March 26, 2011


me+ME: Dr. Lombardi replaces dr. Mikovits at WPI

I keep short-circuiting between too little sleep and too much pain, so I'll keep it today very short, and mostly to keep things documented:

As the title says, dr. Lombardi replaces dr. Mikovits at the WPI as director of research, whereas dr. Mikovits becomes the WPI's director of translational research.

Here is the news as given by the WPI:

Dr. Mikovits, current Research Director of the Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI), has been named the new Director of Translational Research. "Dr. Mikovits remains an integral part of the WPI as she focuses her considerable talents assisting its strategic partners and collaborators in the translation of the most current research. She will engage in activities which support and promote the development of more effective treatments for all patients with neuroimmune diseases." said Annette Whittemore, President of WPI. The WPI’s research program will proceed with its critical basic research program under the skilled guidance of Dr. Vincent Lombardi, new Director of Basic Research and lead author of the seminal study on XMRV and CFS. "Drs. Mikovits and Lombardi represent the best that scientific research can achieve when it is done with integrity and compassion and we thank them both for their extraordinary work."

It was also noted on CFS Central and on Phoenix Rising:

From the former and the latter I quote an explanation by Dr. Mikovits:

"The point of the change is that the basic research grants and papers are not being funded or published because of the baseless contamination rumors," Mikovits wrote to CFS Central in an email. "Therefore, I cannot mentor young investigators [and] students, who cannot move their careers forward because of these politics. I will be out seeking collaborations with other institutions--academic, private foundations and industry. Whenever we show and discuss all of the details of the data with investigators, they see and know it is not contamination.

"Prior to the reorganization," Mikovits continued, "I spent my days unable to help thousands... who have evidence of infection and cannot get help from their government or other research organizations.... I am totally confident that XMRV and a family of human gamma retroviruses is playing a role in ME/CFS.... [and] our reorganization reflects that confidence and allows me to move forward drug and diagnostic development."

This is also quoted by Cort Johnson in the above thread, who then writes

This is smart move by the WPI but overdue.
I think its purely a business wasn't working with Judy - so now we're going to try someone else. I'm sure it was a tough decision to make but it had to be done for the sake of the Institute and the ME/CFS Community.

I doubt that, though it may be true that dr. Mikovits is no whizz in public relations, which seems to me a recommendation in a real scientist, if perhaps not in her function as was. Her own quoted explanation seems more to the point:

"the basic research grants and papers are not being funded or published because of the baseless contamination rumors,"

which seems to me true and a pity: See my Dr. Harvey Alter clarifies XMRV of two days ago, and it may also be related to the article in Nature I wrote about here twelve days ago: Dr. Mikovits in Nature.

I don't know. For me the XMRV-story waits to be clarified, possibly by the study of Dr. Lipkin, that still seems to be in process, and that does have the proper sort of design to clarify matters - though it seems likely that if he finds that, after all, Mikovits and Lombardi, and Alter and Lo, were and are right, there still will be attempts to write Lipkin's study off as being due to "contamination".

And that is one great problem with the XMRV-story: Ever since it broke in October 2009, parts of the published story, both pro and anti, have been propaganda - and to me the antis, notably Wessely, Van der Meer, Towers and Pinching had a personal stake in it that is incompatible with rational honest science, while the pros were mostly patients, who hoped for an explanation of and treatments for the disease.

I can't much blame the patients for having a personal interest and concern, also since they are not scientists and are not funded and paid as such; I much blame the above supposedly scientifically employed persons, not merely because I have ME, but because a human retrovirus should be rationally and honestly researched by competent scientists, and not be made the subject of propaganda in the media by "scientists" with chairs in psychiatry, who also have a personal interest in its not being found in patients with ME, and who generated negative results, it seems to me, for propaganda purposes in the media, rather than as real contributions to an important, serious and dangerous question about the presence of a human retrovirus in blood that may also be in blood banks.

For more see the above links, in particular Dr. Harvey Alter clarifies XMRV.

P.S. Corrections have to be made later.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence".
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

    "Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)


See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

Maarten Maartensz (M.A. psy, B.A. phi)

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