NCBI ROFL: Holy Correlation, Batman!

By ncbi rofl | May 19, 2011 7:00 pm

Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight.

[Editor's note: this paper is by the author of the Shangri-La Diet]

“Little is known about how to generate plausible new scientific ideas. So it is noteworthy that 12 years of self-experimentation led to the discovery of several surprising cause-effect relationships and suggested a new theory of weight control, an unusually high rate of new ideas. The cause-effect relationships were: (1) Seeing faces in the morning on television decreased mood in the evening (> 10 hrs later) and improved mood the next day (> 24 hrs later), yet had no detectable effect before that (0-10 hrs later). The effect was strongest if the faces were life-sized and at a conversational distance. Travel across time zones reduced the effect for a few weeks. (2) Standing 8 hours per day reduced early awakening and made sleep more restorative, even though more standing was associated with less sleep. (3) Morning light (1 hr/day) reduced early awakening and made sleep more restorative. (4) Breakfast increased early awakening. (5) Standing and morning light together eliminated colds (upper respiratory tract infections) for more than 5 years. (6) Drinking lots of water, eating low-glycemic-index foods, and eating sushi each caused a modest weight loss. (7) Drinking unflavored fructose water caused a large weight loss that has lasted more than 1 year. While losing weight, hunger was much less than usual. Unflavored sucrose water had a similar effect. The new theory of weight control, which helped discover this effect, assumes that flavors associated with calories raise the body-fat set point: The stronger the association, the greater the increase. Between meals the set point declines. Self-experimentation lasting months or years seems to be a good way to generate plausible new ideas.”

Image Erik Sansom via CalorieLab

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  • http://www.sethroberts.net Seth Roberts

    The paper (“Self-experimentation as a source…”) can be downloaded here:

    http://escholarship.org/uc/item/2xc2h866

  • Matt B.

    “eating sushi … caused a modest weight loss”
    Probably got worms.

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About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing"). Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl

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