Author Topic: The need for "self-experiment" in science  (Read 2838 times)

Offline OtisBrown

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The need for "self-experiment" in science
« on: February 20, 2011, 07:49:40 AM »
Dear Friends,
While this site is about health and self-help, I would also like to include "self-experimentation".  When a person "does Bates", or "uses a plus" (as Todd did), he is doing his own scientific experiment.  Very few people, including scientists and engineers can make that "bold" commitment.  I would suggest reading an article in "Time" magazine, Feb. 28, 2011, on this subject -- titled, "My Body, My Laboratory", by Eben Harrell.  For myself, I believe in mitigating "risks" by knowledge as much as possible, but if a bold (preventive) action is required, then I want to be part of scientific (self-control) and prevention.  Otis
« Last Edit: February 20, 2011, 08:08:39 AM by Todd Becker »

Offline OtisBrown

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Re: The need for "self-experiment" in science
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2011, 11:00:16 AM »

There are some optometrists who support threshold plus-prevention.

He allowed and supported this commentary.

But it truly takes a "motivated" person to "self-experiment" with the plus.

Offline UrsusMinor

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Re: The need for "self-experiment" in science
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2011, 08:27:07 AM »
Self-expermentation in science has a long and honorable history, and there was a time when researchers were their own first guinea pigs.

Alas, this has fallen out of favor...although research chemist Alexander Shulgin has continued the tradition:

Offline Todd Becker

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Re: The need for "self-experiment" in science
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2011, 11:01:40 AM »
Otis and UrsusMinor,

Self-experimentation is a major theme of this blog and forum, so I'm glad that this thread has been started.

Two contemporary exemplars of good self-experimentation are Seth Roberts and Tim Ferris.  Roberts, the author of the Shangri-La Diet, is a former UC Berkeley professor of psychology, now teaching in Beijing, who discovered the principles of his famous flavor-control diet based on self-experimentation.  He then found new applications of those principles by considering how his findings fit with research in several disparate fields.  I recommend his diet book not just for its intriguing findings, but also because Roberts has found a way to do self-experimentation in a rigorous manner, overcoming one of the main criticisms of self-experimentation.  His blog is all about self-experimentation.  Years ago, I started a long thread on his forum, proposing an alternative explanation of his observations, and I've challenged his set point theory in my post on Flavor control diets; that thread eventually led to the Deconditioning Diet which I advocate on my blog.

Tim Ferris is also a very interesting and passionate maven of self-experimentation.  His blog ranges from business ideas to lifestyle innovation to...most recently...his best-seller, The 4-Hour Body, which summarizes years of self-experimentation directed at finding "hacks" or simple ways to make the biggest improvements in health and well-being with the minimum effort.  I agree with probably about 50% of Tim's ideas, which is good enough for me.  For example, he has some very interesting material on the use of cold water for thermogenesis, weight loss and sleep improvement.  And he has some good suggestions on building lean muscle.  However, I think he goes in too much for exotic supplements and drugs, where short-term self-experimentation poses some risks and cannot adequately gauge the long-term risks.

Tim's blog is engaging and he has quite a following. To some, he may seem a bit self-engaged, but I think he is sincere in his quest for self-improvement and he is very effective as a communicator of novel ideas that can be of real benefit.

« Last Edit: February 22, 2011, 11:30:36 AM by Todd Becker »