Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Clarification to Overselling Microbiome Award to Marshall Protocol: Critique of some claims by supporters, not protocol per se

OK time for a bit of a clarification.

Recently I gave out a somewhat aggressive "Overselling the microbiome award" to supporters of what is called the Marshall Protocol. I have started this award because I feel that many working on microbiomes have been overselling the potential for these studies to lead to cures and treatments for all sorts of ailments. And certainly,, some associated without the Marshall Protocol are making what I consider to be extremely overstated claims about this particular treatment.

But after talking to a supporter of the protocol here at the microbiome meeting I should clarify here that I was not actually critiquing the protocol itself. I was criticizing some of the claims of supporters of the protocol. In a way I erred in the same way that critiques of genomics have erred - where some have said genome sequencing is not useful because some promoters of genome sequencing oversell it. So I should have been more careful .. I should have focused on the claims about the protocol by some supporters. I stand by my criticism of some of these claims. The protocol seems to have no, or very littke, evidence that it works. And thus I did not like the claims that it cured all sorts of ailments.

But overselling the protocol by some supporters does not mean that the protocol does not work (though, again, I see no evidence that it does work). And overselling by some also does not mean that all supporters oversell it. It seems clearly that some of the supporters are sincerely interested in testing whether it works. In fact the person I talked to said they will work very hard to make sure that claims without evidence are removed from the Knowledge Base web site associated with the group supporting the protocol. I hope that is true. I am still skeptical about the activities of some supporters of the Marshall Protocol and whether the protocol can work. But at least some of the supporters really want to do clinical trials and use science to test the Protocol.

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