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Old 08-03-2012, 12:50 PM   #11
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Sounds suspiciously like the "correlation" between vaccines and autism. Hopefully the actual article is better written than the blog entry.

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:04 PM   #12
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These folks were also working in a place where they could inhale diacetyl daily. They still have to establish the level and means of exposure that would contribute. As diacetyl is present in butter (much more than it is in beer, mind you) and many more people eat butter than have alzheimers, it seems that we are still far away from understanding the risk, in statistical terms.

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:21 PM   #13
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Uh huh. And I'll bet the Journal's editors and the researchers never thought of that. This is one of the most frequently employed glib dismissals of scientific work by the public. Here's the important language: "So they tested whether DA also could clump those proteins. DA did increase the level of beta-amyloid clumping." So they went beyond simply observing a correlation.
As a Computer Science major I know nothing of science. I do know logic. This is all based upon the theory that Aβ leads to Alzheimer's. Okay, DA causes Aβ clumpling. Is there a causal relationship between Aβ and the development of Alzheimer's?
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:41 PM   #14
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Heh, I was going to post the same article and headline. For anyone who might be concerned, the miniscule amounts of diacetyl in that English bitter that you screwed up won't give you Alzheimer's. This is more directed at factory workers who are inhaling grams of the stuff (and therefore sending it directly into their bloodstream and brain) on a daily basis.

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As a Computer Science major I know nothing of science. I do know logic. This is all based upon the theory that Aβ leads to Alzheimer's. Okay, DA causes Aβ clumpling. Is there a causal relationship between Aβ and the development of Alzheimer's?
The answer to that is very complicated, and some colleagues of mine would argue about the details for hours on end if you let them, but yes it's generally accepted that Aβ plaques cause or contribute to Alzheimer's (as well as some other neurodegenerative diseases), and in animal models of the disease it's pretty definitive. But as in almost all scientific research, there are alternate explanations for the evidence that's out there. No one has ever injected Aβ into a human's brain and watched to see if that person gets Alzheimer's.
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:57 PM   #15
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As a Computer Science major I know nothing of science. I do know logic. This is all based upon the theory that Aβ leads to Alzheimer's. Okay, DA causes Aβ clumpling. Is there a causal relationship between Aβ and the development of Alzheimer's?
Good question. I don't know the answer. The link provided this, though: "Vince’s team realized that DA has an architecture similar to a substance that makes beta-amyloid proteins clump together in the brain — clumping being a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease."

If one assumes these people are just wrong, one might look a little further, I suppose:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0502132956.htm

It appears they're on pretty good ground.

My point, though, had nothing to do with the merits of the science, really. My point had more to do with the counterproductive use of the "correlation/causation" aphorism; its use to justify thoughtlessly dismissing lots of science without real reason.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:03 PM   #16
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Heh, I was going to post the same article and headline. For anyone who might be concerned, the miniscule amounts of diacetyl in that English bitter that you screwed up won't give you Alzheimer's. This is more directed at factory workers who are inhaling grams of the stuff (and therefore sending it directly into their bloodstream and brain) on a daily basis.
I can certainly understand this logic and you seem to know alot more about it than me. I agree that you don't need to worry about the beer, but what about a lifetime of microwave popcorn and margarine? I know growing up, I'm not sure my parent's even knew what butter was. We had parkay and that was it. I don't even think real butter went into baked goods. I haven't touched margarine in years, but I have to think that a lifetime of consuming it has to at least increase your chances. If the risk is large enough to be statistically noticeable for factory workers, it has to have some effect on lifelong users of butter substitutes.
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Old 08-03-2012, 04:18 PM   #17
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Honestly, I don't know enough about it to answer that question. I worked on an Alzheimer's-related project once but it had nothing to do with diacetyl (I was testing various drugs which were supposed to inhibit intracellular Aβ plaque formation). Whenever you're talking about the toxicity of an ingested substance, there are lots of factors you have to take into consideration. This study looked at how diacetyl affects amyloid proteins in isolation within a test tube, but your body isn't a test tube. What is the effective dose of ingested diacetyl? That is, of the quantity of diacetyl you're eating with your popcorn, how much of it is actually being absorbed into the bloodstream without being modified or eliminated by the digestive system? How much of it gets broken down by the liver? How much of it actually reaches your brain, or any other tissues that are affected? Also, does it accumulate in tissues over time? While some toxins accumulate, others are actively eliminated constantly by your cells so even a sustained low dosage isn't harmful.

Personally I wouldn't worry about it. Even if you ate it every day, you're probably getting 1/1000 the dose of the affected factory workers. And AFAIK, there aren't any FDA warnings for diacetyl in any food product.

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Old 08-04-2012, 01:23 AM   #18
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"Correlation does not imply causation" suggests a fundamental suspicion of science in general.
I don't have a fundamental suspicion of science, but I do have a suspicion of scientists. You know, those guys who get funding depending on whether they can prove their theory or not. That sort of motivation doesn't seem to produce unbiased results.
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Old 08-04-2012, 02:09 PM   #19
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I don't have a fundamental suspicion of science, but I do have a suspicion of scientists. You know, those guys who get funding depending on whether they can prove their theory or not. That sort of motivation doesn't seem to produce unbiased results.
That's why "science" depends upon peer review and replication of results, right? Credible journals conduct peer-review prior to publication.
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Old 08-04-2012, 08:34 PM   #20
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Sounds suspiciously like the "correlation" between vaccines and autism. Hopefully the actual article is better written than the blog entry.
Except there never really WAS any correlation, let alone causation (thank goodness).

That study was pretty much 100% bull****, and now we've got gawdamn hippy kids with practically NO vaccinations running around everywhere like little plague-bearers for people with compromised immune systems.
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