Sep 23, 2011
Exit XMRV? Science article "False
Posi±ive" + more
To continue yesterday's Nederlog about XMRV, there is with today's date an article on the Science pages in pdf format, written by Jon Cohen and Martin Enserink, with the following title - and I put the ± in the title because it's in Science's title: I can't get it bold with the tools I have, and there is a link that may require you to register (which I don't like - I got it from other sources):
It opens directly under title in bold lettering
As first three paragraphs it then has the following stylistic gem:
Well... OK: I think again. My conclusion is that this is emphatically not scientific writing. It's some sort of journalism, and it's writers want to make a point, it seems.
But I got the message - and I suppose it is presented as it is, by messrs. Cohen, Enserink, and the editor of Science, because it all started by a publication in Science.
As I said yesterday, this does seem to me to be the exit of XMRV as the hypothetical cause for ME. (**)
My reasons are also those I gave yesterday
That is: There still is Dr. Lipkin's study, but that does involve a similar design as was used by the Blood Work Group (BWG), and there still is the possibility that XMRV or something like it is infectious, dangerous and involved in producing ME/CFS, but indeed I agree that such good evidence as there now is makes XMRV improbable as a cause for ME, and difficult to find in general.
Also, personally I have no problems with that conclusion, because (a) I never have believed XMRV was the cause of ME/CFS, as I never have read good evidence for that, and as indeed also was not claimed by docters Mikovits, Lombardi etc. and (b) I did not myself like the idea of people with ME/CFS harbouring a dangerous retrovirus, that may have infected millions, and constitutes a great danger to public health. (That's my personal ethical valuation, not evidence for or against what the facts about XMRV and ME/CFS are - of course. And indeed, I suppose I share that feeling with most or all of the biomedical researchers into XMRV.)
I outlined my own position probably most clearly in March of this year
And I denied the existence of a proved causal relation between XMRV and ME/CFS in July 2010: Bloody stupid hysteria.
Anyway... it's a pity many patients with ME/CFS have not proportioned their belief to their evidence (qualified by a weight for one's degree of relevant knowledge), but then the position of many patients is very difficult, and their disease has been the reason for much discrimination.
I could make various remarks about the prose and information supplied in Science by Cohen and Enserink, but skip that and only link in some more background information:
The first of these is one of the authors of the Science article mentioned and linked above, and the second is an associate of Dr. Peterson, who also sought but did not find XMRV in blood of patients with ME/CFS.
It has some interesting questions and answers, such as this from dr Levy:
This is quite like one of the possibilities I listed in March under "on four causal hypotheses:
And then there is Amy Dockser Marcus, in the Wall Street Journal: Brief, to the point, clear - and also in a considerably better style than the Science article linked above, or so I think:
I also like the title, taken as a play on words.
There is considerably more about the subject on the internet, but the above plus the links seems to cover most points I've seen raised.
(*) There are more copies on the net at various places, some in txt or html.
P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.
-- 25 Sep 2011: Replaced a "XMRV" by "ME" and reworded the statement.
As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
Short descriptions of the above:
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:
7. A space-
and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.
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