Recently I had an amusing exchange with one on a social media. I sensed that for the other person it was an intense exchange. This is an attempt to do a classic apologia, likely a side-effect of almost completing a B.A. in Religious History.
Basic Problem for Some
I recognized that I am a financial threat to many — offering everything for free. Hence I expect mud to be tossed at me by some people that charges for advice. I also am very clear that these are numeric computed suggestions that should be reviewed by a knowledgeable professional.
I am also completely open, closer to H.C. Anderson’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. I walk around naked, showing all of my sources, my basic logic for everything. Most that I threaten, do not. Black box consultants.
Why are you free and open?
There are several reasons, being a software developer for over 50 years, I prefer open and free software. I have written shareware software (free to use, pay if you want to). I prefer Linux as a operating system over closed operating software like Windows or Apple iOS.
My upbringing was strongly influenced by a Moravian Brethren pastor. When it comes to people well-being and health, I view it as immoral to deny help to anyone because they cannot pay. My own experience with people that share the medical condition that had the greatest impact on my life, Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) emphasis that more. Most are on welfare because they are totally disabled. Many are disabled but denied social assistance. These are very ill people who struggle to have two meals a day — asking them to pay??? REALLY??? Not helping them — see above.
I do not have a business model, I have a pro-bono model.
People will assert that I have one of my 2,090,815 facts (to use the AI term) wrong. I have no doubt that some are wrong, at over 2 million — it would be expected!. The same people do not bother to email me pointing out what is wrong. I ask for corrections. I ask for missed studies. Some people claim that they do not email because they are afraid that it will offend me??!?!!??!. I grew up surrounded by a Jewish community where active (aggressive?) discussion was the norm. I love the style of the Midrash.
I do reject the simplistic logic that I see some consultants use. For example “Slippery elm helps to generate mucus… which we know feeds akkermansia” This logic style (often logical fallacy) reminds me of a book I read as a teenager Symbolic Logic by Charles Dodgson, you may know him by another book he wrote Alice in Wonderland. I later went on to read Principia Mathematica by Bertrand Russel.
The more I read, the more complex that I realize, and accept that the microbiome is. “Ditching the ‘noise’ to get a simple monologue” is what politicians do.
“Microbiome Prescription is done by data mining, so what do you expect?” That person has not bothered to look at the videos and blog posts on methodology. Data scanning is done to identify studies that are likely to have useful information. Every one of those candidate studies are manually reviewed. At present, 9070 studies were found to contain useful information (defined as data from them has been added to the facts – AI definition). The person is ignorant of Artificial Intelligence methodologies and equaling all of them to Chat_GPT. See Modelling Conditions from PubMed Studies
Ye shall know them by their works
Many consultants will claim to have been very successful helping people. If you ask them for evidence, you will get all sorts of reasonable explanations why they cannot provide it. They would make the confederate General Thomas Jonathan Jackson proud!
I have found that it is extremely rare that people will not consent to have a blog post done on their microbiome. This benefits them in several ways:
- They have a hard copy (and sometimes video) to come back to
- It allows the community to comment on the analysis and suggest things that may have been missed
- If they do another sample, I will always do a follow up blog post — for better or worse. I want to improve the algorithm and logic.
I do have an advantage over consultants psychologically. My personal skills to deal with a health issue is not on the table. My only investment is seeing how far we can get reasonable results from sparse data. If there is a problem, then either we need more data, or I need to revise an algorithm or three.
With the current implementations, we have gotten reasonable results, nay, some would say good results, See
- Analysis Posts on Long COVID and ME/CFS
- Cross Validation of AI Suggestions for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
So, a quote is likely in order:
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”Matthew 5:15-16
Postscript – and Reminder
I am not a licensed medical professional and there are strict laws where I live about “appearing to practice medicine”. I am safe when it is “academic models” and I keep to the language of science, especially statistics. I am not safe when the explanations have possible overtones of advising a patient instead of presenting data to be evaluated by a medical professional before implementing.
I cannot tell people what they should take or not take. I can inform people items that have better odds of improving their microbiome as a results on numeric calculations. I am a trained experienced statistician with appropriate degrees and professional memberships. All suggestions should be reviewed by your medical professional before starting.
The answers above describe my logic and thinking and is not intended to give advice to this person or any one. Always review with your knowledgeable medical professional.