“This study helps underscore the importance of the microbiome in maintaining health and demonstrates that good bacteria play an integral role in immune defenses against disease,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “These findings also provide a potential therapeutic model for other diseases that have been linked to changes in the human intestinal microbiota, such as obesity and diabetes.”
What is wrong with this? Well, #1 – the 1st sentence implies a bit too much to me that this study is novel in demonstrating that “good” bacteria play a role in immune defense. When of course this has been shown for many many years. But let’s let that slide. Not a big deal.
It is the last line that irks me: “These findings also provide a potential therapeutic model for other diseases that have been linked to changes in the human intestinal microbiota, such as obesity and diabetes.”
Hmm. Obesity and diabetes in humans have not been shown to be caused by changes in the microbiome. And therefore it is inaccurate to imply that one could take the fecal transplant for C. difficile model (which is what this current work is about) and extended it to obesity and diabetes. You could say he is careful with words here by saying “linked to” not “caused by” but I think the clear implication here is that he is promoting fecal transplants as a therapy for obesity and diabetes. And he should be more careful (especially as Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine). I beg of people out there. Please please please. Microbiome studies have enormous potential. In so many areas. But we risk turning microbiome work into the next medical snake oil if we are not careful with our words.