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Daily Beast: Interview with Mikovits who tells her side of events...

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Firestormm, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    I'm not entirely sure I'm understanding you, but I agree that the entry was not about a test for contamination. It was just that Dr. Mikovits had said that part of their protection against contamination was that the work was carried out in a lab that had never housed mouse retrovirus, and that the virus and the samples hadn't been in proximity. It now seems that upon poring over the lab diaries in July 2011, she discovered that was in error. All I'm saying is that I'm surprised that given all the controversy surrounding the possibility of contamination, that she hadn't double-checked the record earlier.
    Firestormm likes this.
  2. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    Of course the notebook entry was not a test for contamination but like you said a possible source. This means that it is possible, even probable, if you take into account the knowledge gained by the negative studies that contamination is a factor. I believe these negative studies are indeed valid.

    I don't understand why you think researchers do not carry the burden of responsibility. Researchers, in any study should be competent enough to know the issues surrounding a study and it is suprising that the researchers who performed the original tests for the Science paper didn't have this knowledge or their work was so sloppy they didn't catch it. This could have been easily avoided.

    I am NOT saying other people or agencies don't carry the responsibility, but it's not a black and white scenario and more complicated than some have protrayed here.

    For close to three years we have seen a lot of speculation about the status of XMRV and the Science Study. IMHO, it's the people who want to believe an RV is a causative factor for me/cfs more than the scientific based posts who speculate. But all sides have certainly done this on this forum and elsewhere in the community.

    Barb C.:>)
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Zombie Science

    One of the things that disturbs me about modern medicine is how easily it can be diverted by funding - approved or denied. As funding shifted away from the public purse to private enterprise, promotion of the research became more and more apparent. It was important to convince people to fund you, and not others. You have to put on a show. This is in direct conflict with maintaining scientific objectivity. It leads to overly biased, overblown media releases and media interviews. Its become pervasive in medical research. The presumption that we could overwhelmingly privatise medical research is a big player in Zombie Science. This has become the way it is done. No individual scientist can be blamed for this. This is a failure of the scientific profession, and the medical profession with regard to medical science. Its a failure of government and oversight. If we keep on this path, its going to get worse. Bye, Alex
    currer, beaker and ixchelkali like this.
  4. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    I agree. Nothing is perfect and this impact has to be weighed as a factor. But the great thing about science is that it is usually self correcting so other scienctist seeing this type of research would spot the faulty science methods.

    The above is a good example of what has happened in the Mikovits, et. al. study. Too much hype, vested interests as well as poor science. Again, IMHO.

    Barb C.:>)
  5. Mula

    Mula Senior Member

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    Knowledge of one test is not the knowledge of another, meaning the results are always the same for the tests in the Lombardi paper and contamination continues to be absent.
  6. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

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    I wish I could contribute more but I have to prioritize what is important. I love being on the forums but my health has to come first.

    Since I have to support myself and I'm having difficulty working, I can't be online hours at a time researching and discussing as I would like.

    alex3619: I have also worked for one of the top healthcare IT vendors and I'm well aware of what happens in information technology. At times it is discouraging to know the technology that is available yet how few understand how to use it and how it can be beneficial. One of my roles while at the IT vendor was to bridge the gap between clients, and colleagues in the clinical, hardware, software, business, and research areas. Medicine is truly fascinating but anyone who thinks they "know" everything is an idiot.

    barb: I don't remember you being on PR in 2009 and even 2010 when many members were online and in chat following everything very closely. You stated: "There seems to be a double standard when it comes to comparing Mikovits's behavior and what is acceptable verses other scientist who have come to different conclusions."

    I can only state that I follow no one blindly. I'm aware of others short comings/limitations as well as my own. That said, I wonder how you come to your conclusion that there is a double standard re Dr. Mikovits? There have been numerous discussions on this forum and others challenging various publications - from cohort selection, methodology, to "conclusions" that were not supported by data presented in the publication.

    From watching live discussions among the key players/scientists over the years and also understanding (to a degree) the science that was under discussion, there was no way I could interpret the discussions differently. I have many reasons for my views and they are based on my education, experience, and what I've witnessed first hand in live web feeds as well as reading many of the published papers.

    Published papers need intense scrutiny and I am thankful that the internet provides us all with access the have not had historically. The curtains have been parted so we are much more aware of the interactions and interdependency between academia, big pharma, governments, and the media.

    Firestormm: I work in a clinical laboratory which is different than a research laboratory. However, documentation is key in either situation. In the research lab, complete documentation in the lab notebooks enables scientists to go back and review what was done when they experience difficulties with assays or results that vary from what is expected. Troubleshooting assays and resolving unexpected results is part of the job.

    In the clinical lab, documentation is critical to CYA (cover you A$$). While I do everything to defined procedures and policies, there are times when there are gray areas - no specific guidelines on how to handle something. For that reason, I document everything possible so there can be no mistake of what I did when, what the results were, who I called, etc. Clinical labs are subjected to required inspections. Failures on inspections can result in a facility not being able to collect government payments (e.g. Medicare payments).

    I am not fully aware who currently conducts inspections on research labs where millions/billions of taxpayers money are spent each year. Oversight is a huge issue. If Dr.Mikovits came across something in a lab notebook that was not in line with her prior experience as a researcher, I'm sure it would alarm her and present her with the dilemma of what to do. She is not alone.

    I see this type of issue too frequently in healthcare today. If you say something, you could lose your job. If you don't say something, it could be a patient that suffers. You're screwed either way.

    Nuff said.. Time for rest. Thanks everyone for the great discussions!
    currer, beaker and ukxmrv like this.
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    One of the things about Zombie Science is that scientists are not picking up on the problems, at least not in the time frame of decades. These are studies that fulfill all the technical requirements of good science. They are often super expensive - millions of dollars. So nobody can easily poke holes in the research. Similarly nobody has the funding to do alternative studies.

    I am starting to come to the view that phase 3 clinical trials cannot be done reliably by drug companies. They need to be independent. The companies should fund completely indepenent research - but that raises issues about how to make it independent if they are paying for it.

    Science is supposed to be self correcting. In a time frame of many decades to centuries it is. If Zombie Science becomes even more entrenched then everyone will have to suffer a continuous rolling wave of unreliable science - it will be omnipresent.

    The whole Mikovits/WPI saga exemplifies some of this, in terms of the culture of science. So much science is now politicized. This is part of the whole problem, science should be objective, or at least as objective as humanly possible.

    Bye, Alex
  8. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    I'm not sure what your point is here but if the results are always the same, which I'm not sure is correct, this does not rule out contamination. There could be a myriad of reasons why a study would get the above results.

    How do you know contamination continues to be absent? I could site many studies which show that your statement might not be correct. Mikovits was unable to identify positive or negatives from her own study. This speaks volumes.The evidence is certainly pointing towards contamination driving the results of the Lombardi paper.

    I have a feeling the Lipkin study will give us a the definitive answer.

    Time to stop wasting my time and energy on this thread?
    Barb C.
    TessDeco likes this.
  9. Adamskitutu

    Adamskitutu *****

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    The notion that "science is self-correcting" is a faith-based belief. Looking at it logically, and (ironically) scientifically, no-one can ever be sure the practice of science corrects itself!
    currer likes this.
  10. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Adamskitutu, technically you are correct, though I would say that to many its more a heuristic (or generalization) than a belief. Science tends to correct itself. Its a probability thing. In time most things that are wrong will be discovered - but that time frame can be centuries. The biggest problem science faces is dogma - simple presumption of truth. Thats why I am against politicizing science. Politics breeds dogma in my view - but thats another generalization, not a law of nature. Bye, Alex
    ixchelkali likes this.
  11. Adamskitutu

    Adamskitutu *****

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    But the way it is fervently expressed Alex, indicates that many people believe it as an actuality. The same way of thinking manifests in the belief that 'justice is blind' and that laissez-faire economics runs perfectly for everyone because of an 'invisible hand' (Adam Smith). As you say - dogma is a major problem in science. The irony of a semantic generalisation being taken as actual evidence of science as a perfect self-correcting system, which happens, is large.

    I wouldn't even agree that science 'tends to correct itself' can be safely taken as a general ('heuristic') rule - not when you consider the legion (possibly infinite amount) of natural and other phenomena that has not yet been discovered, elucidated etc.

    Sadly, we can't discount the problem that the belief is usually expressed when the person wants others to stop questioning scientists: "Don't correct us/them, we/they correct ourselves/themselves" which is an issue of managing an argument to one's advantage - not a rational one, but an invocation of professional monopoly of decisions and policy making - sadly something that is a political issue, and something ME sufferers have been witness to and suffering from.
    asleep likes this.
  12. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Adamskitutu, science is substantially non-correcting if nobody engages in asking questions. Questioning everything is a key part of the process. As science becomes politicized and a business enterprise (primarily) the PR spin machines need it to be right - and the lobbying begins that is anti-questioning, anti-alternative. The profit motive drives this. Its no longer about finding out, its about protecting investments and making more money.

    I agree with your point that it is easy for people to consider "science is self correcting" as truth rather than generalization. The generalization is, like all generalizations, limited by the current data set and how it is interpreted. Of course it might not be valid in the future. This is especially true if science keeps being run by profit-driven vested interests. I also agree that it can be used as propaganda to shut down dissent and enquiry.

    It is ironic that you are saying this. Two or three blogs from now I will be discussing information monopolies. I regard this as the primary problem we face, a point I am working up to in my blogs. If you have thoughts on this issue I hope you will join in the discussion, or start your own thread, or whatever. I would welcome it. It needs to be debated, examined and considered for advocacy.

    Best wishes, Alex
    Adamskitutu likes this.
  13. Mula

    Mula Senior Member

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    The results of the tests from the Lombardi paper have still stayed as they were, positive and absent contamination. What have you else? Only those tests are the ones validated for detecting virus in a set of patients. If you are using the blood study to switch focus I would have thought you knew that the blood stored by blood banks is not useable for the tests from the Lombardi paper. The blood group were working to devise a test for mass testing of the blood banks not as an example time consuming first generation assay testing of PBMCs.
    ukxmrv likes this.
  14. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Barb, a possible source of contamination doesn't become probable unless there is evidence. It certainly doesn't become proven unless there is evidence. There is no evidence to prove that contamination is causing the positive results of MLV's in CFS patients.

    You say that you can provide links to studies about contamination but no contamination has been proven in in the original Science paper, the Alter/Lo paper, the Hanson paper.

    Yes, reseachers should be aware of problems around contamination and should be using the best possible methods to exclude that. Maureen Hanson seems well aware of this problem but she can't explain why the long term epidemic patients were the ones to show the MLV's.

    That would point to a possible difference in the subjects being important. Probably means little in science. It's either proven or not proven. Probable can be argued both ways.

    As the papers keep stacking up contamination gets either harder to detect or less likely to be the cause.

    People who argue that contamination is the cause of the results need to provide proof. We have yet to see this. Theories don't equal proof. Opinions don't equal proof regardless of how many scientists believe it.

    It's a bit like the old saying "one cannot be a little bit pregnant".

    If you read "and the band plays on" about HIV/AIDS the scientists there had "contamination" arguments as well. They were wrong in that case and could well be wrong again.

    Repeating your beliefs without proof isn't going to influence opinion. We've all read the papers and no contamination has been found to be proven on the seminal papers.
    currer likes this.
  15. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

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    Yes Barb.I think it is best at times to agree to disagree and move on. I have done so in the past and recognize when presenting my thoughts are futile.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but without discussion, it is nothing less that one's opinion. I truly believe that as "Iron sharpens iron, one many sharpens another".
  16. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Nicely put, and your first sentence there gets right to the heart of the matter. This notion is simply an article of faith, and it's directly analogous to religious articles of faith. I demand evidence, and a reasoned argument, before accepting this axiom. It is not enough that a priest scientist tells me this axiom is true.

    I want to explore the conditions that are necessary for the axiom to hold true, and I want to explore the societal conditions which cause science to 'self-correct' more or less rapidly. And I want to query whether it is conceivably the case that, by the time science has self-corrected one error, it is possible to create a new error with similar political consequences in a way that systematically defends the interests of the powerful.

    It seems to me that the error that too many scientists make is that, being disinterested in politics, they assume that the theoretical, pure, self-correcting practice of disinterested science conducted in an open and democratic environment can be translated into the modern, real-world context with its principles and legitimacy intact. The assumption is that Science is immune to distortion by the powerful interests who pay the scientists' wages, and that what remains as the real-world practice of science after that distortion still has the same properties as the abstract 'Science'. The assumption is clearly unsafe, and to pretend that there is not a genuine political problem here is to bury one's head in the sand.

    How long would it take for science to 'self-correct' an erroneous belief that a certain pesticide produced by all major pesticide manufacturers is harmful to pollenating insects and causing widespread environmental problems? Might it take longer than the lifetime of the people poisoning the environment and longer than the lifetime of those poisoned? How much damage would be done in the meantime? Could such damage potentially be irreversible and catastrophic? If so, is science's "self-correcting" mantra good enough for humanity, or do we need something more than this? Is the speed of self-correction affected by the ever-increasing privatisation of research funding? Is the balance of science affected by 5 of the 6 major pesticide companies funding the Science Media Centre, an organisation set up to advise the UK media on what science is credible and what isn't?

    The answers to those questions clearly show why the credibility of modern science is in crisis. And those aren't my words: Science in Crisis was the title of a TV programme presented by the new head of the Royal Society. He understood roughly half of the crisis in science, in my assessment. He failed to deal with the systemic changes in funding of academia since the 1980s that have tilted the balance of science so that it is no longer a free and disinterested pursuit of the truth (if it ever truly was). Many, and maybe most areas of modern science are now distorted and used in the defence of industrial and financial interests, and practiced in the interests of powerful companies rather than in the interests of humanity, and science's continuing loss of credibility as a source of reliable evidence is an inevitable consequence of that trend.

    Scientists who fear a 'new dark age' where their pronouncements are no longer trusted need only demand that they are freed from dependence on big business for their funding, and allowed to practice in an environment of genuine and undistorted academic freedom, without conflicts of interest, and with their work, their data - their evidence - made freely available to all for scrutiny. Then, and only then, can public trust - and genuine science - resume (or perhaps I should say 'begin'). Until then, I personally don't regard the modern practice of science (as a whole) as being worthy of the name, and certainly not worthy of lofty - and important - ideals like 'self-correction' and an unbiased pursuit of the truth.

    And by the way, I write all this in defence of the principles of science, not in opposition to them. I would like to see the theoretical ideals of science realised in the real world. At present, they are not: the traditional structures of academia are in crisis, they are corrupted by commercial interests in a way that is systemically harmful to the interests of humans, and radical changes are needed before the practitioners of modern science can credibly claim to be genuinely "scientific" once again.
  17. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    @ Mark Of course the scientific method is not flawless but if someone can come up with a better alternative I would like to see it. I don't doubt politics come into play but I think those who don't like what science is telling them, overgeneralize that believing in the scientific method is "faith based". Nothing coud be farther than the truth.

    Barb C.:>)
  18. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    What happened with AIDS really isn't comparable with what has happened with XMRP. The discovery of HIV was a different time, science was not as sophisticated and the devastation of HIV was readily apparent. The fact that there was debate about contamination has very little relevance, if any, with the debate today. This would be true even if the present science was showing an RV is responsible for me/cfs. It's still not revelant.

    Starting with the premise that an RV must be responsible for me/cfs and then basiing all your beliefs on that same premise, is a logical fallacy called bias.Science works the other way around.

    In the past three years very credible science is showing that it is less probable that xmrv is the cause of me/cfs.

    BTW, I have read And The Band Played On. ;)

    Barb C.:>)
  19. Firestormm

    Firestormm Senior Member

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    You read it? Dang. I thought it was an album by the Beatles :)
    barbc56 likes this.
  20. Adamskitutu

    Adamskitutu *****

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    That's an ad hominem speculation at best, and does not address the points we've all made in any adequate way.

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