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Anders_H comments on Lifestyle interventions to increase longevity - Less Wrong

120 Post author: RomeoStevens 28 February 2014 06:28AM

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Comment author: Anders_H 30 August 2015 02:43:26AM *  1 point [-]

I agree with almost all of this. I do however think that it would be very hard to convince a sufficient number of people to let their lifestyle choices be assigned by chance, and even harder to convince them to adhere to the assigned randomization arm over several decades.

Note that if you use a factorial design, you are limiting yourself to study only joint interventions. For example, if you conduct an experiment where you first randomly assign alcohol, and then randomly assign smoking, you will be able to figure out the joint effect of these interventions and the interaction between them, but you will not be able to estimate the overall effect of using alcohol, because part of that effect may be mediated by an increased chance of taking up smoking. This can make it difficult to interpret the trials, particularly if we use high dimensional factorial designs.

I am also skeptical of re-allocation across arms, but I'll have to read up on Thompson sampling.