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As regular readers know, my goal is to win a Nobel Prize. I don't care which one. I'm just in it for the money. Last night I came up with an idea that should get it done.


This idea targets The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. I don't have any relevant education in those fields, and I haven't done any research, so I know I need to come up with something big to get the judges past their bias for competence. My idea needs to cure a whole lot of problems. Anything less would be begging for the award committee to snub me once again.


My idea is this: A web site that collects extremely detailed lifestyle habits from volunteers all over the world, including the type of food they eat, how they exercise, exposure to sunlight, and lots of other things. These volunteers will also enter data on any health problems they encounter, from a sniffle to a broken hip. The data would be available to the general public, without association to the identities of the people, so amateur researchers can mine for patterns. For example, we might find that people who have a diet rich in a particular vitamin or mineral don't get cataracts, or tinnitus, or shin splints, or whatever.


This idea is cobbled together from several other ideas floating around in the ether. Most recently, I was wondering why my allergies inexplicably went away in the past year. The only thing I changed, as far as I know, is taking magnesium supplements, and there is some scientific evidence to believe that could help. But it might be something else, such as drinking more Diet Coke than usual. If the database I described already existed, doctors could check to see if people who take magnesium supplements, or drink lots of Diet Coke, have fewer allergies.


I read a book called The China Study that is a lot like this concept, but with less detail than I am proposing, and limited to China. The data from China showed that people who ate a plant-based diet hardly ever got the most common killer diseases such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. This past month you might have seen a number of media reports about other research that supports that same point. Wouldn't you like to know if most of the health benefit shown in The China Study came from particular plants? Personally, I don't want to eat any more kelp than I need to.


The other source of inspiration for my idea is the stories about amateur astronomers who have been given access to the vast unviewed archive of pictures of space, so they can help find any anomalies. You'd think that would be boring work that no one would volunteer to do, but apparently so many people are volunteering that the servers initially couldn't hold the load. I think that in a world of 6 billion people, it wouldn't be hard to find a few million who are willing to record their lives in great detail, knowing it would have so much benefit to humanity. And volunteers might end up finding solutions to their own health problems along the way.


The database would do more than discover what prevents health problems. It would also tell you what lifestyle elements promote good moods, or lead to high performance at work, in school, or in sports. It might tell you what elevates testosterone, what improves sex lives, and what keeps you looking younger. The potential is vast.


I'm hoping the idea is so good that someone will build the web site. If you decide to do it, I promise to thank you by name when I am in Stockholm accepting my award.

 
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Jul 1, 2008
Great idea Scott. You would need to track it by day or entry date or whatever, that way if I start taking magnesium to aleve my knee pains, but I still have knee pains for a while, you would be able to tell that I just started the magnesium.

That way, whenever I went to search for people who take magnesium, and people who have knee pain, I can search only for people who've been taking magnesium for at least a year, and have had knee pain for at least a year.

I'm a very curious person, and would probably spend more time than I should perusing that database!
 
 
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Jul 1, 2008
your idea is definately nobel prize worthy. As for needing competance to win......Owl Gore and Jimmah Carter. Need I say more?!
 
 
Jul 1, 2008
This blog entry after the Branson entry? Man your great effects from vacation did not last long.
 
 
 
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