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Science asks authors to retract XMRV/CFS paper

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Nielk, May 30, 2011.

  1. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

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    Your use of the word "unethical" is different from anything I know as a scientist. Medicine has ethics....i.e. medical ethics, Hippocratic Oath.....but science doesn't really -- I haven't come across any code in my experience, formal or informal. The ethics of science if anything are more academic ethics...things like don't make up your data, don't plagiarize, be honest, etc. but that doesn't have anything to do with stating something contrary to a consensus and having to qualify it and noting others disagree with your view. If you don't have evidence to back up your assertions, people might not believe you and call you stupid. If you don't bring up the views of others, people might say your views are unbalanced and out of context. You might be called many other things but not unethical. Indeed, there is a strong tradition in academia and science in general (not so much in CFS) to challenge the status quo.

    I would also add that at least in medicine, consensus statements now often contain levels of proof so users can see for themselves not only the recommendation but the type of evidence supporting that recommendation. Expert consensus is part of evidence but is ranked below not just randomized controlled trials but also observational trials, case series, etc.
  2. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    - Michael Chrichton
  3. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    Kurt, Science has nothing to do with consensus.

    No scientific advance ever had a consensus behind it.

    Science is about advancing knowledge. To do that current truths have to be falsified. Otherwise you would never know more than you knew at first.

    Yes... for some personality types this is threatening. They are not scientists. A good scientist is always ready to test a paradigm and ditch it if it is inadequate to explain the data.
  4. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    Wessely is worried for the future of CFS research...

    Lots more:

    http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110603/full/news.2011.347.html?s=news_rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+news%2Frss%2Fmost_recent+(NatureNews+-+Most+recent+articles)
  5. asleep

    asleep Senior Member

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    Consensus cannot ever constitute any form of proof. Saying so is pure fallacy (argumentum ad populum). Consensus is nothing but a preponderance of opinion that may or may not correspond to the truth. Consensus has failed many times in the past and will fail many times to come.

    Kurt, it is unethical for you to consistently post such anti-rational ramblings without qualifying them by noting that all rational beings disagree with your view.
  6. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    re. Wessely

    Thats rich coming from the guy who announced before any other labs but the WPI had published that it definately wasnt a retrovirus, and even if it was it wasnt XMRv, and even if it was XMRV it wasnt going to change his view that a stiff upper lip, a stiff talking to followed by a brisk walk and 2 asprins would make everyone right as rain - unfortunately due to cutbacks the asprin will not be available.
  7. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    That's not even true. I don't know for sure who has newer technology (although I had the impression it was Lombardi and Lo), but which contamination control is better is debated. The one Coffin favors, Alter doesn't like. (Many sorts of lab testing have a tradeoff between false negative/false positive. Deciding what to do about the test or which to use & where to set parameters can be a delicate balancing act, and often depends on context. These tests fall in that category.) However the main point is--every kind of contamination test has been used, including Coffin's, and each has back negative, on WPI materials and reagents.

    Could WPI have some kind of contamination? It's possible, but if so, it is not any of the contamination issues which have been identified in any other lab. Contamination is also unlikely, because it doesn't explain how, for instance, the Japanese blood safety survey and prostate cancer studies which came back positive, find a similar low prevalance to what WPI found, in the healthy population. Whatever is going on, it's much more complex than a contaminated reagent.
  8. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    I agree, things look to be more complex than a contaminated reagant. There are good scientists in both camps. The WPI is not the only one finding XMRV (although they are almost the only one finding it in CFS).
  9. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    lol.

    That's so clearly why Wessely claimed he is reviled rather than why patients have said they revile him. Nature just print it up as fact.
  10. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    if you add "to the exclusion of the biomedical" you'd be starting to get somewhere, but you'd also need to add in the actual patient abuse, physical (via inappropriate treatments) and psychological, and criminal neglect
  11. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    I agree there are good scientists in both camps, that makes the situation really strange... But the WPI is not almost the only group finding XMRV/MRV in ME/CFS. I can think of 5 groups plus VIP Dx and RedLabs. That's not such a small number.
  12. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    could you list them for our convenience? have any published besides Lo?
  13. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    My thoughts exactly. Could you list them please eric?
  14. Bob

    Bob

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    Some of the scientists finding XMRV:

    Mikovits (CFS)
    Bieger (CFS) (Germany) (unpublished - announced at IiME conference) (40% of CFS patients)
    Maureen Hanson, with Dr Bell (CFS) (unpublished - announced at the 1st International Workshop on XMRV) (XMRV found in 80% of severely ill patients, and 55% of all patients)
    Kenny de Meirleir (unpublished) (But using the VIPdx to test for XMRV?) (Patients tested were 57% positive for XMRV)

    The Ruscettis (various projects with XMRV)

    Alter/Lo (pMRVs)

    Switzer (detected XMRV in small number of prostate cancer patients in recent study)

    Silverman (40% - prostate cancer)
    Singh (40% - prostate cancer)
    Arnold R et al. (40% - prostate cancer)
    Danielson BP et al. (22% - prostate cancer)

    Fischer N et al. (9.9% respiratory tract)

    There's also a Japanese blood donor study. (1.7% healthy, 6.3% prostate cancer.)
    There's a Russian study that purports to prove that XMRV is a human virus.
    And maybe some small scale European studies?

    And these are just the ones that I can remember, and that I'm aware of.
  15. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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  16. eric_s

    eric_s Senior Member

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    For XMRV in ME/CFS the ones i thought of were:

    The WPI
    Lo
    Hanson
    IrsiCaixa
    Bieger

    When i wrote my post i didn't want to mention Dr. Bieger, because there was still an embargo. Since the IiME website now shows some details of his presentation i guess it's no problem to mention that.

    And also, under WPI, in fact it's multiple labs, i guess (Ruscetti at the NCI and the Cleveland Clinic (at least during the work for Lombardi et al. 2009)).

    As far as publication goes, i am only sure that the WPI and Lo have published. I hope Hanson also will. IrsiCaixa has certainly published abstracts, i don't know if there ever was an entire paper in a journal.
  17. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    I stated it is unethical to make statements about your tests being correct and not disclosing that you are a minority view. I am talking about basic honesty, not some codified ethical view in science or medicine, just basic honesty with patients. What do you think of a doctor who tells a patient that a procedure is perfectly safe, when a known percent of people taking the treatment will die? Happens all the time and I consider that unethical in the sense of being dishonest. For whatever reason WPI is continuing to promote XMRV after there is strong evidence it is a lab creation, non viable in humans, and a common contaminant. They are using older technologies, probably because the newer technologies suggest XMRV is a contaminant. Is that honest and ethical? You may disagree but I think it is not. WPI has the right to study XMRV as much as they like, I have no problem with that, but would like to see less conspiracy theorizing about the lack of validation of their finding and more hard science proving their contentions.
  18. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    In modern biological sciences where measurement is complicated and unknown factors often interfere with single experiments, science does have a lot to do with building a consensus. WPI has failed to build any kind of scientific consensus because their finding can not be validated with modern measurement techniques.

    I do agree that some personality types are threatened by the idea that XMRV is a false finding, that is evident in the responses I receive here. I am a truth-seeker and have had a problem with XMRV right from the point it was proposed, as it conflicts with the epidemiology of CFS. But I am open to whatever the evidence shows. Right now the evidence is strongly against XMRV and WPI. The complaints by patients that the tests run have been inadequate to find XMRV are not accepted by the greater retrovirology community, who understands these measurement issues better than we do. Everyone is entitled to their own view here without being put-down, my view is that until we get validating evidence of XMRV in CFS from a majority of labs running modern tests, the consensus that has emerged that there is some type of problem with XMRV testing is probably correct.
  19. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    What's not honest or ethical is the accusation that XMRV is a lab contaminant. If you look at the comparative tables, (my post #155 above) you'll see EXACTLY WHY.

    And also, from Mindy's CFS Central blog: "the Mikovits study found antibody reactions to XMRV in patients. You don't get an antibody reaction to a contaminant. Morever, only 4 percent of controls in the Mikovits study tested positive for XMRV, while 67 percent of patients tested positive. If XMRV were contamination, one would expect an equal distribution." For more: http://www.cfscentral.com/

    This obsession with the idea of the lab contaminant IMO is the epitome of insanity.
  20. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    So what are your thoughts on Lo/Alter's findings? As far I can tell, the contamination theories do not apply to them. Also how exactly does XMRV not fit in the epidemiology of CFS? It's really annoying to read about people saying how unscientific the WPI is and in the same breath make absolute statements with no supporting evidence.

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