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The Scott Diet

I am just stepping outside. I may lose some weight.
  [vote for,

There has been a recent flurry of documentaries about Scott. For clarity, I should explain that I am referring to Robert Falcon, not Ridley nor even Sir Walter.

One of Scott's mistakes, apparently, was in not making due allowance for the greatly increased calorie consumption of men in the Antarctic. In consequence, he seems to have planned a diet of generous quantities of Huntley and Palmer's biscuits, horse flesh and cocoa. Such fare would be ample under normal circumstances (and, apart from the horse flesh, is standard English fare), but failed dismally in the nip of the Antarctic.

To quote from one documentary "Scott and his men were slowly starving to death without even realizing it."

Now, if you take out the "to death" part, what you have is clearly the holy grail of weight-loss programs. Which of us would not like to shed excess weight "without even realizing it"? (It was a rhetorical question.)

I therefore believe that there is good money to be made by organising on-foot expeditions to Scott's hut for the portly.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

Rabbit starvation http://en.wikipedia...i/Rabbit_starvation
[ytk, Jun 26 2012]

"Tin Pest" http://en.wikipedia...ition_to_Antarctica
Not proven. [8th of 7, Jun 28 2012]


       Mysteriously Still Portly Gentleman With Toothpick:   

       "Well, first Adams went out for a walk, said he'd be back in a bit, then Burgens, Riddley and Thompson took a morning constitutional, then Smith...".
FlyingToaster, Jun 26 2012

       "Two go thin; only one becomes stout."
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       Will the participants get their Oates ?
8th of 7, Jun 26 2012

       Isn't this known as rabbit starvation? (link)
ytk, Jun 26 2012

       No, the main problem with Scott's men was simple lack of calories, although they were also short of vitamins.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       And, seemingly, any detectable instinct for self-preservation (except by freezing).
8th of 7, Jun 26 2012

       //any detectable instinct for self-preservation (except by freezing).// Well, there go cryonics shares.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 26 2012

       I see. But I wonder how one might go about starving to death without realizing it?   

       “I say, old bean, you're looking a touch emaciated this morning. Are you quite sure you're not at all hungry?” “Oh, rather; I daresay I shan't require sustenance again until supper.” “Do you mean to say you intend to skip afternoon tea entirely? Good Lord! What barbarians these conditions make of us…”
ytk, Jun 26 2012

       Mertz died of, and Mawson suffered greatly from, Vitamin A poisoning caused by eating the livers of their sled dogs.
AusCan531, Jun 27 2012

       Yes, that was odd - they ate the livers of their dogs (the poisonous bit), but didn't eat the rest.
hippo, Jun 27 2012

       In mammals, cold can be counteracted by selectively uncoupling the mitochondrial membrane potential. This is achieved by a number of specialist uncoupling proteins; UCPs. The idea being that if you expend chemical energy pumping protons against a gradient, then just release them again, you've got a heat machine. The same effect can be had by taking a chemical uncoupler, 2,4 dinitrophenol is popular among bodybuilders. No need for all that pesky travelling.
bs0u0155, Jun 27 2012

       of course, having a foot chopped off due to frostbite will also result in rapid weight loss.
bs0u0155, Jun 27 2012

       Depends on whose foot it is, and on who eats it.   

       [bs0] is that true about 24DNP?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 27 2012

       Presumably an intermediate for DNPH, which is MUCH more interesting in terms of physical properties ...
8th of 7, Jun 27 2012

       Giving entirely new meaning to the term 'explosive diarrhea'.
Alterother, Jun 27 2012

       //Yes, that was odd - they ate the livers of their dogs (the poisonous bit), but didn't eat the rest   

       Let me guess, public school..get some funny habits in them places..   

       I got bored and read a book on it. The author pointed out the lack of fuel oil in the dump they'd left behind, for the return trip.   

       The washers sealing the containers dried out or something, so they had no way to heat food (some free calories there) or melt snow for water, which along with everything else, didn't help.
not_morrison_rm, Jun 28 2012


       It is. The Wiki page has some reasonable info. Also, just came back from a conference where neuronal degradation was slowed by low level dnp, reduced mito ROS and apoptosis the mechanism in their model, although behavioral studies still outstanding.
bs0u0155, Jun 28 2012

       //neuronal degradation was slowed by low level dnp//   

       That does surprise me. I would have assumed that uncoupled cycling in mitochondria would just increase the levels of free radicals and other stuff.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012

       well, both ROS production and mito Ca2+ accumulation are non-linear with membrane potential.
bs0u0155, Jun 28 2012

       You mean that if you uncouple, and thereby drop the membrane potential, you reduce ROS formation disproportionately?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012

       Yes, a slight fall in membrane potential say from 180mV to 160mV pretty much abolishes ROS formation. Incidentally, ATP synthesis is already maxed out at about 140mV so an artificially-induced or UCP-induced proton leak of just the right amount could be considered to be desirable. However, the ROS formation, at least in normal physiology is used to tune the Ca2+ and other signalling machinery.... so (as usual) it's more complex than we first thought.
bs0u0155, Jun 28 2012

       //it's more complex than we first thought.//   

       Isn't that just always the way? But I wonder why we (and presumably all other species with mitochondria) have evolved a higher and apparently more polluting membrane potential than is needed for ATP synthesis? Is it just the old chestnut of evolution not caring about long-term damage, or is there a reason?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012

       I'd bet on there being a reason. My personal bet: Ca2+ release fills the mitochondria, membrane potential is depressed, ROS production suppressed, the IP3 receptor becomes reduced (less sensitive form), immediate Ca2+ signals are made less likely at an individual mitochondria/ER contact site. ROS is acting as a local signal to tune Ca2+ release.
bs0u0155, Jun 28 2012

       Ah - that all gets too pathway-ish for me, but it sounds plausible. But you're saying the ROS is there to keep the IP3 receptor oxidized?   

       Sounds like an unintelligent design to me. A bit like using the soot coming out of a diesel to regulate the throttle (only completely different, of course).
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012

       I'd think of it the other way around, the ROS is telling the IP3R that there is an active mito nearby that's kicking it's heels. The mitos being the biggest Ca2+ sink by far, it could be considered sensible to have one ready before you go flooding the cytosol with Ca2+ and precipitating all your phosphate...
bs0u0155, Jun 28 2012

       wow, who would have known how simple cells and pathways are; it's not rocket surgery.
WcW, Jun 28 2012

       Ah, OK. But do the mitochondria always run at a high (?180mV) membrane potential? Or does it drop when there's a big demand for ATP?   

       (Stops and realizes how little he knows about this topic.)
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012

       to the library with you.....
bs0u0155, Jun 28 2012

       So, do Dihydropyridine-derived CCB's impact mitochondrial activity ?
8th of 7, Jun 28 2012

       //to the library with you.....//   

       It's cheating if you read the literature.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012

       As far as I know they work only on the plasma membrane localized voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, L- type from memory, CaV 1.1-1.4. The mitochondrial transporters that are voltage dependent (VDAC) are completely unrelated. So I'm gonna say "no, not directly".
bs0u0155, Jun 28 2012

       Fair enough. They're going to impact the population of Ca2+ in the plasma, so yes, an indirect effect only.   

       // Yes, that was odd - they ate the livers of their dogs (the poisonous bit), but didn't eat the rest. //   

       They weren't Japanese, were they ?   

       // The washers sealing the containers dried out or something //   

       The containers were made of tinplate, the joints sealed by a lead-tin solder. Unfortunately for them, at low ambient temperatures tin changes its allotropic form, from "white" to "grey" <link>. This commonly called "tin pest". There is evidence (not conclusive) to suggest that the seams of the tins fractured due to crystalline changes in the solder or the tinplate itself.   

       A welded steel container would not have been vulnerable to such degradation.
8th of 7, Jun 28 2012

       //sealed by a lead-tin solder.// But according to the link, only fairly pure tin is susceptible to tin pest.   

       What I find more amazing is that, according to the link, the low-temperature allotrope of tin is non- conductive, even though it is (as I understand it) still pure tin.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012

       // only fairly pure tin is susceptible to tin pest //   

       Like, perhaps, the thin layer of pure tin used to plate the ferrous metal of the cans, and to which the solder adheres ... ?
8th of 7, Jun 28 2012

       And begorrah if it isn't right you are.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 28 2012


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