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Ruscetti Acknowledges Reuse of WB Image

Discussion in 'XMRV Research and Replication Studies' started by joshualevy, Oct 4, 2011.

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  1. asleep

    asleep Senior Member

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    Lee, let me introduce you to the past tense.

    Given that the Ottawa slide is the same one in Science, it was necessarily done prior to the Science publication. Hence her saying that she had treated two patients with 5AZA. You cannot claim that they are the same image and then claim that the experiment behind the image is not from the Science study.

    There is a perfectly innocent way to interpret all of this, which you have overlooked in your zeal to see Mikovits destroyed: Ruscetti does a number of WBs on a number of controls and patients, two of which were treated with 5AZA for experimental purposes. Because the 5AZA was only used on a small subset of patient samples, and because the association held for the majority of samples w/o 5AZA, its use on a small subset was not germane to the finding. Because images of all the gels cannot be included in the paper, this particular gel was picked as representative for whatever reason (maybe because it was the clearest). I would imagine that the peer reviewers looked at all the gel images.

    Calling this "intentionally misleading" is farcical. It sounds like she was just consolidating images: one had negative controls, another had negative patient samples. Rather than showing multiple slides to demonstrate both she moved the label for a negative patient sample on one image to a negative lane on the image in question. A negative is a negative. I suppose you would contend that she was also "intentionally misleading" if she had instead displayed this information in a chart without any image at all!

    Your entire argument here is premised on your selectively negative interpretation of what we've been told Mikovits and Ruscetti said. I have shown an alternative interpretation that gives them the benefit of the doubt. You are assuming the labeling issue changes the interpretation. You are assuming that what they brush off as "not important" was actually important. You then reinterpret what is likely a simple data presentation shortcut for a conference as "intentionally misleading." You seem very desperate to have Mikovits hung before all the information is in.

    That you then give transparent lip service to the truth that whatever falls out of this cannot, by itself, discredit the entire HGRV hypothesis further exposes your zealotry. Were you actually interested in science and ME, you would take keen interest in the array of additional data untouched by this whole saga.
     
    Wonko and SOC like this.
  2. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I know this is a hot topic but what does that to do with the question under discussion? Is some sort of litmus test? Lee is either right or wrong about the slides...can we focus on that?
     
    Sam Carter likes this.
  3. Lee

    Lee

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    SOC, I've quoted them and the stories. They admitted to and defended intentionally putting the wrong label on a gel for the Ottowa presentation. They admitted to and defended not reporting experimental conditions - the 5AZA treatment - that any virologist will tell you is critical to the interpretation of the experiment. There's more - I've cited the specific things. It's only slander if it is not true - and these are statements of they themselves have said.

    My opinion is that someone who intentionally omits key aspects of their experiments and intentionally mislabels the graphic presentation of their data, and defends doing so as acceptable, is not to be trusted as a scientist, and further, that Mikowits and Ruscetti, having done the above are in my opinion no longer trustworthy as scientists. This opinion, based logically on verifiable true statements, is also is not a slanderous statement.
     
  4. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    The fundamental question here is the finding of HGRVs in people with ME. This needs to be properly investigated and unless the research continues can never be known.


    The slide is unimportant, but it will be used as a pretext to discredit Dr Mikovits and Ruscetti and stop further research.

    This is what we all feared would happen. I dont see any reason to be glad about this.
     
  5. Lee

    Lee

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    Look, this is really simple.

    SCIENTISTS DO NOT INTENTIONALLY MIS-DESCRIBE THEIR EXPERIMENT OR MISLABEL THEIR DATA!

    It doesn't matter if the scientist doesn't think it maTters. It doesn't matter if it looks just like that other data over there. It doesn't matter if it's more convenient. It doesn't matter if its less confusing. When you make a claim, you show the data for that claim.

    They claimed that they found gag protein by WB in activated PBMCs from patient samples but not in activated PBMCs from healthy controls. That is the claim they made in that figure.

    They showed a gel that they claimed was from a representative experiment demonstrating the claim they were making, and that was labeled as if it were from that experiment.

    But it turns out the gel was a result from a DIFFERENT experiment than the one they claimed - an experiment showing that gag proteins are expressed in activated PBMCs after TREATMENT WITH 5AZA, but without controls to see if activated PBMCs from healthy patients would also express gag protein after 5AZA treatment.

    But they didn't tell us that.

    If they had told us that, we would have instantly known that the figure was missing a critical control. This is why you say everything.

    In a scientific paper, if you make a claim, you describe the experiment you did to test that claim, and you show data supporting that claim. Period. No other options are acceptable. If you claim that you did one experiment, and describe the data as the result of that experiment, but you actually did a different experiment that you did not describe, and you show the data from that experiment while claiming it was from the experiment you did describe - you aren't doing science. It is scientific misconduct. It does not matter if you know it looks the same - you are required to demonstrate that to the audience. If you need to run another gel to make the presentation clear, you run the damn gel.

    You show the data from the experiment you describe. Period.

    They described an 'activated PBMC' experiment, presented data labeled as the result of an 'activated PBMC' experiment, interpreted that data as the result of an 'activated PBMC' experiment - when it was actually a '5AZA induction' experiment that did not support the claim they were making. And they have admitted doing it - and defended it as not important.

    That isn't science.
     
    Jenny likes this.
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    I think Lee has provided some interesting information and I don't know that it has been completely debated on the facts. He may be right or wrong. Instead we are asking him if he has an opinion on the PACE trial and discussing how many posts he/she has. I don't see what that has to do with the matter at hand.
     
  7. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

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    OK the slide was a bad one and it reflects badly on them. My question, though, is does it change the basic findings of the study? Does it reflect manipulation of the study results; ie the statistics - that would be the major issue for me...the other stuff, although its really confusing, I think I could get over it.

    Is anyone suggesting that this snafu or whatever you call it - extends to the statistics in the paper?
     
  8. SilverbladeTE

    SilverbladeTE Senior Member

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    Somewhere near Glasgow, Scotland
    Ah, Gallo...
    you've heard of Litton Industries links with Gallo? Go do some googling
    ok some of it's...silly, but there' s a core of truth underneath.
     
  9. joshualevy

    joshualevy

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    Yes, it completely destroys the paper in at least two different ways:

    First, it suggests that the patients were treated with 5-aza and the controls were not. (According to some people just some of the patients, but it really doesn't matter). That means the patients and controls were handled differently, and all the data that came out of that is not double-blind. The entire experiment is now gone.

    Second, it suggests that some of the patients were in fact treated as controls for some of the data analysis. (We have no idea how much of it.) Again, this destroys all the data analysis.

    Third (this one is my personal opinion), using the same slide twice with different labels shows a sloppiness so bad, that no data that flows out of that sloppiness can be trusted. (Or possibly it shows a willingness to manipulate data so much that again, nothing can be trusted.) Both of these would apply to the whole data set as well.

    Forth, it suggests that he procedures described in the paper were not the complete procedures that were actually done. (The 5-aza again.) If the procedures are unknown, then all the data goes into the waste basket. Remember, this is a peer-reviewed journal. Part of the peer-review is taking a look at the procedures. If the authors "edited out" some of these procedures (as they did with the 5-aza), then the whole peer review process collapses, and the data with in.

    Joshua (not Jay) Levy
     
  10. Lee

    Lee

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    joshualevy:
    "That means the patients and controls were handled differently"

    Ye. And in ways that we don't know, because they didn't tell us.

    The retracted PCR data tells us the same story. Remember that PCR results from patients were positive, but from healthy controls were negative. When it was shown to be plasmid contamination - the plasmid was found in samples from patients, but not from controls.

    The charitable interpretation of this pattern, is that the samples from patients, and those from healthy controls, were handled so differently that patient samples were widely contaminated, but control samples were not.
     
  11. Lee

    Lee

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    "In order for it not to be libel, you will have to prove that what they presented was, in fact, a misrepresentation of the data according to professional standards of publication and presentation."

    No. All I have to do is point to their own statements admitting this. Which I've done.

    'Yes. We changed the label on a control lane and called it a patient sample (misrepresentation, and they admitted it). There was nothing wrong with doing that (defending misrepresentation).'

    'Yes. We showed a gel in which patient samples were induced with 4AZA, but described it as activated PBMCs (misrepresentation, and they admitted it). This was ok, because the gel showed expression of gag (defending the misrepresentation).

    I don't have to prove they did it. I don't have to prove their state of mind. I just have to point to their own words saying they did it. Repeating the statements that they themselves have made about themselves, is not slander.
     
  12. Lee

    Lee

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    Put it another ways.
    SOC:
    "states as fact that eminent researchers deliberately misrepresented their data in published material. That is a career ending accusation for a researcher. Hence, libel."

    No. What I said states as fact that eminent researchers ADMITTED deliberately misrepresenting their data, in published and presentation material.

    They did admit it - I've shown where they said so.
     
  13. ixchelkali

    ixchelkali Senior Member

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    You appear to be presenting these statements as quotes of Judy Mikovits and Frank Ruscetti. The quotations I've read from them were the ones in ScienceInsider, which didn't say that. Would you kindly cite or link to your source for these? Or was this merely hyperbole, an opinion presented as those it were a quotation?
     
    katiemoomoo, currer and ukxmrv like this.
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