Darxus

I'm thinking about doing some animal testing.

I'm thinking about doing some animal testing.

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2009-09-29
On the hypotheses "Availability of refined sugars reduces life span.", using mice.

Any suggestions on how to make this more scientifically valuable?

Get some female mice, split them up into two cages, feed one an unlimited amount of typical healthy mouse food, and feed the other the same, plus unlimited food with extra sugar. And see how long they all take to die. Typical life span is about 1 year.

Josh is trying to convince me I need to record quantity of sugar consumed.

How many mice? Josh also recommends Hsd:ICR mice. I'm tempted to just use much cheaper pet shop mice.

Update: I think providing water with sugar in it would work better than food with sugar.
  • I highly recommend making sure no one has done that study already (both to save you labor and to get you an answer much more quickly). I suggest starting with PubMed for that sort of research.
  • Eh, I'm against frivolous animal testing, so my opinion is biased.
    • I believe if I continue my current diet I will live significantly longer than if I continued my diet of large quantities of sugar. And I believe the same is true for a significant portion of the population. And I haven't been able to find evidence of similar testing. So I consider it far from frivolous.
      • it's probably straight forward testing...

        if all you eat is sugar, you'll soon die. just not enough of the "trace" stuff.

        if you manage to get SOME trace stuff into the diet, you'll live longer... not necessarily at peak performance though.

        if you manage to get enough protein, fat, gogogo now carbs, and various other goodies, lots longer.

        now, of course, there's a bounds for either end ;) which end do you want to be on?

        #
  • I don't have it in front of me, so I'm not sure exactly what it will point you to, but if you pick up Gary Taubes's book on "Good Calories, Bad Calories" there is an extensive bibliography that's just about sure to include anything that's been published on this subject.
  • This seems like an extreme waste of time.

    I think it's pretty well established that we (Americans) get *way* more calories than we need, that way too many of those calories are refined sugar, and and we'd all be healthier if we ate more vegetables, complex carbs, and fruits. How much time and money are you willing to put into this test? What's the standard deviation on the lifespan of mice anyway? How much shorter than "normal" is statistically significant? How does *your* diet compare to the control mouse diet? Mouse chow (Yes, Purina makes it) is pretty damn good food for mice, probably a lot better for them than what you (or I) eat is for us. How does *quantity* of food fit in compared to *quality*? It's already been shown that simply eating 10%-20% fewer calories from any source makes any animal healthier, live longer, live better, live happier, etc. (yes, it's been tested on frogs and mice and monkeys and cats and lizards)

    Doing the kind of testing you're talking about is incredibly time consuming and difficult to get decent, useful results.

    Your time is way better spent learning to (and getting in the habit of) making and cook better meals, starting with better raw materials (e.g. fresh fruits and vegies from the market or your own garden instead of cans), getting regular exercise, and the like.

    Just stop eating sugar. Really. Or reduce it significantly. If it's making you feel like shit, you'll know in a couple weeks.

  • i'm with [info]milktree here. What are you going to really find out here? Even if you *do* manage to set up a decent design, collect your data for a year, run your numbers and by some miracle actually end up with a statistically significant result, so what?

    How does this affect what you *really* want to know, which basically comes down to "If [info]darxus cuts down on his sugar intake, will he feel better?" If you're going to spend huge chunks of your time designing and running an experiment, for petes sake, design and run *that one*.
    • I'm pretty optimistic about me staying off sugar.

      My goals were more along the lines of a surgeon general's warning on all products containing refined carbs.
      • Then your first step is to get a grant for the study from either a major university or the NIH, otherwise no one is going to bother publishing it (which is the first step to getting anyone to pay attention). Or you can convince someone who is already in academia to do the study and put it through the appropriate hoops. Other than that it's pretty much guaranteed to not get anywhere near the Surgeon General. Even if it ever does it'll have to get past the food lobby to result in new recommendations, which is an uphill battle against machine guns when all you have is a knife. Overall it's not impossible, it's just rather unlikely.

        There's always the option of getting a Ph.D. in biology. . .
  • If there's a significant difference in life expectancy between your two mouse groups, how are you going to know whether it's due to the extra sugar or the extra calories?
    • Confounding factors

      This is a good example of one of a set of confounding factors in such a study. There are lots of others, both physical and environmental. Isolating a simple causal connection between any dietary factor and lifespan is something that has eluded science for pretty much all of modern history.
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