Friday, December 24, 2010

Four research papers released on the same day stinks

By Joel Spinhirne, On Thu Dec 23, 2010:

I don't know much about retroviruses and certainly don't know whether XMRV causes ME/CFS.

But I have thought quite a bit about how the machinery of U.S. medicine works.

The story of four research papers being simultaneously released on the same day, frankly, stunk.

It sounded more like politics than science. The four papers were reported in the press as pretty much rewrites of a press release. Actually, in some cases, the way they were reported was much worse. So here is an update...

The Chicago Tribune pretty much reported the story in the standard way: prestigious, sober-minded scientists had disproved the XMRV connection to ME/CFS. A prominent virologist, Vincent Racaniello of Columbia University Medical Center, was quoted:

These four papers are probably the beginning of the end of XMRV and CFS.
Well, that sounds pretty convincing.

Except for one thing.

The next day Racaniello looked at the four papers a little closer.

It seems they did not do anything more than propose theoretical possibilities, supported by self-conducted experiments, as to why the original studies possibly could be wrong. Even then, they do not do a good job of it. The four papers are a long way from disproving anything. Read more>>

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