UK Science Media Centre, RCP, and press silence on XMRV

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Suzy Chapman Owner of Dx Revision Watch
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Moderator Note: This thread was spun off from the thread on Media Coverage of Dr Alter's NIH Paper:

http://www.forums.aboutmecfs.org/sh...H-paper-post-stories-here&p=119450#post119450



I'm a bit out of touch with this thread but if this has already been posted in this or another thread, shout and I'll delete it.

Science Media Centre (SMC) Press Release


23 August 2010

http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/press_releases/10-08-23_cfs_virus_pnas.htm

Expert reaction to PNAS study on virus sequences found in blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients

This research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences purports to find a link between a virus and chronic fatigue syndrome, although this is not the same virus as that implicated in similar recent discoveries.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prof Robin Weiss, Professor of Viral Oncology, University College London, said:

"The paper by Lo and colleagues in PNAS claims an association between a retrovirus of mice and human chronic fatigue syndrome. It is based on small numbers but it will provoke discussion. Let's hope it is not another claim like MMR and autism which didn't hold up, but I am sceptical of the claim. Different primers were used for the CFS samples and the controls in Figure 1 and the analysis does not appear to have been performed using blinded samples. Remarkably, the mouse retrovirus is not the same as the one linked to CFS in a report published last year. One should also bear in mind that no less than 4 negative reports on this topic (failing to find a retrovirus link) have been published this year from reputable scientific groups in the UK, The Netherlands and at the Center for Communicable Diseases & Prevention in Atlanta, USA."

Prof Myra McClure, Professor of Retrovirology & Honorary Consultant in GU Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

"The paper by Lo et al, communicated by Harvey Alter, is bound to baffle both virologists and CFS patients alike. In the first place, it is important to realise that this group have not detected the virus (XMRV) that claimed media attention after the publication of Lombardi's paper in Science last year. They describe murine leukaemia virus (MLV)-related sequences that are genetically distinct from XMRV. The second mystifying aspect of this paper is that, just as in the Science paper, these new virus sequences seem very easy to detect (after only single round PCR). Several other groups, including the CDC in Atlanta, have employed the same experimental protocol, yet have consistently failed to detect any retrovirus in CFS patients. In carrying out such studies it is always important that test samples and control samples are randomised prior to analysis and that they are tested blind. It would be reassuring to know that this was the case with this study. In view of the controversy that this paper will inevitably generate, the authors are sensibly cautious about the significance of their findings with respect to CFS."

Detection of MLV-related virus gag gene sequences in blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy blood donors, by Lo et al., published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To contact the above please contact the Science Media Centre on 020 7670 2980

Note for editors


The Science Media Centre (SMC) is an independent venture working to promote voices, stories and views from the scientific community to the news media when science is in the headlines. Over 50 sponsors including scientific institutions, media groups, corporate organisations and individuals fund the Centre, with donations capped at 5% of the running costs to preserve its independence. The team at the Centre is guided by a respected Scientific Panel and Board of Advisors. This press release contains the personal opinions of those acknowledged; which represent neither the views of the SMC nor any other organisation unless specifically stated.

For more details see our website www.sciencemediacentre.org, please e-mail the Science Media Centre with your comments.
 

Mark

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Expert reaction to PNAS study on virus sequences found in blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients

This research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences purports to find a link between a virus and chronic fatigue syndrome, although this is not the same virus as that implicated in similar recent discoveries.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prof Robin Weiss, Professor of Viral Oncology, University College London, said:

"The paper by Lo and colleagues in PNAS claims an association between a retrovirus of mice and human chronic fatigue syndrome. It is based on small numbers but it will provoke discussion. Let's hope it is not another claim like MMR and autism which didn't hold up, but I am sceptical of the claim. Different primers were used for the CFS samples and the controls in Figure 1 and the analysis does not appear to have been performed using blinded samples. Remarkably, the mouse retrovirus is not the same as the one linked to CFS in a report published last year. One should also bear in mind that no less than 4 negative reports on this topic (failing to find a retrovirus link) have been published this year from reputable scientific groups in the UK, The Netherlands and at the Center for Communicable Diseases & Prevention in Atlanta, USA."

Prof Myra McClure, Professor of Retrovirology & Honorary Consultant in GU Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

"The paper by Lo et al, communicated by Harvey Alter, is bound to baffle both virologists and CFS patients alike. In the first place, it is important to realise that this group have not detected the virus (XMRV) that claimed media attention after the publication of Lombardi's paper in Science last year. They describe murine leukaemia virus (MLV)-related sequences that are genetically distinct from XMRV. The second mystifying aspect of this paper is that, just as in the Science paper, these new virus sequences seem very easy to detect (after only single round PCR). Several other groups, including the CDC in Atlanta, have employed the same experimental protocol, yet have consistently failed to detect any retrovirus in CFS patients. In carrying out such studies it is always important that test samples and control samples are randomised prior to analysis and that they are tested blind. It would be reassuring to know that this was the case with this study. In view of the controversy that this paper will inevitably generate, the authors are sensibly cautious about the significance of their findings with respect to CFS."

Detection of MLV-related virus gag gene sequences in blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and healthy blood donors, by Lo et al., published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To be quite clear: the above press release is the reason the story was not reported in the UK press.

There is plenty of disinformation here to debunk, and there's also a clue to the 'thinking' of those in the UK who are sceptical. My firm impression is that there are widespread prejudices at play, based on the principles of "judging a book by its cover", "guilt by association" and "this can't be right". Also on distrust from the public-sector approach of the UK towards US private medicine. I really get the feeling from multiple sources that they simply haven't looked into this in any depth, or tried to answer their own questions (eg by contacting the WPI) because they simply don't think it's worth wasting time on. Finally, an attitude that "oh well if there's something in it the Americans can figure it out". But perhaps I'm being too kind - some of the distortions in this release are a little hard to excuse...

I think this is worth debunking, expanding on, exploring, responding to.

Who is Weiss and does he have an axe to grind? UCL, ICL and Wessely - just explained by them chatting to each other and forming an overall impression under his influence?

Will comment on details of the release in a moment...
 

bullybeef

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Without meaning to repeat myself, the Science Media Centre is run by a former member of the Communist Revolutionary Party!

In fact SW was a former member too. There are probably many people involved in the SMC whom have come from communistic ideologies.

Also, why was this press release not printed by the press? Odd that they would post it on their website, and it not even be sourced. My guess is the press are now worried about trusting the SMC.

Their director, Fiona Fox, used to write for the UK magazine, Living Marxism. They had some legal rows with the UK news outlet, ITN in the past. I would therefore trust ITN, before I would trust the BBC.

I just think if the SMC are run by a bunch of commies, then the media most know. I also think the media are aware of XMRV, the PNAS paper and the recent discoveries, the problem is, whom do they get unbiased info from if they're loosing confidence in the SMC?

XMRV has opened a can of worms, why else would Prof Robin Weiss mention the MMR/autism link? The SMC are obviously protecting its experts whom have the own agenda; they have falsified information for years, and are probably crapping their pants as we speak.
 

fred

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The Science Media Centre is a charity registered with the Charities Commission as The Royal Institution of Great Britain (charity number 227938).

http://www.charity-commission.gov.u...steredCharityNumber=227938&SubsidiaryNumber=0

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What issues does the Commission want to know about?

The Charity Commission needs to know where there is a serious risk of significant harm to or abuse of a charity, its assets, beneficiaries or reputation. The issues we consider serious are:

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fred

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Here are the SMC's funders. My emphasis.

http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/funding.htm

Funding

The SMC is housed within the Royal Institution but independent from any single scientific body. To preserve our independence, funding has been sought from a wide variety of sources, none of which have contributed more than 5% of the total running costs (400,000 per year).

Media groups, charities, universities, industry, professional associations and individuals are all taking part in funding the Science Media Centre. The list below shows the organisations that have committed funds towards our running costs in the last twelve months:

(To date: May 2010)

Current Funders

Abbott Laboratories
Alzheimer's Research Trust
Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL) including Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Evening Standard & Metro
Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)
AstraZeneca
Bayer Plc
Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
BP International Ltd
British Pharmacological Society
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Cancer Research UK
Charlie Waller Memorial Trust
Chemical Industries Association (CIA)
Chilled Food Association (CFA)
Coca-Cola
Colgate-Palmolive Company
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
Diamond Light Source
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Elsevier BV
Emergent Biosolutions Inc
Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Engineering UK
ExxonMobil
Food Standards Agency (FSA)
The Gatsby Charitable Foundation
GE Healthcare
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
Human Tissue Authority (HTA)
Imperial College London
Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST)
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Institute of Physics (IOP)
Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)
Institution of Engineering and Technology (The IET)
Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI)
John Wiley & Sons Inc
L'Oreal UK
The Marmot Review
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Mental Health Foundation
Mental Health Research Network
Mental Health Research Network Cymru

Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Limited
The Met Office
Mobile Operators Association (MOA)
Monsanto UK Ltd
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
New Scientist
News International Ltd (including Times, Sunday Times, Sun, and News of the World)
Novartis
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)
PR Works
Philips UK
The Physiological Society
Research Councils UK (RCUK)
Rethink
Royal Academy of Engineering
Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)
Royal College of Pathologists
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP)
The Royal Society
Sanofi Pasteur MSD
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Scottish Mental Health Research Network
Shell UK Limited
Siemens Plc
Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM)
Society for General Microbiology (SGM)
Society of Biology
Springer science+business media
Syngenta
Tate & Lyle Plc
Technology Strategy Board
UCB
Unilever UK
University of Portsmouth
Wellcome Trust*
Wi-Fi Alliance

Previous Funders

AAAS and the magazine Science
Allied Domecq
ARM Holdings Plc
Association for Science Education
BASF Plc
Beeson Gregory
BBC Worldwide
Boots UK Ltd
British Computer Society (BCS)
British Energy Plc
British Geological Survey (BGS)
British Embassy in Washington
British Land Plc
British Neuroscience Association
British Transplantation Society Council
Cadbury Plc
Coalition for Medical Progress (CMP)
Chiron Vaccines
CNAP Artemisia Research Project
Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries of the European Union (CIAA)
Conoco (UK) Ltd
Conoco-Phillips
Co-operative Group (CWS) Limited
Copus
Daily Express
Dixons Group Plc
The Dow Chemical Company
The Drayson Foundation
Du Pont (UK) Ltd
Eli Lilly & Company
Environment Agency
European Science Foundation (ESF)
The Government Office for Science (GO-S)
JH Ritblat Charitable Trust
Kraft Foods Inc
Lever Faberge
Merlin Biosciences
National Physical Laboratory (NPL)
Nature Magazine and Macmillan Publishing Group
Northern Foods
Parkinson's Disease Society
Pfizer Limited
The Posen Foundation
Powderject
QinetiQ
Rathbones
RDS
Regenesys
Rothamsted Research
Royal College of Physicians
Royal Society of Medicine
Science Council
Simon Best
Smith & Nephew Plc
Tesco Limited
Trinity Mirror Plc
UK Cleaning Products Industry Association (UKPCI)
University of Teesside
Vodafone Group
Weizmann UK
World Health Organisation (WHO)
Wyeth

Special Notes

The Wellcome Trust is an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. The Science Media Centre is in receipt of core funding from the Wellcome Trust to the value of £30,000 per year. Visit the Wellcome Trust website page on grants awarded.

Refurbishment costs were met by a generous donation from John Ritblat. In recognition of this vital support, the main office of the Science Media Centre has been named the John Ritblat room.

The Dixon Group PLC generously donated our IT equipment.

Trinity Mirror PLC have donated money towards furnishing the Centre.
 

Mark

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How to beFUDdle the British Press

FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt

Prof Robin Weiss, Professor of Viral Oncology, University College London, said:


The paper by Lo and colleagues in PNAS claims an association between a retrovirus of mice and human chronic fatigue syndrome. It is based on small numbers but it will provoke discussion.
Straight in there emphasising the small numbers (but not noticing things like the full gene sequencing of every positive - the sample size may have been small but the analysis was extremely detailed) and "it will provoke discussion" implying "wait for the outcome of the discussion".

Let's hope it is not another claim like MMR and autism which didn't hold up, but I am sceptical of the claim.
Now this is extraordinary! A quite ludicrous comparison - what on earth is the basis for bringing MMR-autism into it, right from the word go? How can he possibly justify indirectly comparing all these multiple eminent researchers to Andrew Wakefield??!!! It's a quite bizarre and suspicious thing to say.

Already this demonstrates the line being taken. By drawing this sort of connection, all they have achieved as far as I'm personally concerned is leading me to suspect that there may be something in MMR-autism after all, which I had previously not considered likely at all. It's more of a hint to me that "we will have to debunk this as we did MMR-autism" and further suggests there may be connections between these bits of research at a technical level - that the MLVr science illuminates something that Wakefield was seeing.

I sense a blinkered and beleaguered attitude from such reactions - the principle of "guilt by association" and a black-and-white view that sees anyone "outside the walls" who hangs out in similar circles as part of a big network of "alternative" science that is all automatically worthy of an extra level of distrust. And that this instinctive scepticism is blinding and unworthy of the dispassionate objectivity to which a scientist should aspire.

How can it be that all this science has attracted the interest and support of such a large number of eminent and senior scientific figures in the US (notably Coffin and Alter, not to mention Silverman, Lo, Ruscetti, et al et al et al) if it is as dodgy as they make out? Quite insulting to those people really.

Different primers were used for the CFS samples and the controls in Figure 1 and the analysis does not appear to have been performed using blinded samples.
Is it really the case that they used different primers for the CFS samples and controls?! Throughout? Or just in one part of the paper (and explained by detail, as I would presume)? This surely can't be right - it would be an obvious flaw if the CFS samples and controls were tested using different methodology - I simply can't imagine that this is the case in such a major study.

Regarding the blinding, Alter has of course explained that they were tested side by side but the differential bandings are clearly visible to all in the printed results, so the blinding is a bit of a non-issue, although blinding is a very fundamental point to the sceptical UK scientists and the lack of it makes them very suspicious. Alter also explained that the positives were all sequenced to confirm the positives - so there's no real dispute that the sequences found by the tests represent something that is actually there.

Remarkably, the mouse retrovirus is not the same as the one linked to CFS in a report published last year.
This is McClure's line (and by the way, the origin of some of the political controversy on this forum recently). "not the same virus" is the take-home message that McClure and others are keen to promote. As such, they are dishonest in not drawing attention to the extremely strong connection between the viruses, the fact that they are related and from the same family, and that the WPI are also finding the same family of viruses. They haven't dug deeper to find out why Dr Alter points out so strongly that his results are confirmatory, and why this divergence is typical and actually strengthens the retroviral association, in Alter's opinion. This pattern is typical of retroviral infection, he says.

One should also bear in mind that no less than 4 negative reports on this topic (failing to find a retrovirus link) have been published this year from reputable scientific groups in the UK, The Netherlands and at the Center for Communicable Diseases & Prevention in Atlanta, USA.
"reputable" is an interesting word here, since 3 of these 4 groups certainly do have a "reputation" in the field of ME/CFS research...to put it very mildly...

It's a dishonest representation of these results to cite that they have "failed to find a link" when they have in fact all failed to demonstrate any capability whatsoever of being able to find the virus in vivo. Also I find it ironic that he carefully expands the CDC here into its very reputable-sounding full name - to emphasise its credibility. Sadly no explanation of who the FDA and NIH are and where they fit into US health policy.



So in sum: Dr Weiss' analysis is highly selective and biased, picking out the headline aspects of fear, uncertainty and doubt in order to point the press away from the study - most especially, warning them not to risk anther Wakefield. What he has also succeeded in doing is turning the eyes of myself and others on to him personally - who is he and what interest does he have in downplaying this, I start to wonder? What function/role does he perform in the field of oncology, I start to ask myself...



And so to our old friend and Wessely's, Prof. McClure...famous already for running wildly ahead of her own published research in her speculation about its meaning in the press, and for a certain notable swiftly-executed "failure to detect"...

Prof Myra McClure, Professor of Retrovirology & Honorary Consultant in GU Medicine, Imperial College London, said:

The paper by Lo et al, communicated by Harvey Alter, is bound to baffle both virologists and CFS patients alike.
Let's start right in with the word "baffle" eh? Doubtless the journalists reading this don't want to be baffled...

But hold on..."by Lo et al" and "communicated" by Dr Alter? I thought this was both Dr Alter's and Dr Lo's research? I thought there were two separate teams (FDA and NIH) involved in this work, one led by each of these two researchers? Has Dr Alter really done no more than communicate it, and is this an attempt to disassociate the eminent Dr Alter from the paper?

In the first place, it is important to realise that this group have not detected the virus (XMRV) that claimed media attention after the publication of Lombardi's paper in Science last year. They describe murine leukaemia virus (MLV)-related sequences that are genetically distinct from XMRV.
True - but not very genetically distinct. Members of the same newly-discovered family of gammaretroviruses in fact. When emphasising this point of divergence between the viruses, it would seem only honest, fair and balanced to also explain the connections between the family of viruses, and the characteristics of retroviral infection that they represent.

The second mystifying aspect of this paper is that, just as in the Science paper, these new virus sequences seem very easy to detect (after only single round PCR). Several other groups, including the CDC in Atlanta, have employed the same experimental protocol, yet have consistently failed to detect any retrovirus in CFS patients.
Following up "baffle" with "mystify". Hmm...who is the true mystifier here, I ask? FUD = Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt.

Why is it mystifying that these brand new sequences "seem" easy to detect? Has anybody else looked for these new sequences yet? No.
So why is it mystifying if they were easy to detect through single round PCR? And anyway - were they easy to detect? Can scientists on this board and elsewhere answer this question? Is this a dead easy operation, or might primers and sample preparation and other methodology be significant?

In carrying out such studies it is always important that test samples and control samples are randomised prior to analysis and that they are tested blind. It would be reassuring to know that this was the case with this study.
I'm forced to concede that the absence of explicit randomisation and blinding procedures in both studies is a weakness. This omission is a significant issue that does sensibly provoke a degree of caution - the absence of blinding is indeed not reassuring. Whether it is always an important requirement for such studies, I'm not so sure, but I have to admit there is a valid point made here. (At long last). Since this comes at the end of the critique, my textual analysis suggests to me that this is the one valid question they have come up with - start with "baffle" and "mystify", proceed with various of your weakest counter-argments, and build up to the one reasonable point you have to make.

Alter and Lo respond, regarding blinding, thus:

We did not specifically blind and mix the two sample groups (CFS and blood donors). However, they were studied in parallel by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). As shown in the figures of the paper, those samples with positive amplicons of the predicted sizes were all sequenced; no sample was considered positive unless sequencing confirmed PCR reactivity.
What they are saying here I think is: pairs of samples side by side (donor and CFS) were studied by PCR, which I guess is actually a means of ensuring that for each pair of samples they both get the same treatment (barring a bias of the technician to systematically treat the two samples differently - admittedly a potential issue from the point of view of the outside observer).

They are also saying: because the positive samples were then all sequenced, and not considered positive unless the sequencing confirmed that, this does mean that the samples found to be positive really were positive. Of course this doesn't rule out the possibility that the "negative" samples may also have contained undetected MLVs. But in comparison to those "reputable" groups who found nothing whatsoever anywhere...well, Alter and Lo's methods, blinded or not, confirm that there is clearly something in their samples, which they have sequenced.

In view of the controversy that this paper will inevitably generate, the authors are sensibly cautious about the significance of their findings with respect to CFS.
And to conclude this excellent piece of FUD, we have what may be the only realistic clue as to what is going on.

Translation: Because the conclusions of this research are so extremely far-reaching and will generate huge "controversy", this is the reason for extreme caution. Actually, here they are saying that the paper's authors are being sensibly cautious for this reason - now, while that may be true, we have no way of interpreting what those authors' reasons for being sensibly cautious were, but personally I would say that surely all research papers should be and generally are sensibly cautious about extrapolating conclusions from their findings. Alter and Lo's caution does indeed point out carefully what has been and has not been shown. Their caution is appropriate and sensible - and one conclusion they reach is that they have "strongly confirmed" the WPI's findings of an association with retroviral infection in CFS patients.

I would submit that the real persons who are being especially cautious - indeed being especially extra-cautious in their interpretation in view of the controversial implications of the research - are McClure and Weiss. Theirs is the bias, towards caution: they will demand unusually high standards of this research, because its implications are so significant and far-reaching. An extra burden of proof is imposed before the media should take up this story. In just the same fashion, in fact, that exceptional measures were already imposed on this study before its publication: a block on the paper just as it was about to go to press in order that Dr Alter may conduct specified extra experiments in order to be more certain that his results were valid.

It's especially noteworthy that amongst those far-reaching conclusions are some very negative consequences for the reputation of McClure herself, and especially for the reputation and indeed career of her research collaborator Prof Simon Wessely. It is at least conceivable that these factors may be at least as "blinding" to true scientific objectivity as the methodology employed by the eminent Drs Alter and Lo in their work this year.

The real question that this press release raises in the mind of an intelligent and sceptical observer is: "Just what have these people got to hide?"

And it is extremely disappointing that while the rest of the world seems comfortable to release this news to the press and discuss and scrutinise it in the open light of public debate, in the UK, an "independent" body is able to dominate the agenda for the press using the analysis of researchers who themselves are very far from independent as to the truth or otherwise of the scientific findings.
 

Esther12

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I've just said something similar, but less detailed than this Mark.

I quite agree that the MMR comparison is very interesting.
 

Mark

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Put this to the Charities Commission. Details in post #214.
I don't know where to start with this really - I hope somebody out there has access to the expertise to do this effectively?

When doesnt the Commission get involved?

Many of the complaints we receive are not for us and should be raised directly with the charity or with other bodies. The most common of these are:

  • Internal disagreements and disputes;
  • Services provided by the charity;
  • Fundraising methods;
  • Employment and unfair dismissal;
  • Disagreements with decisions;
  • Contracts and legal action against the charity;
  • Concerns about policies or actions taken by the trustees which are within their powers
Would these be a reason that a complaint about a specific press release might not be considered? I would imagine that these press releases are their services.

So a complaint to the commission would have to cover the SMC as a whole, no?

An in depth investigation of the history of the SMC is certainly indicated, and the marxist philosophy and university connections of the key players here do indeed seem highly suspicious. But whether I personally can dedicate time just now to following up this issue of control of the media via the SMC, is another matter. I do hope that somebody reading this can do so.

Don't believe what you read in the news, Great Britain...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDYPa-ioWCE
 

Dx Revision Watch

Suzy Chapman Owner of Dx Revision Watch
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Without meaning to repeat myself, the Science Media Centre is run by a former member of the Communist Revolutionary Party!

In fact SW was a former member too...
You have a reliable reference source for this, I take it, bullybeef?


http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/sap.htm

science advisory panel

Our science advisory panel is a prestigious group of scientists widely acknowledged as being at the top of their field, and who are committed to communicating science in the media. Their job is to advise the SMC when their area of science hits the headlines.

Professor Chris Leaver FRS
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford

Professor Mike Brady
Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

Professor Sir George Alberti
Department of Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Newcastle

Professor Peter Atkins DSc
Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford

Professor Brian Johnson
Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

Professor Sir John Krebs FRS
Food Standards Agency and Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

Professor Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE
Director of The Royal Institution of Great Britain
and Professor of Pharmacology, University of Oxford

Professor Richard Catlow FRS
Director of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory and Department of Chemistry, University College, London

Professor Steve Jones
Department of Biology, University College, London

Professor Simon Wessely
Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London

Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn-Smith FRS
Former Provost and President of University College, London, and former Director General of CERN

Professor Lord Robert Winston
Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, and Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust

Professor Sir David King ScD FRS
Chief Scientific Advisor to H. M. Government; Head of the Office of Science and Technology

Professor Bill McGuire
Benfield Hazard Research Centre, University College, London

Professor Lord Julian Hunt FRS
Department of Space and Climate Physics, University College, London

Sir Richard Sykes DSc FRS*
Rector of Imperial College of Science, Technology and
Medicine, London


Ed: Note, not the Dr Richard Sykes former Director of Westcare who had been the co-ordinator of the CISSD Project.

In addition to this core panel, we have contacts with over 1200 media friendly scientists, all experts in their fields and keen to do media work.

We also work closely with more then 500 UK science press officers to ensure that whenever science hits the headlines, we can offer some of the best scientists in the country to journalists needing an interview.



http://www.sciencemediacentre.org/pages/about/smc_board.htm

The SMC is governed by our board, which combines a range of experience in science and the media.

Kenny Campbell
Editor, Metro

Dr Philip Campbell
Editor-in-Chief, Nature

Clive Cookson
Science Editor, Financial Times

Dr Peter Cotgreave
Director of Public Affairs, Royal Society

Carolan Davidge
Director of Press & PR, Cancer Research UK

Mike Granatt CB FIPR
Partner, Luther Pendragon and former Director General of Goverment Information and Communication Service

Philip Greenish
Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Engineering

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge FRS
Head of Developmental Genetics, MRC National Institute for Medical Research

Tom Miller
Director of Communications, Imperial College London and STEMPRA committee member

Rebecca Morelle
Science and Nature reporter, BBC News Online

Vivienne Parry
Writer, broadcaster and journalist

Simon Pearson
Night Editor, The Times

Dr Simon Singh
Science writer and broadcaster

Ceri Thomas
Editor, Today, BBC Radio 4

Bob Ward
Policy and Communications Director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics and Political Science

---------

Ed: Vivienne Parry is a Patron to ME Solutions.

http://www.mesolutions.org.uk/who-we-are/

ME Solutions were collaborators with Invest in ME in the fundraising exercise to raise money for a proposed XMRV study by Dr Jonathan Kerr and Dr Amolak Bansal.

The fund raising exercise was abandoned when Dr Kerr pulled out of XMRV research. It is not known whether Dr Bansal (who is listed on the ME Solutions website as "Chief Scientific Advisor") is planning to continue with any form of XMRV research.
 
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How come the charity 'THE ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN' charity number 227938 covers the Science Media Centre and the SMC declare themselves a charity using the same number yet in their 2009 accounts there is absolutely no mention of the SMC?

http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/ScannedAccounts/Ends38/0000227938_ac_20090930_e_c.pdf

and

The SMC declare themselves charity number 227938 yet the RI claim the SMC is an independent sister organisation to the RI

http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayContent&id=00000001044

and

http://www.rigb.org/contentControl?action=displayEvent&id=1033

I wonder if this' panel of experts' who are giving this talk can answer why XMRV has been neglected in the news?
 

Dx Revision Watch

Suzy Chapman Owner of Dx Revision Watch
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http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=41301551

[...]


The director of the SMC is one Fiona Fox. If you do a quick search on her, she was a former leading member of the Marxist Revolutionary Communist Party. As was Prof. Simon Wessely. The question is, how many other people in a position of power belonged to this group. The Independent did a very rough editorial of the CDC vs. NIH/FDA study story. If you do a quick Google search for the science editor whom wrote the story, one Steve Conner and Simon Wessely, it seems they have worked together before.​



No reference source.
 
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Fiona Fox, also known as Fiona Foster, is head of the Science Media Centre and member of the Sense about Science Working party on peer review.
Previously senior Press Officer for the Equal Opportunities Commission, head of media relations for the National Council for One Parent Families, and Head of Media at the aid agency Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD). [[1]
Member of the LM group and contributor to Living Marxism, through which she was associated with controversial views regarding the Rwandan genocide. [2]
She is sister of Claire Fox, head of the Institute of Ideas.
During 2002, she took part in a Workshop on Communication of Science Policy to the Media for the Department of Trade and Industry, along with Rebecca Bowden of the Royal Society, shortly before the SMC was created.


http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fiona_Fox
 
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SCIENCE MEDIA CENTRE DIRECTOR IS LIVING MARXISM GENOCIDE APOLOGIST

Among the items below are some startling revelations about Fiona Fox, the director of the Science Media Centre, and her connections with the LM brigade - a bizarre pro-corporate Marxist clique which fanatically supports GM.

When BBC TV's Fields of Gold was under fire from the Science Media Centre, Times' columnist Mick Hume waded in to support their attack. Hume is the former editor of Living Marxism aka LM until the magazine was sued out of existence as a result of its campaign of denial of Serbian war crimes.

Also out of the LM stable are the GM supporting website 'spiked online' - www.spiked.org - and the Institute of Ideas -www.instituteofideas.com - directed by Claire Fox.

As with their denials of Serbian genocide, LM supporters are none too particular how they support their ideological positions - see the link below for articles on LM by George Monbiot.

LM supporting TV director Martin Durkin, for instance, was condemned by the Independent Television Commission for having "misled" contributors to his anti-environmentalist 'Against Nature' TV series and for having distorted their views via selective editing.

The SMC appears equally unscrupulous, claiming to represent a broad spectrum of scientific opinion and to be "an independent venture working to promote the voices, stories and views of the scientific community to the news media", when in reality it's a Lord-Sainsbury-backed project which has such well known GM proponents as Prof Chris Leaver, Prof Sir John Krebs, The Baroness Greenfield and Lord Robert Winston on its board. In short, quite apart from taking money from biotech companies, it represents one very narrow part of the science community - and, it now seems, their bizarre fellow travellers!

for more on the Science Media Centre: http://members.tripod.com/~ngin/020602c.htm

taken from http://ngin.tripod.com/210602c.htm
 

Dx Revision Watch

Suzy Chapman Owner of Dx Revision Watch
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bullybeef wrote:

Without meaning to repeat myself, the Science Media Centre is run by a former member of the Communist Revolutionary Party!

In fact SW was a former member too...

A poster on digitalspy had written:

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/s...php?p=41301551

[...]

The director of the SMC is one Fiona Fox. If you do a quick search on her, she was a former leading member of the Marxist Revolutionary Communist Party. As was Prof. Simon Wessely. The question is, how many other people in a position of power belonged to this group. The Independent did a very rough editorial of the CDC vs. NIH/FDA study story. If you do a quick Google search for the science editor whom wrote the story, one Steve Conner and Simon Wessely, it seems they have worked together before.

bullybeef, I publish on my site and on other platforms under my own name. So I have to take care that any claims I make can be backed up with evidence.

If your statement,

"In fact SW was a former member [of the Communist Revolutionary Party] too.."

relies on the claim made about Simon Wessely on digitalspy forum, why are you comfortable repeating unreferenced claims?

And if your statement does not rely on that claim, where are you getting your information from?

Because I can bet that within a day or two, your assertion will be reiterated on several PR threads and will have hopped over to Facebook and very few will stop to consider whether this statement can be backed up or not.

And that bothers me a great deal. Because if this was not the case, once again, our credibility is undermined.

So as you have said this is a "fact" could we please have a reference source in order that this assertion can be safely repeated?

Suzy
 

Mark

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Suspicious Ties

Wikipedia:
Director Fiona Fox is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, a former contributor to its magazine Living Marxism and a current contributor to Spiked, a website set up by former members of the RCP. Her qualifications to lead the Science Media Centre have been challenged as she has no scientific qualifications and comes from an extreme ideological background.[2], [3]
Without meaning to repeat myself, the Science Media Centre is run by a former member of the Communist Revolutionary Party!

In fact SW was a former member too. There are probably many people involved in the SMC whom have come from communistic ideologies.

Their director, Fiona Fox, used to write for the UK magazine, Living Marxism. They had some legal rows with the UK news outlet, ITN in the past. I would therefore trust ITN, before I would trust the BBC.

...

XMRV has opened a can of worms, why else would Prof Robin Weiss mention the MMR/autism link? The SMC are obviously protecting its experts whom have the own agenda; they have falsified information for years, and are probably crapping their pants as we speak.
You are not kidding that XMRV has opened a can of worms!!! :eek: Question is, how deep does the rabbit hole go? And where's that blue pill gone? :eek:

I feel I should note straight away that I'm not advocating any wild conspiracy theory here - as I always note, and honestly too, I am simply investigating evidence and exploring where the facts lead me, with an open mind. But I certainly wouldn't trust any of the major media outlets implicitly, and note that Channel 4 is also ultimately 'publicly' owned.

Anyway, so far I have on my list Simon Wessely, Ben Goldacre, Evan Harris, and now Fiona Fox, as alleged "former"(?) revolutionary communists with strong mutual ties and some university connections (worth exploring further) who have risen rapidly - despite entirely undistinguished scientific careers and a notable lack of hard practical scientific achievements - to hold positions of extraordinary influence over matters of medical science. They hold a fierce line in defence of their own version of what is valid (authorised) science - on the grounds of their supposed right to guardianship of rationalist scientific principles which are in fact not in the least disputed by those they select for persecution. Yet everything I see of their scientific credentials and work suggests only a notable intellectual mediocrity with respect to scientific matters - to put it kindly. I see no groundbreaking discoveries or contributions to human knowledge to compare with the discovery of XMRV or Hepatitis C amongst this group - only considerable expertise in manipulating information and an evident interest in power and influence.

As a student I had some interest in Living Marxism and Marxist Today myself, I recall reading Fiona Fox's writing, and I'm not personally especially inclined to be suspicious of former communists in positions of influence. Many people were communists at university back in the days of their youth, and went on to forge distinguished political careers after changing their views considerably - "any man who is not a communist by the age of 18 has no heart, any man who is still a communist by the age of 30 has no brain", or so it is said. Indeed it's personally quite challenging for me to find my gaze focused on these people because the large bulk of their current political affiliations and stated beliefs - especially those of Evan Harris - are very much in accord with my own.

What does concern me is this apparent existence of a small but highly significant network of such people having huge influence over government, the media, research and health bodies, and a clear focus on areas of medical science where the status quo and obvious state and corporate interests are powerfully aligned against the interests of human health. There are obvious powerful conflicts of interest at play in assessing whether ME/CFS, MCS, vaccine-mediated harm, etc etc are real phenomena constituting injuries for which industrial giants are likely to be responsible, and where the state would also be responsible for dealing with the consequences.

The revolutionary left philosophy explicitly includes an infiltrationist strategy - Entryism - aimed at subverting organisations and gaining control over the levers of power, and whether these individuals still hold to a revolutionary communist agenda or not, they are clearly well-versed in the tactics of subverting democracy - which is to say, they are trained enemies of the people.

Here's an interesting article about some of them:

http://quackbengoldacre.wordpress.com/the_placement/
 

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Suzy Chapman Owner of Dx Revision Watch
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[...]

Anyway, so far I have on my list Simon Wessely, Ben Goldacre, Evan Harris, and now Fiona Fox, as "former"(?) revolutionary communists...

Could we have a source for the information on Simon Wessely, please, Mark?

Suzy
 

Mark

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Sorry Suzy but I don't recall what my source was for that info, and you're absolutely 100% right on the vital importance of working from solid ground - thanks for continuing to remind everybody of that. I'm wondering now how much of the assertions in my previous post can be sourced - the info all comes from posters whose reliability I tend to trust, but I must admit I haven't always been rigorous in following up those details and confirming the evidence.

Fiona Fox checks out though:

Fiona Fox, SourceWatch:
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Fiona_Fox

Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiona_Fox_(UK_press_officer)

Not to be confused with the Sonic the Hedgehog character Fiona Fox... :D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_characters_in_Sonic_the_Hedgehog_%28comic_book%29#Fiona_Fox


...although the Sonic character seems to have some similar interests, interestingly enough: :eek:

She joins the Freedom Fighters after learning that Sonic is truly heroic. She develops feelings for Scourge during his impersonation of Sonic, and after unable to develop the same feelings for the real Sonic, she leaves The Freedom Fighters. She later joins The Suppression Squad after Scourge forms it and leaves after their team mutinees on Scourge. Fiona is a free spirit and feels she can rely on no one and owes no one anything.