Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Dr Enid Taylor's faeces fixation


It's difficult for someone like me, whose mind is pure and unpolluted, to imagine why anyone would want to spend several years and thousands of pounds training to put things up other people's bottoms.

But let's not be harsh in our judgement of colonic irrigation therapists. How many of us have successfully managed to turn our hobby into a career, eh?



Sad to say that times are hard for such professional shit-stirrers. Outside of London and a few other cosmopolitan areas, there is very little call for their services, yet each year dozens of newly-qualified therapists enter a saturated market.

In addition, washing away all that faeces is terribly wasteful. If only someone could think of a way to put it to good use!


Step forward husband-and-wife team Dr Enid and (Mr) Glenn Taylor who have had the novel idea of using poo to treat disease. Today the Sceptical Letter Writer blog can exclusively reveal the secrets of their success.

First, you'll need a pool of willing volunteers, each of whom must be prepared to live an exceptionally healthy lifestyle - in order to produce the highest-quality grade of crap, you understand.

Secondly, you'll need to find someone willing to collect it all up, poke around in it, and then package it up ready for insertion. 

Yes, I did say 'insertion'. The faecal by-products from the healthy volunteers are implanted into the rectum of an unhealthy patient suffering from any number of withering diseases - and before you can say "Faecal Microbiota Transplant" the diseases are magically cured. According to Glenn, Dr Enid is 

"...heading towards a 100% success rate with Clostridium difficile infections..."


Amazingly, others had already had the same idea and early indications suggest that the treatment fight be more effective than antibiotics in treating Clostridium difficile. But it's difficult to be sure - just a few days ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published guidance stating that

"...the efficacy and safety profiles of this intervention have not yet been fully evaluated in controlled clinical trials..."

In other words, they're not sure whether it really works or even if it's safe - but they're willing to let doctors continue to conduct their research. And by "doctors", it's safe to assume that they mean people with, you know, medical degrees and stuff. 

They definitely weren't referring to some bloke off the street like Dr Enid who, it turns out, isn't a real doctor at all. In fact, her most impressive medical qualification is an "Advanced Diploma" in colonic irrigation from something called the "Chi Centre"!



(Image credit - site no longer available)

"Dr" Enid doesn't let this unfortunate fact get in the way of making money. Her services cost up to £4,000 and, besides curing infections, she boasts that

"Faecal Microbiota Transplant treatments have a history of being applied to the following conditions: Ulcerative Colitis - Crohn’s Disease - Clostridium difficile Infection - Pseudomembraneous Colitis - IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) - CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) & ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) - MS (Multiple Sclerosis) - Parkinson’s Disease - Autism - Salmonella Typhimurium infection..."

Is the phrase "history of being applied" a round-about way of trying to say "treat"? Well, it certainly appears so:

"Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome respond best with 10 treatments over two weeks.  The same applies for some Neurological conditions such as CFS/ME, MS, Parkinson’s, Autism etc. although it must be noted that Neurological conditions respond over a longer period of time and longer individual treatment protocol may have to be designed..."

"IBS and bacterial dysbiosis usually respond favourably in five treatments over five days..."

 "Clostridium difficile treatment is effective over a shorter period of time but still has the same pre-treatment costs such as donor Screening built in to the treatment..."

Most readers will know that pretending to be a doctor and then performing invasive medical procedures is very illegal indeed. It's time "Dr" Enid closed the doors to her "clinic" and got her cheap thrills from swingers' parties and fetish clubs - just like the rest of us.

In the mean time - ASA complaint follows!

I'm writing to complain about "Dr" Enid Taylor whose website promotes "Faecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT)", a medical procedure which involves transplanting faecal material from a healthy donor into the gut of an unhealthy patient. 

I'm concerned because Taylor does not appear to hold any medical qualifications.

1. Taylor's website describes the procedure:

http://www.taymount.com/faecal-bacteriotherapy.php

"[FMT] is the process of isolating the beneficial intestinal bacteria and yeasts (The Faecal Microbiome) from the stool of a healthy, disease-free person and implanting it into a gut of a person whose gut has bacteria and yeasts that have been damaged by antibiotics, compromised by pathogenic parasites or “starved out” by poor diet , thus lacking the essential Microflora needed to maintain numerous normal and vital healthy gut functions..."

2. There appears to be a lack of rigorous clinical evidence supporting the use of FMT. In the United States, the FDA has just published the following "Guidance for Industry":

http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/Vaccines/ucm361379.htm

"Fecal microbiota collected from healthy individuals are being investigated for use in the treatment of C. difficile infection. Published data suggest that the use of fecal microbiota to restore intestinal flora may be an effective therapy in the management of refractory C. difficile infection. However, the efficacy and safety profiles of this intervention have not yet been fully evaluated in controlled clinical trials..."

3. Taylor's website does not discuss her qualifications. She is not registered with the General Medical Council. (Unless Taylor achieved her medical degree at the age of four, a registration in the same name refers to someone else.)

4. Another of Taylor's websites (no longer visible, but screenshot attached) stated that Taylor qualified as a "Naturopathic Doctor" at the non-accredited Clayton College of Natural Health in the USA.

5. Despite this, the website refers continually to Taylor as a doctor:

http://www.taymount.com/about-taymount.php

"The Taymount Clinic was founded by Mr Glenn Taylor and Dr Enid Learmount (now Dr Enid Taylor) in 2003... both Dr and Mr Taylor qualifying as mentor/instructors with globally recognised governing bodies..."

http://www.taymount.com/booking-appointment.php

"In all instances, please contact Dr Enid Taylor for an appointment..."

http://www.taymount.com/kefir-probiotics.php

"Dr. Enid Taylor from the Taymount Clinc has written an eBook... The suggested uses and applications for Kefir are based on tradition and case studies and are the personal opinion of Dr. Enid Taylor..."

6. I'd like to challenge whether:

(i) The claims that Taylor is a doctor are misleading

(ii) The promotion of an experimental medical procedure performed by a person who apparently holds no medical qualifications is misleading and irresponsible

(iii) Any of the following health claims can be substantiated:

http://www.taymount.com/index.php

"[FMT is a] simple elegant solution with no recorded side-effects that is rapidly heading towards a 100% success rate with Clostridium difficile infections..."

http://www.taymount.com/cost-treatments.php

"10 FMT treatments over 2 weeks - UK £4,000 - Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome respond best with 10 treatments over two weeks.  The same applies for some Neurological conditions such as CFS/ME, MS, Parkinson’s, Autism etc. although it must be noted that Neurological conditions respond over a longer period of time and longer individual treatment protocol may have to be designed... IBS and bacterial dysbiosis usually respond favourably in five treatments over five days... Clostridium difficile treatment is effective over a shorter period of time but still has the same pre-treatment costs such as donor Screening built in to the treatment..."

http://www.taymount.com/testimonials.php

(iv) Whether any of the testimonial claims can be substantiated

(v) Whether the promotion discourages essential treatment for serious medical conditions

http://www.taymount.com/supplement-shop.php
http://www.taymount.com/kefir-probiotics.php

(vi) Whether any of the health claims made for various food supplements, available to purchase on Taylor's website, have been approved

7 comments:

  1. Hi,
    I have been reading some of your posts and keep wondering who do you do a service by writing complaints about stuff you do not personally use (assumption).
    I personally have my own mind and will choose service I wish to use whether it has been approved by government agency or not, peer reviewed or not. I do my own research and listen to my own feelings. And if it will cost me my own life or health, so should be it, I will bear the consequences for it. I do not use NHS services at all, but I have had in the past.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Lu Do,

    It's simple enough. Advertisers who make false health claims are breaking the law, and they must be made to stop.

    The UK regulatory system depends on members of the public submitting complaints about misleading advertisements. If you'd prefer a statutory regulator which prosecutes advertisers - rather than the voluntary system we have now - by all means, start a petition. I'll be the first signatory.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As someone who desperately need a fecal transplant and has researched them thoroughly , I have to say you have no idea what you're talking about. Dr or not these people know what they are doing and are helping many people. And guess what, if doctors are so smart why is everyone sick? As a medical professional , I've met janitors smarter than doctors. A couple of letters behind your name means nothing. I guarantee if you had c diff you would run to this clinic. Maybe take ten minutes to research the effectiveness of these treatments instead of complaining about someone's useless title. Your comments are ignorant. Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Taymount aren't making any false claims here mate. They clearly state on their website that, like all medical treatments, they are not 100% effective for all. If you bothered to do even a little bit of research into this field you would find that there is an overwhelming amount of very credible studies that show that, particularly in the case of IBD, there is an inextricable link to the bacteria present in the digestive system and the immune systems interaction with it. FMT ultimately be the methodology to address this, hell, the microbiome may be as a result of and not the cause of IBD in the first place. However, the ignorance you show here is endemic of some angry keyboard jockey who hasn't bothered to actually educate themselves on what this is about. I put it to you sir, that you are in fact the same as the charlatans to purport to expose if this analysis is indicative of the 'research' that you conduct into the claims being made by this and the other business you are targeting. As Annika correctly summarized above; 'your comments are ignorant'.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Anonymous,

    Were you aware that Taymount made significant changes to their website after it was censured by the ASA? I have some screenshots of the old version, if you're really interested.

    I'm struggling to understand the rest of your comment; perhaps you haven't found the time to actually read the article yet. Both it and the complaint make clear that faecal transplants are a subject of ongoing research, which I read most carefully while writing the complaint.

    The issue is not that the therapy is implausible - the issue is that Taylor lied about her qualifications in order to profit from vulnerable consumers, and that she broke the law by promoting her clinic using health claims that she was unable to substantiate, once challenged.

    ReplyDelete
  6. No. The issue is whether FMT, as done by this clinic, is a reasonable and plausible choice for people suffering with serious problems like IBD. Do your research. The answer is yes.

    1) These folks are hyper-vigilant about checking the safety of the poop (EWW. GROSS! DID I SAY POOP. oh my god I must be a pervert from a big city. Or wait, hmm, maybe I'm somebody who has suffered from a frustrating disease and give less than two hoots about poop because a) I've had kids and b) I want my energy back).
    2) They've been paying attention to what works best in a methodical way. For example, making sure the bacteria isn't exposed to oxygen (important point most DIY'ers miss).

    You point to the FDA's decision to classify poop as a drug to back up your argument.
    Given the dramatic findings in the scientific literature with respect to C Dif., I question the ethics that keep FMT from being the treatment of first choice as opposed to treatment of last resort. This lands at the FDA's door, as does their intentional limitation of the clinical exploration of the possibilities for using this treatment in a safe way for IBD.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Jessica,

    Thanks for your comments!

    In her response to my complaint, Taylor had the opportunity to present the evidence that might support FMT. She was unable to provide any such evidence.

    Since she markets herself as an expert in the field, I think any reasonable person would conclude that no such evidence exists.

    ReplyDelete

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.