This is the actual study: https://genomebiology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13...
It's like they decided that not knowing what data they process and where it's going and what is being done with it is good for everyone.
Nope. Some of us dont appreciate the EU thinking it can regulate what events one can remember.
It's annoying enough getting these dumb EU cookie popups.
They are taking a model, confirming that it performs as expected on some examples, and then assuming that discrepancies on other examples will mean something. But once you obtain those measurements, maybe they just mean the model never worked. It's machine learning magic - you don't have a theory for why the model should be correct, so how can you learn anything from using it?
But the study is having a low number of samples for a machine learning algorithm to yield perfectly accurate results, so I'd say any study with machine learning algorithms without a big enough sample, the results should be always taken with a bit of skepticism.
There's no real substitute for good old biology research to know the exact functionality of genes, proteins ... etc
The bigger issue is that Steve Horvath calibrated and has successfully marketed a DNA methylation based “epigenetic clock” accurate to within a couple of years, from blood, with hundreds of not thousands of citations and successful replications since 2013. DNA is more stable than RNA, and blood is easier to come by than fibroblasts (skin punches), so this seems like a nonstarter to me.
Horvath’s clock works in arbitrary other tissues; we’ve applied it to pediatric and adult tumors, adjacent normal, and blood samples at diagnosis, remission, and relapse, and it works quite well (unlike the knockoffs that followed). I don’t see the point of a less reliable, less proven clock on less stable molecules (RNA), when I can use a handful of targeted amplicons to run Horvath’s for $30/sample on blood DNA (even dried blood) or other tissues.
The RNASeq analysis they did isn’t even that up to scratch, they use an outdated unit (FPKM) which isn’t consistent across different samples, and don’t seem to check for batch effects or carry out any normalisation.
The best we can hope for is keen people understand them sooner than later, so the risks might be partly mitigated.
This is part of the human story though, to keep your eye on the future and our heritage. To liberate and conserve, requires our great effort.
We can and must dig our heels in at key moments, but we won’t stop the stampede of life.
Downloading our memories and consciousnesses a la "Altered Carbon", if this is even possible, is an entirely different and orthogonal problem.