Friday, 30 October 2015

A treatment for epilepsy that's as cheap as chips and not a ketogenic diet.

I did some research on PubMed about epilepsy and found something unexpected.

The art of magnesium transport.
"Patients with hypomagnesemia suffer from a wide range of symptoms including muscle cramps, cardiac arrhythmias and epilepsy."

See also Magnesium: Just as important as Calcium , The usual suspects and Depression: The similarity between magnesium and ketamine.

Failure to communicate: How to fix it.

First, a video. I used this video about two and a half years ago.

We communicate with each other verbally and non-verbally. To maintain a reasonable rate of information flow from talker to listener, non-verbal handshaking from listener to talker is used for flow-control.

Unfortunately, people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) like me (I was officially diagnosed as having an ASD, yesterday) can't detect non-verbal handshaking, resulting in failure to communicate. Body-language = Double-Dutch. This is confusing and upsetting for all concerned, because neither the talker nor the listener understand what's going on.

A talker with an ASD thinks "Why won't they listen to me?". "Why are they walking away?", while a listener without an ASD thinks "Why do they keep on talking when I'm giving clear signs that they should stop?".

Like SkyNet, I have become self-aware. Now that I am aware of this problem, I can fix it. Here's the solution. If you're having a conversation with someone, and they don't stop talking when you're giving clear signs that they should stop, do the following:-

Oh, look. The French already do it. From the above site:-
"Chut! / Silence!

When you want some one to shut up or fermez-la, you can hold up your index finger in the air (not in front of your lips), and give a severe look to the people disturbing you. French teachers use this gesture frequently."

Please don't give us a severe look. We don't do it on purpose to annoy you. We can't help it. TIA. :-)

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Both Sides Now: Asperger's.

Continued from Both Sides Now: Nerds!

A couple of years ago, a psychologist that I was chatting to at a party told me that she thought I had Asperger's. I wasn't upset. I was actually rather relieved, as it explained everything. Since then, several more people, who work for "Disability Challengers", working with children with severe ASDs (Autism Spectrum Disorders) have told me much the same thing.

Here's everything(ish)
A preference for reading science books rather than being with people.
A desire to take things apart and put them back together again (sometimes failing at the latter!) to see how they worked.
Being known as "Professor" at school, as I could chatter away about science facts for hours.
Sucking at forming relationships with women. Logic & emotion mixed like oil & water.
Becoming an Electronic Engineer rather than a Doctor, as it meant working with objects rather than people.
Focussing on a task for hours e.g. Researching, producing new blog posts and updating old ones.
Obsessive behaviour in certain areas.
Loving routine.
Hating change.
Difficulty with communicating facts to people e.g. having a "hectoring" tone.
Offending people without realising it by speaking bluntly or interacting with them in a very logical way, and then failing to recognise their body language shouting "Stop talking!", "Go away!", "Why did you do that?", "I'm offended!" etc at me.

In January 2015, after a series of failed relationship attempts, I asked my GP for a referral to an ASD clinic. After a wait of 10 months, I've got an appointment to see an ASD specialist at the end of this month.

Knowing that I would be seen by a specialist made me more self-aware and I started to push myself into doing things that would normally scare the crap out of me e.g. Approaching a complete stranger in a pub, introducing myself and engaging them in meaningful conversation.

So, I know that there's a monkey on my back and I know what it's getting up to an increasing proportion of the time. Bear with, bear with!

By the way, the computer/smart-phone that you're using to read this post was invented/designed/developed by people like me! Ditto, the Internet.

Continued on Failure to communicate: How to fix it.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Netiquette and obnoxious arseholes.

Hey, look! I baked you a cake!

I live my life on the principle that if I wouldn't like someone doing something to me, I won't do it to them.

If I see a man having a discussion with a woman that I know in the street, I wouldn't barge in and start haranguing the man, because I wouldn't like it if someone did that to me.

So, why is it that on the Net, obnoxious arseholes think it's O.K. to do it? No, it's not! There's something called Netiquette. Observe it.

Yes, Man and Bali. I'm looking at you! When someone is commenting from the safety of their computer keyboards (or Smartphone touch-screens), they can turn into obnoxious arseholes. In real life, they might get a punch in the chops, which they'd richly deserve.

Addendum: On a Facebook status, far far away, the following conversation occurred (the beginning has been redacted):-

Me: I've liked some of their comments, too. That's why it's odd that they're playing up now. They seem to be "White knighting" Jane.

Kade: And now the plot thickens. You see, this might be something entirely different.

As an amused onlooker with no real interest in this drama, or the anonymous actors, I'll offer two educated explanations.

1. As you've already touched on, this might be a simple case of plain 'White Knighting', which isn't all that uncommon on the internet. Case closed.

2. If one were to really consider where the various moving parts of these dietary arguments -- and their actors -- find their home ground, Jane would actually be someone who'd get considerable sympathy from the plant-based or plant-centred crowd. Her general theories and ideas espouse a very low animal product intake paired with a puritanical focus on non-refined plant foods. Considering this avenue, one could see where this is going and why those individuals would like my comments and support her regularly. It's one of those areas where they find considerable overlaps of agreement.

Too bad they didn't realise that even *you* share in those overlaps and that much of your exchange with Jane is actually harmless and over a truly minor disagreement. Unfortunately, the relative anonymity of the internet not only makes individuals rambunctious, but also extremely presumptive of things they cannot gauge, such as tone and intent behind comments. This might prompt certain hot shots into White Knighting for someone in a friendly disagreement, which they can't decipher as being friendly, *because* that someone also happens to relatively champion their outlook in a highly volatile environment where even mild disagreements are far too often perceived as polarising.

Me: I couldn't have put it better myself!

Would it be a good idea to put what you just wrote in an addendum at the end of my blog post?

Kade: Up to you, Nige. Go for it if it is any good to the point you're making. ; )

As a result of the above conversation, I've changed my mind about Man & Bali. They're not obnoxious arseholes.

Further addendum: We seem to getting on O.K. now!

Cooperation is so much better than endless squabbling.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Science and zealots: How to detect bad science and how to detect zealots.

Last night, I got banned from Zoë Harcombe's blog. More on that later. Meanwhile, this...

I re-read It's all about ME, baby! (1997 - present) and there's something important missing.

In 2005, I discovered Lyle McDonald. Before this happened, I had the following beliefs:-
1. If something works for me, it must work for everyone else.
2. If someone with qualifications states a fact, it must be true.
3. If someone without qualifications states a fact, it must be false.
4. If a study confirms my beliefs, it must be true.
5. If a study contradicts my beliefs, it must be false.

Sound familiar?
1. is a "Hasty generalisation" fallacy.
2. is an "Appeal to authority" fallacy.
3. is an "Ad hominem" fallacy.
4. & 5. are "Cherry-picking" fallacies.

Suffice it to say, Lyle bitch-slapped the fallacies out of me. Thank you so much! Read Lyle's site, if you want to learn.

How can studies conflict with each other so much?

Having read a number of conflicting studies, here are some of the tricks that bad studies use:-

1. Fudge the methodology:-
a) In a meta-study (a study of studies), to make something that's bad (e.g. some types of saturated fats/fatty acids) look harmless or to make something that's good (e.g. Vitamin D) look useless, fudge the inclusion criteria so that only studies using low intakes or a narrow range of intakes are used, so that the RRs are either close to 1 or have 95% CI values above & below 1. In addition, include studies that show both positive and negative results (due to them looking at different types of saturated fats/fatty acids, say), so that the overall result is null. See Siri-Tarino et al, Forests & Trees and "Eureka!" moments.

b) In a meta-study, set the Δintake to values that are much smaller than a typical portion. See Milk and dairy consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality: dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.

c) In a study, use a different type of the thing being studied (but bury this fact somewhere obscure so it's missed) to get the opposite result. e.g. To make "carbs" look bad, use a test "carb" that comprises 50% simple carbs (fructose) and 50% complex carbs (maltodextrin), thus guaranteeing a bad outcome (high % small LDL particles). See[Author]%20AND%20Dreon%20DM[Author]%20AND%20(hasabstract[text]%20AND%20%22humans%22[MeSH%20Terms])

2. Fudge the statistics:- e.g. Regression toward the mean. I'm not a stats nerd, but there are many ways to lie with statistics.

3. Make the abstract have a different conclusion from the full study (which you hide behind a pay-wall), by excluding the methodology & results.

Back to Zoë Harcombe: I left some comments on Jennifer Elliott vs Dietitians Association of Australia.

My M.O. for detecting zealots is by using a slowly, slowly, catchee monkey approach. I left a comment supportive of low-carb diets, because:-

For people with Insulin Resistance, low-carb diets DO ameliorate obesity, postprandial sleepiness and postprandial hyperglycaemia.

Was that loud enough?

I added that I thought the first priority should be to tackle the causes of the Insulin Resistance, because permanently reversing a condition is better than merely ameliorating it.

My comments were helpful, with links to blog posts showing the above and how to reverse T2DM in 8 weeks.

I then "went in for the kill" and strongly criticised Jennifer Elliot's article, as it contained cherry-picked references. I included three more links to my blog as supportive evidence. This resulted in the removal of all but one of my comments (and the comment that remained had the link removed) and the addition of the following comment:-

"Zoë Harcombe says:
Nigel – too many comments purely trying to get traffic to your site – link above removed; other comments spammed. You’re now spammed.
Best wishes – Zoe"

The correct word is "banned", Zoë! Spammers try to sell something. My information is free.
Low-carb zealot successfully detected.

It's not a problem if a lay person becomes a low-carb zealot, but it is a problem if a Doctor/Health Professional/Fitness Trainer becomes one. Cognitive bias and a refusal to accept contradictory evidence are not healthy traits for someone who's supposed to be practising evidence-based medicine/health/fitness.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The UK: A green and pleasant gun-free land, or not?

First, see A US tourist made a list of 100 things he thought about Britain... and it's very accurate.
Ee by eckerslike! Where's me Hovis?

A pro-gun advocate told me that when guns were banned in the UK, gun crime increased a lot and that police now have to be armed. Yeah, right!

From Gun politics in the United Kingdom:-
"In the United Kingdom, access by the general public to firearms is tightly controlled by law, although this is less restrictive in Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world.[1] There were 0.05 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in the five years to 2011 (15 to 38 people per annum). Gun homicides accounted for 2.4% of all homicides in the year 2011.[2] There is some concern over the availability of illegal firearms.[3][4][5]"

There are pockets of deprivation in virtually every large city in the world. These pockets are often "no-go" areas for police, even if they're armed. In ungoverned/ungovernable areas, gangs thrive. From Kowloon: Inside A Walled City #9
"From the 50s until the 80s Triad groups (Chinese mobsters) had a significant amount of power in The Walled City. Kowloon became a hotbed for prostitution, drugs, and gambling; however most residents of the Walled City were not involved in the illegal activity."

Another change that encouraged the thriving of gangs in the UK was the repealing of the Sus law in August 1981, after race riots in 1980 and 1981.

So, in exchange for an almost total elimination of Spree killings and mass shootings, we have an increase in Other Firearms crime, most of which occur in deprived areas in large cities. We can live with that.

Here's a thought experiment:-
You own a shop in an area where gangs thrive and you have to pay a gang "protection" money.
A gang-member is about to collect a payment from you. He's told his boss by mobile phone that he's about to visit you, so killing him isn't an option. You have 2 options on how to deal with the gang:-
1. Compliance: You end up poorer.
2. Resistance: Your shop, you and/or your family end up getting smashed-up (or shot).

That's why there's no point in carrying a gun in areas where gangs thrive. Gangs always have the advantage over individuals. In other areas, there's no need to carry a gun.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Why humans are more like Chimpanzees than Bonobos.

The following video contains scenes of murder, bloodshed & cannibalism.

Bonobos are the hippies of the Chimpanzee world. The following video contains scenes of sex.

Bonobo/Bonobo murder rate is about 3% that for Chimpanzees, according to the following video.

What would have happened to our ancestors if they'd been more like Bonobos than Chimpanzees? Here's a thought experiment. To translate from Ancient Bonobo to English, I stuck a Babel Fish in my ear. The dialogue is inspired by "Duty calls".

Her: Are you coming to bed?
Him: I can't. This is important.
Her: What?
Him: I'm inventing fire.
Her: Fancy a quickie?
Him: Coming, dear!

There'd have been no progress and we'd be living in a rainforest nowadays, having lots of sex. Oh, well!

Chimpanzee society is male-dominated, with males forming into cliques/groups/gangs/etc. Groups have an advantage over individuals. The third video stated that 90% of male Chimpanzees murder another Chimpanzee during their lifetime.

Human society is male-dominated, with males forming into cliques/groups/gangs/etc. Luckily, humans have some of the caring, sharing characteristics of Bonobos, otherwise human society would have become a dystopian nightmare of rampant murder.

What "sheeple" and "selfish arseholes" have in common.

Here's a clue...

When we're born, we're selfish arseholes.
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I'm hungry!).
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I've got wind!)
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I've wet myself!)
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I've crapped myself!)
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I'm too hot!)
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I'm too cold!)
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I want attention!)
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah (I just felt like going "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah" for the hell of it!) and so on.

Then we learn how to walk and talk.
Mummy mummy mummy! I want it!
Mummy mummy mummy! I need it!
Mummy mummy mummy! I really need it!
Mummy mummy mummy! I must have it! and so on.

When we don't get what we want, we throw a tantrum.
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! It's not fair!
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! It's so unfair!
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I never get anything!
Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I hate you! and so on.

We don't like to share our toys.
It's mine! You can't have it! Biff! and so on.

Then we learn how to cooperate. Life becomes more peaceful, although children who still are selfish arseholes can be a right pain in the arse! With all of this in mind...

I've often mentioned a documentary by Adam Curtis called The Century of the Self, Part 1: Happiness Machines. If you've not watched it, please do so. It shows how easy it is to use propaganda (now re-badged as Public Relations) & emotion-targeted marketing to manipulate populations. The two main groups doing the manipulation are:-

1. Governments.
2. Industries.

Governments want populations to be docile, compliant and sheep-like, to keep the peace, pay their taxes and not ask awkward questions.

Industries want populations to be selfish arseholes and buy stuff that they don't need, to maximise their profits.

So there you have it. "Free-thinkers" may think that they are free to do whatever they want, and they may deride "sheeple" for being gullible, but they've been manipulated too.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

How to lose weight and get slim by eating "fast food" for 180 days.

Hopefully, that got your attention! Please watch the following video.

The video is about teaching youngsters to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to make healthy food choices.

The secret to successful weight loss & maintenance:-
Formulate a good plan. A good plan is one that works and is sustainable. Exercise mainly increases fitness, but also increases energy expenditure. See Calories Burned - Walking: 3.5 mph (17 minutes per mile). E.g. a 250lb man who walks for 45 minutes expends 378kcals.

The vast majority of people who visit "fast food" establishments don't have the critical thinking skills necessary to make healthy food choices. "Fast food" establishments use every marketing trick in the book to influence people to make unhealthy food choices and consume as much of them as possible.

As people are reluctant to go back for second helpings (as they think it makes them look greedy), super-sizing was invented, which allows people to eat considerably more food for not much extra money.

Delicious aromas increase hedonic hunger. Added sugar, salt and flavour enhancers make foods moreish.

Bright colours, cartoon characters and toys attract children.

Edward Bernays-style (emotion-targeted) marketing encourages people to visit "Fast food" establishments, make unhealthy food choices and over-consume them. See for more information. The first two minutes summarise.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Another fallacy promulgated by a certain dietary camp.

High Carb diets are tasteless and monotonous. Steaks, cheeses & butters for the win.

If you think that High Carb diets comprise only potatoes, sweet potatoes or rice all day (which some populations actually eat without complaint), then you're mistaken.

Here's a High Carb diet (the food in the picture can sit on top of Basmati rice, if you like).

Here's another High Carb diet.

And another.

And yet another.

The above can be eaten with animal produce, which includes some steaks, cheeses & butters.

Anyone who claims that High Carb diets are tasteless and monotonous has zero imagination.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Why using macronutrient percentages is so wrong.


1. Deception

Consider Lies, damned lies and statistics, part n+1. Riera-Crichton et al.  

Relative fat intake in %E decreased and obesity increased.

The conclusion:- "Carbohydrates are fattening and fat is slimming." Yeah, right!

Absolute fat intake in grams/kcals has always increased, according to More Thoughts on Macronutrient Trends. Absolute protein intake in grams/kcals has also always increased.

Gary Taubes & Nina Teicholz use this deliberate misrepresentation of data to create the false narrative that low-fat healthy eating guidelines caused the obesity epidemic in the US. It's a pack of lies.

2. The terms "Low Fat" and "High Fat" are meaningless

Take 55g of fat (500kcals), 125g of protein (500kcals) and 375g of carbohydrate (1,500kcals). It adds up to 2,500kcals, with a percentage C/F/P split of 60/20/20. It's a High Carb, Low Fat diet.

Now remove 125g of carbohydrate to leave 250g of carbohydrate (1000kcals). It now adds up to 2,000kcals, with a percentage C/F/P split of 50/25/25. It's still a High Carb, Low Fat diet.

Now remove another 125g of carbohydrate to leave 125g of carbohydrate (500kcals). It now adds up to 1,500kcals, with a percentage C/F/P split of 33/33/33. It's now a Medium Carb, Medium Fat Zone diet.

Now remove another 62.5g of carbohydrate to leave 62.5g of carbohydrate (250kcals). It now adds up to 1,250kcals, with a percentage C/F/P split of 20/40/40. It's now a Low Carb, Highish Fat diet.

Now remove another 62.5g of carbohydrate to leave 0g of carbohydrate (0kcals). It now adds up to 1,000kcals, with a percentage C/F/P split of 0/50/50. It's now a Very Low Carb, High Fat diet.

So, 55g/day of fat can be Low Fat, Medium Fat, Highish Fat or High Fat. Which leads to...

3. Confusion

When someone sees the term LCHF (Low Carb, High Fat), they think it means "Eat less carbohydrate and eat more fat". As changes in body stores are determined by Energy Balance, eating more fat leads to a slower rate of weight-loss (or even weight-gain), not a faster rate of weight-loss.

By all means cut the consumption of "bad" carbs, like burgers in buns, chips/fries, crisps/chips, pizzas, cakes, biscuits/cookies, chocolate (which are also high in fats) & sugar-sweetened beverages.

However, if you believe that "good" carbs like vegetable produce, legumes, whole grains and whole fruits make you fat and sick, you need to have your head examined, unless you're in the tiny percentage of the population who have genetic carbohydrate intolerance.

See also Insulin Resistance: Solutions to problems.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Everyone is different Part 4, Fallacies and another rant!

Cont'd from Bray et al shows that a calorie *is* a calorie (where weight change is concerned).

The other day, an article about Ruth Frechman appeared in my Facebook News Feed.
See A nutritionist shares pictures of everything she eats in a day

The article (written by an editor, not a dietician) started "If you're trying to eat right, then following the diet of a nutritionist is probably a good start." This infers that everyone should eat the same diet, and that diet is what Ruth Frechman ate on that particular day.

Uh, nope! That doesn't follow. The whole article is based on a non sequitur fallacy.

From the reactions on Facebook, you'd think that Ruth Frechman had just admitted to being a serial kitten-murderess. The link to the above article had the following accompanying text:-
"Imagine booking an appointment to see a nutritionist in the hope that it would improve your health and appearance...

And this haggard looking, snack-munching zombie greeted you at her office."
Dismissing someone's knowledge because of their diet and/or perceived appearance is an ad hominem fallacy.

I posted the following status:-
"As I'm unable to leave comments on that News Feed item, I'm sharing it, with the following observations.
1. Dismissing a person's knowledge because of what they look like is an ad hominem fallacy.
2. Insults are scraping the bottom of the debating barrel. Stay classy!
3. The main reason why people go to a dietician is because those people are fatter than they want to be. If YOUR logic is that a weight-loss advisor must look as though they're using their own weight-loss advice and it's working, would YOU get weight-loss advice from the man in the blue shirt? and"

Yesterday, the following post appeared in my News Feed:-
"In an article worthy of the Onion, Ruth Frechman provides conclusive proof that being a registered dietitian nutritionist means absolutely nothing. But wait...she is the author of that dietary classic "The Food Is My Friend Diet"

The very fact that this person has some degree of qualification and the implied authority that goes along with it suggests that we have reached the apex of nutritional stupidity and ignorance. The fact that Business Insider deem this worth sharing tells us they should stick to what they know.

So, join us as we snack on Popcorn, eat M&Ms, chug down fortified fruit juice, eat Quest bars and chewing gum...

There is an actual meal in there at one point, but it looks decidedly like something you might feed your dog, food is obviously not her friend, it's her fix.

Frechman, by her own account, seems to spend her days stressed, tired and hungry, and feels suitably entitled to share her own brand of self loathing with anyone who will part with the $.

Cut out the static. Learn to cook. Go for a walk. Breathe."

Uh, nope! We don't know how busy Ruth Frechman is, how much free time she has, what facilities she has for preparing meals and what foods she likes to eat. She's criticised for eating treats like popcorn and M&Ms, even though she's slim and apparently in good health.

Here's a link to her book:- Go to Page 33 and criticise THAT.

I can only conclude from some of the comments left on the above Facebook post that the world has a lot of judgemental arseholes.

Cont'd on Everyone is different Part 5, Vaccination.