2006: Heim Christine; Wagner Dieter; Maloney Elizabeth; Papanicolaou Dimitris A; Solomon Laura; Jones James F; Unger Elizabeth R; Reeves William C
Early adverse experience and risk for chronic fatigue syndrome: results from a population-based study.
Archives of general psychiatry 2006;63(11):1258-66.
Exposure to childhood trauma was associated with a 3- to 8-fold increased risk for CFS across different trauma types. There was a graded relationship between the degree of trauma exposure and CFS risk. Childhood trauma was associated with greater CFS symptom severity and with symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The risk for CFS conveyed by childhood trauma increased with the presence of concurrent psychopathology.
It's not but it's not as bad as it looks. The authors of scientific papers are usually listed like this: The person who actually wrote the paper is first, the person who lead the research is last. The rest are in descending order of importance, so Elizabeth Unger was actually the least important author of that paper.
Unger actually has the spot Dr. Vernon had in some of those papers, which may have just been very minor. I'm not saying anything about her one way or another, but I don't think you can read too much by her position on these papers. If it were first or last, that would be a concern, because that would seem to signify her research and her interest.
This man has - from what I can tell - most likely been booted out after the CDC saw the preliminary results of their XMRV trial which according to Judy M is producing some great figures.
Because Unger is a temporary replacement, it sounds to me like Reeve's transfer was a rush job. If that's true, the rush had to be either to get Reeves INTO the job of Senior Advisor or OUT OF CFS research.
I can't believe there was a rush to get him declared Senior Advisor for Mental Health Surveillance! Doesn't that sound like somewhere you'd stick someone you can't fire but don't know what to do with?
Ha! he's leaving two days before my birthday next month- I am calling it an early birthday present, and so no matter what happens I am going to have a good birthday.
Here are some thoughts though.
Realistically we can't effectively lobby the CDC about who to choose as a permanent replacement. But we can effectively lobby researchers to submit their resumes. Going to CDC probably means a paycut, a move, and dealing with an unwilling and ineffective bureaucracy to almost any researcher. It's time to think about who is experienced, fair, and driven enough to do this and also has experience leading research teams...but not researchers like Klimas or Peterson who are doing just fine on their own and are old enough they don't need the hassle. I can think of a few off the top of my head that would fit (but of course can't remember their names!) and it wouldn't hurt for us to think up a list of a handful and to ask and beg and plead with them to offer themselves up for this job despite all odds.
It is frustrating to me that I can't find out more about this. I've googled a lot of possible combinations and it seems like CAA is the only "official" body to have reported it so far. I mean I don't expect to see it in all the newspapers or anything like that but, come on! I very much want to know more about this and I think all we can do for now is speculate.
I am very much on the edge of my seat waiting for all the juicy details.
Given all those ill will and politics surrounding Reeves, the change in the leadership has to be a good thing. But I wonder how much it will mitigate if/when CDC announces negative results to XMRV replication study. Can't be any worse than Reeves announcing it, I suppose. In long term though, it probably won't change much if CFS patients are hell vent on a theory and CDC pursues other possibilities.
Elizabeth R. Unger, PhD, MD, will serve as acting chief of the CDC's Chronic Viral Diseases Branch, beginning on Feb. 14. Dr. Unger is Team Leader, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Program in this branch. She is has been involved with research on HPV, HIV, cancer and CFS, most of which has focused on her expertise in laboratory methods and training as a pathologist, as is reflected in the article linked below.
"On Feb. 14, Dr. Reeves will begin an assignment as Senior Advisor for Mental Health Surveillance in the Public Health Surveillance Program Office within the CDC's Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services."
I am glad for the potential for change that this may signal, but to me, Reeves, in his new position, still sounds like a threat and a danger to CFIDS/ME/XAND patients. But what do I know. When we know who his permanent replacement is, this will tell us a lot. Maybe then I will get excited.
Frankly, I'd be surprised if any real scientist is willing to take this politically charged job. People like Dan Peterson might be happy to take it, but then we'll be here exactly where we are 25 years from now, MRIing and LPing CFSers looking for nonexisting brain retrovirus.
Dr. Unger is Team Leader, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Program in this branch. She is has been involved with research on HPV, HIV, cancer and CFS, most of which has focused on her expertise in laboratory methods and training as a pathologist, as is reflected in the article linked below.
Makes me wonder why Feb 14? Is is a 2 weeks notice type of thing, or is it before the CDC will make an announcement that the HIV lab found XMRV in the blood? I am sure there is more we don't know yet-I have high hopes that the CDC will be careful in chosing someone appropriate so the history doesn't repeat.
The CFS program will remain in the Chronic Viral Diseases branch, where it has been. It's NIH that has the CFS focus in the Office of Women's Health.
CDC is going through a massive re-org, as many of you already know. Most posts are temporary/provisional while it all gets sorted out, but it will happen on CDC time (read: sloow). Unger has experience in viruses and cancer, both relevant to CFS research. Like Suzanne Vernon, she is not a believer in the early childhood stress theory as the explanation for CFS. Unger has her name on that research paper because of her involvement at the lab. First authorship is most important, but it is also my understanding is that asking to have your name removed from a paper is kiss of death in science.
Personally, I continue to be cautiously optimistic. I think 2010 needs to be all about building momentum, finding consensus, and pursuing scientific progress. This change in leadership MAY represent an opportunity to do just that.
Reeves is going from leading a program to being "Senior Advisor' at at Mental Health surveillance program. His training was as a virologist I believe. His research days sound they are over. At one time he vowed to outlast everyone. It sounds like a terrible comedown for him.
My big question is if it all got to be too much for the CDC or if XMRV is showing up in spades and they decided he is not the man for the job.
The biggest single knock against Reeves recently I believe was the CAA's finding that he had wasted enormous amounts of money in his contracts with Abt. You almost wonder if they could have found something nasty going on there - so much money was being dumped to Abt. But that was all known by the end of the 10 year evaluation period (in Oct, I think). If that was it I would have thought they would have gotten rid of him then.
Of course there is this new administration... maybe the new Director decided enough was enough...or maybe its XMRV - that would be really exciting