X-Message-Number: 12328
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 13:13:53 EDT
Subject: C, predictions

George Smith mentioned Linus Pauling's long-time advocacy of megadoses of 
vitamin C (as a prophylactic for colds and other ailments including some 
cancers) and the failure of others to test his recommendations. This is my 
clear impression also. I have seen many studies purporting to cast doubt on 
the efficacy of vitamin C for colds (as well as many tending to support it), 
but not one study that used the amounts recommended by Pauling. If anyone can 
provide more comprehensive and detailed information on this, it would be 

I should also reiterate two other points often forgotten in evaluating C for 

One is that people vary, and what works consistently for some will not 
necessarily work for everyone. 

The second point, from my own experience, is that C works well to prevent (or 
perhaps suppress) colds only if I hit the incipient cold (or flu) very hard 
at the first intimation of symptoms, that first intimation often being just a 
slight but definite feeling that I know from experience. I  take at least two 
grams at once, then a gram every hour for about 4 hours. Works for me, every 
time. But if a researcher were to try to do a statistical study on this 
approach, it would be very difficult. How could he evaluate or quantify the 
symptoms and the responses of the subjects? 

Mr. Smith also mentioned statistics showing that "experts" are typically 
wrong in prognostications. I have a clear recollection of the thrust of a 
report many years ago by George Gallup, showing that--beyond the near 
future--laymen did better in broad predictions than the experts in their own 
fields. (Forest-and-trees phenomenon,  no doubt; the layment just looked at 
the sweep of history, while the experts were hung up on the apparent 
near-term problems.) However, I have lost the actual citation; it would be 
helpful if someone could supply it.

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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