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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Middle-aged, Sedentary Male Mice

This does not have anything to do with economics, really. Everyone's waiting for the FOMC, so why not live a little?

The kind folks at UCLA San Diego have proved that dark chocolate improves exercise performance. That is, they've proved it if you are a middle-aged, sedentary male mouse. No word on middle-aged non-sedentary human females, but hey, this is a prescription I'm willing to follow. Should one of my readers in fact be a sedentary male mouse, this is good news indeed for you, but I suspect this demographic among my readership is minimal.

They put half of these fat, demotivated little rodents on treadmills, while half were allowed to lie around watching reality shows and Seinfeld reruns. SOME of the mice were given just water. SOME of them were given an epicatechin solution, which is believed to be the good ingredient in dark chocolate, somewhat like THC is in marijuana. (So now I observe grimly that not only were no humans involved, and no females, but no actual dark chocolate was involved. The plot thins quickly.)

This story has a tragic ending for the mice involved. I think it would have been more justifiable if they had at least given them dark chocolate so they could have had a happy last few weeks. Worse yet, they made them run on treadmills until they dropped.

Some of the mice were put on exercise programs during the water/epicatechin protocol, presumably with very small personal trainers. The payoff here amongst all this anti-rodent cruelty (PETA, are you paying attention?), is that even the sedentary middle-aged male mice who were not forced to exercise but were dosed with epicatechin lasted much longer on the run-until-you-drop rodent torture marathon than the water group who were forced to exercise. That's pretty strong evidence.

At the end of this they autopsied the leg muscles of the mice and discovered more mitochondria and increased capillary formation in the epicatechin group, even for the sedentary, happy male rodents, which explained the better performance.

Now, since human studies have shown that dark-chocolate-chompers have lower risks for high blood pressure and heart disease, which would be somewhat explained by the capillary formation, I think it is possible that the same would be true for non-sedentary middle-aged human females. Tragically, the amount of epicatechin used corresponds to about 1/2 of 1 square of a dark chocolate bar. I'm sure doubling the dose would work fine.

The trial commences NOW. There's not going to be a control group. See, I was just thinking mournfully that the emergency dark chocolate bar stash in the freezer had somehow disappeared quickly due to the high stress of the last week (insane markets, insane central bankers, really bad eye problem). So now I have an excuse to up the dosage. In the cause of science.

See, there's some good even in recessions, because somehow I think funding for this came from Big Chocolate.

I also protest against the unnecessary cruelty to mice. (And why just male mice?) See, if you offered me ENOUGH dark chocolate I would have done this for free, and even let the researchers take small biopsies of leg muscle tissue before and after. In fact, I'd volunteer for the lifetime study. Wouldn't it be GREAT to track this for one non-sedentary human female's lifetime? Cough up a lifetime contract for dark chocolate and I'm your lab animal!

Today's CNN poll:

CNN Poll: Time to clean house in Congress?
By: CNN Political Unit

" the CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday also indicates that while Republicans may have had the upper hand in the recent battle over raising the debt ceiling, they appear to have lost a lot of ground with the public and the party's unfavorable rating is now at an all time high.
Only 41 percent of people questioned say the lawmaker in their district in the U.S. House of Representatives deserves to be re-elected - the first time ever in CNN polling that that figure has dropped below 50 percent. Forty-nine percent say their representative doesn't deserve to be re-elected in 2012. And with ten percent unsure, it's the first time that a majority has indicated that they would boot their representative out of office if they had the chance today.
"That 41 percent, in the polling world, is an amazing figure. Throughout the past two decades, in good times and bad, Americans have always liked their own member of Congress despite abysmal ratings for Congress in general," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Now anti-incumbent sentiment is so strong that most Americans are no longer willing to give their own representative the benefit of the doubt. If that holds up, it could be an early warning of an electorate that is angrier than any time in living memory."
As for all members of Congress, the poll indicates only a quarter of the public says most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected.

A lot of that anger seems directed toward the GOP. According to the survey, favorable views of the Republican party dropped eight points over the past month, to 33 percent. Fifty-nine percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican party, an all-time high dating back to 1992 when the question was first asked."
I'm surprised the numbers are so favorable.

Congress has been sort of AWOL for quite some time.
So that's it! I've been eating brocoli, carrots, and oily fish in an attempt to extend life. Now they tell us to eat dark chocolate. Well, I suppose next week they'll be telling us a tiny martini (1/10th of an ounce) a day will extend life as well. (That's one I could overdose on.)

Somewhere I just read that the best thing to do is choose your parents wisely. Check, I should have done that. Well, all I can do now is pray. Or find a tiny sliver of dark chocolate.
Jimmy, you're behind the curve.

According to my doctor, the current recommended dosage is "moderate" daily consumption--using my jigger, roughly one martini per day for men, half of one for women. For medicinal purposes, as my great-grandmother reportedly liked to say during prohibition.

Oh, and don't forget to drink your coffee and eat bacon and eggs in the morning.
It reminds of that Woody Allen film Sleeper in which he finds himself in the future, and their definition of health food is very different than his.

Progress marches on.
Thanks Neil, I'm going out and buy some Absolut immediately! I hear olives are good for you too.
They've kept much quieter about the fact that most fats are good for you (except those vegetable oils they keep pushing). And what's with the FDA busting private raw milk buying clubs? I can't think of anything that we need less government involvement in that picking the foods we buy. Oh wait, they think we need help in that area. They may find it's harder to find the cause of obesity than it is to balance the budget.

Chocolate - a good investment for your money!
Teri - a generation of people who drank raw milk survived the GD, life with no antibiotics, a world war or two and lived to a ripe old age, mostly.

I know raw milk can cause human disease, but if people are choosing it knowingly, don't they have the right?

And their track record really isn't good. It turns out that for about 30% of the population, their food pyramid makes them ill.

It almost seems like the government kind of lost track of the declining marginal returns of ever-increasing regulation.
I'm actually a big fan of low-temperature pasteurized (as opposed to the usual ultra-pasteurized), non-homogenized milk. You get to keep the enzymes (if you leave it on the counter, it turns into curds and whey). As far as I can tell, there are no controlled studies, but it seems to digest easily just like raw milk which you'd expect given the enzymes. I suspect you get to keep most of the health benefits of raw milk, but with no worries about nasty bugs slipping into your diet. Shelf life does suffer compared to ultra-pasteurized, and you've got to shake the bottle to mix the cream back in, or even stir it back in if it has become clotted.

It's also very, very tasty; I tried a blind taste test and couldn't tell the difference between low-temperature pasteurized, non-homogenized and raw. Ultra-pasteurized tastes sort of flat by comparison.
So where do you get that type of pasteurized milk?

I had never heard of it!
We find it at the fancy-schmancy organic grocery place, in returnable glass bottles. You've got to look up the dairy website to determine what pasteurizing process they use.
MoM, I believe the study in question is from my Alma Mater, UC San Diego (UCSD to the locals), which is a completely separate campus of the University of California system from the larger UC Los Angeles (or UCLA). There is no "UCLA San Diego".

I've just spent 3-1/2 days on a diet of Big Macs and 32oz Coke while driving the northern tier from Minnesota back to the Soviet. Does that qualify as a life extension diet? McD has been running a $1 any size coke special...it's amazing how much you can pee when you refill a 32oz pop every 100 miles.
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