I can now never return to my original career

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.

14 thoughts on “I can now never return to my original career

  1. “You can have a hormone imbalance that can make you gain weight”

    Heh, I evidently have the opposite, as attested to by my 114 pound musculature after ingestion of at least a thousand pounds of chocolate in my lifetime! (Wow… I’d never thought of calculating a likely total before! I know that for at least the last 40 years or so I’ve averaged at least four ounces a day or so: close to 100 pounds a year. Heck, I’ve probably eaten OVER FIVE THOUSAND POUNDS OF CHOCOLATE! Sheeeeeesh!)

    – MJM

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is this just a Daily Mail reporter, who doesn’t have a clue,sensationalising something in a paper that might be quite reasonable as in the example below?
    “NCAR’s press research accurately describes the paper: “Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s” (although it omits a crucial detail, mentioned below). Phil Plait at Slate turns this into agitprop: “Climate Change Is Strangling Our Oceans“. His conclusion: ““messing with {the ocean} habitat is like setting fire to your own house. Which is pretty much what we’re doing.” Maddie Stone at Gizmodo also has a sensational headline “The Oceans Are Running Low on Oxygen” (the paper says nothing like that; for example, “detectable change” does not imply a “low” level).”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “We now have ‘scientists’ declaring that obesity is contagious ……”

    We really are doomed.

    Not so long ago, ‘researchers’ at your local seat of learning, Robert Gordon University, frightened the rest of the gullible by declaring “……. the university (has) completed a study that addresses the link between climate change and obesity.”


    Sadly, they failed to factor into their calculations reduced life-expectancy; and, the fact fitness-fanatics have a significantly higher respiratory rate & so exhale far more CO2, at 40,000 ppm (vs atmospheric CO2 at 400 ppm)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Couple of years ago I managed to get a decent run (get it?) of Shigella in Fiji. Health authorities (NZ) went ballistic (after testing) , never seen it etc. So back and forth to Fiji for a decade+ now and apart from the small minor inconvenience of weight loss disease I’m still kicking and of an age with our host. Live hard and live long!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our lads at Agincourt had the shits big time and marched along sans breeches. I always felt sorry for the vanguard. Any ways, Shigella, campylobacter or salmonells, those guys won a resounding victory and killed around 10,000 French aristocracy and men at arms. Just think what they would have done if they had been well.


  5. As I may have mentioned previously, I have a secret weapon which protects me from the scientists etc. I do the opposite of what they say. I don’t do buses because they do and they create loads of diesel exhaust stuff, I eat real food cooked when needed, I have a balanced diet which I decide what and when I eat. I may keel over in a moment or a very long time away. Who knows.
    Too many scientists are rent seekers, deal with that and we will avoid scare stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “studies have shown.”

    “There it is. The ‘this is bollocks’ signal.” It’s also usually a sign that you’re reading the Daily Mash.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the largest daily energy requirements for mammals like ourselves is keeping our bodies warm. One of the biggest changes over the last thirty years or so in how we live is central heating of houses. When I was a child, we lived in a single-glazed Semi with two gas fires downstairs, and that was the heating. The bedrooms weren’t heated at all. The solution to being cold at night was blankets, lots of blankets; during the day a woolly jumper did the trick.

    These days I come home to a house that is heated to 20 or so downstairs, and much less upstairs because a like a cool bedroom. I am therefore using much less energy to keep warm, and eating about the same. No wonder I’m a fat bastard, eh?


  8. Pingback: The Bullshit Test | Head Rambles

  9. Hello Leggy,
    I didn’t just sigh when I read that article, I swore out loud. My Ph.D was on Oxygen Toxicity in Clostridia (1979). One of those rather rare set of bacterial species that produces endospores. I had Cl. perfringens growing in continuous culture being sparged with air. There was so much utter bollox in that article. If those guys at the Sanger centre actually wrote such crapola they would be fired. Never even a mention of slime and how vegetative cells can survive in it for ages outside of the bod.


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