Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why fine tuninng works. And why nonody gets it right

Fine tuning is what is usually played in ICU (intensive care). You manipulate every bodily parameter in every possible way. And it works wonders in critical cases.

Common sense suggests, that without any new theoretical advance, similar forms of fine tuning should work. But they need caful parametrization, adherence and lots of experimentation and rigorously studying the data all along.

In a less sophisticated way, but i guess successful case, i think this lady managed to treat various maladies with endless play of supplements. She seems to check all the time the effects, and she did it for twelve years. So lots of data, lots of fine tuning.

Every success case here cannot be generalized.
This is probably why most grand scale supplement studies failed to show effects, while for people with specific conditions we have a lot of successful randomly controlled studies. these games are not generalizable. (beside the need for combinations etc.)

But the public is blind. polarized poinions prevail.
either one believes in complementary medicine and (to whatever level) scorns rigor. placebo effects never occur. etc. 

Or, he is a technical believer in institutional experiments. Anything that is not completely done under the umbrela of the full protocol is irelevant. 
An example to this blindness is the selenium experiment for cancer prevention (SELECT). it found no effect. 
Supporters of selenium claimed that selenium helps to those with baseline deficiet in selenium. 

makes sense. no? the author of the selenium trial has not even bothered to check the data for this. He has all the data. and the idea that selenium works for those with baseline deficiet is the most expected possibility (its a priori reasonableness is even higher than that of flat supplementation works!).
But he only said like "the trial showed negative results" and refused to carry even the simple test for which he had ALL the data on hand! dismissing it as secondary analysis

We need rigorous thinking even when outside the formal experimental design!

And fine tuning seems a very very lucrative route that is highly ignored, but which can ameliorate many ails when done correctly

1 comment:

ChristianKl said...

Well, it is secondary analysis. I think the core issue isn't so much that he doesn't run the numbers himself but that he doesn't give other people the data to run it for themselves in the spirit of open science.