Archive for October, 2010

Jimmy Moore’s Podcasts – become a fan

In the time crunch of putting together the speech and then editing and uploading it, I completely forgot to mention that Jimmy Moore is creating a fan club for his podcast show. (Sorry, Jimmy; everything went back-burner for awhile there.)  Here’s part of the announcement from his blog:

Some of the other perks you will enjoy as a member include exclusive snippets of upcoming not-yet-aired interviews, news and updates on potential interview guests I am working on booking on the show, transcripts of past episodes of the most popular podcasts (which will be constantly added each month), and so much more! Right now the site is in Beta mode as we are set to launch it full force beginning December 1, 2010 at the regular cost of $59.99 ($5/month) yearly. But for those of you who can’t wait to get in on the action and become a charter member of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show Fan Club”, we have a very special deal just for you available now through October 31, 2010. With my recording schedule kicking back into full swing in the months of November and December, we wanted to give our listeners a chance to get in on the ground floor of this exciting new project by offering some extra incentives for signing up right away.

The signup deadline for charter members is Sunday night, a.k.a. Halloween night.  I hope you all give Jimmy your support.  His podcasts are a public service, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from listening to his guests these past few years. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Speaking of support, this blog received quite a few donations in the past two days, apparently in reaction to the speech video.  I don’t email everyone personally — sorry, but I had a bit of a stalker-like incident awhile back, so I’m cautious about giving out my email — but I do want to say I appreciate all the donations.

Speech DVD … well, why not?

Okay, you talked me into it.  I spent much of today tweaking the speech video, trying to get more clarity in the slides, running the audio through some processors to dampen the room echo, etc.  Meanwhile, my wife is creating a DVD menu in Photoshop.  If it all works, I’ll start running off DVDs and create an order page.  Thank you all for the encouragement and the kind comments.

Happy Halloween.  My girls will be out collecting candy — now that’s scary.

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Took awhile to get Premiere and YouTube to play nicely together, but I finally managed to chop up the speech in an acceptable format and upload it — twice. The first time, it turned out one of the clips exceeded the 15-minute limit, so I had to re-edit and re-upload.

I elected to edit the slides into Premiere for better clarity, but of course some of the text is difficult to read if you’re not viewing the slides on a nice, big screen.  The tape ran out shortly into Q & A, so I’m skipping that.

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I presented my speech and believe it went well.  There were tornado warnings in the area and I was worried people would elect to stay home, but 20 showed up; the library staff told us a typical turnout for their speakers is 10 or 12, so I guess we’d call it a good house. 

I’ll review the tape tomorrow and see if I can get it on YouTube.  If the slides don’t show well in the video, I may try to cut them into the picture with Premiere, then upload it.

But for now, it’s time for a glass of wine and some R & R.

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I have a live run-through of the speech on Friday, and I still have a LOT of slides to produce.  Consequently, I’ve been slow to respond to comments, and I doubt I’ll have a post ready for Thursday night.

For those of you who asked, yes, I’ll try to videotape the speech.  Most likely I’ll upload it for a couple of weeks so the blog readers can watch, then take it down.  I’m doing this partly to (I hope) get more paid speaking gigs, and I’m not sure giving the product away for free in perpetuity is a good idea.  But I certainly want everyone who reads the blog to have a chance to see it.

If any readers lived in the area, I would probably know already, but just in case:

October 26, 6:30 PM
Williamson County Library
1314 Columbia Ave.
Franklin, TN

Back to the slides …

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I finally finished writing the text of the speech I’m giving next week. The problem wasn’t coming up with material; it was paring the material down. My first draft ran well over 90 minutes when I timed it, and the speech is supposed to be 60 minutes with time for Q&A afterwards. During my days on the road, I saw what happened when otherwise good comedians didn’t know when get to off the stage. When people in the audience start leaving, you should take the hint.

So I dropped sections on grains and lectins, the effects of various diets on HDL and triglycerides, and how stress raises cholesterol. In short, I pared it down to the subject matter that fits the title:  Big Fat Fiasco — how the misguided fear of saturated fat caused the epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

I figured the biggest challenge would be convincing people that the nutrition field is full of bad science. Before I started doing research on Fat Head, I frankly had no idea. I always liked to think of scientists of neutral seekers of the truth, and I suspect most other people do as well. I’m never sure how they’ll react when a filmmaker and comedian tells them a lot of scientists are hacks.

To stack the deck in my favor, I’m dedicating part of the speech to explaining the differences between good science and bad science, as well as the differences between observational studies and clinical studies. If they follow along with those sections, I’m halfway home.

In a perfect example of fortunate timing, the Atlantic just published an article titled Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science. Turns out I don’t have to call the nutrition scientists hacks, at least not by myself. A doctor who has dedicated his life to exposing bad science is already doing it for me. You can bet I’ll be lifting some quotes from one:

He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies-conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain-is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed.

Only 90 percent? Perhaps he’s more optimistic than I am.

He first stumbled on the sorts of problems plaguing the field, he explains, as a young physician-researcher in the early 1990s at Harvard. At the time, he was interested in diagnosing rare diseases, for which a lack of case data can leave doctors with little to go on other than intuition and rules of thumb. But he noticed that doctors seemed to proceed in much the same manner even when it came to cancer, heart disease, and other common ailments. Where were the hard data that would back up their treatment decisions? There was plenty of published research, but much of it was remarkably unscientific, based largely on observations of a small number of cases.

When it comes to what most doctors know about nutrition and health, I believe a quote from original Mayor Daley in Chicago is appropriate: “Nobody knows nothing.”

Baffled, he started looking for the specific ways in which studies were going wrong. And before long he discovered that the range of errors being committed was astonishing: from what questions researchers posed, to how they set up the studies, to which patients they recruited for the studies, to which measurements they took, to how they analyzed the data, to how they presented their results, to how particular studies came to be published in medical journals.

This array suggested a bigger, underlying dysfunction, and Ioannidis thought he knew what it was. “The studies were biased,” he says. “Sometimes they were overtly biased. Sometimes it was difficult to see the bias, but it was there.” Researchers headed into their studies wanting certain results-and, lo and behold, they were getting them.

And just think:  there are vegan evangelists in the world who still believe T. Colin Campbell went into the China Study as an open-minded scientist.

The article spelled out his belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process — in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish — to suppress opposing views.

I guess the Climategate gang can always work in the medical-research field if their current funding runs out.

It’s an enlightening article, and I hope you’ll read the whole thing. Dr. Ioannidis is a man on a mission, and we should all hope he succeeds.

In the meantime, I’ll be working on creating slides.

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I spent all day working on a speech I’m giving in a couple of weeks.  Tonight is booked … my wife should arrive home any hour now, back from a trip to Chicago for a class reunion.  (The girls are climbing the walls waiting for her.) Her parents are driving her back to Tennessee to make a visit of it, so we’ve got company for a few days.

So no post tonight, but while working on the speech, digging up research here and there and everywhere, it occurred to me that several readers have suggested adding a Research page to this site.  I don’t know when, but I will.  It would be nice to have the academic research organized by topics, with a brief summary and a link.

Other readers with kids have asked what we feed the girls.  I’m putting my wife on that one.  She’ll write up some typical meals.

I think I hear a van pulling up in the driveway … time to go.

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