Rescued by a Dark Knight on my Island Escape

Jason "Germ Guy" Tetro:

I’ve written quite a bit about the benefits of chocolate over the last few months. But never had I dreamed the perspective my friend and colleague Barbara Bussey would share in her blog, Pharmistice.

Please give this a read and let her know your thoughts.

BTW, her first post is also incredibly compelling. She is a fantastic human writer…

Originally posted on Pharmistice:

I stand in the middle of my own island while the lens through which I view the world zooms out, rising upward into the expanse of the grey-blue sky above me until I am but a small existence within time and space. This is my island of safety, where the drone of the waves creep slowly around me until I am comfortably numb and closed off from all excitation. I come to this island to find shelter from the storm that rages around and within me.

This snapshot in time has been a regular part of my life, particularly through the circumstantial challenges over the last decade. I thought I was alone in this escape but learned years ago I was in good company; although I would never have expected it to be Sir Winston Churchill.

Few do not know of this great man who served his country in the…

View original 1,424 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

For Pleasure or For Pay…

Last week, I was given one of the greatest honours an author in Canada can have.  I was invited to the headquarters of Canada’s largest bookseller, Chapters/Indigo, to talk about The Germ Code and to sign the wall of fame.

Bhk4kejCUAAm9yt (3)

I also received some more good news regarding the book.  It seems that the demand has been so great that there may be a second printing in the works.  The news may be bittersweet; the book will continue to be promoted internationally yet this could mean more time before I begin writing my next tome.  That being said, there are so many other projects ongoing and in the works, I’ll be busy for quite some time.

In light of how busy I am, it’s no surprise to me that when I’m met in the street or subway by someone who recognizes me, I’m asked one particular question.  It’s simple enough and yet can alter the atmosphere dramatically depending on how I answer.

“Are you making a lot of money?”

I have a prepared answer:  “I’m not starving nor am I driving a Lamborghini.”

It seems to be effective enough.  Of course, it is a lame response but I feel necessary to keep the always contentious issue of writing for pay out of the spotlight. But this week, I gained another answer that might work and also highlight the nature of sciPOP. It came thanks to an incredible lecture by the incredible Erica Ehm.

ericaehm

For those of you who don’t know her by name, she has been a staple in Canadian media for over twenty years, particularly in music.  However, a number of years ago, she started one of the most popular blogging sites in the world:  The Yummy Mummy Club or as it’s called now, YMC (no A or eh?).

Over the years, Erica has done for motherhood what I am trying to do for science through sciPOP.  She has taken the entire world out of the shadows of domesticity and put it straight into the fast lane of the information superhighway. In the process, she has gained an entourage made up of skilled professionals who blog about everything from food, to family, to culture, and to pregnancy.  She has an incredible following and her experience has made her a regular on the stages of conferences.

At her most recent talk, Erica spoke to the topic of pay and introduced me to an analogy that I had not even given thought albeit had been right in front of my nose.

When I’m giving my talks, particularly to academic audiences, I refer to myself as a microbiologist taking a sabbatical to become a rock star.  It always goes well with the crowd.  It actually stemmed from an online conversation in which a colleague in the UK referred to me as a burgeoning rock star and I jokingly suggested that from now on he call me “Jason Bon Germy.”

Although I enjoy the comparison, the idea that I could be viewed or even perceived as an artist such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan or the namesake of my alternate ego, Jon Bon Jovi, was ludicrous.  After all, I was writing, not composing.  I was getting people to read, not to sing and dance.  My heroes were Douglas Adams, Robertson Davies and Clive Barker.  The schism between the two roles wasn’t just a gap, it was an impassable chasm.

Yet Erica changed that.  She showed me that blogging is indeed creativity and each blog post is akin to composing a piece of music.  Even more importantly, the first post, no matter how brilliant, will almost never get the attention it rightly deserves.  Blogging success is a ladder that starts at the first rung and then slowly climbs upwards.  You also need a good base, whether it be a record company or in my case media organization, to ensure the rise is steady.

If you are aware of the ladder and can find a good base, you can then climb.  Using your passion, your conviction, your skill and your creativity, the rise will come.  It may take weeks, months or years but eventually you will get noticed.  Instead of playing the clubs (small websites), where only a handful of people will see you, you’ll make it to the big time (large corporate websites) where you will have thousands of people admiring your art.

This leads me back to the title of this article and my new answer to the question.  There is no doubt that we all want to get paid for what we do, whether prose, poetry or sciPOP. I’m the same way.  But in order to get to that place, we must all travel a similar path.  As with any vocation, there will have to be sacrifices and as I’ve learned, that sometimes means giving up a paycheck.

For years, I was in the public eye never making a cent.  Yet that enabled me to experiment and hone my skills.  Much like the house band in the small bar, I had the opportunity to mix it up a little and find out what works and what doesn’t.  The stakes were smaller and failures would not be as costly. Consider what would happen now if I tried a new joke or analogy in front of a giant audience made up of influential people…and it bombed.  I’d go from rock star to has-been in a heartbeat.

It’s part of the double-edged sword that is popularity.  The more you gain, the less likely you will have a chance to go outside of your expected box.  Think about how many times you’ve been to a big name concert and only want to hear the hits.  It’s no different.  Today, I have a writing style that is expected and if I don’t deliver, for whatever reasons, there will be disappointment.

So, there exists a dichotomy.  With pay comes a price; without pay comes pleasure.  The question then becomes which is more important to you?  I cannot answer that nor can I offer a direction.  But what I can say is that as sciPOP grows, it will expand and include an influx of indelible ideas to illustrate science to the public.

Admittedly, there’s little – well, no – money at the moment in sciPOP and many of my own ventures are without remuneration.  But as Erica Ehm has shown, that reality can be changed.  Today, she has a successful business, she’s developed her own brand of rock star and her bloggers are also rising the ladder.

There’s every reason to believe the same will occur for sciPOP.  It will take time and I’m sure many hundreds of thousands of words but eventually, there will be acceptance and demand.  If it all goes well, we may all have the opportunity to not only take pleasure from our work, but get paid for it as well.

As for that answer,  I’m thinking: “I may be a rock star but I’m still no Bowie.”
(that one’s for you Tim)

Would love to know your thoughts.

(this is the third post in the sciPOP series which I hope is helping to change your perspective on presenting science in the public)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

On the Tenor of Titles

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that in the academic world – and many other worlds – reliability and trust is dependent not on your abilities, but your title.

Are you:

A doctor?
A lawyer?
A CEO, CFO, COO, or CIO?
A specialist?
A manager?
An associate?
A representative?

Depending on the answer, you may find yourself being lauded obsequiously, disregarded as obsolete, or worse, shunned as an outcast.

It’s all been rather odd to me as throughout my academic career, I never really had a title.  In the eyes of my official employer, I was simply a research associate, an obeisant position.  But to offer more credibility to my outlandish style – and to obfuscate the fact that I didn’t have an academic PhD – I was given other professional designations.  Many were obtuse and some simply obscure but they always seemed to work to keep those with whom I interacted sated.

Then, one day about five years ago, I was anointed with a title that opened up a new vocational avenue.  Instead of an academic accolade, this attention-grabbing name was meant solely for public.  Even then, unlike familiar titles such as expert, consultant, and advisor, this was so outside-the-box that there was little hope for optimism.

“The Germ Guy”

There was no mention of a job description, no obvious association with an institution or organization, and certainly little to no sense of what my function would be other than perhaps something to do with germs. It was a cute name that nicely rolled off the tongue.

Somehow, it worked and set me off on this strange path which has enriched me in ways I could never have imagined.

Since the dawn of The Germ Guy, I’ve acquired several other titles, such as Germevangelist, Germs Relationship Therapist, Germs Correspondent and perhaps my favorite, Germs Pundit.  Yet regardless of the actual designation, there is one thing that remains constant:  me.

I hadn’t given it much thought until a few weeks ago when I was asked to talk about my work in the public to a group of academically trained experts in the field of infection prevention and control.  At first I was concerned that there might not be any interest.  After all, why would academics be interested in listening to a guy without a doctorate whose claim to fame was a book about a dysfunctional relationship with germs?

As I reflected about what to offer in terms of educational development, I realized that there was something that needed to be shared.  This wasn’t a scientific finding or a new direction for research.  This was instead a call to all in attendance to find a way to share the message of keeping patients safe in a way that was familiar to me but was completely unknown to them.  Quite simply, they needed to find a way to communicate with the public using sciPOP.

But before they could do that, they needed to learn more about how to find a new title – a public one – that represented each individual as well as his or her vocation.

The talk went so well that it occurred to me that we all need to undergo a similar exercise.  Instead of being defined based on job identify and professional expertise, we all have another title inside us.  For me, it was The Germ Guy.  For you…what might it be?

To start, look in the mirror.  What do you see (other than 10% human and 90% germs)? What makes you…well…you?  It’s an entirely scary psychological task and admittedly, took me many years before I was ready to do it.  Yet, when you start to actually analyze yourself, you begin to realize what traits are specific to you and how they work together.  All put together, the result is a description of who you are and what you can offer to the world.

In short, it’s your brand.

In my previous sciPOP post, I discussed the fundamental concept of story re-telling.  Yet I didn’t explain how to accomplish this…with good reason.  It’s all based on your brand.  Depending on its nature, you will share the same information in a completely different manner.  If you have several brands, then you might have a number of options to display your skill, style, and savvy…even if it is sardonically laced with alliteration.

Once you have the traits that make up your brand, list them and then lay them out in front of you.  You’ll see a number of different nouns and adjectives that offer an brand overview.  Now, using this collection of words, come up with a name that fits everything.

This is your title.

It can be serious or comedic; quaint or quirky; overt or sublime.  Whatever best describes that brand in a way that resonates with you and the public.  It may require a few tries and you may not be happy with the most effective name (I personally would have preferred The Microbial Maven over The Germ Guy).  Eventually, you will find the one that is right for you.

As for whether this works, here are a few ideas I’ve idealized with colleagues over the years.  I’m sure you will be able to quickly identify with these titles and their brand.

The Observant Ornithologist
The Captain of Carburetors
The Tort Teller
The Pedagogic Poet

Once you have your brand and title in place, you can start the story re-telling and enjoy the ride.  Admittedly, it will be slow at first but as you gain a following, you will find the journey will become a pleasurable experience.  And as I have found out over the last year, you will not only bring more to the public, but you may also make a difference as well.

Normally, I want to know your thoughts.  This time, however, I’d just like to know one thing:  what is your title?

(This is the second post of the sciPOP series and hope that it continues to keep you interested and engaged)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

On Scientific Story Re-telling

It’s been close to three months since the release of The Germ Code and I continue to be overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the tome.  It’s been an incredible experience and I am truly grateful.

Admittedly, the attention to the book – along with the commitments to Huffington Post, Popular Science, Globe and Mail, and other writing endeavours – has taken me away from this blog. That being said, I feel safe to now devote this site to more personal insights and perspective on this journey that would not have a place anywhere else.

Over the weekend, I was in the lovely city of Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory.

WP_20140127_001
Whitehorse at dawn

It was my first time to venture so far north in Canada and I was amazed at the cordial nature of the people and the incredible spirit each of them possesses.

WP_20140126_060The White Pass in the Yukon

I gave talks to both the general public – thanks to the Yukon Science Institute – and to a group of students at a local elementary school.  It was yet another first for me; I had never talked to such a young group of people.  Both audiences were not only excited, but also engaged.

At one moment during the first talk, a person happened to ask me a very simple question:

“How do you make something so scientific so interesting?”

My response was equally as simple:

“I don’t talk about germs, I talk about relationships.”

The facial expression was that suggested there was another question about to be posed.  Sure enough, it came out:  “How?”

“I tell stories.”

The answer was pithy yet seemed to suffice as the individual went on with an inscribed book and a smile.

On the trip home, I had 12 hours to think about my response.  Why was telling these stories so effective?  It was an interesting retrospective both on my career as a researcher as well as my current direction in scientific storytelling.

Throughout our history, humans have told stories as it is the basis for the majority of our entertainment.  Depending on the format, there is a particular protocol involved.  Music has a score, dramatic arts have a script, novels use prose and reality programs including documentaries use human challenges and other situations.

Could storytelling also be the common denominator for science?  I’m sure that for many, that answer would have to be certainly no.

But I’ve learned it is actually quite the opposite.  In fact, of all the genres of expression that exists in the human realm, science is in itself devoted to storytelling.  The problem is that over the years, the format has changed so much that one need to be trained to appreciate these purely ‘academic’ tales.

The standard story structure is as follows:

Intro – Conflict – Action -
Climax – Resolution

In science, the format is as follows:

Intro – Hypothesis – Methods -
Results – Discussion/Conclusions

There is one additional element in science and indeed in most academic literature:  the citations section.  This is where the two genres diverge.

In a standard story, unless it is part of a series, everything needed to understand the plot, its arcs, its characters and its environment is presented within the structure.  In science, one can cite a previous paper – another scientific story – to provide context.  While at one time, citations were few and only offered perspective with the majority of information contained within the text; today, there may be dozens to prevent the research findings from turning into novellas.

Underneath the complex and jargon-filled offerings and citations, the narrative can be rather dramatic and indeed fascinating.  What’s more is that many of them can be directly related to the concerns and needs of the general public.  But much like an incredible story told in a different language, it’s almost impossible for the majority to understand.

That’s where scientific storytelling – or perhaps, re-telling – comes into play.

Just think about the following.

A researcher comes up with a question. He or she spends countless hours assembling a team, developing grant proposals, optimizing experimental procedures and focusing the work to ensure the results provide a meaningful answer.  There will be heartbreak with failing results and elation when experiments work.

Over the coming months and years, the question may become dynamic, changing slightly to accommodate the observations.  Eventually, when the decision is made that there is enough data to make a valid conclusion – which is never a given – the attempt to publish begins.  Rejections, modifications, requests for more work will undoubtedly happen.  Then there is the risk of the completely devastating realization that someone else already did your work and published it first.

Finally, after what may seem an eternity, the story can finally be told on paper, at presentations, and hopefully in the media.

This is what researchers must face and in my view, it is an honour to share their vocations to an audience far wider than the readers of the journal or the participants of a conference.  But rather than develop an entirely new story, I choose to re-tell the work, just in a different format. Think of it as a public-friendly remix of what has been done in the lab.

Or, if you wish…this:

Granted, my contributions are somewhat different than many expect from traditional science communication.  But my ramblings, like many other remixes, go beyond traditional borders to open up new paths for broader thinking and possibly, collaboration. In essence, I may be painting outside the lines but I always strive to bring those who read and watch me some…well…glee.

Feel free to groan…then let me know your thoughts.

———————————————————————————————————-

P.S. This is the first in a series of posts on the topic of SciPOP – a new concept whereby the goal is not only communicating science, but also making it the talk of the day – at the water cooler, the dinner table, the gym, the dance hall and perhaps most importantly, the bedroom – okay, maybe not there but you get the point. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Guest Post: Sewage and health: an opportunity for change

Hey everyone,

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been happy to have a spirited discussion with one of my colleagues, Keith Bell, who is with Sanitation Circle, which is devoted to the promotion of dry compost toilet technology.  I’ve asked him to write about his passion here and invite you to not only read but also share your views.

Enjoy….

Geography of PhysiologyGraphic Artist: Kyle Bell

In sanitation issues, we have a powerful intersection of health and environment overlooked by medical experts and nations.  Yet have you ever considered poor sanitation as cause of the diabetes epidemic in Canada and the world? Evidence is steadily mounting that diabetes is a matter of microbial imbalance. In Canada, diabetes rates have doubled over the past decade. One in three Canadians are projected to have diabetes or prediabetes by 2020. In sanitation-challenged India, people still believes its rampant diabetes epidemic a matter of diet and exercise.

Yet there may be an alternate perspective. Consider how gastric bypass surgery rapidly halts diabetes via removal of infected duodenum, the first section of small intestine after the stomach.  How could this be the case?  What is really going on?

To get a better idea, let’s take a ride into uncharted territory: the inner space of our small intestine. It’s the center of all health, directly between our liver and pancreas. The lining of the small intestine is called the most important quarter-inch of the body. It’s here where our nutrients are absorbed…or malabsorbed. Most people believe starvation a matter of malnutrition, but it’s more accurately malabsorption syndrome, meaning it’s not necessarily what we eat, but what we can absorb based on intestinal health. Evidence over the past decade is strongly mounting toward the understanding that intestinal health is reliant on balanced flora.  This microbial balance, or homeostasis, is the driver for all health, physical and mental.

To put it another way, have you heard of the gut-brain connection? The major gut diseases such as Celiac, ulcerative colitis, IBD and Crohn’s are all associated with mental illness. We’re learning that this is directly related to our gut and that relates to the microbes to which we are exposed.  If that microbial population is antagonistic to our heath as evidenced by poor sanitation, then we all lose out.

To put it another way: sanitation is sanity.

The problem is most people still believe our water-based sanitation systems, flushing toilets, are an improvement. Modern sanitation has been voted the most important medical advance in the history of science. But it’s now obsolete, guided by obsolete law. We purposely multiply the wrong kinds of microbes in the name of sanitation and this is affecting us.

It’s time to end mixing our waste with water.

Now let’s look at another aspect of sanitation once believed to be a hallmark of our modern society:  activated sludge.  Once the toilet has been flushed, it heads to a centralized facility – for the most part – where it is thought to be made safe by dewatering the sewage and then treated the solid section, sludge, until there are no signs of infectious microbes.

The technology was born in Manchester, UK, 1913 and it was great in its first 50 years, lowering deaths by acute illness. But we’ve traded that for something far more ominous: chronic, long-term non-communicable diseases, NCDs which are now the global health focus. We now know poor sanitation may be the driving force behind global non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer, autism, heart and lung disease. But this has been completely overlooked by the United Nations. The UN General Assembly held its first meeting on health in a decade in 2011. The last such meeting was 2001 about AIDS. In 2011, the focus was NCDs, yet sanitation was not on the agenda, a lost opportunity. The World Bank still builds wastewater treatment plants while UNICEF builds groundwater-polluting pit latrines. 

What’s really needed is to promote dry compost toilet technology.

This is not new information. The world’s first physician, Hippocrates, stated “death begins in the colon.” Yet we disregard intestinal health at every turn, polluting water and soil, abusing antibiotics and fueling microbial overgrowth on a diet of refined carbohydrates. We’re now born predisposed to obesity, diabetes, autism, Alzheimer’s, cancer, anorexia and rickets. All NCDs can be explained by flora imbalance beginning in the gut.

Studies show gut dysbiosis (imbalanced flora) using new microbial DNA detection technology called microarray. Yet modern science still holds belief the fetal gastrointestinal tract is sterile without evidence. But truth is being revealed as what was once thought sterile is actually teeming with life. This includes the brain, amniotic fluid, urine, eyeballs, meconium and breast milk all not sterile and were never meant to be sterile. That’s right, even the brain relies on balanced flora, just like the gut.

We have polluted the world’s microbiome, shifting the balance. We need to retain and repair what we have to prevent these environmental health problems.  And this starts with our water. Our oceans are merely a thin film stretched across Earth’s surface and we need to protect them from ourselves.

A rallying call for change.

So, while dry compost toilet technology may be the answer, we should look to reducing diabetes as a rallying call for improved sanitation.  Based on studies out of China, which leads the world in diabetes, we know the causes are not poor diet or being sedentary, but due to rampant pollution in soil, water and air pollution.  We are learning every day that this disease is not only about diet and exercise; it’s also about our waste.  We need to end mixing waste with water if not only to improve our lives but also of those for generations to come.  

Posted in Guest Blog | 6 Comments

Taking Germs Back to Ottawa!

Well, since the launch of The Germ Code on November 5th, it has been quite the ride. 

germ-codeAs of today, the book is the #1 bestseller in Basic Sciences on Amazon.ca and listed as a Hot New Release as you can see above!

For all of you who have purchased the book, I am so grateful! For those of you thinking of buying it, check out this Stellar Review in the Toronto Star.

* * *

As part of the promotion for the book, I headed back to Ottawa and was immersed in what eventually became a homecoming for me.

WP_20131118_002 (1)

It all started with a giant feature on me in The Ottawa Citizen which was fantastic although I wasn’t made aware that I was also on the front page.

fotor_(18)

While this may seem extremely exciting, it made for an interesting morning.  I decided to head down to the restaurant for breakfast prior to getting dressed for success.  When the people at the hotel were surprisingly nice to me and calling me by my first name, I started to get a bit nervous.  It was a concierge that pointed out I was on the front page of the paper.  Needless to say I escaped back to my hotel room and didn’t leave until I was ready to be seen in public.

Over the next few days, I had some incredible moments but none were as special as my return to CTV Ottawa where it all began.  I did the morning show where I talked about our relationship with germs and even toasted them not with an adult beverage but a bottle of my favorite probiotic drink.  You can see the entire interview here after the advertisement:

jason-cheershttp://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1046244&
binId=1.1487308&playlistPageNum=6

But the real treat came when I returned to CTV Ottawa News at Noon where it all began back in 2008.  It’s been close to 6 years since I first sat in the studio taking calls from the public.  The moment was both amazing as well as emotional.  I had to hold back a few tears during the two segments with Leanne Cusack.  It was without a doubt the high point.

Here are the two segments:

jason-leanne1http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1046361

jason-leanne2http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1046375

Yet that was not the end of the festivities.  On Wednesday, I had the chance to take germs awareness to Parliament Hill for an event I dubbed #GermsOnTheHill.

WP_20131120_002

I went with a few colleagues and showed off some of the ways people could improve their relationship with good germs.  I was visited by MPs, Ministers, Senators and a number of staff, each of whom was happy to share their interests, stories and support for the work I am doing as The Germ Guy.

Twitter1bb7a92_jpgHon. Dr. Carolyn Bennett & The Germ Guy! 

The event was organized by the Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett who was at one time considered the Minister of Handwashing and I am eternally grateful to her.  But it wasn’t just a red-coloured event.  Amidst the dozens of visitors, other friends such as MP James Lunney from the Conservatives and MP Peter Stoffer came.

jason-lunneyDr. James Lunney & The Germ Guy!

Peter Stoffer (he was camera shy!)

What took me most by surprise was not the amazing cordiality and grace shown to me and my colleagues by the members of the Hill but that many were aware of the need for good germs and probiotics.  They all appreciated the concept of a better relationship and how we should be getting closer to good germs in order to improve our health, our environment and our economy!

There was one other surprise.  Many of those who visited knew of one of the products featured, Bio-K Plus.  In fact, there were times where my colleague, David Christie, was more popular than me with the various Ministers and MPs that visited.  It was almost surreal to see their knowledge and support for the probiotic.  There were going to be quite a few happy guts that night!

jason-david-lunneyDavid Christie, Dr. James Lunney and The Germ Guy!

Alas, it was all too short a time and I was rushed off to the airport even as I was having an awesome chat with the Honourable Maxime Bernier.  Yet, even as we departed, I managed to say hello to a few more members who knew me and left feeling completely enriched.

There are a few people I need to thank in addition to those I’ve mentioned.

  • While I was there, my guide and confidante, Jennifer Tiller kept me sane and warm throughout my stay.  She also kept everyone in line and never left my side.  Thank you!
  • My good friend and at times partner in artistic crime, Jason Gilbert, was a great companion and helped me stay grounded even when it seemed like I was going to end up in the stratosphere.
  • My esteemed colleague, Cathy Stafford with whom I’ve worked on grants, events and what I like to call bad germs removal activities (ahem!) was the perfect event organizer and made the event on Parliament Hill look and feel like a reception.  If you need someone to make an event come to life in Ottawa, give her a call!
  • I have to thank the University of Ottawa Press and Dr. Robert Smith? for organizing, hosting and carrying out the great Zombies vs. Germs event.  We had such a blast and I honestly believe we could take the show on tour!
  • Finally, I need to thank my brother Matthew Tetro who only saw me briefly but gave me such wonderful words of kindness and support.  He’s also a translator although instead of science, it’s English and French.  If you need anyone to give your copy the same kind of engaging effort as I do, you have to give him a call!

As always, would love to hear your thoughts…

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

The Book and The Bio-K

Well, it is finally here…

Germ-Code

After almost two years to the day that I first walked into the offices of Random House Canada, the book is finally available.

It has been a long journey and I want to thank everyone who has supported me, both personally and professionally.  I am truly grateful for all the encouragement, discussions and at times, advice as I wrote, re-wrote and then waited.

There is one professional organization I wish to thank for their collaboration and financial support over the year and especially since I left Ottawa.

biok_logo

Bio-K Plus International

Over the last few weeks, I have been in discussions with the company and have reached a collaborative agreement to help improve our relationship with germs through the evangelism of good germs, specifically probiotics.

As part of the collaboration, I will be using this blog as a resource for information on probiotics.  The goal will be to answer questions that I face continually when I’m out in public as well as shed light on issues that are either groundbreaking or muddled in debate.  The information will be based on scientific literature and articles that one can find using PubMed (many of them will be free too).

As per the collaboration, when there is the opportunity to demonstrate Bio-K Plus as an example of the facts presented, I’ll be making the connection.  While this shouldn’t come a surprise, there is obviously one question that arises as a result of this announcement:

Why Bio-K Plus?

The reason is quite simple and yet for me, imperative for any association.  The company and its staff regard research as paramount and will not make any bold claims without ensuring there is ample evidence exists.

To epitomize this, they have conducted several clinical trials and continue to work scientifically to demonstrate the benefit of the product.  Also, they are the only probiotic company in Canada with an actual Health Canada claim.  Having been in the regulatory world whilst at my previous position, I understand just how tough that can be.  But most of all, they don’t extrapolate their data or its interpretation, which is rare in the corporate – and to some extent even in the academic – world.

In the coming weeks, the blog posts will start to appear and I would ask that you check them out for two specific reasons.

First, I would like to know how the information comes across and also if it is useful.  I always enjoy feedback and will always listen and reflect on any comments that are made.

Second, and more importantly, I want you to hold me accountable to the data in relation to Bio-K Plus.  While I believe in the product and also know that it works (I use it regularly), I don’t want this site to be an advertisement.  The research is the most important factor and I want to be sure that this holds true, regardless of the sponsor.

If you have any comments, I would love to hear them.

As a final note – for all the microbiologists and germs enthusiasts out there – if you happen to find something in the book that strikes you as interesting, make sure you send it in an Email to me at thegermguy@gmail.com. After all, when it comes to “Golden Eggs”, you don’t want to share them with everyone.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment