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Why would groups try to replicate XMRV study NOT using WPI techniques?

Discussion in 'XMRV Research and Replication Studies' started by Navid, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. Navid

    Navid Senior Member

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    HI:

    Maybe silly question....but I'm still curious. Makes no sense to me.

    I'm going to try to make the delicious chocolate cake my auntie makes...but i'm not going to use her techniques. when my cake comes out badly i say...hmmm aunties cake really isn't very good...makes no sense!?!?

    is there some scientific reason for this when trying to replicate an original study. i am scientifically illiterate...but not illogical.

    thanks, lisag
    :confused:
  2. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Giggle! That's a great analogy. I think it's pretty obvious why a scientific team wouldn't use the recipe that worked.

    :cool:


    ♪♫ "Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don't think that I can take it, 'cause it took too long to make it and I'll never have that recipe again." ♪♫♪
  3. Navid

    Navid Senior Member

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    glad it made you giggle. thanks for the song.

    ok you mean they DID NOT want to get the same results....i get that....but isn't there some sort of standard in science replication about using the same techniques.

    i just finished reading another thread that shed a little more light...the tests that WPI used are very expensive and time consuming...so trying less expensive time consuming techniques to isolate the retro-virus might make sense....but i'd think you'd start fiddling around with different techniques once the first study has been truly replicated.

    this is really testing our patience, huh?!?!?!

    tata, lisag
  4. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

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    Love the analogy Lisag, maybe they didn't put baking powder and decided to add more salt.They put half of the recommended flour and decide it to replace the missing measure by cement powder. Then to save power, they put the cake at 200F for 15 minutes. Then looking at the results, they decided not to phone your auntie but instead call a press conference to say your auntie was no good:worried::headache::sad::scared::eek::oops:
  5. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    ♪♫ "Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don't think that I can take it, 'cause it took too long to make it and I'll never have that recipe again." ♪♫♪


    :Retro tongue::Retro tongue::Retro tongue::D:D:Retro tongue::Retro tongue::Retro tongue::D:D:Retro tongue::Retro tongue::Retro tongue::D:D:D:D:D:D

    I have been slogging my way through another DREADFUL heavy metal detox and just peeked in to have a look at the forum.

    Thanks for the entertainment! :Sign Good one:
  6. spit

    spit Senior Member

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    If you get your chocolate cake recipe from auntie, and you try it once the way she wrote it down to see if it's any good, then you have a much better basis for fiddling with it to see if there are other ways to get the same tasty cake with a different attachment on your beaters. If you start out beating the egg whites with a paddle instead of a whisk, though, then it's hard to know whether you screwed up, or whether your auntie really shouldn't be baking.

    Or, you could use different beater attachments for a different amount of time and a different baking temperature; then if your cake comes out flat and charred, you can say your auntie's recipe was offered to you prematurely and that cakes must just bake differently in the UK. Yep, that sounds about right.

    Seriously, labs do bring different techniques in to this stuff frequently. But this lab brought in a bunch of different techniques, did a middling to poor job of making sure those techniques were good for the samples in question, and then came out with really strong statements from those results. I mean, if my samples lacked even one single, lonely little positive, I'd personally start to wonder if something was wrong somewhere. It might not be wrong, but I'd sure want to go back over all of the technique and check everything before I came out with "absolutely we're right, you folks over at Science sure are lame!" kind of stuff.
  7. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

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    I have the same question but I suspect the answer given would likely be that they wanted to verify XMRV with a slightly different method. However, it would have been good if they replicated the study exactly AND used their different technique to give a fuller picture.
  8. kurt

    kurt Senior Member

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    The IC study was not a true replication effort, it was an attempt to validate the finding. There is a big difference between replication and validation in research, although some researchers use the terms interchangeably (they need to return to their research methods classes). Replication is a precise duplication of a test, validation is using multiple different test designs to prove that the object found really was what was believed. Validation is very important even if it is difficult, because without validation studies there is no way to prove that the initial findings were not false positives. Even if a study can be replicated the findings can be invalid. Also, validation studies can help narrow down the populations affected.

    Replication of the tests used in the WPI study was already done, by the NCI and Cleveland clinic. Others might try to replicate, but the more important issue at this point is whether the finding can be validated. For that, different tests and procedures and even different cohort groups are acceptable. All that the IC study proves is that the tests and cohort they used did not validate the WPI finding. No conclusion about replication can be made from the IC study as it was not a replication study (although some people have used the term replication study, incorrectly and there seems to be some confusion even among the IC authors about this point).

    So, regarding the cake metaphor, this issue is not whether someone can follow the recipe exactly, that would be replication. The validation issue (which relates to the IC study) is an attempt to answer the question of whether any good tasting cake can be baked under the stated conditions (such as by certain cooks, in a certain kitchen, using a limited set of ingredients, etc.). There are many differing recipes for the same dish that can taste fairly similar, and still satisfy the palate. But if nobody can bake any satisfying cake under the stated conditions, then the hypothesis about the conditions is invalid altogether.
  9. Martlet

    Martlet Senior Member

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    Which, I guess, invalidates one of my friends' cakes completely. She could bake while I produced things so heavy I though of taking them down to Felixstowe docks and selling them as anchors. I had been trying to validate her recipe in my own home, with no success, so she invited me to her house where we both baked together, using her ingredients, equipment and oven. Hers came out light and fluffy while mine ... All I can say is that if anyone comes across a mile-stone twixt Ipswich and Felixstowe, it is the result of that baking attempt. So does that mean her cakes were unreal?
  10. flex

    flex *****

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    Kurt,

    from your very long and confusing explanation, it still seems to me that what IC did was a bit like taking a Kodak instimatic photo from forty feet away of a man with a suspected broken leg when an Xray has already been done to confirm it.

    Holding the photo up to the light as dusk commences the photographer proclaims " no, I sure cant validate that Xray". Even I could do science this badly!

    Martlet, I think I hit that mile-stone recently with my car. Please could you bake me a nice fluffy cake to make up for the damage caused to my front bumper.

    Lisag, get a new Auntie. The one you have got is a show of!!

    Wessely, get a new job!!
  11. Martlet

    Martlet Senior Member

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    :eek: I'd love to, Flex, but I've never been able to replicate or validate a fluffy cake recipe, which could mean they don't really exist and are just figments of our imaginations. On the other hand, if you ever need ballast, landfill or little stepping-stones for your garden, just give me a shout and I'll start baking. :D
  12. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    We also need to account for the geographical differences in the preperation of ingredients. 'Butter' in Britain is quite different to 'Butter' in the USA, and different breeds of yeast traditionally used can cause quite profound differences for both baking and brewing. (This metaphor must never die!)
  13. Martlet

    Martlet Senior Member

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    True Esther. In Britain, my Yorkshires are light and fluffy, but using American flour, I end up with Yorkshire bricks, so have to go to an international store and pay a fortune for a pound of Be-Ro. Of course, even with the Be-Ro, if I tried to microwave them instead of sticking them in a hot oven, goodness only knows what I'd come up with and then Americans could only conclude that Yorkshire puddings are a figment of the British imagination.
  14. flex

    flex *****

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    Martlet,

    Have you tried sifting your flour first. Don't ask me if this is replication or validation. And stop opening the oven to peek in, I know its tempting, but really!!
  15. Navid

    Navid Senior Member

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    Lisag, get a new Auntie. The one you have got is a show off!!

    No my auntie has just been bustin her butt for the past 2 years (approx) trying to make the best damn chocolate cake for a poor, forgotten, ridiculed, cast-aside group of cake lovers. she believes everyone deserves a delicious chocolate cake!!!! :D

    kurt: your explanation did help me understand the "scientific" (political) world in which we exist. thanks.:Retro smile:


    viva la chocolate cake!!!!!:victory::victory::victory:
  16. PoetInSF

    PoetInSF Senior Member

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    Here is a better analogy. You believe there is an earth-like planet next to Alpha Centauri. So you tweak your telescope till you find what you are looking for. Does that mean the planet exist? It could be a spec in your lense that you introduced while tweaking. A peer astronomer can take your telescope and verify that the planet exists. But he also needs to take a well tested telescope to validate your finding.

    In science, you can't take an untested instrument/protocol to test an untested object. A new instrument/protocol must be validated against existing objects, and new objects must be validated with existing instrument/protocol. If you take a new protocol to test a new virus, it only means you found positive case in your samples with your protocol and nothing more.
  17. Navid

    Navid Senior Member

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    uh-oh you just flattened my cake.

    seriously...so the technique WPI used to find XMRV is new too? Hadn't realized that. I am truly trying to understand this. So thanks for the different angle in viewing the situation.

    regards, lisag
  18. flex

    flex *****

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    UHHMM..... OHHHH.....YESSSS......MMMMM........ HUHHHH

    I think I get the chocolate cake one.
  19. flex

    flex *****

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    I often lose my keys in the house. If I was to try a new technique to find them by, lets say standing on my head, does that mean when I find the keys that the keys actually exist or not. Or do I have to have this validated by someone standing upright who is able to find my keys.

    Now, is it a replication finding if somebody else finds my keys whilst standing on their head.

    If the second "looker" made no real attempt to find my keys would his name be Simon Wessely.
  20. usedtobeperkytina

    usedtobeperkytina Senior Member

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    Well, you see, I have been baking cakes all my life. I know how to bake a cake. Sure theirs is different, but that doesn't mean I have to follow their recipe exactly. I will take my recipe, tried and true, and try to change it to make the cake like my friend (aunt or whoever) made. I don't need anyone telling me how to bake a cake. I mean really, like I don't know how to bake a cake.

    Tina

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