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a neurosurgeons opinion: the presence of a retroviral sequence cannot be interpolated

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Psyma, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. Psyma

    Psyma

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    i just met a guy online who claims to be a neurosurgeon.
    i tested him on his knowledge about the brain,
    and he did seem pretty accurate with his direct responses to my question (i didnt give him time to look up any answers). so i guess he really is a neurosurgeon, but who knows right.



    anyway.
    i told him about how science seems to be in the dark ages when it comes to XMRV and CFS. he didn't know a lot about xmrv of CFS,

    but he gave me an answer on why he thinks this XMRV thing is blown out of proportion.
    below is a copy of my question and his answer.

    i don't understand his answer so i don't know how "cliche" his answer was.
    yet, maybe one of you will understand it,
    and be interested in what he had to say.




    [00:54] <neurosurgeon> viral genomes are well integrated in oour dna .. as shown in the Human genome study ..
    [00:55] <ME> yes but is it not possible then that
    [00:55] <ME> if 1/25 have XMRV (a documented retrovirus)
    [00:55] <ME> this causes CFS in some people and cancers in others?
    [00:55] <ME> what make u think its highly unlikely, if recent research find correlation between
    [00:55] <ME> XMRV and these ilnesses, especially CFS
    [00:55] <neurosurgeon> the mere presence of a retroviral sequence cannot be interpolated with a clinical condition unless you can explain the molecular sequence .. like in HIV
    [00:56] <neurosurgeon> out of 10,000 epidemiologic hypotheses, eventually one is proved correct
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Sounds like experience rather than knowledge speaking.

    Not saying he's wrong, but i don't think there's anything solid there that will change any minds. With the evidence looking so confused I don't think it's worth trying to guess either way.
  3. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    Sounds like he's arguing against a different hypothesis. This one went from mere sequence data to culture, serology and TEM imaging years ago.

    His statement about one in 10,000 hypotheses implies the vast majority of medical research literature is useful only as a means of employing professionals, at least on the time scale of a single human lifetime. As an example of what I mean by this, consider the great progress on the prevention of polio during my lifetime. By the time this was put into practice, I had already survived exposure to wild-type virus. The eradication of smallpox in the wild was another medical triumph during the same period. I was protected from this by vaccination, a procedure known since Jenner. Funding medical research helps future generations, in this case, but it would be dishonest to tell living individuals they will personally gain any benefits whatsoever. Does he agree?

    You might also ask if the response of the profession to Ignatz Semmelweis' hypothesis on the epidemiology of puerperile fever was reasonable. This seems implied by his criteria for accepting HIV, as there was no molecular biology at all prior to about 1930.

    The real problem is how you get from wild ideas and vague suspicions to advances in treatment. This requires questioning of current assumptions.

    A note on professional arrogance: neurosurgeons who worry about the harm they cause, due to ignorance, commit suicide at a rate an order of magnitude greater than the general population. Suppressing self-doubt is necessary for survival in this specialty.
  4. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Logan, Queensland, Australia
    Hi Psyma

    [00:54] <neurosurgeon> viral genomes are well integrated in oour dna .. as shown in the Human genome study ..
    [00:55] <neurosurgeon> the mere presence of a retroviral sequence cannot be interpolated with a clinical condition unless you can explain the molecular sequence .. like in HIV
    [00:56] <neurosurgeon> out of 10,000 epidemiologic hypotheses, eventually one is proved correct

    I don't agree with his ratio of 10,000:1 but the principle is correct. He is also right about the molecular sequence. What he did not know, though, is that some of that molecular sequence has been unraveled, and more is being worked out all the time. This is why XMRV is not universally accepted as a cause of disease by scientists. This is what the WPI and other researchers are trying to prove. If or when they do that, the debate will be over, and only dinosaurs will ignore XMRV. If they can't prove it, eventually XMRV research will end.

    Just to recap some main points, this is a virus proven to infect and spread through organs and tissues in the animal model, and contains a glucocorticoid/androgen response element with potentially severe ramifications. It has has a putative neurotoxic envelope. I eagerly await further research. Remember it took four years to really demonstrate some of the molecular stuff with HIV, and we are still learning decades later. Twenty years from now I predict we will still be learning new things about XMRV.

    Bye
    Alex
  5. garcia

    garcia Aristocrat Extraordinaire

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    Just wanted to say that HIV is still not universally accepted as a cause of disease by scientists. There will always be deniers.

    Also unlike HIV, we are not starting from scratch with XMRV. We have the 25 years of HIV-research, plus the decades (40+ years?) of research into Murine (and other gamma) Retroviruses, done by e.g. Sandi Ruscetti and others.

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