An example of a gotcha for studies…

Often studies are done with a “naive” thinking (if you don’t have a good statistician involved with the design – the study may become useless and a waste of time and money and worst mislead the reader!).

Recently a reader forwarded this article to me:

Increased proportions of Bifidobacterium and the Lactobacillus group and loss of butyrate-producing bacteria in inflammatory bowel disease. 2014

My initial take was “perfect” — I have been preaching about the potential negative effect of taking lactobacillus for CFS (with only CFS having a true rationale).

” In conclusion, Bifidobacterium and the Lactobacillus group were increased in active IBD patients and should be used more cautiously as probiotics during the active phase of IBD. Butyrate-producing bacteria might be important to gut homeostasis.”

The problem that is not apparent from the article is a simple one, active IBD patients are very likely to be supplementing with both lcatobacillus and bifidobacterium!!!!(See [2012]) So, a higher count may not be reflecting the actual “natural” state of IBD patients. The lower butyrate-producing bacteria rate is valid because there are no such probiotics on the market in the study area (China).

This is often an ongoing challenge with CFS studies — patients supplements will alter their lab results (I know very well — what do you mean you have hyper-coagulation! your results are normal … But have you looked at the handfuls of anticoagulants that I have in my daily supplement list? )