This blog is a random collection of information, partly in support of my quotations web site (note: relocated to new URL, June 23/09). Other topics include wine, military news, economics, history, libertarianism, and other random things which happen to strike my fancy. Backup site is at (if there are no posts showing, hit the backup blog for explanation). Comments have been turned off, as the spam was getting too much to handle. Comments can be posted on the new site (still under construction) at, where I'm cross-posting most items as of July 10th.

July 13, 2009

When the data doesn't support your claims, obscure it!

Ronald Bailey looks at the too-good-to-be-true claims made for caloric reduction as a life-extending tool:

Last week, two research teams reported to great fanfare that restricting the calories consumed by rhesus monkeys had extended their lifespans. Calorie restriction is thought to increase longevity by boosting DNA repair. The idea is that the mechanism evolved so that creatures on the verge of starvarion could live long enough to reproduce when food becomes plentiful again. But did the experiments really show the CR works?

In my earlier blogpost on the research results, I noted that some experts quoted in the New York Times were not convinced. Why? Because the difference in actual death rates between the dieting monkeys and the free feeding monkeys was not statistically significant.

This doesn't necessarily derail the notion that calorie restriction may be associated with increased lifespan, but the way this study was performed does not appear to prove anything due to rigging of the data.

Posted by Nicholas at July 13, 2009 12:28 PM

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