Email from Wanda Jones

VillageLife

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I got a nice email from Wanda Jones today. I emailed her a few weeks ago when there was trouble with the FDA, NIH, CDC papers, here is her reply today,

Both the CDC and the NIH/FDA groups submitted research articles to separate journals for publication, and those journals have completed their respective peer-reviews. However, in the interest of scientific inquiry and collaboration across HHS, both groups of scientists agreed to conduct further assessments to investigate the discrepancies between their studies prior to publication. CDC completed their assessment and their paper was published in Retrovirology on July 1, 2010. The NIH/FDA study was further reviewed by the journal editor and currently awaits publication. Its release is controlled by the journal.

Wanda K. Jones, Dr.P.H.
 

glenp

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Dr Jones graciously answered my email also --

Hi Glen,

I'm unable to provide a copy of Dr. Alter's study. The paper he referred to in the meeting in the Netherlands remains in the hands of the journal; the editor submitted it for further review, and they will control its release. It's out of HHS' hands at this point. I'm sorry I'm unable to assist you.

Wanda K. Jones, Dr.P.H.
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health
Designated Federal Official--Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee
US Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave. SW, Room 716G
Washington, DC 20201
Phone (main) 202 690 7694
Phone 202 260 4432
Fax 202 690 6960
Email wanda.jones@hhs.gov

"Mobilizing leadership in science and prevention for a healthier nation"
 

ixchelkali

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Not sure I believe that. I think it's internal government politics.
The original decision to hold the papers was from HHS ("internal government politics"), but it makes sense that now the publication of the NIH/FDA paper is up to the PNAS reviewers and has to fit their publication cycle. Despite her HHS role, I think Wanda Jones has played straight with us.

One thing I've wondered about, though. With all this talk about "further assessments to investigate the discrepancies between their studies prior to publication," I don't remember anything in the CDC paper that referenced those further assessments. Was there anything that would indicate they cross-checked their work against the NIH/FDA's paper?
 

SOC

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Not sure I believe that. I think it's internal government politics.
That's certainly possible, but I doubt it. :Retro smile:

Scientific journals aren't like newspapers that release news on a daily, or even weekly, basis. Once the paper didn't make the last publication cycle, it has to wait for the next one. Or even the following one if the next (Aug?) journal is already put together.

Certainly it was internal government politics that prevented publication in July.

I think the CDC just got their paper through the "assessment" process faster -- possibly the review is less stringent in Retroviroloty than in PNAS. Retrovirology didn't ask for further review, PNAS did, and probably strengthened the paper in the process.

Don't forget that 3 of the XMRV papers that didn't find XMRV (2 ME/CFS, 1 prostate) were published in Retrovirology.

Hoping I'm right...:Retro smile:
 

knackers323

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hi sick of cfs. so you think we wont be seeing PNAS paper till august? do you know roughly what date the issues come out? thanks
 

SOC

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One thing I've wondered about, though. With all this talk about "further assessments to investigate the discrepancies between their studies prior to publication," I don't remember anything in the CDC paper that referenced those further assessments. Was there anything that would indicate they cross-checked their work against the NIH/FDA's paper?
As I understand it, HHS looked at both papers, talked to people at both organizations and realized the two papers could not possibly be reconciled. HHS then said something to the effect of, "If we're going to publish two such contradictory papers, we better make sure we mean it. Go home and have your organization assess whether it really wants to publish in the face of the other paper. If you do, then publish."

The CDC high mucky-mucks (supposedly) reviewed the paper and decided to publish. I haven't heard anything about NIH or FDA, but I believe that PNAS decided to make double-sure and sent the paper out for a very quick (by scientific journal standards) second review.

I suspect PNAS is not quite as anxious about publication as we are -- what's a month or two to get the science really right? ;)