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Dec 17, 2011               

me+ME: Dr. Mikovits has a temporary job

Back to the story of XMRV and Judy Mikovits Ph.D. The last item in the series - so to speak - is from eleven days ago:

- Judy Mikovits being prepared for criminal trial

The present item is already a bit stale, since it is two days old, but here is the link to a brief article in Nature by Ewen Callaway

- Chronic fatigue syndrome scientist finds a temporary home

Here are its first two paragraphs - and I am assuming my readers are mostly familiar with the backgrounds, that also can be traced through the first of the above links:

Judy Mikovits is taking her work on the road. The embattled chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) researcher will conduct her arm of a US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) sponsored study on the condition’s link to certain retroviruses at another US government laboratory, the scientist overseeing the study told Nature today.

W. Ian Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection & Immunity at Columbia University in New York, says that Mikovits will team up with her former mentor Frank Ruscetti at his laboratory at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Frederick, Maryland. They are one of three groups testing dozens of blinded blood samples from CFS patients and healthy controls for XMRV and related retroviruses.

This is "the Lipkin study", the results of which were earlier said to be ready by the end of this year. That goal will not be met, but then Ian Lipkin Ph.D.'s main practical problem doing that study was that Judy Mikovits Ph.D. has been fired from the WPI in the end of September of this year, and also arrested for theft and for conspiracy to steal, and then released on bail in mid November, while she has to appear in court again, or at least her lawyer(s) must appear in court for her, coming Monday.

As I have said quite a few times, I like the Lipkin experiment being done, because it has a good design - "three groups testing dozens of blinded blood samples from CFS patients and healthy controls" - that may help clarify what did in fact go wrong with the methods that doctors Mikovits and Ruscetti used to establish the presence of XMRV they reported in October 2009, and could not replicate with the Blood Work Group.

By this time, my reasons for liking to see the study done are scientific, moral and legal. In the Ewen Callaway article there are two somewhat interesting paragraphs about dr. Lipkin. Here is the first:

Lipkin says he is convinced by work from John Coffin’s team at NCI, showing that XMRV emerged in the 1990s as a lab contaminant and is unlikely to underlie CFS (see Science raises questions about XMRV). But he says those findings do not rule out the possibility that CFS patients are infected with related retroviruses that, for some reason, only Mikovits has been able to detect.

I agree that is a logical possiblity. My personal probability for it is low, given the results of the Blood Work Group and given dr. Mikovitz's (*) actions since she was fired by the WPI, but then these are recent results, that might have been different, logically, morally and legally speaking.

And here is the second:

Lipkin came to Mikovits’ defence in her latest troubles. He says that she should be entitled to keep a copy of her laboratory records and lamented her arrest. “It’s very, very ugly and the sooner we put all this behind us the better off we’re all going to be,” he says.

I suppose dr. Lipkin has to be diplomatic, but in fact dr. Mikovits had them taken without as much as raising the possibility of obtaining a copy, as far as I know, and legally that is theft, as she ought to know. Also, since she did not raise that possibility, but simply had the materials taken and had them hidden for some seven weeks, it seems not unlikely she did so because there was something to hide in them or erase from them.

But then that eventuality - why did dr. Judy In Whom We TrustTM have the lab-books and other stuff stolen from the WPI? - will be treated in court, starting coming Monday, and that is another kind of trial, conducted for quite other kinds of reasons, than the trial dr. Lipkin's plans to conduct, in order to find out whether, after all, dr. Mikovits and dr. Ruscetti can find XMRV (or something similar) or again fail to do so when asked to do so with blinded samples.

(*) I have read claims the spelling ought to be "Mikovitz", for which reason I used it here, but I don't know. I do know I have far more often read the spelling Nature uses.

Corrections, if any are necessary, 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 of 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)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

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.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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