HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

“HIV” has infected virology with cancer-causing viruses

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/01/08

Duesberg (Inventing the AIDS Virus, Regnery, 1996) described in detail how the unsuccessful, decades-long search for human-cancer-causing viruses stimulated frustrated virologists to hunt for and insist on a viral cause for AIDS. That has produced a thriving industry that’s highly lucrative for researchers and drug companies and government agencies and non-governmental entities — albeit unfortunate for millions of healthy and innocent people. That model now seems to be enticing virologists to discover new viruses associated with a variety of conditions, including human cancers, and to market expensive tests to detect those postulated viruses and expensive vaccines to ward them off.

This approach has approval at the highest levels of the scientific establishment, vide the award of Nobel prizes for the discoveries of HIV — which doesn’t case AIDS — and human papillomavirus, HPV — which has not been proven to cause cervical cancer but against which an expensive vaccine has been marketed for administration to teenage girls and more recently teenage boys, who may not be at risk for cervical cancer but still deserve to be protected against genital warts, with which some strains of HPV are sometimes associated (Gardasil and Cervarix: Vaccination insanity, 21 September 2009).

One element of this HIV/AIDS model is that weak associations are declared to be proof of causation: the seminal Gallo papers claimed to find HIV in much fewer than all AIDS patients, and only some strains of HPV are even claimed to be associated with cervical cancer. This betrayal of statistical logic is now exemplified again by the latest retroviral fad, XMRV, xenotropic murine retrovirus, which has been “associated” first with prostate cancer and thereupon with chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS.

First, prostate cancer:
“We found XMRV DNA in 6% and XMRV protein expression in 23% of prostate cancers” (Robert Schlaberg, Daniel J. Choe, Kristy R. Brown, Harshwardhan M. Thaker, and Ila R. Singh. “XMRV is present in malignant prostatic epithelium and is associated with prostate cancer, especially high-grade tumors”. PNAS 106 #38 [2009] 16351-6; doi 10.1073/pnas.0906922106).

In case 6% and 23% seem not too impressive, the authors assert that “Our observations provide evidence for an association of XMRV with malignant  cells and with more aggressive tumors” [emphases added] — in other words, if they could have isolated only the actual tumor cells, of course the association would have been much more impressive. Skeptics might ponder, though, the fact that they “detected XMRV DNA” in 2.0% of controls as well as in 6.2% cases of prostate cancer. We are reminded of Gallo’s decision in patenting an “HIV” test to use 3 times the reading in normal controls as an indication of infection (US Patent 4,520,113, 28 May 1985).

Since HIV has been declared to be an underlying cause in an increasing number of illnesses, obviously any newly discovered virus, especially a retrovirus, ought also to be indictable for an increasing number of ailments. A group of entrepreneurial virologists noted that “XMRV-positive prostate cancer and CFS [chronic fatigue syndrome] have been linked to alterations in the antiviral  enzyme RNase  L” and therefore they looked for XMRV in CFS: “Of the 101 CFS samples analyzed, 68 (67%) contained XMRV gag sequence. Detection of XMRV was confirmed in 7 of 11 [64%] WPI CFS samples at the Cleveland Clinic”( Lombardi VC, Ruscetti FW, Das Gupta J, Pfost MA, Hagen KS, Peterson DL, Ruscetti SK, Bagni RK, Petrow-Sadowski C, Gold B, Dean M, Silverman RH, Mikovits JA. “Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. Science 326 [2009] 585-9). Finding the putative cause in as many as 2/3 of patients is, by HIV/AIDS standards, more than adequate proof.

A corollary feature of the HIV/AIDS model is that the willingness to accept weak association as causation throws up an increasing number of conundrums. The inference based on “antiviral  enzyme RNase  L” led to the search for XMRV, which is associated with that enzyme, in CFS. Conundrum:     “We found XMRV infection  to  be  independent  of  a  common  polymorphism  in  the RNASEL gene, unlike results previously reported. This finding increases the population at risk for XMRV infection from only those homozygous for the RNASEL variant to all individuals” (Schlaberg et al.).

OOPS! The very reason for looking for XMVR in CFS turns out to be spurious.

Furthermore, other researchers were unable to find XMRV in any appreciable number of CFS patients: “XMRV or MLV sequences were not amplified from DNA originating from CFS patients in the UK” (Erlwein et al. “Failure to Detect the novel retrovirus XMRV in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”. PLoS ONE 5[1] [2010] e8519. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008519).

Now what is one to do when apparent associations turn out to be no association at all? Again HIV/AIDS theory provides a useful model, namely, the conceit that any given illness may look quite different on different continents:
“Although we found no evidence that XMRV is associated with CFS in the UK, this may be a result of population differences between North America and Europe regarding the general prevalence of XMRV infection, and might also explain the fact that two US  groups found XMRV in prostate cancer tissue, while two European studies did not” (Erlwein et al.). “XMRV could show more genetic variety, and thus be harder to detect, than anyone assumed. It’s also possible that distinct strains of XMRV appear in different parts of the world, like the retroviruses HIV and HTLV (a leukemia virus)”  ( Sam Kean, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome attacked again”, ScienceNOW Daily News, 6 January 2010).

HIV/AIDS provides an apparently unlimited number of good ideas for CFS researchers. Just as there can be AIDS-TB and non-AIDS TB, AIDS Kaposi’s sarcoma and non-AIDS Kaposi’s sarcoma, and so forth, “It’s naïve to think that everyone with chronic fatigue has the same etiology. There’s probably going to be a subset of people with CFS that have XMRV, and it will probably end up being classified as XMRV-related CFS” (Kean, op. cit.).

Another lesson from HIV/AIDS theory and practice is to keep asserting something even if it is not true, thus “We have discovered a highly significant association between the XMRV retrovirus and CFS” (Lombardi et al.). First, the claimed association isn’t highly significant. Second, no association at all has been found by researchers attempting to reproduce the finding. Third, the reason for seeking an association in the first place turns out to be invalid: “As noted above, XMRV has been detected in prostate tumors from patients expressing a specific genetic variant of the RNASEL gene (5). In contrast, in our study of this CFS cohort, we found that XMRV infection status does not correlate with the RNASEL genotype”.

Obviously, the evidence that all this research was based on a flawed hypothesis indicates only a pressing need for more research based on the same hypothesis:
“This observation raises several important questions. Is XMRV infection a causal factor in the pathogenesis of CFS or a passenger virus in the immunosuppressed  CFS  patient  population? What is the relationship between XMRV infection status and the presence or absence of other viruses that are often associated with CFS (e.g., herpesviruses)? [NO ASSOCIATION OF CFS WITH ANY VIRUS HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME] Conceivably these viruses could be cofactors in pathogenesis, as is the case for HIV-mediated disease, in which co-infecting pathogens play an important role (20). [Not quite; HIV is supposed to be pathogenic by itself, not requiring co-factors to kill off the immune system — except according to Montagnier, of course.] Patients with CFS have an elevated incidence of cancer (21). [How many other conditions than CFS can be correlated with one or another cancer? Especially if a single unreproduced observation counts as a correlation?] Does XMRV infection alter the risk of cancer development in CFS? . . .  Finally, it is worth noting that 3.7% of the healthy donors in our study tested positive for XMRV sequences. This suggests that several million Americans may be infected with a retrovirus of as yet unknown pathogenic potential”.
Ah, yes.  The 3.7% of healthy people who are XMRV-positive are evidently elite controllers and long-term non-progressors to CFS and cancer. But everyone is obviously at risk, after all this virus MIGHT cause some illness or other — perhaps following a latent period of a decade or two or three? (As Koehnlein pointed out at RA2009, “Life is a sexually transmitted disease which ends in death after an incubation period of 77 years”; briefer incubation periods include HIV at 15 years, HCV 30 years, BSE 55 years,  HPV 55 years).

So just like HIV/AIDS, XMRV is significant for stimulating and supporting researchers, if for nothing else: “virologists around the world practically sprinted to their labs to redo the experiments . . . . a Google search on ‘XMRV’ the day before the Science paper [Lombardi et al.] hit  . . . found about 22,500 hits. Three months later, there are 400,000 hits”( Sam Kean, op. cit.).

Finally (for the moment at least): just as with HIV/AIDS and other unsavory enterprises, FOLLOW THE MONEY:
“the discovery that a clinic associated with the Science paper was selling a $650 diagnostic test for XMRV made the issue more pressing. . . . [S]ome scientists . . . fear that Lombardi’s clinic took advantage of that hunger [for help on the part of CFS patients] by offering the $650 diagnostic test, 300 of which have been administered so far. Lombardi’s group never claimed XMRV caused CFS, so it’s not clear what a patient could do with a positive result. Lombardi argues that patients can avoid infecting other people with XMRV and have their diagnoses validated, if nothing else”.
Great value for $650, for those who sell the tests if not for those who get themselves tested.

Not that any of the researchers admitted to a conflict of interest when they submitted the manuscript to Science (7 May 2009; accepted 31 August). The last footnote did note that “R.H.S. may receive royalty payments in the future from Abbott Laboratories”,  but it was left to a “Note added in proof: V.C.L. is operations manager of Viral Immune Pathologies Laboratory, which is in negotiations with the Whittemore Peterson Institute to offer a  diagnostic test for XMRV”.
Of course, the belatedness of this note, added after the article had been accepted for publication, is really immaterial, because there is little if any precedent for rejecting manuscripts just because of a blatant conflict of interest.

Lombardi may have been too modest in his claims for the benefits of the test. After all, people who are XRMV-positive and who want to guard against all possibilities that it might be harmful can avail themselves of antiretroviral treatment: “websites are abuzz with reports from [CFS] patients who say they have been tested and queries about how to obtain zidovudine (AZT), the antiretroviral drug used to combat HIV. . . . Scientists are . . . warning people . . . of the dangers of dosing themselves with antiretroviral drugs. . . Richard Baker, head of the group that wrote the official UK guidelines on CFS, warns patients against taking AZT, which can have side effects [YES INDEED, AZT CAN HAVE ‘SIDE’ EFFECTS –it causes death, but a side effect is that it kills retroviruses as well]” (Clare Wilson and Ewen Callaway, “CFS patients in UK show no signs of suspect virus”, 6 January 2010).
Still, that doesn’t stop research on using AZT to block XMRV: “In lab experiments reported last month, AZT was found to block replication of XMRV (Virology, DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2009.11.013)”. “Because XMRV is a retrovirus, it has been suggested that it might be susceptible to some of the many drugs available for treatment of AIDS. Of  ten licensed compounds evaluated for activity against XMRV, just one, AZT (azidothymidine), was found to inhibit viral replication. . . . Because AZT is approved for use in humans, such studies can proceed immediately, without the need for extensive toxicity studies in animals” (Vincent Racaniello, “AIDS Drug AZT Inhibits XMRV”, 091208, citing Sakuma R, Sakuma T, Ohmine S, Silverman RH, & Ikeda Y (2009). Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus is susceptible to AZT. Virology PMID: 19959199).

***************************

We’ve gone full circle: From realizing that there aren’t any human-cancer-causing viruses to establishing by fiat the existence of human-cancer-causing viruses, beginning with cervical cancer which was declared an AIDS-defining disease just because “HIV” — or rather a positive “HIV” test — occurs in some cases of cervical cancer. Nowadays virologists are demonstrating that bits of DNA and protein that  might be parts of some new virus can be found in a whole host of physiological conditions; and they seem willing to establish the existence of a virus simply by inference from those bits and pieces, and to infer the pathogenicity of that imaginary virus from its putative presence in any ailment or unusual physiological condition.

Thus virology has succeeded in mainstreaming junk science.

28 Responses to ““HIV” has infected virology with cancer-causing viruses”

  1. Norman B. said

    Speaking of the money trail, Clark Baker has some eye-opening revelations on his blog of HIV/AIDS grants over the recent years funneled through the National Institutes of Health. We need a GAO audit of public funds sloshed around in this manner.

  2. Philip said

    “Because XMRV is a retrovirus, it has been suggested that it might be susceptible to some of the many drugs available for treatment of AIDS. Of ten licensed compounds evaluated for activity against XMRV, just one, AZT (azidothymidine), was found to inhibit viral replication. . . . Because AZT is approved for use in humans, such studies can proceed immediately, without the need for extensive toxicity studies in animals” – major wow.

    AZT DOES inhibit viral replication… because it inhibits EVERYTHING.

    It has probably never occurred to anyone that people feel tired because of emotional, mental, or physiologic stress. Maybe if people ate less fried foods and more vegetables and had less refined sugars in their diet they’d process the foods more easily and thus have more energy. Duh.

  3. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, Entrepreneurial Virologist — I like that! Did you come up with that? Robert Gallo taught us much about entrepreneurial virology. Maybe he could teach a course in the subject — on how to take a complex and abstruse (possibly invented out of whole cloth) entity like a retrovirus, make (declare) claims of its pathogenicity, convince first the idiots in both government and the media that there is an association between that entity and diseases that, more than likely, have been around for a long time (like Duesberg said “old diseases”), and “market” them. As an analogy, the financial derivatives (one of the defining shenanigans of Wall Street) are equivalent to the retrovirus. We have been hoodwinked by both the banks and medicine. I have been looking carefully at the ads for many of the alleged treatments for manufactured diseases like depression, bi-polar, schizophrenia, just a look at the unwanted effects of these drugs like tardive dyskinesia should give anyone pause to their use. The predominant class of drugs that cause that ailment (which is worse than the disease it treats, like AZT) are antihistamines — you know the drugs that help alleviate allergies. But there’s big money to be made!

    • Henry Bauer said

      Martin: Read (for instance) “The Powerful Placebo—From Ancient Priest to Modern Physician”, by Arthur K. Shapiro & Elaine Shapiro; “The Placebo Effect—An Interdisciplinary Exploration”, by Anne Harrington (ed.); “The Placebo Response: How You Can Release the Body’s Inner Pharmacy for Better Health”, by Howard Brody with Daralyn Brody (here’s my review of the latter). In some cases, placebo works as well as or better than drugs, particularly in emotional or mental disorders.

  4. Francis said

    Happy New Year Henry,

    If I’d read this a year ago I would have been astounded, sadly these days it is seems to be par for the course with virology gone mad and only seems to be getting worse.

    Recently I saw in our esteemed Australian press that we are on the verge of having an effective vaccine for gum disease! and an innovative Australian company that coincidentally receives grants from the US NIH, is close to trialling new vaccines for HIV, SARS and EBOLA.

    The website for this company is worth checking out

    http://www.vaxine.net/

    Amongst its claims are an award for the “Coolest” company, novel new adjuvants based on sugar molecules instead of aluminium, and a telling piece on why they don’t use mercury. Perhaps the best for me though was the employment link. This states that if you work for them for a while it could lead to a nice job with a pharmaceutical company………..Just follow the money.

  5. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, “In some cases, placebo works as well as or better than drugs, particularly in emotional or mental disorders.” That’s because there isn’t any disease. See Szasz “The Myth of Mental Illness”, “Insanity The Idea and its Consequences” and many more.

  6. Martin said

    Hi Dr. Bauer, In addition if there was an objectively identifiable disease and the Placebo “worked” as well as the drug or treatement under test, neither the Placebo nor the drug under test were doing anything, but rather the body’s natual healing capablities or simply elapsed time, etc. was more than likely the reason the patient got better.

    • Henry Bauer said

      Martin: I think the idea is that the placebo response enlists the body’s natural mechanisms

      • Martin said

        Placebos have been discussed extensively in Thomas Szasz’s books to which he usually referred to as fake treatments. When the placebo “worked” better than the drug under test, the drug was more than likely inhibiting the healing response in the case of objectively verifiable disease – maybe even making the patient worse than if nothing (a placebo) was given. Since mental illness is not objectively verifiable, a drug under test may actually make the patient worse. SSRI’s (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors) have been implicated in the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Martin: Got to agree to differ. Those books I cited agree that “placebo” does not man doing nothing, it means arousing belief, will, emotion, whatever, that “knows” how to trigger the body’s defense mechanisms.

      • Martin said

        Hi Dr. Bauer, A placebo really doesn’t trigger anything. It’s more like I don’t feel so good — I call up the doctor’s office and make an appointment — I feel better just by doing that — ie, it puts me into a better frame of mind — like I’m taking the bull by the horns. I’ll bet that a placebo wouldn’t have an effect on diabetes like insulin would. Getting back to the treatment tests for AIDS, the HIV as cause of AIDS hypothesis directed the use of so-called antiretrovirals (when in fact they were general purpose poisons) — but the patients under test were so desperate for something that would help, the tests became unblinded and fraudulent.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Martin: “I feel better . . . it puts me into a better frame of mind”. You don’t call that “nothing”, do you? If negative thoughts and emotions can actually bring about bad physical consequences, why could not good thoughts and emotions do the opposite?

        Read those books I cited. In actual experiments, people given tranquilizers but told they were the opposite got more excitable. People given drugs and told it was placebo felt no effect. And so on. Brody’s book discusses how the placebo response can sometimes be deliberately harnessed.

      • Martin said

        I will agree to disagree. However, subjective feelings given by subjects for tranquilizers and placebos as opposed to the objective measurements on the level of insulin in the blood are what I’m talking about.

      • Philip said

        Martin, a theoretical scenario here: If a person has elevated blood sugar, was given oil in a caplet made to look like medication, and his levels go down, does that qualify as placebo as well?

      • Nice example, Phillip. When i consider that question which I was not asked to, I conclude that until I understand a purely chemical/physiological reason for such a result, I would call it a placebo effect. Thus I consider the term to describe my state of knowledge rather than a fact of the physical world.

        I heard from a guy who was in the room when they finally identified an endorphin, that one of his fellows jumped up and down saying, “We found it! We found it!” The principle investigator looking for the physiological mechanism for endogenous pain relief just smiled at him, saying, “We knew it was there.” Later, I heard that a dose of naloxone, to inhibit effects from narcotics, suppressed the pain relieving effects of acupuncture, I came to respect that procedure more. I no longer needed to call it “merely” a placebo effect. Other users of the term may differ in their interpretations. Natural languages are like that.

      • Philip said

        @Richard

        Funny you should mention acupuncture, since I’m involved in that field. Yes Naloxone blocks one mechanism of acupuncture pain relief – to be precise, it blocks transmission of impulses via the A-delta fibers, which cause release of enkelphalins and dynorphins from the spinal cord. (if memory serves me right). The stimulation of such fibers causes the “needling sensation” or heaviness one feels with proper insertion and manipulation of needles at acupuncture points. Naloxone blocks this feeling – and thus the pain relieving effects. there are other effects though, such as the local release of NO for vasodilation…

        On the topic of Placebo, I guess we can differentiate it from a valid procedure thus: if the procedure by itself isn’t supposed to be able to do anything, such as injecting a saline solution, but achieves a therapeutic effect, whether measurable or not, then it is placebo. What do you think?

      • Philip said

        oh to add:

        “I conclude that until I understand a purely chemical/physiological reason for such a result, I would call it a placebo effect. Thus I consider the term to describe my state of knowledge rather than a fact of the physical world.”

        I agree with the latter part of the statement, but not the first.

        We do not understand fully how lithium works for bipolar disorder (at least not when I was studying it in med school), so should we call it a placebo effect then? We also did not understand that aspirin worked like a COX inhibitor until recently – so all this while it was also a placebo? Just throwing the question around. I believe my definition – the intervention is known to not actually do anything as opposed to the mechanism of action is not exactly known – could be more appropriate.

        Yes, a lot of our judgment is based not on actual fact of the physical world but on our state of knowledge. Yet it is instinctive for us to feel that our state of knowledge is actually representative of the facts. Kinda like HIV-AIDS theory. Once one makes up their mind on what the state of knowledge is, we believe it to be the indisputable fact, forgetting that the true scientist will not adjust the evidence and knowledge to fit the theory, but the other way around.

      • Martin said

        Whether lithium carbonate “works” on a manufactured (by cleverly distorting language) disease like bipolar disorder can not be determined because there is no objective physiological diagnosis for bipolar (or any other mental illness) and there is no way to objectively determine whether the disease was “cured” like cancer for instance. However there are deleterious unwanted (side) effects of this and other of the chemical strait jackets (mostly antihistamines) – tardive diskinesia which under heavy and continuous useage of these drugs can not be cured.

      • Philip said

        I wouldn’t call bipolar disorder “manufactured”. The ancient chinese recognized it and actually used a similar substance to lithium to help treat it – cinnibar to be precise. and I have a relative with it and the lithium does work. =)

        The newer psych stuff, post DSMV IV – a lot of those are “manufactured” though.

      • Henry Bauer said

        Richard, Philip, Martin: The mind-body relationship remains a mystery, at least according to the philosophers and other high experts. I think we do know that they interact, in both directions. Some chemicals can make us brain-sick,and our emotions or thoughts can make us body-sick. Our emotions or thoughts can also make us body-well — that’s “placebo”. Of course it doesn’t always work for everything — so far as we presently know, at least.

      • Martin said

        Hi Philip, That’s a good question. Could what was in the caplet be anything that might be considered “inert”? Correlating the taking of a placebo with a physiological and measureable change is what Dr. Bauer has been talking about for a long time. Just because a administration of a placebo correlates with a test subject feel better or more or less tranquil does not imply that the placebo is “working”. In medicine, it is said that if laying on of the hands does the trick, it’s medicine and doctors will use it. Oral Roberts has done this in many of his performances – but the cures were fakes.

        Getting back to the oil in the caplet, if it could be shown that that particular kind of oil objectively can lower sugar in the blood, we have a very inexpensive replacement for insulin. But I kind of doubt it. There might be an analogous medical “Hawthorne Effect” – who knows?

      • Philip said

        @ martin. Good points – perhaps I should have used saline solution in a caplet as an example. Then again, sometimes it’s the container that is discovered to have medicinal properties – that’s how carbamazepine was discovered.

  7. Francis said

    I’ve been shaking my head all morning over this. I’m curious how they will explain that a mouse virus crossed over to humans, especially when they speculate as usual that it is sexually transmitted disease. It’s possible someone mixed up the gerbils.

    It’s also interesting that Americans have a high prevalence of XMRV but Europeans none, which naturally draws similarities to HIV having an affinity for Africans but not Asians. This may be as a result of viral raciscm. Reading through several sites, the discoverers are rubbishing the English researchers who it is inferred are using dodgy and inferior methods. They also state that if they used their methods and samples they’d get the same results. Even slight reading shows the new XMRV gurus are using textbook HIV methodology and I note some cross-over, with J. Rodriguez bobbing up with some rabbit serum for the boys.

    Off track slightly, I came across a mainstream site devoted to PCR which shows a remarkable level of damnation for the use of the technology and the total disregard scientific journals have for methodology rather than results. PCR has of course been the mainstay HIV researchers tool. It also throws doubt on the studies done to dispute vaccinations role in autism.

    http://www.genomeweb.com/pcrsample-prep/miqe-guidelines-slowly-filtering-through-pcr-community-despite-lack-journal-enfo?page=show

    The thing that horrifies me is that many “researchers” are now calling for testing to become routine to protect the blood bank from XMRV and that testing has been done on the top 10 AIDS meds with only AZT showing efficacy against it. There are now sufferers of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome asking doctors on the net if they should actually take this nasty poison. It’s all so Deja-vu.

    I can only hope that with the expansion of this madness there become more activists aware of it and word will spread. Future generations are surely going to look back at the “science” of retrovirology and simply say, “WTF” were they thinking?

  8. Josh Nicholson said

    This post I believe is very illustrative of a larger problem in science, and it reminds me of a great line I read somewhere that went something like this, “In order to cure AIDS we must first cure AIDS research.” I think this can be expanded to something like this:

    In order to cure X we must first cure X research.

    Where X may equal:

    AIDS
    Cancer
    Alzheimer’s
    Structure of science as an industry
    Any mega-funded disease…

    It is often disheartening to me to enter into the scientific arena and hope to survive when it is fraught with all the… bullshit… for lack of a better word. One cannot even publish official South African statistics in regards to HIV and AIDS without censure or fear of one’s own career. And as you have made it very clear, this is not restricted to any one branch of science, but is universal.

    Question is: How do we cure science?

    • Henry Bauer said

      Josh: Perhaps a cure will eventually come as individuals in more and more fields come up against the same politically controlled maintenance of a “consensus” that amounts to junk science. I’ve just read, and intedn to write a lot a more about, Geoffrey Kabat’s “Hyping Health Risks”. Many stories that are just like the HIV/AIDS mess: biased reviewing and suppression to preserve a politically correct “consensus”: over supposed harm from electromagnetic fields, radon, second-hand smoke… The individuals who try to be properly scientific, sticking to evidence, are attacked personally; even people who favor bans on smoking but who point out that the evidence for harm from second-hand smoke is fudged to appear much stronger than it is. A very good book indeed.

  9. pat said

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8441491.stm

    they are not getting away with it, it seems.

  10. Philip said

    @ Pat amazing how you could substitute AIDS for ME/CFS and hoped that this article was written in 1984…

    UK scientists say they can find no proof that a particular virus is the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or MEAIDS, contrary to recent claims.

    The Imperial College London team say they want to share the findings as some patients are pinning their hopes on drugs to fight the virus called XMRVHTLV-III.

    They analysed blood samples from 186 patients with CFS and found none had the virus (isolation?), PLoS One journal reports.

    Experts said the latest findings would be a bitter disappointment to many.

    They said more trials were under way and when these report in coming months, scientists will be able to draw more firm conclusions.

    Work in the US, published in Science (hmmm US scientists… Science magazine… sounds familiar), had found the retrovirus in 68 of 101 CFS patients less than half of AIDS and Pre-AIDS patients.

    The UK team say the conflict between the two studies might be down to differences between the patients enrolled or the way the research was conducted.
    Or there might be different geographical types or strains of XMRV.

    Regardless, they say potent antiretroviral failed cancer drugs should not be used to treat CFS because there is not enough evidence that this is necessary or helpful.

    The drugs may do more harm than good, they say.

    Professor Myra McClure, one of the Imperial College London investigators, said: “We are confident that our results show there is no link between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome, at least in the UK.(weasel wording)”

    She said they had used extremely sensitive DNA testing methods, called polymerase chain reaction, to look for the virus.

    “If it had been there, we would have found it.”

    ‘Disappointing’

    Co-author Professor Simon Wessely said the findings did not invalidate all previous research, some of which has shown that CFS can be triggered by other infectious agents, such as Epstein Barr Virus.
    The charity Action for ME said it was disappointing to hear about these findings, but said no single small-scale study could be conclusive. (unfortunately Gallo et all invalidated other previous AIDS research and future research linking AIDS to poppers, tuberculosis, mycoplasma, campylobacter and others)

    Dr Charles Shepherd, of The ME Association, said it was important to remain open-minded (oh how we wish).
    “We need to be extremely cautious until we know more. There has been enormous interest in this from patients (they should have said this in 1984).

    “Some have been led into believing the cause and a test has been discovered and that treatment is just round the corner and that is not the case. (VERY VERY HAUNTING PHRASE)

    “Over the next few weeks and months we will have more results and then we can come to a conclusion.

    “If it turns out that XMRV is important, we will have to start looking at whether it is worthwhile testing for it and treating it.”

    The team behind the initial US study said the latest work did not use the same “rigorous” techniques they had used and therefore the results were not comparable.

    Dr Judy Mikovits from the Whittemore Peterson Institute said: “Little is known about the prevalence of XMRV worldwide, much less the incidence of XMRV in ME/CFS or prostate cancer.

    She added more study was needed and they were collaborating with international research teams to unpick the questions around the virus.

    In a statement, the charity Invest in ME said the original Science study was of the “highest quality”, and that much more work was required before any firm conclusions could be drawn.

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