Thursday, May 25, 2017

Storify of Day 1 of "An open digital global south meeting" at #UCDavis

I made a Storify of Tweets and some pictures from the "An open digital Global South" meeting that I am a co-organizer of. This was organized by my "ICIS project and was, to be honest, really put together by other people on the project (I helped, but definitely was not one of the major organizers). Much of the credit should go to Michael Wolfe and Alexandra Lippman. See more in the Storify below.


Monday, May 01, 2017

Overselling the microbiome award: Marie Claire for its "article" on Mother Dirt



Wow.  And not in a good way.  Marie Claire has bough in to the Mother Dirt sales pitch wholesale.  Here are some quotes form an article by Roxanne Adamiyatt published today in Marie Claire (see Probiotic Mist - Cleansing Body Mist)
"Like Febreze for your body, Mother Dirt's AO + Mist is a live probiotic spray that restores essential bacteria to our microbiomes. How? In short, the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria works to consume sweat on your body and turn it into a beneficial byproduct your skin can use."
Ugh.  No that is just not true.  This is what the people from Mother Dirt may claim.  But I have yet to see any evidence for this.

And then there is
"For example, if you were to use this formula on your face, the "good" bacteria in the mist would consume the ammonia (which raises pH) and restore balance to the skin i.e. it would become less sensitive, dry, or oily. And it's not just your face and body that can benefit from a reset spritz. You can use it in your hair too."
Ugh again.

And then the president of Mother Dirt is quoted
According to Jasmina Aganovic, president of Mother Dirt, it can help you go longer between washes. "The bacteria converts your sweat into byproducts your skin can use and with that, you're restoring a microorganism that once naturally existed on the scalp," she explains.
And there is more
You can also use AO+ as a quick post-workout fix as the good bacteria will consume the ammonia and urea in your sweat, AKA food for body odor. 
And
So whether it's balancing your skin, helping you prolong a blowout, or functioning as a deodorant, AO+ is working overtime to keep your hygiene in check...even if you're not. So we can't imagine something more useful to have on hand for summer.
I normally would not go the next step but I think it may be needed here - is it time to ask if Marie Claire is getting any money from Mother Dirt for this advertisement?

And for presenting the spray from Mother Dirt as proven to do things without presenting any evidence, I am giving Marie Claire a coveted Overselling the Microbiome Award.

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Update: 5/1/2017 8:50 PM

But wait.  A little search of the Maria Claire web site pulled up another advertisement for Mother Dirt that is pretending to be an actual article:

Is Bacteria the Secret to Healthy Skin? by Renee Saleh in 2016.

In this article, the author basically reports on PR from Mother Dirt as though it is factual.  For example consider this:
Take acne, for example. Aganovic, who has a degree in chemical and biological engineering from MIT, has studied the presence of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (a key component of the Mother Dirt product line) in both Western and aboriginal communities. She found that there were almost no acne cases in the aboriginal communities of Paraguay and New Guinea. These communities also shared the universal presence ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in skin cultures. In Western communities, however, acne occurs in 80 percent of adolescents, and there is less than a one percent occurrence of detectable ammonia-oxidizing bacteria on the skin. The absence of this type of bacteria in the West can be traced to the ingredients found in common household soaps and cleansers—and the decrease in time we spend in the great outdoors.
I mean.  It is a nice story.  But what is the evidence for this? None as far as I can tell.  I searched Google Scholar for papers by Aganovic on acne or aboriginal communities and found nothing.  Again, I am left wondering if Mother Dirt has paid Marie Claire for this advertising.