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Sthira

Report from CR Conference

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Yo!

 

Hell of a good time, aside from a bit of a clustercopulate of a Biosphere tour at the end. And the limited glimpse we got of the facility itself, and the superficial tour, is nothing to get excited about, frankly.

 

GREAT science; good geekery. I didn't eat the meals, but they looked great: lotsa good fresh and lightly-steamed veggies, fish, ultra-premium EVOO from Amphora Nueva, sourced from Veronica Foods/Delizia Olive Oil... there was supposed to be vegan protein, too, tho' I don't recall seeing anyone eating any.

 

Hopefully someone has some computer-typed notes that can readily be posted, with due caution around the huge amount of unpublished data we were privileged to see.

 

Next time, Sthira, you MUST come.

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Hi ALL!

Yes, Michael is right -- the Conference was great!

About the meals: they were terrific; they had great veggies, and all had fish -- but IMO there was also a good vegan source of protein -- namely chickpeas.

I agree that the Biosphere tour was boring -- although I enjoyed the drive. It was good to get out of the overairconditioned hotel and into the Arizona sun.

But the overwhelmingly best feature of the Conference were the talks.

The only talk that I thought was poor was the one by Ben Best from the Life Extension Foundation.

All of the other talks were outstanding.

Two examples are:

 

The talk and comments of Dr. Miller -- Dr. Miller is very careful in his reasoning; his thoughts were very much worth hearing.

Also fascinating was the talk of Dr Thomas Seyfried -- he presented strong evidence that cancer is a disease in the mitochondria of cells -- not a consequence of multiple mutations in the nucleus, as is believed by almost all researchers. So, he preposes, cancer cells -- having defective mitochondria -- cannot supply energy the usual way. Normal cells -- and cancer cells -- usually get their energy from oxidation of glucose -- but only healthy cells can fall back on using ketone for energy (because, according to Dr. Seyfried'S reasoning, the cancer cells have dysfunctional mitochondriae). So one should be able to attack cancers through a combination of calorie restriction and ketosis. Therefore, a CRON diet -- preferably a ketosis such diet -- should be an effective tool in fighting cancer. Dr. Speak man has treated many cancer patientswith this novel technique, with some success; and trials are now going on worldwide for various cancers. Dr. Speak man has also published a book on the subject.

The above summarizes one of the many brilliant talks given at CR IX. To get the full benefit of the next one, come to CR X! (According to David Stern, this will be in about 2 years.)

:)

-- Saul

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There was a video made; it will be made available for purchase on DVD -- I suppose. (That's what has been done at the last few conferences.

)

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There was a video made; it will be made available for purchase on DVD -- I suppose. (That's what has been done at the last few conferences.

)

 

Great news.  I was at another conference and couldn't make it.  At certain points during boring/meaningless presentations, I wished I could watch a CR conference webcast.

 

I look forward to picking up the DVDs.

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Yes - it was a great time! We owe lots of thanks and kudos to the organizers - David Stern, Robert Krikorian, and (behind the scenes) April Smith, who couldn't attend. As Michael and Saul said, the talks were incredible, and by far the highlight of the conference. Just a clarification - where Saul say "Speak man" in his about discussion of treating cancer with Ketogenic diets and CR, he means "Dr. Seyfried", whose talk and ideas was fascinating, but quite controversial. Really cutting edge stuff we were privileged to hear about.

A few other random comments:

The veggies and fruit at the meals were very good. And they fact that they had two forms of lean animal protein (poached salmon and chicken breaset) was good for the omnivores. But chickpeas for the salad were the only source of vegan protein and for those of us who try to eschew refined oils, there wasn't any fat either. Next time (if there is a next time - see below) it would be nice to have some other source of vegan protein, and especially some nuts & seeds to go with the salad.

By far the most disappointing thing was the turnout. Robert or David could (but who I'm sure won't since they don't really engage on these forums...) could give us actual numbers, but by my rough count, there were probably 15-20 actual CR Society members there. Of those probably 10-15 were long-term practitioners, with the remainder relative new folks, who it was great to meet. There were a handful of Tucson local, non-CR folks who were mostly low-carb ketogenic diet folks there to see several of the speakers who focused on that topic.

But before discussing turnout more, my one complaint about the speaker lineup (which overall was terrific) was a modest disappointment in the focus by three out of the 10 scientific speakers on ketogenic diets (Ben Best, Jeff Volek and Tom Seyfried). Tom's talk was terrific, though controversial. Jeff's was OK, but it was pretty much a "rah rah" talk about the benefits of nutritional ketosis, which, while modestly interesting particularly for endurance athletes and maybe for weight loss, I don't put much stock in. Ben's talk was also a bit disappointing. He has such a long history in the area of longevity and CR, but chose instead to focus his talk on the details of his recent personal experiments with eating a ketogenic diet.

In a followup post to this one I'll try to give a quick overview of all the speakers talks based on my notes so people who couldn't make it can benefit some from the tremendous amount of great information the speakers shared with us, while being sensitive to Michael's point that much of it is yet to be published.

But back to turnout and overall comments. Actually, I'm going to start a new thread on the "Members Only" forum to speak about this more private, CR Society topic. I'll post a link to it here shortly. Here is that link.

--Dean

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What did Dr. Seyfried say that was controversial? 

I also find the talks of Dr. Seyfried I listened on internet very interesting, but maybe he is controversial because his theory has some points of truth but the reality is more complex. I am not specialist but, If I remember correctly, some cancers can also  be in the lead with ketosis.

for all: do you know this website:https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/ What do you think about it? too much critical?

At this specific link they criticize Dr. Seyfried: Link     

In any case, thanks a lot for the report of Conference, from Italy would be difficult to join :) ,  I'll wait further details and DVDs!

Edited by Cloud

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The reality is that whenever you schedule a conference, you must take into account the fact that in order to have more people attend, you must have a very large target group to begin with. Stuff happens, unless we're talking about retired folks. I have a job where I needed to be away and simply could not attend, no matter how far into the future it was scheduled. The nature of my work is such that it's very hard for me to make firm plans, as stuff comes up or shifts spontaneously. Principal photography was delayed - while initially I thought I'd be able to attend, it transpired that when shooting started, it fell exactly on the wrong time. Now imagine that I bought tickets and made all the plans - and then I needed to cancel because stuff at work came up. I can't predict that, except for rare times when I know that f.ex. August is definitely free this year etc.

 

Bottom line, if you are starting with a relatively small group, it doesn't take much for a few people to have sudden emergencies or scheduling conflicts and all of a sudden you are left with small numbers of people actually attending. The only way to avoid that is to start with a larger group to begin with. I don't know how large the market is for people interested in CR - I suspect it's not huge, after all CR is not exactly a fad diet. 

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Sthira,

 

What did Dr. Seyfried say that was controversial?

 

Cloud's link to the discussion of Dr. Seyfried's ideas on sciencebasedmedicine.org (a reputable website IMO, Cloud), does a surprisingly good job of summarizing the criticism / skepticism some folks (including me - who has a keen interest in the topic) leveled at Dr. Seyfried in the Q&A after his talk. A few of the critical highlights:

  • Cancer is complicated - it's likely a combination of a (mitochondrial) metabolic problem and a genetic problem. Dr. Seyfried's perspective that it's exclusively/primarily driven by deranged mitochondrial metabolism is almost certainly too simplistic.
  • Dr. Seyfried isn't the first nor the only current researcher/clinician to think about the possible role that mitochondrial metabolism might play in cancer. He tends to play up the "pioneer maverick vs. the cancer industry" angle much more than is warranted.
  • The evidence to-date supporting the idea that dietary interventions in general, and a ketogenic diet in particular, can be effective for treating cancer is weak at best. Here is a good review article [1] on the topic.
  • Dr. Seyfried plays up mouse studies, anecdotes (in dogs and humans) and isolated case studies to a large degree, almost to the point of claiming they prove cancer is a metabolic disease treatable with diet alone. Recommending dietary treatment alone, and not simply as an adjunct to more standard care in certain (intractable) cases, would be pretty irresponsible given the existing evidence. 
  • It's not clear that the benefit (if any) of a ketogenic diet for cancer treatment isn't simply a result of the associated CR - something Dr. Seyfried (to his credit) readily admits is a possibility. In fact, in some ways he goes further and says that without calorie restriction, a ketogenic diet is ineffective for treating cancer.
  • A ketogenic diet isn't easy to follow for anyone, to say nothing of someone suffering with the challenges of cancer.
  • While "starving" cancer cells of the glucose they prefer may have some benefit, one big problem with cancer is the associated loss of weight and muscle that naturally (but unfortunately) accompanies cancer, and accompanies certain palliative therapies used to help the patient. For example, glucocorticoids (steroids) are commonly prescribed to reduce cancer-induced inflammation & swelling, which can lead to both excruciating pain and physical impairment, particularly when they occur in confined spaces like the brain or spine. While sometimes miraculous in their ability to improve a cancer patient's quality of life, glucocorticoids like dexamethasone have the big downside of causing muscle wasting and weight loss, which could be exacerbated by a ketogenic, CR diet. Dr. Seyfried didn't seem to have a good answer when I asked him about this potential downside of a ketogenic diet therapy - other than "glucocorticoids shouldn't be prescribed anyway" (advice that is not helpful when a patient's head feels like it's going to explode due to swelling) and "every patient is different and you have to tailor the treatment to their needs".

Overall, my perspective is that Dr. Seyfried's evidence is intriguing, his passion is admirable, and his hypothesis that a ketogenic diet can be helpful for treating certain cancers is worth investigating. But it's benefits are far from proven. Fortunately there are several clinical trials of using a ketogenic diet to treat cancer, mostly brain cancer, currently underway so better evidence about its safety and efficacy should be available in the next year or so.

 

Finally, for anyone interested, the video embedded below is a talk by Dr. Seyfried that is very similar to the one he gave at the conference.

 

--Dean

 

 

-----------

[1] Anticancer Res. 2014 Jan;34(1):39-48.

 
Counseling patients on cancer diets: a review of the literature and
recommendations for clinical practice.
 
Huebner J(1), Marienfeld S, Abbenhardt C, Ulrich C, Muenstedt K, Micke O, Muecke 
R, Loeser C.
 
 
BACKGROUND: Many cancer patients use cancer diets.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We listed 13 cancer diets simulating an internet search
for which we systematically reviewed clinical data. In the next step we derived
recommendations on counseling patients using a Delphi process.
RESULTS: We evaluated the following diets: raw vegetables and fruits, alkaline
diet, macrobiotics, Gerson's regime, Budwig's and low carbohydrate or ketogenic
diet. We did not find clinical evidence supporting any of the diets. Furthermore,
case reports and pre-clinical data point to the potential harm of some of these
diets. From published recommendations on counseling on complementary and
alternative medicine, we were able to derive 14 recommendations for counseling on
cancer diets.
CONCLUSION: Considering the lack of evidence of benefits from cancer diets and
potential harm by malnutrition, oncologists should engage more in counseling
cancer patients on such diets. Our recommendations could be helpful in this
process.
 
PMID: 24403443

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All:

 

 The veggies and fruit at the meals were very good. And they fact that they had two forms of lean animal protein (poached salmon and chicken breaset) was good for the omnivores. But chickpeas for the salad were the only source of vegan protein and for those of us who try to eschew refined oils, there wasn't any fat either.  ...  it would be nice to have some other source of vegan protein, and especially some nuts & seeds to go with the salad.

 

Lack of fat: there was, to my certain knowledge (since I was its custodian) three different varieties of ultra-premium EVOO of varying phenolic content: you're not counting this as a "refined oil," are you? Just on the technicality, EVOO can only be mechanically-extracted, so it by definition can't be "refined" — but is that seriously how you think of it?

 

I thought I had seen a little plattery thing with 3 different kinds of nuts – are you sure there wasn't such? Anyone else "listening" remember?

 

Protein: there was certainly supposed to be tofu, and I know that April (who did most of the work with the hotel) was not only quite adamant generally about the food but was personally invested in this as she largely avoids non-veg(etari)an protein: this was certainly a problem if it wasn't and not an oversight on our part. I don't specifically remember seeing it there, tho' I wasn't looking: again, does anyone else have a recollection one way or t'other?

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Michael,

 

So nice of you to notice my comments about the food at the Conference.

 

...there was, to my certain knowledge (since I was its custodian) three different varieties of ultra-premium EVOO of varying phenolic content: you're not counting this as a "refined oil," are you?

 

Sorry. You're right. That was careless of me. I shouldn't have used the "refined" qualifier to describe the olive oil on offer. I'm sure it was first rate stuff, since I saw you toasting with what I presume was EVOO in those thimbles tiny cups from a couple tables over... 

 

I thought I had seen a little plattery thing with 3 different kinds of nuts – are you sure there wasn't such? Anyone else "listening" remember?

 

I happened to be first, last and in the middle of the buffet line at every meal, as others who were there will attest. It's not easy to get enough calories solely from fruits and vegetables and a few chickpeas when you eat like I do. I can assure you during none of my numerous trips through the buffet line at any of the catered meals were there nuts, on a "plattery thing" or otherwise. Admittedly I could have gone for the EVOO. I actually rather enjoyed doing the "low fat raw vegan" thing for a few days. Just call me DurianRider. Oh forget it, you won't get the reference, but others might...

 

Protein: there was certainly supposed to be tofu, and I know that April (who did most of the work with the hotel) was not only quite adamant generally about the food but was personally invested in this as she largely avoids non-veg(etari)an protein: this was certainly a problem if it wasn't and not an oversight on our part. I don't specifically remember seeing it there, tho' I wasn't looking: again, does anyone else have a recollection one way or t'other?

 

I'll leave it up to you to duke it out with April and/or the hotel staff over the lack of vegan protein. But I can assure you that at no meal was there any tofu on offer. Perhaps if April had actually attended she would have noticed and straightened out the mix up / oversight at the time. But it seems a bit late now to ask for any kind of refund. 

 

Chickpeas seemed to be the caterer's go-to vegan protein. In addition to it being the only calorie-dense item on the buffet line at each meal, the reception served up a very interesting hummus. It was clearly (completely?) free from added oil, which both Grace and I commented on and appreciated. The asparagus spears at the reception were also quite good.

 

But we could have done without the barrel of soda cans on ice. Some of it may have even been diet, but (thankfully) I didn't see anyone partaking. Hopefully we weren't charged for that.

 

Don't get me wrong. I actually rather appreciated the fact that only spartan fare was on offer. As I expressed over here, I find fancy (vegan) food enjoyable, but all-too-tempting when served buffet-style. I tend to overdo it and regret it later. I took it as an interesting personal challenge to see if I could get enough calories from raw fruits and vegetables to support my exercise regime. I just wish there had been a few nuts available (besides the attendees!), a bit more variety in the legume department, and maybe even (Saul cover your ears) a few whole grains like barley or quinoa.

 

Anybody else want to chime in to comment on the food at the Conference? That is if you can remember back that far now. Perhaps Michael and I have jogged your memories...

 

--Dean

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