Trine & Tribune All Over Contamination Theories

Wayne

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3 Separate Quotes

By Professor Vincent Racaniello

My statement to the Tribune yesterday
was based on my initial reading of the Retrovirology papers. However
upon further consideration it is clear that the results of all four
papers do not challenge the existence of XMRV in patients; rather they
point out potential pitfalls in doing research on this virus.
I did make that statement to the Tribune, and followed it with
comments similar to those in this blog post. I do believe that the
MoMLV homology is a big problem, but not an impossible one to explain.
I do not believe that the four Retrovirology papers prove that XMRV is
not involved in human disease.
It's possible that some individuals are infected with XMRV or a
closely related virus. Or that the LNCaP used for co-culture with
human PBMC were contaminated with XMRV. These are important questions
that need to be answered.
 

Wayne

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Thanks, Wayne. :Retro smile:
You betcha, camas. :thumbsup:

I really agree with your comments about the sloppy reporting. Seems like this reporter also has a history of this. Aren't reporters supposed at least make an attempt to report things like this without bias? Perhaps she'll get some heat for this one from her editor.

Over on Vincent Racaneillo's blog, he's being urged to write the Tribune with a mea culpa or retraction. So far he's resisted, but it might be interesting to see how this plays out.

It really makes a difference when the ME/CFS community gets involved and confronts sloppiness of all kinds, whether the science, or the comments by the researchers, or the media, which in this case dutifully printed what was doled out and never bothered to investigate the credibility of any of it.

Wayne
 

camas

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Thanks again, Wayne. :thumbsup:

I think we have to pick our battles, and sloppy or biased reporting is a good place to start. I've had some luck contacting editors in the past on topics completely unrelated to ME/CFS. The managing editor of the Tribune is Jane Hirt for anyone wanting to lodge a complaint about this particular piece.
 

Wayne

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Dear Ms. Hirt,

I'm writing re: the above article that was published in the Tribune on 12-20-10. As an unfortunate member of the ME/CFS community, I found the reporting of this article remarkably biased and disappointing (virtually the entire ME/CFS community feels the same). I won't go into details about my disappointments, but did want to point out some comments (below) that were made by Professor Vincent Racaniello on his personal blog. He seems to be backpedaling from his comments that were cited in the Tribune article.

A number of other well qualified retrovirology researchers also seem to be at odds with the main thesis of your article. I believe if your reporter had done even a bit more research, she would have discovered a good amount of relevant materials and been able to write a much more balanced column. I might even respectfully suggest she consider contacting Amy Dockser Marcus of the Wall Street Journal before doing any more reporting on XMRV. (http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/12/20/xmrv-raising-the-issue-of-contamination/)

Best, Wayne Freeman
...............................................

Here's the link the the quotes below:

http://www.virology.ws/2010/12/21/is-xmrv-a-laboratory-contaminant/#comments

3 Separate Quotes

By Professor Vincent Racaniello

My statement to the Tribune yesterday was based on my initial reading of the Retrovirology papers. However upon further consideration it is clear that the results of all four papers do not challenge the existence of XMRV in patients; rather they point out potential pitfalls in doing research on this virus.

I did make that statement to the Tribune, and followed it with comments similar to those in this blog post. I do believe that the MoMLV homology is a big problem, but not an impossible one to explain. I do not believe that the four Retrovirology papers prove that XMRV is not involved in human disease.

It's possible that some individuals are infected with XMRV or a closely related virus. Or that the LNCaP used for co-culture with human PBMC were contaminated with XMRV. These are important questions that need to be answered.
 
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Why is it that when we want press attention and a voice we are ignored - but when the media would like further confirmation of a lack of disease association with ME/CFS we are quoted. I am really saddened to be quoted in these two articles. I wish a journalist would quote something more interesting like:

When individuals are diagnosed with this disease they become quickly aware of the following 5 disturbing facts 1) they may never recover 2) there is no treatment or cure 3) there is extremely limited bio-medical research going on around the world (less than hay-fever!) 4) most of the world assume it's all in your head and 5) the name given to the disease - chronic fatigue syndrome - does not begin to represent (or illuminate) the reality of a multi-system disorder that can be life threatening.

The big question is why do human beings deny the reality of this relatively common disease? There is a real story to be told here.. I just wish some ground-breaking journalist would break it....
 

Bob

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Why is it that when we want press attention and a voice we are ignored - but when the media would like further confirmation of a lack of disease association with ME/CFS we are quoted. I am really saddened to be quoted in these two articles. I wish a journalist would quote something more interesting like:

When individuals are diagnosed with this disease they become quickly aware of the following 5 disturbing facts 1) they may never recover 2) there is no treatment or cure 3) there is extremely limited bio-medical research going on around the world (less than hay-fever!) 4) most of the world assume it's all in your head and 5) the name given to the disease - chronic fatigue syndrome - does not begin to represent (or illuminate) the reality of a multi-system disorder that can be life threatening.

The big question is why do human beings deny the reality of this relatively common disease? There is a real story to be told here.. I just wish some ground-breaking journalist would break it....
It feels like they are using our own words against us, doesn't it.
They have purposely selected short quotes out of context in order to back up their biased article.
There are plenty of comments that dismiss the papers, or highlight their shortcomings, but they chose not to quote them.
Unfortunately the scientists have big PR machine behind them, and an easy story to sell.
Whereas we have no PR machine, and a very complex story to tell which doesn't make snappy news articles.
Have you emailed them with your concerns WithHope? They might remove your quote if you ask them to.
Personally, I wouldn't worry about your quote being used... It just expresses your genuine feelings after seeing such an onslaught of negative papers.
As much as the press would like to kill XMRV, it is still alive, and we have quite a number of world-class scientists on our side now, including Alter, Lo, Mikovits, Muelier, Singh and the Ruscettis. Ian Lipkin also appears to be open minded, and independently minded about the situation.
XMRV research is still very much alive and kicking.
 

pictureofhealth

XMRV - L'Agent du Jour
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QUOTE: "They have purposely selected short quotes out of context in order to back up their biased article.
There are plenty of comments that dismiss the papers, or highlight their shortcomings, but they chose not to quote them."

Agree entirely Bob. The press love controversy cos it sells - they're not really interested in much else, certainly not patient welfare.
If a cure was found for ME tomorrow and we all got well, it would probably make a small paragraph 3/4 of the way through the paper.
 

SOC

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I vaguely remember reading that she also has the Autism folks up in arms. I think she has a relative who is a very mainstream MD. So she may focus on issues that reflect very conservative MD perspectives, ie Autism is a genetic, behavioral issue definitely having nothing to do with vaccines and ARV's are bad, bad, bad!
Ah, thanks floydguy, that could explain a lot.
 

floydguy

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Apparently the Autism folks are also unhappy with the way Trine quotes people:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/01/the-chicago-tribune-and-autism-treatment-community-thrice-bitten-twice-shy.html

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/11/trine-tsouderos-responds-to-autism-article-email.html

This one suggests a more broad Tribune Autism Agenda
http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/05/on-media-the-chicago-tribune-fails-children-with-autism.html

From my time in Politics it was clear that papers set an agenda on certain issues. It's not always clear how that agenda is established. I wonder how or who is setting the agenda at the Tribune in regards to Autism, ME/CFS and other related topics?
 

WillowJ

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Well, it's not too tough to hold ourselves to a higher standard than journalists who exploit ill people in their moments of uncertainty or despair by cherry picking quotes to suit their particular slant. BTW she also quoted Dr. Rancaniello out of context as you can see by comments on his blog. Poorly, poorly done.
Yes, you're right that this is unfair. I just wanted to point out that this forum is public (and really my comments had nothing to do with what was said on PR about this story and but some things I'd seen said elsewhere).

Rancaniello says
I was quoted as saying These four papers are probably the beginning of the end of XMRV and CFS. I wish to retract this statement and explain my reasons for doing so.
...
My statement was reproduced exactly from the email I had sent her, so I was not misquoted.

I then set out to write about the papers for my blog about viruses. I read the papers over again, and began checking XMRV sequences in Genbank. I also began an email correspondence with authors of three of the four papers, and spoke with my virology colleagues here at Columbia. As a consequence of this additional research I decided that my initial impression of the papers was incorrect, which is evident in my post entitled Is XMRV a laboratory contaminant?.
...
I would like to apologize to anyone who was offended, angered, or disappointed in any way by my statement to the Chicago Tribune. It is my goal to educate the public about virology, and clearly I did not do that very well.
It's just a pity he didn't do the research before talking to the Tribune.
 

WillowJ

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oh, and what I missed from my earlier post that was lost, was that, Trine's job as a journalist was to present both sides of the story, and I agree with you all that she clearly did not do this.
 
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From my time in Politics it was clear that papers set an agenda on certain issues. It's not always clear how that agenda is established. I wonder how or who is setting the agenda at the Tribune in regards to Autism, ME/CFS and other related topics?
Follow the money. Who owns them?
 

floydguy

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Follow the money. Who owns them?
Sometimes that comes into play with owners of media companies but not always. It could be at a lower level. I am sure media companies are always concerned about advertising clients. Wouldn't you think big pharma would be interested in the potential of millions of new customers taking ARVs? Maybe there is some insurance influence going on somewhere. They seem to be the likeliest big business foes.
 

WillowJ

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and on where bias comes from, sometimes it's as simple as the reporters. Only it's not as simple as that because it's the universities where they went to school tend to be skewed in a particular direction. And somehow people aren't learning to think things through and consider both sides of issues anymore.
 

shannah

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Apparently the Autism folks are also unhappy with the way Trine quotes people:

http://www.ageofautism.com/2010/01/the-chicago-tribune-and-autism-treatment-community-thrice-bitten-twice-shy.html

http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/11/trine-tsouderos-responds-to-autism-article-email.html

This one suggests a more broad Tribune Autism Agenda
http://www.ageofautism.com/2009/05/on-media-the-chicago-tribune-fails-children-with-autism.html

From my time in Politics it was clear that papers set an agenda on certain issues. It's not always clear how that agenda is established. I wonder how or who is setting the agenda at the Tribune in regards to Autism, ME/CFS and other related topics?
Looks like this same reporter had the Lyme folks hopping mad on December 08th. There seems to be a pattern with this woman. Here's just one mention of it.

http://www.lymedisease.org/news/lymepolicywonk/609.html