort to avoid deletrious effects of ad-lib diets. So, if we accept in a mathematical sense that any suboptimal diet is "deleterious", then the answer to your question is a qualified yes - because your question is not precise enough. It's as if you asked "if your diet is composed of healthy food, how can that be deletrious" - "healthy food" is too broad a term (in addition to begging the question in this particular case). So too "whole food, plant-based" etc. is way too broad. Which whole food, which plants, which protein etc. - the points at which we can see a health impact are much more detailed than simply "whole foods". Now, for what I say to be wrong, you'd have to assume that each food and food combination has exactly the same impact on every human being (that's generally healthy, as you indicated) - and that's clearly wrong, just on the face of it. But, my point isn't merely technical tiny effects at the margin - the effects are much more dramatic. How do we know that? At least in part because each individual has a different gut microbiome, in addition to our individual genetic and epi-genetic profile and physiology. There was a paper that I linked some time ago by a team of Israeli researchers that showed astonishing and hugely different effects on people of exactly the same food - the effect was on blood glucose, showing dramatic differences in the handling of that food by a given individual. The lead researcher even had a TED talk about that, which I linked to as well. I am away from my main computer at the moment, but I'm sure one can find it pretty easily, sorry I don't remember the name of the researcher. In any case, they are trying to develop a system whereby you send in a sample of your gut microbiome, which they test and then attempt to tell you what an optimal diet would be for you. At this point, I'm sure it's super crude if it works at all, but this is the general direction I think future dietary recommendation must go of necessity - precisely because each of us is unique, therefore each of us will have a unique diet that is optimal just for us. That of course can be expanded to the whole panoply of health behaviors - supplements, exercise, pharmacological interventions, other health behaviors etc. The future of medicine is in it being tailored to each individual. As such, the function of population wide studies will change from generalized recommendations, to their being merely pointers for future research - the same way we treat studies in animals today, as results that are not directly transferable from animal to human, but pointers to future research. Same here - a result in one individual will not be directly applicable to a different individual human. Btw. I think many of us practice some aspects of this approach on a small scale already - those of us who diligently test our blood sugar with different food combinaitons. It's a start. The point being - it's you, uniquely you.
  8. The Top 10 Companies Working to Increase Longevity "Most if not all of these companies share a few characteristics, Colangelo says: successful leadership teams, high levels of funding, associations with prominent scientific research institutions, and therapy pipelines that target the root causes of biological aging."
  9. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    I'm usually pretty down on health clickbait articles, but as they say, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. In this particular case, I think we should all be troubled by the poor quality of "evidence" we have for various healthy behavior recommendations, most certainly wrt. diet. It is not wrong to say that most if not all of the so-called evidence behind various diet recommendations is subject to all sorts of caveats and that in some ways it is an insoluble problem insofar as population level recommendations are often in contrast to individual recommendations. Personal medicine is the next frontier. Why should anyone who is not a healthcare policy official care about population based studies and recommendations when it comes to their own practice? What might be true for various values of "majority" of the populace might be radically different for me or you as an individual - and that's true even for the most basic things like macronutrient recommendations. You might do well on low carb, I might do well on high carb and we both might seriously affect our health if we get this wrong, never mind what's true for the "majority". This of course is true in spades the further you get into more fine-grained recommendations, the role of your individual microbiome and your particular physiology. At this point, I must confess, I have increasingly less interest in population based studies in general, whether it pertains to diet, exercise, particular drugs or any other health practice. What might be true for you might be the opposite for me. So what's the point of taking some kind of "average" human and applying that to yourself? That "average" individual might not even exist and be purely a figment of statistical artifact. Sensationalism or not, it might be a well-deserved corrective to the endless flood of breathless reporting that gets contradicted from one day to the next. At this point, I think the public is thoroughly confused about nutrition, and it is not their fault. What's worse, it's not even exclusively the fault of poor reporting by pop science journalists, but by bad science done by medical researchers in pursuit of acclaim, credit and academic careers. The field can definitely stand to be re-examined from the foundations on up. I'd say, we can pretty much chuck out most of what is the "scientific consensus" about diet, were it not for the fact, that increasingly it's hard to come by any consensus regarding this field in the first place. Question away, I say.
  10. TomBAvoider

    Jeanne Calment was a fraud?!!

    And earlier yet, wrt. Calment specifically: https://www.crsociety.org/topic/16937-jeanne-calment-fraud-lived-only-till-99-years-of-age/
  11. TomBAvoider

    TMAO & Cardiovascular Disease

    Thanks, Ron and Sibirak. Indeed, I have not noticed any adverse effects of my homozygous MTHFR variant condition thus far - I have gone through the various lists of supposed effects, and I can honestly say, I have not experienced them, nor does any of my bloodwork reflect it (as mentioned, my homocysteine is quite low). I am not super paranoid about this condition, but I do wonder if it might have some impact down the road, perhaps when I'm quite old - but I guess there's still some time, and the research is ongoing. In any case, I'm keeping an eye on the choline situation, but I don't see enough evidence either way to alter any of my health behaviours.
  12. TomBAvoider

    TMAO & Cardiovascular Disease

    Unless you're homozygous for C677T MTHFR variant - which I am - in which case, also according to Chris Masterjohn, you need closer to 1 g of choline a day.
  13. TomBAvoider

    TMAO & Cardiovascular Disease

    Thank you, Sibirak, for all your work finding studies and linking to sources for the choline/TMAO nexus. I will delve into all those in due time, for now I'm cautious. My biggest sources of choline are fish - salmon once a week and either herring or sardine once a week. I'm not worried about TMAO from the fish. The other big source is eggs, which I consume 3 times a week (one egg each session), which I suppose is the most worrisome from TMAO point of view. However, I consume a ton of brassica veggies with it, which hopefully counteracts the TMAO formation (plus berries every day). The balance of nutrients vs downsides, has me consuming eggs after careful consideration - and as far as I can see 3 (or even 4) a week is a tolerable risk/reward.
  14. TomBAvoider

    Cholesterol paradox

    In the context of statins and diabetes, I wonder what impact combination therapy of metformin and a statin would be. I understand that metformin also mildly lowers LDL, so that should not be counter to the action of a statin, meanwhile, if it lowers the odds of diabetes, that could be a plus. From my understanding, metformin is prescribed for pre-diabetes in many parts of the world, including Europe, but has not been cleared for that indication by the FDA statewide. Here's an article making this exact claim: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318556303_Statins_Plus_Metformin_a_Promising_Combination_for_Prevention_and_Treatment_of_Atherosclerosis "Statin monotherapy in some patients will not be sufficient to achieve an LDL-C target and increase the incidence of new-onset diabetes in a dose dependent manner. Metformin, a safe and efficient medication for improving glucose metabolism, has been found to reduce LDL-C levels and has cardiac benefits for patients with T2D. Therefore, statins plus metformin may further reduce LDL-C levels and partly counteract statin-induced diabetes, which may be a promising therapeutic strategy." There's a whole raft of articles about statins and 2TDM and adding metformin, but I'm talking about using metformin preventatively, before 2TDM appears. Again, as so often you need multiple agents, because you need to counteract deletrious effects of a given intervention, which is what makes all of this so complicated. Certainly, one could explore any number of other 2TDM preventative agents in combination with statins (f.ex. acarbose), but I don't think there's been much research devoted to such combinations. Yet again, it seems, we know very little about the drugs we take and their interactions.
  15. TomBAvoider

    Must we throw out the blue zones?

    I'll take a look. While disinformation propaganda can be very destructive, ask yourself how does it succeed in the first place. After all, Nazi Germany tried it in the U.S. and it didn't work at all. One of the ways Russian propaganda works, is by exacerbating divisions in a society along any given axis. They promote videos of police violence against African American people, and make them go viral. The videos are real, but the promotion amplifies them. They stoke racism of white supremacists and "Trump's base". They spread conspiracy theories about the CIA, FBI and security services, and as you put it, "institutions". What does all of this have in common, as opposed to the Nazi/Japanese situation? Why was Lord Haw-haw and the Tokyo Rose and earlier efforts ridiculed, whilst the Russian propaganda is eaten up with a spoon? Russians exploit weaknesses, instead of inventing them. If our police weren't power-mad racist gangs in uniforms, whelp, the Russians would have no material - they didn't invent those videos showing the murder of black people by police, they merely spread the info. If vast numbers of our fellow citizens didn't fall under the sway of nationalism, base racism, xenophobia and hatred - all of which were exploited for decades (Southern Strategy) by our own homegrown politicians, whelp, the Russians would have no luck exploiting racism, nationalism, xenophobia and hatred - they didn't invent it, they merely amplified something our politicians were already doing. If our FBI did not routinely inflitrate and sabotage civil rights organizations, if our CIA didn't routinely overthrow legitimate governments, if our insitutions didn't routinely collaborate in redlining and economic sabotage of whole swaths of our populations, then fake conspiracy theories would not seem plausible in the least. But because they did all of that, and still engage in it, it if fully believable to almost anyone that those institutions might do whatever fake thing the Russians thought up. The blame is less on the Russians for exploiting our weaknesses, and more on our not dealing with our weaknesses in the first place. As the saying goes "you can't con an honest man" - too bad we are not honest, so yep, we get conned. Which brings us to the issue of data integrity. If widespread data fuckery was an unknown phenomenon, we'd all have faith in our record-keeping institutions. But because they are so fallible and have been shown as such, repeatedly, whelp, we find exaggerated claims of fuckery quite believable. Same for your "experts and authority" - when the vast majority of biomedical studies either cannot be replicated or are shown to have clear biases, and "experts" have conflicts of interest which are not disclosed, and "authority" is merely an excuse to abuse power, whelp, that's where sometimes exaggerated cynicism/scepticism gets its purchase. Except many would not say cynicism, but rather "realism". Here's another "authority" for those partial to the bible: "physician, heal thyself". We all search for the truth - you seem to think that in this search we should generally trust "experts, authority, institutions" - but others may think strong distrust of those will get you closer to the truth. Personally, my attitude to any "data" proffered, is not to say "Oh, yes!" or "Oh, no!", but rather "Hmm, maybe". In this case, if I had to place bets, I'd place my bet on the odds being that the whole "blue zone" phenomenon is a lot of balderdash. But of course that's just IMHO, and YMMV.
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