Oct 14, 2011
me+ME: Mostly about dr. Mikovits
As it happens, I did get a bit more sleep, but not much, so this will be another brief Nederlog, but not as brief as yesterday, and with four subjects:
1. Good post on PR-F
Alas, I don't read that many well written scientifically informed posts on Phoenix Rising, so I am glad to provide a link to one that is, by somebody who calls him or herself "biophile" (I think it is a she, but I don't know), with the enticing title
It's not just about the PACE trial but also about the ERV-blog, of which the issue of September 29, with currently 1065 comments is here:
As I said, there are currently more than 1000 comments, of many kinds and qualities, but it makes for interesting reading, and it also seems to me that most writing there who are (retro-)virologists, indeed like Jason who was commenting of dr. Deckoff-Jones blog, and Billy. who was commenting on the MECFS-forum I am not allowed to read by the owners, who both are virologists (Jason and Billy, of course, not the owners of that forum), are quite rational and quite reasonable, and that, in Jason's and Billy's case, against rather a lot of irrational and unreasonable criticism.
Incidentally, my own take of it all is mostly here, written after precisely two years of XMRV-events:
2. On dr. Mikovits latest mail (Oct 11)
Here is a mail from dr. Mikovits "to the world" of October 11, last, with my comments. The text of the mail, that I give all (as I receicved it from someone who sent it to me) is in blue and indented, and my comments are in black and not indented
So she says, and maybe so. But it is not at all clear this applies to funding for the project at WPI - in fact, according to a text about the grant I saw by way of the ERV-blog, the grant is to the institution (here: WPI) and not to the project leader (here: dr. Mikovits). Also, it doesn't seem very improbable a judge may produce an injunction that takes over the "materials and supplies", for example, because dr. Mikovits herself appeals to her "legal right", and because she has been fired by the WPI while there are many problems about the Science article of 2009.
So she says, but I doubt it: Whatever the truth (1) she is damaged goods and (2) most of her nominal colleagues believe - it seems - that she's a fraud or if she is not there is no evidence for as much as a correlation between XMRV and ME/CFS, since dr. Mikovits herself and her group at the WPI were not able to distinguish positive and negative blinded samples on better than a chance-level. It follows - for anyone who is somewhat familiar with how universities and academics work - that any university would take a big risk hiring her, or even just allowing her to use a lab.
Not a good idea, even if she is blameless, since the support she will get will be described as nutters, and these will be mostly patients, quite a few of whom are emotionally fragile because of the recent events around dr. Mikovits. I suppose she wants support against the WPI, that she may start a court case against, for wrongful dismissal, but I do not think she should involve patients.
I don't think that is ethical. The first statement is irrelevant. The second statement is in fact an invitation to her supporters to wreck whatever research the WPI might want to do. It also may be she wants to get the samples and lab-books before others get them.
It is unethical, because if she is right about her hypothesis about XMRV/HGRV/MLV/whatever, somebody else with the requisite qualifications can bring that out as well as she. Here is Peirce's number one law for scientists and science: "Do not block the road of inquiry!". She does, for her own interests.
So she says, but I don't believe it. Incidentally, I have read a little up on Wakefield, namely the Wikipedia and Brian Deer's site, the journalist who stopped him. I can't really judge it, but I do note a parallel: Wakefield took out a patent on a preparation of his own inoculating for measles, before attacking the existing inoculation-program, and seemed to have expected to make millions from it. The Ruscettis also have patents. It may be a coincidence, but it is suggestive.
No doubt about that, but that is the only undoubted part of her missive, and I do not trust her integrity. I like to be wrong about that, not so much for my own or her sake, but for the sake of patients who believed in her, but I am afraid I won't get the evidence that I am wrong, since if it existed it had been produced a week ago at the latest.
3. On dr. Mikovits latest talk (Oct 11)
The previous item was from October 11, and at the same place and time dr. Mikovits is said to have written the above note, she held a talk, of which I was sent a summary, that I give a similar treatment and formatting as the note.
I should say the summary is not by dr. Mikovits
I think the person writing or editing the summary confuses a Ph.D. ("Dr.") with an M.D. ("Medical doctor", not necessarily with a Ph.D.). Dr. Mikovits has a Ph.D. but no medical degree to my knowledge.
Well.... as indeed is consistent with her agreement of the BWG finding she effectively admits contamination. It follows there is no reason for patients with ME/CFS to be interested in XMRV (HGRV, MLV), for the simple reason that there is no evidence that it is in any way involved with or correlated with ME/CFS.
I doubt it virologists see it thus. In fact, quite a few who seem quite capable bitterly complain that dr. Mikovits and dr. Ruscetti for two years (1) failed to mention a chemical they used to produce their results, while (2) accusing other virologists for being incapable to find XMRV, that they found (if they found that, and not something else) as a result of using the unmentioned chemical. See e.g. "Why does 5AZA matter" on PR-F, written by Lee, who argues well and knows a lot about virology.
I suppose the virologists will object that these are mere claims, about unpublished - claimed - findings.
makes it metaphysics, I'd say: There may be something
that is similar to gammaretroviruses - perhaps not even a virus or
retrovirus, I suppose - that may play a role in the ME/CFS. But
that's all old totally speculative hat.
But that is pure speculation. And the nomenclature bit seems nonsense to me: She used the term, and admitted in the beginning that what's she used it for is not present in the way she claimed it was present.
I said it is metaphysics, or if that is clearer to non-philosophers (*): science-fiction without any good evidence: As is, all of this is mere speculation, mere possibility, and only one of many possible hypotheses that would (possibly) explain ME/CFS.
At the very best that's a very pious purely speculative hope.
back to before 2009. If she is honest.
I argued on the basis of the above, that seem to be mostly dr. Mikovits
own words, at best - and if there was no fraudulence, no dishonesty,
just some mistakes and some acrimony between virologists and quite a
lot of misunderstandings by patients and others - the Science
paper of 2009 that started the XMRV-hullabaloo was based on
contamination, and there is no evidence for even a mere correlation
between XMRV and ME/CFS.
To me, it seems the end of XMRV for patients with ME/CFS, as an interesting hypothesis for their disease, although it still seems desirable to me that dr. Lipkin's planned research will be done, to clarify things as much as possible, and come to a sensible conclusion, which must remain provisional as all empirical science ("If it is certain, it is not empiricall; if empirical, not certain." Einstein), but that also can stand as the best possible guide in the circumstances about the status of XMRV for public health.
Then again, in the circumstances it is quite possible dr. Lipkin may not be able to do his work, since dr. Mikovits has no laboratory and no job as a researcher, and there probably will follow quite a lot more of scientific, legal and moral discussions, e.g. in Science and Nature, and possibly also in court.
P.S. Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later. Also, this is not the text I intended to write, which may come later.
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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