I understand the difference between a statistically siginificant outcome vs a clinically significant outcome. We split those hairs all the time in health services research and quality improvement.
Again, you are very vague in your comments. I'm well aware of some of the failed research efforts like the use of beta carotene with Finnish smokers, etc. However, there is also a substantial body of evidence linking diets that are high in fruiits and vegetables with low risks of many diseases, as well as a link between viatamin E and lowered risk of CAD. I would be curious to know exactly what antioxidant research your group is doing. Antioxidants work at so many different levels in the biochemical maze, there are so many different types of antioxidants, and there are both exogenous and endogenous types. Just because one researcher fails to get his pet project to work doesn't mean the concept isn't clinically valid. And isn't protection against exposure to ozone and nitrous oxide (substances which produce free radicals in the body) a clinically significant finding?
Just to let you know that I appreciate where you are coming from...It's one thing to see people who eat a certain diet having an improved quality of life and theorize that the antioxidant substances in what they consume protect them from pathology. It's another thing altogether to take a substance that has known antioxidant properties and demonstrate it protects against a specific type of free radical damage. I agree that this particular line of research is still quite sparse.
It never ceases to amaze me how little western medicine knows about nutrition and in particular the field of nutritional pharmacology. Admit it, J.D., your exposure to nutrition in medical school amounted to maybe one lecture, right? Who knows, you could have been preoccupied that day dreaming obscene thoughts about that large breasted coed that was batting her eyes at you the weekend before. That's pathetic when you consider the impact that lifestyle has on quality of life. The problem is that transplants and neural grafts and endoscopic surgery are far sexier than teaching Mr. Jones to eat his All Bran. And we haven't yet figured out how to get Mr. Jones to do what we want him to do anyhow. If there were success in that arena, then only the truly stupid would be smoking today.
One final comment about the glucosamine. Research has shown that very few products being sold on the open market actually have biologically active glucosamine. Of course you know your friend was but one data point but...he may have been consuming crap from a nice bottle.