I passed my first degree in microbiology in 1981, worked as a lab assistant for a short time, then passed my PhD in 1987 and progressed through research and lecturing to the point where I was doing invited lectures as far afield as Beijing.
The department I last worked in was closed down in 2005. My boss’s leaving speech included the observation that when he started, science was chasing knowledge but now it seemed to be just chasing money. That was 2005. It’s got a lot worse since then.
We now have ‘scientists’ declaring that obesity is contagious because the balance of bacteria in your gut affects your health.
Sigh. A really deep one.
We knew that when I started my PhD. We just didn’t know what to do about it. Now we do – well, I do, and a few others I’ve worked with, but that information is worth too much to stick on a blog. It’s what I found when a self-employed researcher and consultant after I was made redundant. I have a freezer full of it in the lab.
Obesity though? Come on. You can blame IBS and all kinds of gut conditions on the bacteria living in there but bacteria do not control your adipose tissue. That is down to genes and diet.
You can have a hormone imbalance that can make you gain weight no matter how hard you try to shift it but it’s not common. Not as common as, for example, pies.
Imbalances in the gut microbiome can contribute to a number of complex conditions, including obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and allergies, studies have shown.
There it is. The ‘this is bollocks’ signal.
But, for the first time, scientists believe traces of the bacteria can survive outside the body, raising the possibility that it could be ingested.
The first time! Oh if this is the first time communicable gut bacteria have been proven to exist, what the hell was the cholera epidemic about and how did anyone ever notice Typhoid Mary?
For fuck’s sake! How do they think the bacteria get in there in the first place? You’re bacteriologically sterile in the womb or you wouldn’t have to worry about meconium because you’d be born with explosive diarrhoea.
Every single species in the gut can transfer from one host to another. Surely simple logic makes that clear? Any species that couldn’t do it wouldn’t be in your gut because it would have no way of getting there. Oh, the idiots are truly out in force in white lab coats now.
Even Shigella, the School Shits, which can’t survive outside the body for long. Even that one can hang on to a toilet door handle long enough to spread.
Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute discovered approximately one third of the gut microbiota from a healthy person produced spores that allow bacteria to survive in open air and potentially move between people.
No. They don’t. Few bacterial genera produce spores and most don’t need to. They can survive outside the body long enough to get taken up into another one. Don’t these people know about facultative and aerotolerant any more? Don’t they understand that even strict anaerobes, in enough numbers, have a death curve that means a few could get into someone else? They don’t all die at once, like antismokers exposed to a cigarette advert. It takes time, and once they are back in a gut, they grow fast.
I think the Wellcome Trust just caught up with Van Leeuwenhoek. I expect them to announce the invention of the microscope and the discovery of ‘animalcules’ at any moment.
I cannot go back to that. Science isn’t science any more. It’s absolutely incredible how far it has fallen now and I’m not interested in trying to fix it any more.
It’s just a money game now.