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A Story To Give Everyone Hope



This is a fantastic story showing how two scientists overturned decades of medical wisdom through trusting their instincts and not allowing sceptical colleagues and vested interests to stop the truth coming out. They eventually received the Nobel Prize.

This is "science" in all its infuriating, slow, contradictory, egotistical, error-ridden, argumentative, arrogant, and ultimately truth-seeking glory.

Let's hope we're about to see a similar ( but shorter ! ) story written for the WPI.....


Senior Member
I know this story well because I have had Helicobacter pylori for many years and it has caused a lot of damage. A very important aspect of having it is the fact that slowly it destroys the cells that produce acid in the stomach and having low acid means that we can't absorb well the food especially minerals. The sad part of the story is that it took very long for family doctors to accept the evidence of these scientists and I suffered a lot because my doctors just desmissed the fact that I was infected.


Senior Member
Excellent find Alexia, well worth a read everyone (it is not too long). Here are some extracts:

The attempt to culture the elusive organism proved fruitless until religion entered the saga. The gastric mucosal specimens for culture were treated as routine faecal specimens or throat swabs: if at 48 hours no unusual organisms were seen, the culture plates were discarded. In 1982, the Easter holidays occurred from 9 April (Good Friday) to the end of 12 April (Easter Monday). The busy weekend technicians were preoccupied with an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the hospital and presumably did not get around to examining the culture plates on Saturday. On the next working day, Tuesday 13 April, small transparent colonies of H. pylori were present.3 Marshall and Warren now had tangible evidence to advance their research.

...Locally, an abstract outlining preliminary findings of the 100-patient study was not accepted by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia for presentation at its annual conference (Box 2), and difficulties attended the submission of the definitive paper of the 100-patient study to The Lancet in January 1984. Once again, the journals Editor-in-Chief, Ian Munro, was challenged this time because he was not able to find reviewers who would agree on the importance of the paper.

...Yet during this time, Marshall was frustrated with The Lancets seeming procrastinations and his own failure to develop an animal model for the disease. Possibly because of these frustrations, he decided to infect himself with H. pylori. He asked Hislop to perform a gastric biopsy on him and then ingested a pure culture of H. pylori (109 organisms). All was well for 5 days, but then he developed halitosis, morning nausea, and recurrent vomiting of acid-free gastric juice. A gastric biopsy on Day 10 showed severe acute gastritis and many H. pylori (Box 3). The symptoms spontaneously resolved after 14 days, but Marshalls wife, Adrienne, had had enough and demanded that he immediately commence antibiotics or be evicted from the household to sleep under a bridge.


Senior Member
Clay, Alabama
Yes, this is very good. Notice that "stress" was considered a part of the problem, even the cause. Does that sound familiar?

Notice also that this bacteria is not easy to find. Only by accident did they have samples old enough that the bacteria showed itself, but in very small numbers. Even the researchers of this study had a paradigm that if it was there, they could find it within 48 hours. They were wrong. It is harder to find than that.

If these two guys got a Nobel, then when XMRV is validated, I will call the Nobel committee myself.

I think that the evidence I have seen of CFS past, CFS present and other controversial science issues, convinces me that bias and ego has a much greater influence over the discovery process, or lack thereof. In the case of ulcers, they happened to have an editor on their side. What if they didn't?

This is why I have more confidence in the WPI. Just to get the study published, they had to bring overwhelming evidence because of the bias and controversy. They had to go back and find it another way, and then another way. And they had to rephrase the wording, tone it down a bit. They had two other labs involved who became co-authors.

But, let's look at this from a sociology point of view. Who changes society? Is it the ones who accept the status quo? Or is it the ones who question the status quo? These doctors questioned the accepted view. So did Martin Luther King Jr. So did Ghandi. So did Sears, of Sears and Roebuck. Nelson Mandella, Bill Gates, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Florence Nightengale, Louis Pasteur, Albert Einstein, William Tyndale, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller (from my state of Alabama.)

Many of these people had the courage and creativity to go contrary to what was the accepted behavior and accepted beliefs of the time. Anyone who stays with the crowd, will not lead the world to discovering new truths. (Wow, if you want to quote me on that last sentence, just give me credit.)

And, anyone who changes the world must at first fight against the herd mentally, a force that brings pressure against anything new or different. To think this is any different in the "science community" is naive. Human nature is human nature no matter whether you work as a construction worker, are a politician, are CEO of a company or spend your days with your eye in a microscope.

We can take confidence though, that there are individuals who have taken up our cause who are willing to challenge the paradigm. We have our own Marshall. (But, please, Dr. Mikovitz, don't inject yourself with XMRV.)

Helen Keller said: The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next.

Margaret Mead said: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

James Belasco and Ralph Stayer said in "Flight of the Buffalo":"Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.

Louis L'Amour said: Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.

Niccolo Machiavelli said: I'm not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.

Paulo Freire said: Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.

Saul Alinsky said: Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.

Woodrow Wilson said: If you want to make enemies, try to change something.

Also, take comfort that while much of human nature is to hold on to accepted beliefs, also within human nature, is curiosity, rebellion, desire to discover, as well as compassion.