Gut microbe levels and obesity, part 3

After my call for a social network analysis of bacterial populations in the gut, I’ve been on the lookout for such a study.  I got excited when I saw this network analysis by Kelder et al. that was published yesterday.  While it’s not a social network, they used network methods to look at correlations between microbe levels and various biomarkers and measurements in a set of men prescribed a high fat, high calorie diet for one month.  They constructed a network based on correlations between the change in levels of biological characteristics/microbes from the beginning to the end of the month.

Figure 3 from Kelder et al. Triangles indicate human attributes and circles indicate microbial species.

Unfortunately the statistical results didn’t impress me.  With a sample size of 10 and no control group, it’s hard to draw any meaningful conclusions from the data.  Additionally, there was no mention of a correction for multiple tests, so some of these correlations that are significant at the 0.05 level are probably spurious.

I’ll have to keep an eye out for my social network analysis.  Has anyone seen something similar done in the past that I missed?


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