` -

Previous IndexNL Next

Dec 22, 2011               

me+ME: Science withdraws 2009 XMRV-paper

The title says it all though I will add a little in the way of links and comments:

1. Various reports on the withdrawal
2. Gerwyn and It's a mouse KNOW better
3. I repeat a fairly clear explanation

1. Various reports on the withdrawal

Here is a series of links (as found early in the evening in Amsterdam), starting with Science and then Nature:

- In a Rare Move, Science Without Authors' Consent Retracts
  Paper That Tied Mouse Virus to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The above is by Jon Cohen and seems the most informed, and indeed he writes for Science, that is scheduled to publish the full retraction statement by the chief-editor Alberts tomorrow. Even so, Mr Cohen can cite him now:

"The responsibility that Science magazine has to the scientific community is to make a strong statement that we don't think anything in that paper can be relied on."

Then there is Nature:

- XMRV paper withdrawn

And there is Bloomberg:

- Chronic Fatigue-Virus Link Research From 2009
   Retracted by Science Journal

There also is a thread on Phoenix Rising:

- Nature: XMRV Paper Withdrawn

And professor Racaniello has a brief article on his Virology Blog:

- Science retracts paper on detection
   of XMRV in CFS patients

It's also mentioned on ERV's blog, in the comments, from 251 onwards:

- XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 30

Auntie Beeb is there too, and also found professor Wessely willing to comment, to my vast non-amazement:

- Journal retracts study linking virus to ME

There's more, from other papers, but it's mostly more of the same, which is not odd, since the Science article is either not available to all, or not available to non-journalists.

2. Gerwyn and It's a mouse KNOW better

Then again there are of course the good folks at peoplewithme aka Gerwyn's Geroupies, and they KNOW things very much better than real scientists with real degrees and without brainfog do. Here are V99 aka It's a mouse and Gerwyn, in tandem:

Its a mouse Wrote:  Mikovits and Ruscetti are not going to retract, so I am looking at the WPI staff.

Isnt it great how they have no evidence of contamination, no wrong doing, nothing!

What a fab anti science magazine Science is.

There are no negative studies! They viruses are polytropic not xenotropic!

[Gerwyn:] yes i believe that the researchers apart from the two which actually ran the study have been persuaded or coerced into making a retraction.The timing of the announcement just before Xmas is of course is a total coincidence.After all conspiracies do not exist and governments and corporations would never suppress inconvenient research

As may (conceivably) have happened before, Gerwyn is mistaken: It's chief-editor Alberts who got fed up with evasions - and I quote the last part from Jon Cohen's article linked above:

Alberts says they simply had been "spun" by the authors too many times for too long. "If our editorial retraction helps to end the resources to go into this fruitless endeavor, I think we've made a contribution to the scientific community," he says.

Mr Alberts can be sure that Ms V99 aka It's a mouse sees it differently:

It's a mouse - RE: Science retracting

They never replicated any experiment that Mikovits and Ruccetti did.

Science is in deep shit. It is gone as far as I am concerned. Science magazine helped to kill it.

Ms Mouse fails to explain why doctors Ruscetti and Mikovits signed the BWG paper that effectively invalidated their work and showed there was no evidence to believe the October 2009 paper since neither doctor was able to find XMRV in blood if the samples were blinded, completely counter to what doctor Mikovits had been saying for two years then.

Ms Mouse also fails to explain why doctor Mikovits, sainted and filled to the gills with good intentions while possessed of a brain the size of a planet did not rise to the occassion of saving her research, her personal integrity, the interests of the patients she wishes so well, the interests of science, and the immorality of the WPI when she was invited to defend herself in court and the press would have been eager to publish her words.

Chief-editor of Science Alberts seems to have some notion why, and I quote Mr Cohen's article again:

Alberts says the Blood Working Group finding was the final straw that led Science to request the full retraction. "The blood group study to me was dramatic evidence of poor science," says Alberts. "It gave us absolutely no confidence in the ability of the major labs involved to do the assays. I find that enormously disturbing."

Indeed, I agree - and for the benefit of patients with ME/CFS - I am one who enters his 34th year as such a patient in 9 days, and indeed I do have very good degrees in psychology and philosophy, which turned out to be an excellent ground to be discriminated on various patients forums by idiots or trolls who want to speak for patients in the name of science while themselves having no scientific understanding or degrees at all - I'll now repeat a clear exposition of the case I wrote in October:

3. I repeat a fairly clear explanation

Here it is, from October 28 last without any change or deletion:

Next, where is the evidence "that politics and personal gain have interfered with science"? I see none: The Whittemores certainly cannot have gained much or anything by the previous two years of XMRV-brouhaha, though they might have expected to do so two years ago, but no longer today; while the Ruscettis, and maybe Mikovits herself, who seem to owe XMRV-patents they may have expected millions from, only have a very small chance to profit from these in the present circumstances, where anyone who seems really knowledgeable about retroviruses - sorry, Gerwin: not you - holds that the XMRV-findings are due to contamination.

Then again, speaking of evidence, about the logic of which I know a lot, and about XMRV and retroviruses, about which I know little, as I have said from the beginning, unlike attested geniuses like Bob and Gerwyn, who believe they know all about it, and more than such retrovirologist dumboes like professors Racaniello and Coffin and Levy and Silverman, what does strike me is especially the following.

What impressed me in October 2009 about the paper by Lombardi, Mikovits et al were three things:

1. It was a possible explanation of ME/CFS that I have, with medical diagnoses and all, since January 1, 1979, that had never struck my mind as possible and plausible at all - but then I am not a medical man nor a retrovirologist: My degrees are in psychology and philosophy.

2. It was published in Science, which is a scientific journal with a very high reputation, which made it likely it was reviewed by quite capable retrovirologists and others, and gave it a high probability it was real science.

3. It came with a highly significant finding: Some 67% of persons with ME/CFS had been shown, by the authors of the paper, to be infected with XMRV, as compared with some 4% of persons who did not have ME/CFS.

Since then, the editors of Science have partially withdrawn the paper, and seem to be bend on withdrawing all of it; the BWG (Blood Working Group, US government funded), it turns out, has been following XMRV for two years, because of the considerable dangers if indeed XMRV does cause ME/CFS and is in the blood supply, and has established - with the agreement of dr. Mikovits, who was one of the authors of the paper of Busch et al for the BWG - that dr. Mikovits and her coworkers in the WPI could not distinguish blood with XMRV from blood without it.

And therewith above points 2 and 3 are completely void, while as to point 1 nearly all retrovirologists and medical people seem convinced, from what has been found and not found over the past two years, that XMRV is probably a lab-contaminant, and there is, given the demise of the other points, and what was found, no particular reason to hold that XMRV is dangerous for human beings, nor any particular reason that it is involved with ME/CFS.

I think even dr. Mikovits agrees with most of the above, or else she wouldn't or shouldn't have signed the paper of the BWG as co-author.

For me, as a patient with ME/CFS, with a fair to good understanding of real science, but with no degrees relevant to this research, it seems over and done:

Dr. Mikovits and her group at WPI could not find XMRV in blinded samples beyond chance-level; others couldn't find it, also if they were capable retrovirologists without any co-authors with interests in not finding it; there is no special reason to hold XMRV is a plausible explanation for ME/CFS, apart from the finding that was mistaken, as indeed dr. Peterson, who does know very much about ME/CFS, has been saying for quite a while; all professors of retrovirology that I know of have come round to the view that XMRV is a lab-contaminant, even if some thought otherwise in 2009; and the editors of Science believe the paper by Mikovits and Lombardi et al should be retracted.

Of course, one can insist that XMRV (HGRV, MLV) IS the cause of ME/CFS till eternity - but what one is then saying in effect is that lots of reputable professors in retrovirology, all without any special interest in finding that XMRV is or is not the cause of ME/CFS, do not know science, nor does dr. Peterson, dr. Hyde and others know about medicine or ME/CFS, nor do the more than 20 authors of the BWG-paper know science or retrovirology (apart from dr. Mikovits, of course), and indeed one may hold till eternity that Gerwyn and V99 are the reborn Jesus and mother Mary from the MECFS-forums, and one ought to believe them, for they claim to KNOW, and they are beyond all lesser mortals in intelligence, knowledge, honesty and integrity, and you, like all their proud followers on that forum, should believe so, even if you have in fact never met them in the flesh, never talked to them, and do not know anything about them except what they divulged on public forums.

To me it seems that if this is what one thinks, one should completely give up on real science and real medicine, and start prayer-meetings. (For the faithful, anything is possible, and scientists anyway are probably from the devil.)

And to conclude my comment on the statement: It seems to me that the work of the BWG, as reported here

- PR-F: XMRV Webinair - Results of BWG
         - Q&A Video and Slides

is an example of real and good science, and indeed dr. Mikovits was part of the group of its authors, so I don't see why her husband now writes

It is unfortunate, yet a sign of the society we live in, that politics and personal gain have interfered with science and the attempts of committed researchers to pursue the goal of scientific research.

Surely, her co-authors of the BWG-paper were honest and competent, and had no expectation of political or personal gain? And if not, why did dr. Mikovits sign the BWG-paper?

Second, there are quite a few things that strike me as odd about the above mail or letter:

- Why did dr. Mikovits's husband write it?
- Why does dr. Mikovits use an ill patient's email for contact
   with the world?
- Why does dr. Mikovits imply that who disagrees with her
   is concerned with "politics and personal gain"? As to gain:
- What were the financial expectations for the XMRV-
   related patents that the Ruscetti's owe in November 2009?
- Why could the Mikovits-led group at the WPI produce no
   more than 15 samples of ME/CFS patients' blood with XMRV
   if they claim to have researched hundreds or thousands the
   last two years?

I could ask more and suggest more, but I won't: I am ill and I cannot see any reasonable hope for any rational explanation of ME/CFS in terms of XMRV (HGRV, MLV) nor any reasonable expectation that dr. Mikovits will find a position in which she can continue her research nor any decent chance she will get funding.

So XMRV is dead as a reasonable and fund-raising hypothesis for ME/CFS. It or another related similar virus may still turn out to be important to public health, but so far as I can see, the scientists in the BWG were sincere, capable, and honest, and have no personal interest to deceive, and they seem convinced that at least XMRV is not by far as dangerous as it was feared to be.

Therefore, for me the probability is that XMRV (HGRV, MLV) is just as relevant to ME/CFS as it was in 2008: Not at all, on any known grounds, for all evidence that it might be has collapsed.

And while it is still, as it was in 2008, remotely possible that some retrovirus is somehow involved with ME/CFS (or subgroups of people with that - presumed or actual - diagnosis) and may be capable of explaining it (or a subgroup of those with presumed ME/CFS), that is at present a mere and remote logical possibility without any specific good known reproducible evidence.

And thus it is, except of course for the Gerwynite Geroupies (*), who KNOW it's not so, who KNOW instead, in the words of one of them, the mighty mind Bullybeef, that

How ironic, this is the day that Science killed science.

Mon Dieu, mon Dieu, ayez pitié des sots! As often, Chamfort diagnosed it well:

"Les hommes sont si pervers que le seul espoir et même le seul désir de les corriger, de les voir raisonnables et honnêtes, est un absurdité, une idée romanesque qui ne se pardonne qu'à la simplicité de la première jeunesse."

(*) No, I did not forget Ms Pamela Carter and her group. But I don't have access from my own computer to the site of the dear benighted who also is in a state of constant living death, she says, and therefore I cannot now report on the confusions on that site: They locked me out 1 1/2 years ago already because they hate persons who know real science, and just love the colour of their own bullshit too much to want to allow me to see and criticize it. They rather multiply their unenlightened idiocies than allow real science and real scientists a chance to refute them. "In the best interests of the patients", also, just like professors Reeves and Wessely.

Again, Chamfort understood and put it very well:

"Les gents faibles sont les troupes légères de l'armée des méchants. Ils font plus de mal que l'armée même, ils infestent et ils ravagent."

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.

        home - index - top - mail