[BPSDB]Most people know that a lot of stuff on the internet, particularly in the fields of nutrition and health, should be taken with a truckload of salt. But what are sceptics to do when they find an unusual claim? Just because a claim is out on left-field does not mean it is wrong.
The reaction of most people would surely be to seek out corroborating evidence. Unfortunately, woosters can anticipate this move plant corrobrating evidence for the sceptic to find. Consider the case of Paul Gross aka the Berry Doctor. Gross is the founder of Berry Wise Inc which promotes exotic berries such as wolfberry (known to fans of the unaccredited Dr McKeith as goji) and sea buckthorn. He is also on the steering committee of the “International Berry Association” which appears to do little other than provide PR for the Berry Doctor.
Meanwhile, on Wikipedia a contributer using the by-line of Paul144 has been writing about berries – and attempting to get the book “Wolfberry: Nature’s Bounty of Nutrition and Health” onto Wikipedia as a reference. Paul144 has admitted to being “a contributor to a few of these (online publications), e.g., http://www.npicenter.com/news/DrPaulGross_articles.aspx “. Now being a contributer does not prove Paul144 is Paul Gross (Nor does the fact that a gross = 144, though if the names are coincidence, it’s a remarkably interesting one) but it does mean that there is a previously undeclared connection and Paul144’s contributions are not as neutral as one might hope.
If we look here and here, Paul144 claims that there is no conflict of interest because the book is “non-commercial” with “no promotional intentions”. Aye right. A man with an interest in pushing exotic berries co-authors a book on the subject and claims that there is “no promotional intentions”? Is this plausible? I don’t think so.
A search of his site finds gems such as “check out the complete nutrient description for goji on Wikipedia” and “See the Wikipedia articles on wolfberry (goji) and superfruits…check out the references in each article!” This neglects to mention the link between Gross and Paul144 and clearly gives the impression that there is support from a neutral third party for the assertions in his newsletter.
All goes to show, that while Wikipedia is a good place to begin ones research, it is not a good place to finish.