19 September 2003

so, this is an interesting study: apparently fruit flies who diet (!) live longer, whether they diet their whole lives or just begin dieting in fruit-fly middle age. as soon as they stop dieting, they go back to normal. fruit flies who diet, even protractedly, and then stop, are identical to fruit flies that never begin dieting.

the very interesting thing about the study, though, is not so much the results -- which have been achieved, though less spectacularly, with rodents -- but the intense personalization of the issue. there's nothing in the study to suggest that the results are transferable to humans, yet its authors, who clearly are very good scientists, nevertheless insist upon reporting the results in the second person. try and make sense of the following paragraph in the context of a fruit fly study. i dare you.

"If you have a heart attack, permanent damage is done," he said. "If you've had a detached retina, your vision is never going to be the same. But this doesn't mean there is nothing that can be done about old age. Even though there are some things you can't do anything about, current conditions are surprisingly important and more important than the legacy of all the bad things that have happened to you."

that's right, folks. start starving yourself today and live forever. i mean, forever in the context of your standard lifespan of...days.