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Hunting down the cause of ME/CFS & other challenging disorders - Lipkin in London
In a talk to patients in London on 3rd September, Dr. W. Ian Lipkin described the extraordinary lengths he and his team are prepared to go to in order to track down the source of an illness, with examples ranging from autism to the strange case of Kawasaki disease.
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Nature: Lombardi XMRV Paper Retracted in Full

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Firestormm, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    @markmc2001: I think that you've misunderstood what 'retraction' means - or I have.

    'Retracting' a paper doesn't mean that it's now impossible to get hold of, does it? I assumed that it just meant that a note was added to make clear that the findings were believed to be in error.

    eg: The paper is still available here, but there's a big thing in red saying "This paper has been retracted": http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5952/585.short

    I don't think that retraction really has many practical consequences.
     
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  2. RRM

    RRM

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    That red "this paper has been retracted" text was already present since the partial retraction. And when you click on it, it still leads you to the partial Silverman retraction, by the way.

    Retraction basically means that the paper is no longer considered to be a part of the scientific literature. It is and will certainly remain possible to still access the retracted paper (and check and duplicate the experiments therein), but it will become practically impossible to obtain funding (except for private funding of course) for trying to follow up on a retracted study (which is partly why is was retracted in the first place - to stop other scientists from trying to follow up on it).
     
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  3. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I think you will find that the paper will exist but with 'retracted' and the reason next to it - if that is what concerns you.

    I am not a scientist Mark. I was in private banking at one time. However, it is the RESULTS that could not be replicated and even some studies - like BWG as a prime example - employing same methodology, using same authors, samples from same patients - could not REPLICATE.

    If there is 'something' that Mikovits et al have found, it wasn't what was purportedly found in Lombardi et al. was it? If there is something there then they need to a) find it, and b) publish a paper about it, and c) link it to the cause of our symptoms and d) explain why the heck this is found in more women than in men etc. etc.

    Silverman's words should not be taken lightly I don't believe. However, until we hear something from NIH, it looks like Lipkin/Mikovits et al. will produce their results in March. Results that will demonstrate whether that same methodology you believe has never been replicated in full, is capable of reproducing the association declared in Lombardi et al.

    Even then it will not satisfy those who believe that a retrovirus is at the heart of this condition (and how can it when it is about XMRV and perhaps even MLVs using the same assays and methods as previously employed).

    Perhaps Lipkin in his NGS study will find something - who knows? I doubt very much if he finds anything in common across all the patients he is studying though - do you?

    He might discover viral presence in some patients and that might lead to a better diagnostic tool, it might narrow the 'pot' as it were, he might be able to discover 'damage' (for want of a better term) - but a 'retrovirus'? I doubt it very much.

    But I am not a scientist and as they get things wrong, I could easily be wrong too. But Lombardi et al deserved to be retracted in full.
     
  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Thanks for the correction.

    Does it really make much practical difference though? Surely funding decisions based around XMRV would be made by people with an awareness of the current evidence, so whether a decision was made one month ago when the paper had not been retracted, or today when it has, would not make much difference?

    Actually, re-reading "Surely funding decisions based around XMRV would be made by people with an awareness of the current evidence" has reminded me of how easily I can slip in a naive faith in the competence and efficiency of out academic institutions. Never mind.
     
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  5. Firestormm

    Firestormm Guest

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    I thought this an intriguing post from IVI over on ERV this morning:

    '#18 "What upsets a lot of people though is the opportunity cost."

    Unfortunately the Science mag retraction doesn't help address this, in fact to some extent it actually serves to obscure the problem with the meme "science is self correcting, this is all just business as usual".

    Without questioning what went wrong (not least at Science mags peer review level) no one can be certain that there are not to be significant future (and even current), egregious levels of avoidable 'opportunity costs'. The fundamental failure of the WPI process (and it is a charge that could made about the Lipkin work) was the complete absence of a 'prior plausibility test' - that is no one asked and answered the question: 'why should a retrovirus be a single causative factor in a heterogenous condition currently described only by poorly defined symptomology ?'

    Had that key question been asked, by both the Lombardi et al authors, and by the the Science mag per reviewers, then the 70% XMRV positive results should have rung alarm bells rather than encouraging acceptence of the data.

    "Prior Plausibility" -http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/plausibility-in-science-based-medicine/ is a vital test in the cause of reducing 'opportunity cost' in medical research and the one long term benefit that could come out of the XMRV debacle would be if it were to applied far more widely at all stages of medical science.'

    Can lessons be learned? Should lessons be learned? Interesting. In terms of 'this was all a waste of money' I actually don't think that any of it was. IF the association in Lombardi had held up - remember those controls? - then we could have been looking at a human retrovirus which might have been responsible for disease.

    So I personally think 'science' did the right thing in responding in the way that they did. Two years might seem a long time I suppose but it was necessary - and as some might say - 'it still ain't over yet'...

    Oh Channel 4 News picked this up last night and interviewed Stoye. Don't know if you can view outside of the UK sorry:

    http://www.channel4.com/news/study-linking-me-to-virus-retracted
     
  6. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I have just looked at the Channel four interview.

    I will make only one point -(apart from the one made on the other forum about the interviewer obviously having been handed a carefully prepared script beforehand ) - if they want to discredit "XMRV" why then go on to reinforce the belief that ME is as mysterious as ever?
    Are we NEVER to get any further than this?

    Surely the rituximab study shows that ME is not mysterious but responds dramatically to B cell depletion?

    Dont watch this if you dont like the "death threat" label put on us either.
     
  7. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    That makes no sense at all. Everything Judy Mikovits did while at the WPI is the intellectual property of the WPI, whether or not any of it turns out to be mistaken. The reason this is true and legally binding is that Dr. Mikovits signed a contract to that effect.

    She did a lot of work after the Science paper was published: whether any of the Science paper work was correct, or whether any of the subsequent work was correct, is completely immaterial to the legal case against Dr. Mikovits. WPI wants to enforce its contract and they have multiple good reasons for doing so - even if everything Mikovits did at WPI was 100% a dead end (which it probably wasn't), that data would still be valuable - as negative data.
     
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  8. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    This was never an issue. There are plenty of diseases as heterogeneous as CFS, or more so, that have a single cause. A retroviral cause has been hypothesized as a possible cause for CFS at least as early as the 80s - and it's quite evident that AIDS, while caused by HIV, has many different specific manifestations depending on which opportunistic infections get at you first, how severely different parts of your system are impacted by the virus itself, probably influenced by genetic factors, your underlying state of health, and perhaps even random chance. (It's random chance that determines whether a person infected with polio is unlucky enough to be in the 1% of those infected who suffer a paralyzing illness.)

    Not to mention that "vaguely defined symptomology" is not so vague if you use a properly rigorous definition, like CCC or ICC. We would, of course, be wasting our time looking for a common cause for all the things currently lumped together as "chronic fatigue" under something like Oxford.

    If you think viruses are "simple" and that the diseases they cause must therefore be "simple" and "heterogeneous," then may I gently suggest that you should study a bit more about virology.
     
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  9. Sam Carter

    Sam Carter Guest

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    What diseases are you thinking of, UT?
     
  10. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I'm not Urbantravels, but a quick google search shows asthma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphoma, xeroderma pigmentosa, medulloblastoma..........

    I have never been convinced by the heterogenious label on ME, properly defined.

     
  11. RRM

    RRM

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    You are right in the sense that it probably doesn't matter much in this case (and I was speaking in a more general sense). But it's not inconceivable that last week you could still have some chance of gettig some new reproduction effort funded (as long as you could convicingly explain why you think you'd have a chance, for instance by referring to the latest O'Keefe findings), and a retraction of the number 1 positive study certainly lowers those chances (as small as they already might have been).
     
  12. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I'm a bit puzzled, urbantravels.

    I can see that whilst the WPI could have a technical legal right to the intellectual property, I cannot understand going to expensive lengths to enforce such a right unless they feel the property in dispute is valuable.
    Negative findings are not going to be very valuable. And how can you assess damages if the value of the property is zero?

    Can you suggest another motive?

     
  13. Sam Carter

    Sam Carter Guest

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    Hi currer,

    Of the diseases you've listed, which ones have a single cause? The question is relevant, I think, because the aetiology of most chronic diseases is unknown and therefore cannot, for now, be ascribed to a single cause.
     
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  14. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    How many diseases have a SINGLE cause?

    I have always been irritated by the heterogenious label as if ME should be picked out as especially mysterious and inexplicable.
    Heterogeneity has only been applied to ME since the eighties when ME was psychologised out of existence.

    ME behaves like other diseases, and this is what urbantravels meant.
     
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  15. Tony Mach

    Tony Mach Show me the evidence.

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    Easy: Organize some XMRV, stick it only into patient samples. Can I haz Nobel prize now?
     
  16. Tony Mach

    Tony Mach Show me the evidence.

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    F*ck, I know it is unfair, but choosing one quackery over the other does not help us a tad bit.
     
  17. Tony Mach

    Tony Mach Show me the evidence.

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    Yeah, compared to the previous year a lot biomedical research has been started. Lipkin wouldn't be looking for viruses without the bruha about XMRV. Maybe this XMRV contamination was needed for political reasons it is still very very very bad science, none the less. (Not to mention all the conspiracy theories we will have to continue to endure for all eternity. I'm afraid this will be worse than those stupid HIV-deniers The HIV-positive HIV-deniers die quite quickly from their stupidity.)
     
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  18. Tony Mach

    Tony Mach Show me the evidence.

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    What are you saying? "Nothing to see here, look over there instead!"? Yeah, other scientists do less than perfect scientific work. So this makes the Science paper OK, or what?
     
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  19. Tony Mach

    Tony Mach Show me the evidence.

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    Did you notice how quiet Ila Singh was the last couple of month? The prostate cancer study was done on samples coming from a prostate-cancer-bio-sample storage. Ila Singh was (still is?) trying to replicate this study with samples direct from patients, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere. My guess is that the original samples got contaminated in storage, there is no XMRV in prostate-cancer patients and the XMRV-Prostate-cancer connection will be next to die a scientific death.
     
  20. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win"
     

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