While investigating insomnia I came across this 2008 series of Scientific American articles on eight people who’ve been experimenting on themselves to investigate a variety of hypotheses. The subjects include a cybernetics professor who’s wired his nervous system to a computer, the playwright who made the movie “Super Size Me,” and a cardiologist who tried an obscure drug to stop his alcohol binging.
The fella after my own heart is Seth Roberts, who after ten years of experimenting, finally resolved his insomnia by moving breakfast back a few hours. He also curbed his overeating by ingesting several tablespoons of vegetable oil a day and as a result lost a significant amount of weight. Then he wrote a diet book about it and gained a significant amount of attention.
One expert’s response to it:
“Experimenters who test ideas on themselves may be biased to produce the result they expect to see,” says David Katz, an internist and associate professor adjunct at Yale School of Public Health.
…which jibes with my experience with the so-called expert (SCE) in Chronic Fatigue at the Cleveland Clinic. I had gone to check once and for all that I do not qualify for the diagnosis (I don’t, thank God) and when I mentioned that I had occasionally gotten tantalizing increases in energy from large doses of zinc, after years and years of trying everything, the SCE said it was in my mind: I wanted it to work and it did. When I pointed out that 80% of the things I tried didn’t work, he changed the subject. Then he offered me an antidepressant.
Roberts, a professor at UC Berkeley, has his own website where he’s posted the reports he wrote on his own experiments, should you happen to need a good example of scientific method usage.