Discussion in 'BioMedical ME/CFS Research' started by Dolphin, Nov 26, 2019.
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Tl:dr. Don't waste your time on this paper. Small sample size, high dropouts, not at all clear what they actually did.
What a frustrating paper. It's not until the Results section that we find that there were only 13 ME/CFS patients in the study. And of those 13, 4 didn't complete the 8-week course. And the study was carried out over 4 years. It's not until the last paragraph of the conclusion that we learn about the dosage of the probiotics, specifically, the dosage was 'appropriate'. That's as specific as it gets. and yet there is copious waffle about how wonderful probiotics are and speculation on how they might be helping people with ME/CFS.
I ended up only skimming bits of this paper, I admit. But the sections that should have been telling us what probiotics patients were given are vague. There were 4 different collections of probiotics; I don't know if all the patients got all four. I suspect not.
It is reported that one of the patients (i.e. 8% of the intention to treat sample) became significantly worse. Bearing in mind that another 30% of the 13 patients pulled out of the 8 week study (for reasons that aren't explained), it seems a bit of a reach to conclude that treatment with probiotics is safe.
I want to be grateful to researchers looking into treatments of ME/CFS, I really do. But papers like this make me despair. How can published papers be so bad? I could go on with things like not making clear what changes were significant and what changes weren't, use of the Chadler (sic) scale... but really, its not worth it.
The authors do not declare any conflicts of interest. Bromatech s.r.l. was acknowledged for the supply of the probiotics.
Yeah, I quit trying to read this paper when I couldn't see what the sample size was within the first few paragraphs. I couldn't figure out if it was me or just that shitty a paper. Thanks for letting me know it wasn't me.
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