Quick one here.
Not impressed with this press release from Cedar-Sinai: Dr. Pimentel links IBS and gut bacteria – Cedars-Sinai (see other variants of it here: Daily Disruption – Cedars-Sinai Study Links Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Bacteria in Gut and here: Irritable bowel syndrome clearly linked to gut bacteria).
Among the things that bug me here:
- They don’t include a link to the paper or even provide a citation
- They claim that culturing microbes is the “gold standard” for connecting bacteria to the cause of this disease. AND they imply this is the first method to use culturing to study the disease. Both notions are wrongheaded.
- They confuse cause of IBS and symptoms. They say that b/c antibiotics help reduce symptoms, therefore, bacteria cause the disease. Really? So then fevers must cause things like malaria and flu because ibuprofen helps reduce symptoms right?
- At some point it might be nice to mention that the MD behind the new study has also been pushing the idea that IBS is caused by bacterial overgrowth for many years both in a book and via a testing company though it is unclear what his association with the company is. I note – ads for the book claim ” In addition, Dr. Pimentel presents a simple treatment protocol that will not only help you resolve your IBS symptoms, but will also prevent their recurrence.” So – apparently he already had a cure BEFORE the new study was even done. I general I am skeptical of papers that show evidence for something coming from someone who apparently already “knew” the answer.
Of course, I am not saying IBS is NOT caused by bacterial overgrowth as they claim. But I can say this – PRs like this make me skeptical that anything new was done in this current publication.