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Comment by BDay on A Contamination Theory of the Obesity Epidemic · 2021-07-27T23:23:41.148Z · LW · GW

This is very interesting. You certainly can't argue with the availability of hyperpalatable food in these countries. To the extent they are less available in stores, that would be the result of people wanting them less. 

Perhaps the consumption is lower because of their culture (mimesis effects). People eat what those around them eat, and the traditional diet is culturally sticky enough in Japan and South Korea that, in spite of the availability of hyperpalatable foods, people still follow it for the majority of meals. However, this explanation requires a reason why this is not the case in other places, especially genetically and (I'm guessing somewhat) culturally similar places like China and Taiwan. 

It's not like South Korea and Japan have failed to pick up on the addictive aspects of other areas of modern culture, like the internet. So I don't understand why diet would be different for them. 

Comment by BDay on A Contamination Theory of the Obesity Epidemic · 2021-07-25T04:34:15.171Z · LW · GW

The study I would like to see is giving obese people unlimited access to only natural foods for 3 months. They could add salt and spices, but no oil and definitely no sugar. The diet would be lean(ish) meats, fruits, vegetables and legumes (unsure if allowing nuts is a good idea as they're extremely calorie dense, but technically they should be allowed under this definition). 

I would be surprised if this didn't work. Under this model I view hyperpalatble foods as equivalent to an addictive drug for obese people. Just as if you have a poor phenotype for alcoholism, you should avoid alcohol altogether, if you have a poor phenotype for the overconsumption of hyperpalatable foods, and a poor phenotype for the conversion of those extra calories into fat, you should avoid hyperpalatble foods. 

Comment by BDay on A Contamination Theory of the Obesity Epidemic · 2021-07-25T04:14:44.526Z · LW · GW

Have you ever seen or even heard of a person who is obese who doesn't eat hyperpalatable foods? (That is, they only eat naturally tasting, unprocessed, "healthy" foods).

This seems like the occam's razor expanation to me. Some of our new flavour/texture combinations are so rewarding that they easily overcome the natural stop signals, leading to excess caloric consumption in most (to a variable degree), which leads to weight gain in some.

A study which gave its participants a 1000cal/day dietary surplus found while some participants gained 14kg of fat over the course of the study (I think it was for 3 months), others gained as little as 4kg. As one would expect, there is genetic variance in one's vulnerability to the effects of a harmful caloric surplus, and there is probably also genetic variance in one's susceptability to hyperpalatable foods. 

Comment by BDay on How to Sleep Better · 2021-07-17T04:11:46.199Z · LW · GW

I have found that bed surface cooling devices like the ChiliPad or Eightsleep Pod Pro are excellent. I have the ChiliPad and noticed better sleep straight away. This includes it being easier to get to sleep, less waking up during the night and waking up in the morning more refreshed. 

Mattresses are great insulators. If it's very cold and you're trying to get warm, they're fantastic. But if it's warm and your body needs to shed heat during the night, they're a problem.

I would recommend these products to anyone who lives in a hot climate and wants to improve their sleep. The bigger you are physically, the more of a difference you will notice from them, as you have more heat to shed and less surface area proportionally to shed it. 

Comment by BDay on Why are clinical trials so expensive? · 2021-02-05T09:06:46.560Z · LW · GW

A lot of commonly sited drug trial prices are risk adjusted, meaning they take into account the high probability of failure, and are thus many multiples higher than the cost of an actual single trial. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26908540/#:~:text=A%20Phase%202%20study%20cost,pain%20and%20anesthesia)%20on%20average. 

"A Phase 2 study cost from US$7.0 million (cardiovascular) to US$19.6 million (hematology), whereas a Phase 3 study cost ranged from US$11.5 million (dermatology) to US$52.9 (pain and anesthesia) on average."

Thus, in reality, clinical trials are not THAT expensive, but they have a high risk of failure. 

What may have made vaccine trials so expensive was the massive number of participants needed to be administered the vaccine and followed to get good data. 43,000 for Pfizer. 

You need to sponsor whole trial centres, pay for the expensive time of doctors, pay for data management and auditing and more. I read a good paper with a breakdown once but was unable to find it for you. There are likely more similar papers.