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  1. There’s little question that fish contain environmental pollutants such as mercury and PCBs with, generally, bigger fish such as shark and tuna containing more and smaller fish like sardines containing less. That’s been common knowledge between health researchers for a while now. The real question is whether that translates into any of the major degenerative diseases in people (such as cancer or diabetes). Well, sadly, in the case of diabetes it does appear to be the case. Here’s a great video by Dr. Michael Greger summarizing the science between diabetes risk and fish consumption: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I60O474F_GI As he mentioned in the video, besides the pollutants, the causal link could also very well be the oxidative stress causing n-3 fatty acid content of the fish. That obviously goes against the mainstream opinion on diet but one can certainly find smart people that would support that notion and as far as I’ve seen the research on fish oil seems to be quite mixed. P.S. Is there actually a way to embed a video on this site instead of just posting a link? Thanks.
  2. The longevity Live Chat is growing really fast and more and more people are connecting. Lots of detailed discussions on what is new in anti aging. Conversations about SENS, Aubrey De Grey, and many other initiatives that are getting us closer to the end goal of keeping aging under medical control. The live chat can be found here: https://discord.gg/ftSbffu It's great for us to be connected and work together. I'll keep making youtube videos on Longevity / aging, as well as help introduce people from different lines of work to each other with the end goal of hopefully speeding up the research and development of anti aging therapies. Cheers!
  3. Sthira

    Naive question

    Naive question is this: if scientists can create substances that do so much bodily harm that they "...cause 150 mutations in every lung cell..." then why can't scientists create substances that do equal measures of bodily good, for example, like protect and repair bodies from aging damage? Maybe you saw this story about, yawn, how bad cigarettes are for poor, addicted humans. Ok fine we get it, but where is the lab-created opposite of a cigarette, something that protects and repairs human bodies? Why is it so easy to screw ourselves up -- here, have a toke -- yet so difficult when we want to do good? Smoking a pack a day causes 150 mutations in every lung cell, research shows LONDON—Scientists have found that smoking a pack a day of cigarettes can cause 150 damaging changes to a smoker's lung cells each year. The findings come from a study of the devastating genetic damage, or mutations, caused by smoking in various organs in the body. Publishing in the journal Science on Thursday, Nov. 3, the researchers said the findings show a direct link between the number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime and the number of mutations in the DNA of cancerous tumors. The highest mutation rates were seen in lung cancers, but tumors in other parts of the body—including the bladder, liver and throat—also had smoking-associated mutations, they said. This explains why smoking also causes many other types of cancer beside lung cancer. Smoking kills six million people a year worldwide and, if current trends continue, the World Health Organization predicts more than 1 billion tobacco-related deaths this century. Cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA of a cell. Smoking has been linked with at least 17 types of cancer, but until now scientists were not clear on the mechanisms behind many of them. Ludmil Alexandrov of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States, one of those who carried out the research, explained that in particular, it had until now been difficult to explain how smoking increases the risk of cancer in parts of the body that don't come into direct contact with smoke. "Before now, we had a large body of epidemiological evidence linking smoking with cancer, but now we can actually observe and quantify the molecular changes in the DNA," he said. This study analyzed over 5,000 tumors, comparing cancers from smokers with those from people who had never smoked. It found certain molecular fingerprints of DNA damage—called mutational signatures—in the smokers' DNA, and the scientists counted how many of these were in different tumors. In lung cells, they found that on average, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to 150 mutations in each cell every year. Each mutation is a potential start point for a "cascade of genetic damage" that can eventually lead to cancer, they said. The results also showed that a smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to an average 97 mutations in each cell in the larynx, 39 mutations for the pharynx, 23 for the mouth, 18 for the bladder, and six mutations in every cell of the liver each year. Mike Stratton, who co-led the work at Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said it was a bit like digging in to the archaeology of each tumor. "The genome of every cancer provides a kind of archaeological record, written in the DNA code itself, of the exposures that caused the mutations," he said. "Looking in the DNA of cancers can provide provocative new clues to how (they) develop and thus, potentially, how they can be prevented."
  4. Dean Pomerleau

    Debunking Homeopathy

    Spoiler Alert: If you believe homeopathy is helping you or someone you love, by all means don't read any further. Seriously, don't. --------------------- Note: I'm posting this to "Chit Chat" rather than the "Health and Longevity" forum because I don't want to give any hint that I or anyone else might be giving homeopathy any credibility as a scientific practice for health or longevity. --------------------- My wife has a friend who is supposedly very "up" on the latest in health and wellness practices, shops exclusively at Whole Foods, etc. She's also very big into homeopathy... My wife says her friend raves about how well it works for herself and for her mom, who has Alzheimer's or some other form of dementia. While talking to my wife about how great homeopathy is the friend even popped a 30C Belladonna tablet and dissolved it under her tongue to demonstrate. When my wife told me about it, I recalled (from memory) that homeopathy is complete bunk. She challenged me, saying her knowledgeable friend swears by it. So I put together the following information to debunk homeopathy for her and her friend. I challenged my wife to send it to her friend. She declined - i.e. she chickened out. But at least my wife now knows there is a difference between claiming to know what's healthy based on what you might hear from the "wellness" community, or from the salesperson at a so-called "health food" store, and understanding what the science says about a health topic. I figured some of the rational people here on the CR forums might get a kick out of learning more about just how crazy homeopathy is in terms of scientific plausibility. But having said that, I concurred with my wife's decision not to send this to her friend. Paradoxically, homeopathy could in fact be working for her and her mom - but solely as a result of the placebo effect, since the 30C belladonna pills that cure everything have precisely zero molecules from the belladonna plant in them as discussed below. In short homeopathic cures are arguably the largest and most successful organized application of the placebo effect for medical treatment that the world has ever known. Hence the disclaimer at the top of this post. If you believe in homeopathy, you are lucky, since it that belief means it just might work for you. For more discussion of placebos and how tangibly beneficial they can be for people who truly believe that what they are taking or doing will help them, see this thread. So without further ado, here is the low-down on homeopathy. You can read about details of the theory behind how homeopathy is supposed to work on the homeopathy wikipedia page (which is thankfully very critical). It basically involves treatment with massively diluted mixtures of a substance that in concentrated doses will actually cause the symptom you're trying to cure (I know, it just sounds crazy because it is crazy). So for example, belladonna is a poisonous nightshade, which, if accidentally ingested in significant quantity, can cause the following symptoms: dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia [irregular heartbeat], loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, severely dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions. With such a wide range of symptoms, it's no wonder that people who believe in homeopathy believe that homeopathic doses of belladonna can cure just about anything - since it can cause just about any symptoms in large doses, it should cure just about anything in tiny doses! Such is the complete irrationality and twisted nature of this way of thinking... But the really crazy thing is not the idea that small doses of something toxic can be beneficial. There is even some evidence for this kind of effect actually happening in real life. It generally goes by the name hormesis. While some people think it's benefits are overblown (especially hormesis for longevity), activities like exercise, calorie restriction, heat or cold stress, immunotherapy for cancer, even the phytonutrients in vegetables, are thought by many to have beneficial effects due to the way they stress the body and/or alert it to damage, causing it to upregulate its natural defenses. No, the really crazy thing about homeopathy I alluded to above - namely the massive dilution of the 'active' ingredient that they employ. How massive you ask? So massive that it would be funny if it weren't also (in some respects) tragic... From the Homeopathy wikipedia page: Dilution typically continues well past the point where no molecules of the original substance remain.[10] Homeopathy is not a plausible system of treatment, as its dogmas about how drugs, illness, the human body, liquids and solutions operate are contradicted by a wide range of discoveries across biology, psychology, physics and chemistry made in the two centuries since its invention.[7][13][14][15][16] Although some clinical trials produce positive results,[17][18] multiple systematic reviews have indicated that this is because of chance, flawed research methods, and reporting bias. Continued homeopathic practice, despite the evidence that it does not work, has been criticized as unethical because it discourages the use of effective treatments,[19] with the World Health Organisation warning against using homeopathy to try to treat severe diseases such as HIV and malaria.[20] The continued practice of homeopathy, despite a lack of evidence of efficacy,[6][7][21] has led to it being characterized within the scientific and medical communities as nonsense,[22] quackery,[4][23][24] and a sham.[25] If you don't like Wikipedia, here is an article from www.sciencebasedmedicine.org on Homeopathy: Homeopathy would win [as #1 scam of all time]. Any scam index that did not rank homeopathy at number one would have to put up a very convincing argument indeed that their formula was not somehow fundamentally flawed. Here is another good article on Homeopathy from Quackwatch.com. It has a good explanation of 30C: A 30X dilution means that the original substance has been diluted 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. Assuming that a cubic centimeter of water contains 15 drops, this number is greater than the number of drops of water that would fill a container more than 50 times the size of the Earth. Imagine placing a drop of red dye into such a container so that it disperses evenly. Homeopathy's "law of infinitesimals" is the equivalent of saying that any drop of water subsequently removed from that container will possess an essence of redness. Robert L. Park, Ph.D., a prominent physicist who is executive director of The American Physical Society, has noted that since the least amount of a substance in a solution is one molecule, a 30C solution would have to have at least one molecule of the original substance dissolved in a minimum of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water. This would require a container more than 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth. In other words - consider those 30C belladonna pills your friend is taking andfeeding to her sick mother. Imagine having a sphere of lactose and sucrose (the two "inactive" ingredients in belladonna pills - suggesting there actually is an "active" ingredient...) that is 50 times the size of the entire Earth (it may be a lot bigger than that, but let's be conservative). Hide one molecule of belladonna somewhere within that huge sphere. Then scoop out of that sphere 80 of the tiny pills your friend gets on Amazon for $8 and then dissolves under her tongue. What do you think the chances are that one of her 80 pills will actually be 'lucky' enough to contain the single molecule of belladonna stashed away somewhere in the sphere 50 times the size of the entire Earth? Saying the chances are "pretty slim" would be a near infinite understatement. With as close to 100% probability as any odds you'll ever encounter, there is zero belladonna in belladonna homeopathic remedies, and if there is the company is engaged in false advertizing. But as you said, homeopathy is big in Europe. They sell homeopathic remedies in pharmacies in both the US and Europe. The biggest company selling homeopathic remedies, Boiron, recently settled a class action lawsuits filed by people in California, claiming (rightly, at the company's own admission) that the entire bottle of their cold remedy contains exactly 0 molecules of any active ingredients, with a probability that is almost infinitely close to 100%. Check out this video (embedded below) on the lawsuit link website. It has a recording of someone asking the poison control hotline about the possibility of overdosing on a homeopathic cold remedy they'd just taken. Pretty amusing. Finally, below the video are a few really amusing (I thought) cartoons about homeopathy. For anyone whose got this far, be sure to check out the last one. I thought it was funniest. --Dean