Thursday, December 23, 2010

A coordinated campaign of garbage science

by Joel Spinhirne,

By miraculous convergence, or by virtue of a coordinated campaign—take your pick—four research studies were published in the same medical journal this week all saying there was nothing, absolutely nothing, to the previous promising studies indicating that myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is associated with one or more retroviruses.

It did not take the press long to pick up on the story. Case closed, nothing to see here, move along. This might have worked twenty-five years ago, but it is getting harder to pull off.


There are intelligent and perceptive writers who follow the details of the retrovirus connection to ME/CFS. The biology and real science can be fascinating. But just as with the campaign against investigation into early 1980s outbreaks of AIDS, the problem is not with the science. Instead, it is with the machinery that kicks into gear to dismiss very real, very serious diseases and how science gets abused. This machinery is where our interest should be because that is what hurts us.

Who coordinated getting those four dismissive studies published at the same time this week? Getting whoever did this out of the way is going to make our friends, neighbors, and loved ones well quicker than anything.

I don’t know if XMRV causes ME/CFS, but I do know I want the best science used to figure this out. I don’t want government health agencies like the CDC, NIH, and FDA stopping real science and suppressing information and knowledge. I don’t want lobbyists telling them what to do. I don’t want journalists passing on garbage science naively and ... Read more>>

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