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Mikowitz accused of manipulating XMRV paper

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Valentijn, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    IMO the two slides bit is very, very serious. Despite the rudeness of the ERV blogger, this issue should be looked into. The gist of it as I read the information is that the same exact band read-out graphic was presented as if it were from two separate tests, and there was evidence they thought of using it for a third test! But on closer inspection, it is the result of only one test, the original protein expression part of the Science article. The reason it looked like a second test was that part of the procedure, the use of 5-Azacytidine to force protein expression, had been OMITTED from the original Science article. This is explained here:

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/10/xmrv-researcher-fired.html

    This would make me hopping mad if I were one of the researchers who spend money trying to validate the original WPI experiment, they left out part of their experimental procedure! I don't know the details of how that omission might have handicapped the other researchers, but suspect we will hear more about this.

    FWIW, we had language like ERV uses being leveled against ME/CFS patients, anonymous posters and moderators here on PR two years ago when there was a split in forums. I have received PMs from angry forum members far worse than anything on the ERV blog. So I don't think anyone owns the high ground about what language is acceptable in public. The ME/CFS bloggers have been equally potty-mouthed. Personally, I would fire ERV in a moment if she worked for my lab and wrote like that, and think anyone doing that is attempting character assassination and defamation and should be kicked off any rational forum. Low-class all around, regardless whether that is on ERV's blog, on another ME/CFS forum, here or anywhere on the web.
     
    Valentijn and Firestormm like this.
  2. Bob

    Bob

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    Yes, I have to admit that this doesn't look good.

    If the controls did not use 5-aza, but the patient samples did use 5-aza, then that does seem rather misleading.

    But I'm not clear whether the normal controls used 5-aza or not. I think it might be safe to assume that they didn't from reading the article.

    As far as I can tell, there is no mention of 5-aza either in the Science paper or the supporting online material.

    I think I'd have to re-read the entire paper though :eek:, to work out the exact consequences of this omission.

    I wouldn't be surprised if there is a full retraction this week.
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  3. joshualevy

    joshualevy

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    I wonder if that means the original paper was not blinded? I would think so. I mean, if the patients got 5-aza and the controls did not, that means that the process involved knew which was which, and that suggests that it was not really blinded. At an absolute minimum, it means that it was not completely blinded, and that could easily explain how contamination got into one group but not the other.

    Joshua (not Jay!) Levy
     
  4. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    I didn't get that impression that the controls weren't treated with 5-aza. Where did you get that from in the article?

    The explanation in the sciencemag article makes sense to me as far as the slides not being fraud or even incorrect. Then, though there is the issue of the experimental protocol not being fully elucidated by the Lombardi et al. group. Someone somewhere else mentioned the plausible seeming, imo, reason that the original Lombardi et al. paper was very space constrained by Science so they had to cut things out. It seems though, to me at this point, that they should have mentioned the 5-aza use in the follow-up article on their methods or at least somewhere before Ottawa.
     
    jace and Valentijn like this.
  5. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    The fact that Trine is using ERV as a source just shows how biased she is, as if that needed further proof. What about all the much more damning valid critiques of the anti-HGRV and anti-ME-science people that actual respected sources clog up the comments section and her email box with?? Trine has needs to go back to food reviews.
     
    ukxmrv likes this.
  6. justinreilly

    justinreilly Stop the IoM & P2P! Adopt CCC!

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    I don't see how anything could be far worse than writing blogs about "the oh-so-fatigued Andrea Whittemore" and Dr. Mikovits, the "gigantic f***ing c**t" more than once while in the same breath calling for civility in science.

    I don't remember ever seeing anything equally potty-mouthed on any ME blog.
     
    jace, ukxmrv and Nina like this.
  7. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Quite right Justin. And the rude words are not the issue, it's the ad hominem attacks on a scientist. Kurt- I've actually put a few examples up in the comments section of this latest Science article.

    At those claiming this is all 'serious'- you are clearly not aware of the amount of discrepancies that go on in academic research. **********Moderation: Text removed.
     
    jace likes this.
  8. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Bob- I'm not including you in that. I don't think you are a Specific Issue Antagonist, and I know you have spoken about PACE discrepancies. AND I don't think you are trying to trash Mikovits and others reputation and integrity.

    But other people here appear to be doing just that. It's disgraceful - and it shows EXACTLY why scientists are worried about working in ME/CFS- attacks from scientists and pseudoskeptics, not patients, are the cause - contrary to Professor Wessely's claims.
     
    jace, Bob and Nina like this.
  9. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins PJ Princess

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    While I do realise that this issue is very contentious and emotive; please let's all be mindful that we ALL have different skills. We are ALL valuable.

    Some of us are academics, some of us have trade skills, some us have highly developed interpersonal skills, some of us have the gift of comedy...the list is endless.

    Opinions, when expressed with the utmost respect for others, are far more influential and mature than posts which cause hurt.

    A little bit of respect for each other goes a very long way. :D

    Anyhoo, over and out. I know nothing about anything, especially when it comes to these recent research dramas. As you were, people :hug:
     
    sandralee likes this.
  10. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    The title of this thread is almost identical to the one in the news article quoted, and reflective of the content of that article, hence the current title seems appropriate. I know a lot of people consider any attack on Mikowitz or XMRV to be offensive, but I wouldn't have been doing anyone any favors by giving this thread a softer title.

    My hope was that the people who fully understand the situation, and scientific papers in general, would have the opportunity to evaluate the claims made in the article and report back to the rest of us. I don't really understand them, beyond the basic accusation.

    I'm glad to see people explaining a lot of the context for these allegations against Mikowitz by ERV(?), as that helps understand why this article exists. But the source of those accusations, no matter how much of a douchebag they are, is not particularly relevant to analyzing the validity of the douchebag's claims.

    It certainly isn't fair that what might be a minor point in physiological research is being equated to a falsified study, while the Lancet and the media are being such turds about blindly supporting the PACE study. But if we want to demand a higher standard of scrutiny for psychological ME/CFS research, I think we have to display similar rigor in reviewing physiological research.

    In light of all of the accusations against ME/CFS patients in general having mental problems and behaving aggressively, I think it's especially important for us to behave more reasonably and politely than the other side, while still retaining our passion.
     
    Mary Poppins likes this.
  11. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Valentijn, the context of these allegations are a VITAL piece of information. What looks to the objective person to be a discrepancy on a presentation slide (a common problem in all life, including academia- human error) has been built up, by the antics of Abbie Smith, her followers, and even those such as Pathak using the term 'egregious', into something it's not: 'fraud', 'scientific misconduct' etc. etc.

    When you look at Abbie Smith's comments, it is clear she has a conflict of interest- she openly and emotionally abhors Judy Miovits, and has written both inflammatory and defamatory comments about Mikovits.

    Your insinuation that people objecting this are exhibiting the sort of behaviour that gets this community a diagnosis of 'mental problems' is pretty disgraceful. It's an ad hominem attack that doesn't work because this community has become more sophisticated and analytical, and wise to that sort of attempt to shut people up.

    Rigour in reviewing physiological research is one thing. Emotive claims of fraud, seriousness of discrepancy, misconduct, egregiousness etc . ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, and many of us (including non-sufferers like me) are fully aware of the difference, even if you might not be.

    Note please I am NOT calling Abbie Smith a douchebag. I never stoop to such attacks on people. I only engage in their arguments and actions in the field of ME/CFS. 'douchebag' is an emotive and meaningless term, an ad hominem, and your use of it completely negates your own demands for reason, and your criticisms of others who dare turn a critical eye to this debacle and Abbie Smith's (and others) actions over a discrepancy on, I understand, a power point presentation.

    There should not be a lower standard of expectation for psychiatric research. Yet there appears to be. I am saying that, if people REALLY believe this discrepancy by Mikovits is so serious, they should, by their own logic, be outraged by the discrepancies of the PACE trial and other discrepancies in the psychiatric research. They should be talking about the seriousness of these. Yet this has never happened here by those people here who are detracting Mikovits. After a while people do start to notice this discrepancy of attitude, especially when people are aware of the poor science made by the detractors of Mikovits and her colleagues and their work.

    This is of vital importance. When the Mikovits detractors actually pull their fingers out and start questioning the discrepancies of the PACE trial with such passion, I will be interested. I don't think it's going to happen, because what we seem to have here is not a drive to scientific probity, but a witch hunt/kangaroo court/ hatchet job on a scientist that forms part of a drive to discredit their work- a completely different thing to normal scientific rebuttal process, and which more observant patients and supporters have been analytically evaluating for years now since Lombardi et al was published.
     
    Wildcat likes this.
  12. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Like XMRV itself, we need ot pass aorund a big cup of STFU, calm down, and WAIT and see what the reality is in the end :p

    [​IMG]

    Either Mikovitz is a fraud, or is not.
    Either she made an honest mistake on a slide (like DUH none of you have done a simple screw up?), or she was manipulating things.
    I may believe this is another part of the conspiracy to destory any research/help for ME...but I maybe wrong.
    But we cannot decide such.
    SO CHILL OUT, FOLKS!! ;) yer just making yer ME worse, remember, stress = worse for us, so hey why get sicker?

    All of this will "turn out in the wash", and don't fall for the "baiters"

    OJ Simpson, Amanda Knox, Megrahi, Timothy Evans....the court of public opinion buggers up any attempt at fair trial, folks names are destroyed, but the truth of the matter? that takes time and calm and a jury of their peers to find out and atest (though alas nowadays in criminal court, he who has the most expensive legal team, prosecution or defence, tends to win, sigh)

    Innocence or guilt is not proven on a bloody forum, and I extend that even to Wessely much as I loathe him I can accept I may, MAY be wrong about him and sure as heck couldn't ever stand in a jury on the fella as he deserves, like everyone, fair unbiased investigation and trial.
     
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  13. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Mary, my comments are not an attempt to treat people without academic knowledge contemptuously, far from it.

    Let's be clear about this. It is those anonymous forum members who have been detracting Judy Mikovits, and claiming this discrepancy represents fraud, misconduct, 'serious error' etc. etc. CRUCIALLY, they claim a scientific authority which they have not actually been exhibiting. As an academic myself (not a claim to authority- just explaining where I'm coming from and why I might have been in the right place/right time to recognise it) alarm bells have been ringing for some time.

    These patient forums are very vulnerable to anons coming on and talking authoritively, while talking absolute rubbish, half-truths, untenable claims etc. etc. but do it in a way that makes people believe they have scientific authority. This is very evident in other places also: Abbie Smith's own blog, similar blogs, The Bad Science forum is dogged with this problem, Wikipedia. It has been causing chaos for people. As someone said elsewhere, cancer forums would NOT allow the level of attack on patients or key scientists supporting patients (such as Mikovits) that happens on ME/CFS forums.

    It's been going on for years. Patients and their supporters need to get wiser to it, to adopt a rational scepticism when dealing with these anons. Some already are - this community has certainly raised it's level of rational scepticism and analytical skills as a whole. But in the past few days we have seen an onslaught against Judy Mikovits that does not add up to the actual facts of the case that we know, and some of that has been happening right here.
     
    Wildcat likes this.
  14. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    I really don't understand why people who are not patients post on this site. When asked, these people usually say that they are providing valuable information. However this rarely happens. Mostly it's innuendo and 'Oh I know something, but I can't tell you about it.' Since these posters are at best unempathetic to ME patients, at worst deliberately flaming, I have yet to be convinced they should be allowed to post. This issue needs deeper discussion.

    The latest series of events has not been clarified by non-ME patient postings. Clarification has only come from the relevant sources.

    Why is it so necessary for these people to visit this forum to explain their point of view? They are not patients, as far as I am concerned their point of view is largely irrelevant, except for the damage they cause.

    However, I don't think they are the worst offenders, because they are easily identified. What troubles me the most and causes the deepest rifts is the tacit approval given by the same clique of forum members to these obvious trolls. Usually they appear to be ME patients (not always), but they always arrive on the scene, seeming to pour calming oil on troubled waters, yet consistently allowing and promoting the trolls alluded to above.

    Some of these 'wolf in sheep clothing' posters cleverly dance around accusing Mikovits of fraud, but repeatedly state that the claims are very serious, warrant investigation, and then direct posters to blogs etc where Miovits was being accused of fraud. They are in fact accusing her of fraud. They are just not saying it out aloud. I think it is quite diseingenuous behavior. These posters are in my view more damaging to the hopes of patients than the obvious trolls.

    The real danger to not defending Mikovits even thru the rocky times, is that we contribute to the fragmentation of ME patient groups, provide fodder for the media and add to the queue of peasants with torches marching on the castle. The worst scenario for us is that if or when Mikovits is proven innocent, the damage has already already been done. Most of us are not in a position to judge her actions, yet some have surely participated in kicking her for their own reasons, not for the betterment of ME patients. If the widespread condemnation of Milovits succeeds, despite the merits of her work, there are those on this site who would have helped bring about her destruction.

    We don't need to thoroughly investigate Mikovits, nor raise indignant calls for her investigation. There are plenty of others to fill that role. What we need to do is look after each other, try to find answers to our disease. Anything else doesn't belong on this site.
     
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  15. Guido den Broeder

    Guido den Broeder *****

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    It goes well beyond coming to our forums. These people also apply for membership of our patient associations and stir up trouble there, claiming to know what is good for us. I've seen them bring family, students and business associates along to ensure that they have the majority.
     
    ukxmrv likes this.
  16. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    I agree with the latter but I disagree with the first sentence. I want to know the truth about XMRV and Mikovits. If you don't want to read any troubling information, please don't read in this thread, it's as easy as that. [EDIT: Mikovits already made a statement, I didn't see it] Everyone has the right for his/her opinion, the sooner we know the truth, the better. Bans on speaking will not help.
     
  17. Bob

    Bob

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    It is ironic isn't it Angela.
    At least one person here is constantly complaining about patients trashing the reputation of scientists.
    But he is enthusiastically perpetuating the rumours that are attempting to trash Mikovits' and Ruscetti's and Lombardi's etc. reputations.
     
    Roy S likes this.
  18. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Spot on Bob. There a a good few of this persuasion.

    And if you look at the level of viciousness against both scientists and patients on the ERV type blogs, the forums like Bad Science, Wikipedia, something very very bad has been allowed to happen. Random anons with unsubstantiated claims to authority are attacking the integrity and reputations of people. The media and science journals are letting it all happen at best with this slack-jawed acquisence, or worse, deliberately supporting this level of vicious asininity. There are less and less means of redress and justice available for people victimized by this phenomenon, and few brave enough to call the culprits on it.


    It's not confined to the issue of ME/CFS, though this community gets far more than its fair share of such behaviour.
     
  19. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    It DOES NOT look like fraud by default! Which is what you are arguing. There's all sorts of problems with that assumption. You would be like the worst police officer going. You'd have had someone hung before trial in the good old days of capital punishment with that attitude. That's a wholly fallacious assumption you have made. With that attitude, no wonder 'the truth' gets lost in the fallacies.
     
  20. Bob

    Bob

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    They have commented Waverunner. But maybe they haven't answered all the questions that you want them to yet?
    They have confirmed that the slides are exactly the same, and they both show the same test.
    The only major difference is the labelling which indicates the use of 5-aza.
    This was an omission in the Science paper, that hasn't been satisfactorily explained yet.
    However, someone quoted text from another source that said that 5-aza was only used in two patient samples, in which case it would not be a major factor of the study, and would not have any baring on the results. If this is the case then it was simply a minor omission in a very complex study.
    The whole study needs to be taken into context before any conclusions can be drawn.
     

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