I continue being not well, and otherwise also as before, so I cannot do
much. Today I take up the theme of the last time,
also summarized in the title. And I assume you mostly remember what I
said the last time for which also see, and
especially the first, because it is brief, clear and to the point
1. Lipkin and Mikovits
2. Pinching an ME Association
3. Racaniello and Klein
4. Lies, deception and ME
The issue, then, is whether the positive XMRV-findings are due to lab
1. Lipkin and Mikovits
the last time that I was interested in Dr.
Lipkin's statement, and it was made the same day, is to be
found on PR-F, and is eminently rational and addresses the papers in
Retrovirology, the claim that it is la contamination, directly:
These papers emphasize the pitfalls of molecular assays and raise
concerns. Nonetheless, it is premature to rule out XMRV or related
viruses as factors in prostate cancer or CFS. Links have also been made
based on serology and the presence of viral proteins as well as of viral
sequences. Thus, we still need appropriately powered, rigorous blinded
studies of well characterized patients and controls. One such study is
underway under the auspices of the National Institutes Health.
W. Ian Lipkin, MD
John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and Director
Center for Infection and Immunity
Mailman School of Public Health
Professor of Pathology and Neurology
College of Physicians & Surgeons
722 West 168th Street, 17th Floor
And here is Dr. Mikovits, likewise eminently rational and addressing
points raised in the fresh "it is lab contamination" publications:
The Lombardi et al. and Lo et al. studies were done using four
different methods of detection. They were not simply PCR experiments, as
were the studies by McClure et al. and others who have recently reported
their difficulties with contamination. Experienced researchers such as
Mikovits, Lombardi, Lo and their collaborators understand the limitations
of PCR technology, especially the possibility of sample contamination. As
a result, we and Lo et al. conducted rigorous studies to prevent and rule
out any possibility that the results reported were from contamination.
In addition to the use of PCR methodology, the Lombardi team used two
other scientific techniques to determine whether, in fact, we had found
new retroviruses in human blood samples. We identified a human antibody
response to a gamma retroviral infection and we demonstrated that live
gamma retrovirus isolated from human blood could infect human cells in
culture. These scientific findings cannot be explained by contamination
with mouse cells, mouse DNA or XMRV-related virus-contaminated human
tumor cells. No mouse cell lines and none of the human cell lines
reported today by Hue et al. to contain XMRV were ever cultured in the
WPI lab where our PCR experiments were performed.
Humans cannot make antibodies to viruses related to murine leukemia
viruses unless they have been exposed to virus proteins. Therefore,
recent publications regarding PCR contamination do not change the
conclusions of the Lombardi et al. and Lo et al. studies that concluded
that patients with ME/CFS are infected with human gammaretroviruses. We
have never claimed that CFS was caused by XMRV, only that CFS patients
possess antibodies to XMRV related proteins and harbor infectious XMRV,
which integrates into human chromosomes and thus is a human infection of
as yet unknown pathogenic potential "The coauthors stand by the
conclusions of Lombardi et al. Nothing that has been published to date
refutes our data."
Judy A. Mikovits
Both responses are from December 20. Nevertheless...
2. Pinching an ME Association
Something that calls itself "Professor Anthony J Pinching" - never heard
of it - in liege with no less than the worthies of the ME-association,
that supposedly is on the side of patients with ME, and not on the side
of pseudoscientists the next day, December 21, published the following,
that I quote in full in blue. You find Pinching's disgraceful phony
baloney under the link. I quote it in blue with my comments in black in
Since the original study suggesting a possible link between
CFS/ME and the XMRV retrovirus, there have been six published
reports from reputable groups in three continents that have
failed to find evidence of this virus. These studies have used
appropriate techniques in well characterised CFS/ME patients.
I have no evidence of that - "appropriate
techniques" and "well
characterised CFS/ME patients" - and
dislike claims presented at science that are mere opinion without
any proof. Also, Cort Johnson
printed a list on Phoenix Rising that showed that in fact only
few samples were investigated:
"I just looked at the Hue paper: this is what they looked at
- CFS - 2 full-length samples
- pol sequences from prostate cancer - 6
- sequence from 22Rv1 cell line - 1
- endogenous MLV sequences - 46
- DG 75 complete genome sequence - 1
- full length MLV sequences from VP 62 - 28
- murine C retrovirus - 1
- MLV complete genome sequence - 1
- Moloney MLV - 1
- AKV MLV - 1
So there were only two XMRV CFS samples - not alot!"
One study found evidence of two different
retroviruses, the significance of which is unclear.
Four very recent further studies (two of
them including as author one of the original commentators on the
first report) have provided strong evidence to suggest that
laboratory and/or reagent contamination are the likely
explanation for the original findings.
Well... no: I reject "strong evidence".
That's again mere opinion without argument and manipulative when
addressed to a public of non-scientists.
The current view of informed observers
And yet more
manipulative propaganda talk, this informed observer
concludes: Professor Pinching, who are you being paid by? Who are
you really serving while pretending to be serving science, truth
and patients with ME?!
is that the research evidence does not
support the idea that XMRV or other retroviruses have a role in
the causation or manifestations of CFS/ME.
Some research evidence does, other research evidence doesn't.
Why are you misrepresenting, Pinching?
This type of virus is especially liable to
be found as a result of inadvertent laboratory contamination,
"especially liable ". And why not
say simply: We - Greg Towers, Tony Pinching etc. - claim that
doctors Lo, Alter and Mikovits are incompetent if not liars?!
and there is now direct evidence to
support this explanation.
So let's be straight: there was no
direct evidence before, right?!
There is an ongoing study in which samples
from the same patients are sent to multiple laboratories, and
this – together with the latest reports – may conclude the
I take it this refers to Lipkin's
research, who did have this plan. And his statement is printed
above, and whatever the truth, Lipkin is a name in medical
science, Pinching merely a non-entity, a cipher.
There is currently no basis for using
tests or treatment based on the initial findings in clinical
The Lombardi and Lo/Alter-papers give evidence for trying
out such treatments. Pinching may disagree - God knows on what
rational knowledge, for that he does not deign to give - but he
may not misrepresent, and does.
I find that extremely dishonest, worrisome
and despicable - and see my
Feynman vs Wessely for my
reasons why: Pinching, it may be safely concluded, is yet another
Cargo Cult pseudo-scientist, if not an out and out betrayer of
The original findings raised high
expectations, but the hopes now seem to have been dashed.
language, and as so much manipulative language without
clear referents while oozing innuendo: whose "high
expectations", and whose "hopes"?!
And why the manipulative "seem"? (In any case, speaking for
myself: I just don't know whether XMRV is involved in ME,
and nobody does, at this point in time - and again I am not
precisely madly happy about the possibility of having XMRV: It's
not a pleasant prospect if true, in my estimate.)
We have been here many times before.
Pinching certainly has not been
there any time before as a patient. And I dislike this phonyness,
and besides do not consider myself in his class, nor him in my
Professor Greg Towers, an author of one of
the recent studies comments appropriately in a press release.
“Our conclusion is quite simple: XMRV is not the cause of
chronic fatigue syndrome.
Well, that is false. And it is
intentional lying if made into a press release or published
comment by a supposed medical scientist: The conclusion they are
at most entitled to is that there is some new evidence that XMRV
may be detected due to lab contamination. But in fact that has
possibility has been known from the beginning. And there has been
no scientific discussion, while the papers referred to are
So messrs. Towers and Pinching are misrepresenting and
deceiving the public - whatever the real facts of the
matter, that they have as little definite knowledge of as
misleading: "All" the evidence Pinching - pretends to -
believe; not all evidence in all scientific journals, for
both Lombardi et al. and Lo and Alter et al. present contrary
So why does Pinching lie? In whose pay is
shows that the sequences from the virus
genome in cell culture have contaminated human chronic fatigue
syndrome and prostate cancer samples.
Again, Pinching phony baloney: be
honest and say clearly that Lo, Alter and Mikovits are
incompetent if not liars, for that is what it comes down to, also
what with "All our evidence".
Tell the world that you, Tony Pinching, knows what the truth is,
and a man like Alter compared with you a fool if not a liar. For
that's what your doing, phony Tony - except that you lack
the balls to be forthrigth.
It is vital to understand that we are not
saying chronic fatigue syndrome does not have a virus cause – we
cannot answer that yet – but we know it is not this virus
If so, Pinching is a liar or an
incompetent, for he knows no
such thing. Neither do I, nor do I know its denial, but I am not
Indeed, it's an interesting question why Pynching and Towers and
indeed Wessely and McClure
overplay their hands so much, scientifically and logically
speaking, and do so especially in especially prepared press
The answer is, no doubt, for the most part that they are not real
scienists but pomo propagandists for their own interest-groups of
pseudo-scientists making money from patients and health-insurance
by pseudo-science, lies and deceptions, for money. See:
The main benefit of the episode has been
an increased awareness of the need for more substantial
understanding of the biological basis for CFS/ME,
Mother Hubbard's Soft Soaping exemplified.
and for better tests and treatments.
O the lovely hypocrisy! May I conclude
this also covers the NICE treatments and tests, and the Wesselyan
tests and treatments?! I may, mayn't I? And these are all without
any biological basis, right?! And nevertheless imposed
as if they were science on patients?! What happened to science,
medicine and morals in England?!
For the CFS/ME community,
I am not a community. I am an individual.
the strong health warning must be not to
rush to embrace new research findings until they have been
Well, WTF are you liar or nitwit
sending press releases or pretentious professorial comments into
the world for? And whence this condescending BS about what I
should and should not feel or think?
Professor Anthony J Pinching
Note to self if ever I come to England:
Clearly this creature is not a medical person equipped with a
rational mind and moral conscience. Beware!
What I also question having arrived here is the morality and/or brains
of the medical advisor of the ME Association:
Chas, what do you have between your ears? You do not need to
believe in XMRV as a possible cause for ME .... but since when is it fit
for a patients organization to publish execrable baloney like the
above stupid shite - if you excuse me - as if it could possibly make
scientific sense, and is not an out and out piece of lying propaganda for
In support of this there is the following, again by medical doctors
very much more prominent and well-known than either Pinching or Shepherd:
3. Racaniello and Klein
Meanwhile, a prominent retrovirologist, professor Vincent Racaniello,
has insisted yesterday that he is not convinced xmrv is the result of lab
contamination, but at the moment I can't get his site. The link is here:
And the text is this - quite courageous also:
published my reaction to the
four papers on the retrovirus XMRV published this week in the
. I was quoted as saying ”These four papers
are probably the beginning of the end of XMRV and CFS”. I wish to
retract this statement and explain my reasons for doing so.
Early Monday a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Trine
Tsouderos, sent an email asking for my thoughts on four XMRV
papers that had just been released (paper one,
four). I read all four papers and decided that they raised
serious concerns about the role of XMRV in human disease.
Specifically, the four papers demonstrated different ways that
assays for XMRV could be subject to contamination with murine
viral sequences. I wrote an email to Ms. Tsouderos outlining my
summary of the papers, and later that day her article was
published. My statement was reproduced exactly from the email I
had sent her, so I was not misquoted.
I then set out to write about the papers for my
viruses. I read the papers over again, and began checking XMRV
Genbank. I also began an email correspondence with authors of
three of the four papers, and spoke with my virology colleagues
here at Columbia. As a consequence of this additional research I
decided that my initial impression of the papers was incorrect,
which is evident in my post entitled ‘Is
XMRV a laboratory contaminant?‘. Almost immediately after
publishing the piece readers began to ask why my comments to the
Chicago Tribune had such a different tone. I concluded
that a retraction and explanation were necessary.
Upon re-reading three of the four Retrovirology papers
it became clear to me that they show that identification of XMRV
can be fraught with contamination problems, but they do not imply
that previously published studies are compromised by these
findings. Clearly any new studies done on XMRV should keep in mind
the potential for contamination from PCR kits and murine nucleic
I was initially more troubled by the fourth paper by
Hue and colleagues. There are four major findings in this
paper (gag PCR primers are not specific for XMRV; the
virus is present in 5 human tumor cell lines; two XMRV isolates
are nearly identical to a virus from the human prostate cell line
and also contain an insertion from the murine retrovirus MoMLV;
and there is more nucleotide diversity in viral sequences from
22Rv1 cells than in all the patient XMRV sequences). The fact that
two XMRV isolates seem to be laboratory contaminants – judged by
the presence of MoMLV sequences – was initially unsettling until
it became clear that other XMRV isolates do not have this
insertion. That leaves the fourth finding – that XMRV from 22Rv1
cells appears ancestral to, and more diverse than, all the human
XMRV sequences. I decided that this result was less troublesome
than I had originally believed, in part because it is not clear
that the differences among the 22Rv1 viruses did not arise during
My conclusion is that these four papers point out how
identification of XMRV from human specimens can be complicated by
contamination, but they do not mean that previous studies were
compromised. They serve as an important reminder that future
experiments to identify XMRV need to be appropriately controlled
to ensure that the results are not compromised by contamination.
In other words, these four papers are NOT the beginning of the
end of XMRV and CFS. Rather, research on the role of this virus in
human disease must proceed, with large, case-controlled
as suggested by others.
I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended, angered,
or disappointed in any way by my statement to the Chicago Tribune.
It is my goal to educate the public about virology, and clearly I
did not do that very well.
There are at least two lessons that you can take away from this
incident. First, that I make mistakes, and that I’m willing to
admit it. Everyone does, including scientists. Second, if I had
difficulties interpreting these papers, how would non-scientists
professor Klein, from the Cleveland Clinic, protested as follows,
We have reported XMRV integration in fresh frozen prostate tissue
taken directly from patients at radical prostatectomy that has never been
put in tissue culture and believe this is solid evidence of authentic
human infection. See Dong et al PNAS 2007 and Kim et al. J Virol 2008
Again, this is no proof positive that none of the
positive findings of xmrv can be caused by lab contamination, but it is
proof positive that persons like Pinching and Towers lie and
deceive, and do so knowingly, for else they were not professors:
They systematically and on purpose give one side of the argument only,
and pretend the other does not exist.
That is not science, that is propaganda, and it is very
immoral dirty playing when done by nominal "medical scientists" or
nominal "advocates" for patients with ME.
4. Lies, deception and ME
Meanwhile... one of the things I have learned over the past year is
that the main reason why there is now for decades no real scientific
progress in the study of the cause(s) of ME/CFS is that several groups of
pseudo-scientists, working in coordination since over two decades - namely
in and around the CDC in the US: Reeves, Jones, and in various British
universities: Wessely, White, Chalder, Sharpe, and governmental
institutions and in the Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen, Holland:
Bleijenberg and Van der Meer - have given up science if they ever were
real scientists, and instead further the interests of their professions
or health-insurors or the state that has to pick up part of the medical
bills by doing pseudo-science that is in fact directed at and meant for
the media, parliamentarians and bureaucrats and ngo's to get their
This gets very nauseating to me, also because these are crafty,
degenerate, immoral and also, especially in England, powerful and
dangerous liars and deceivers:
Whereas some real scientists try to do real science in
the interests of patients who are really ill, there is a socially and
institutionally more powerful group of pseudo-scientists who in fact are
playing the media and doing politics rather than science, while
pretending to do the best and to do "evidence based science".
All the evidence have found over the past 15 months is that they are
pseudo-scientific liars and deceivers, blocking the way of rational
inquiry and reasonable help. And this judgment of mine is not a
subjective but a logically highly informed one: What I get from
pseudo-scientists in the name of "evidence based science" was invariably
rhetorics plus methodological deception.
Let me again repeat what I said or suggested
above: I have no strong beliefs about the relation between XMRV and ME
either way, basically because I know nothing about virology, and
I just don't know whether XMRV is
involved in ME, and nobody does know, at this point in
time - and also I am not precisely madly happy about the possibility
of having XMRV: It's not a pleasant prospect if true, in my
estimate, and there are less worrisome possible scientific
bio-medical explanations for ME/CFS.
logically relevant fact that I did not mention sofar is this: The
American medical doctor Deckoff-Jones and her daughter, both with
ME/CFS since many years, and also another American medical doctor, are
doing quite well now since quite a few months on medicines suggested
by HIV-research, and based on the relations between XMRV and HIV, that
both are retroviruses.
But yes... it is difficult to appraise
this other than as 'interesting anecdotical evidence', and in the end
I just don't
know about the relation between XMRV and ME, and so far nobody
knows, and all who say they know and are medical scientists
are incompetent or liars - and I do know when I am lied to,
when I am propagandized, when frauds present pseudo-science as
"evidence-based science", when an argument is logically or
mathematically valid or not, and what does make fundamental sense in
real science, for I am a psychologist and had hoped to be a
philosopher of science and mathematical logician if I had not fallen ill.
And to the best of my
knowledge professors Pinching and Towers, whose stuff on the papers in
Retrovirology I have
read, lie knowingly and indeed as if they are trained well in
doing so. I do not extend this to the papers in to be published
These have to be decently discussed in a rational scientific way,
instead of abused while they are not even published properly yet, to
make propaganda to the media in the way of Pinching and Towers.
But the abuse Pinching
and Towers made of this, specifically in their lies and deceptions
directed at the media, is frightful and sickening, and should be
sufficient reason for the professional bodies of these gentlemen to
take steps against them.
Corrections to the above
text will have to be made later in view of my health.
-- 23 december 2010: Some typos have been
P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason
is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if
there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.