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  Feb 17, 2012                  

me+ME: XMRV updates + Whittemore updates

This Nederlog serves to document what may be called the demise of XMRV and of the Whittemores.


1. More by ERV on XMRV
2. More by the media on the Whittemores

1. More by ERV on XMRV

There is a new blog on ERV - well, dated February 9, but I had missed it until today:

XMRV Update: The science

Here are the first few paragraphs:

Even though XMRV has joined the choir invisible (rather than the list of human pathogens), scientists all over the world have still been publishing on it. Some of these studies were started before XMRVs demise, some were initiated to figure out how/why XMRV died, and some were done just to be on the safe side.

BUT, lots of stuff has been published recently, and some readers have asked me for an update.

1. XMRV is a lab artifact. Nature cant make it.

The interested reader can find the references for her section title on ERV, where there also are two more sections, with these titles, and with links and more comments:

2. XMRV isnt infecting humans. Like, at all. Anywhere.
3. XMRV doesnt even want anything to do with primates.
    Certainly not humans.

To conclude with ERV's own conclusion:

So, there it is. A current update on the science of XMRV. It still dead.

O, as to the spelling in the quotations, which isn't grammatical-by-the-books:

I recall reading Ms Smith, somewhere on ERV, as saying something to the effect that it isnt an accident, but that she doesnt put in the " ' " on principle. I forgot what was her rationale, or indeed whether she gave any, but I can think of one: If one programs, in quite a few programming languages handling strings really is a lot less error-prone if one can avoid both " ' " and " " " (because these tend to be used to group or mark the beginnings and endings of strings).

2. More by the media on the Whittemores

While XMRV seems to have definitely demised to the status of being a lab-contaminant that isn't dangerous for humans or primates, the status of the Whittemores has also fallen a lot, or so it seems from various reports in the media, mostly but not only in Nevada.

As far as Nederlog is concerned, I reported last on the Whittemores 11 days ago in

me+ME: X-Rx + Whittemores

where I quoted from the Whittemores claiming 60 million dollars from the Seenos, briefly after the Seenos had claimed 40 million dollars from the Whittemores.

Meanwhile, the Whittemores have problems, and I only link some documents in the case, not all that reached me, with a few brief comments.

First, I was informed by e-mail about the quite serious problems of Harvey Whittemore's younger brother David that I did not know about before - and I note immediately, in case you miss it, that the following item is dated May 2006:

Lawyer gets prison in child porn case
Federal judge orders lifetime of supervision

The link is to the Las Vegas Review Journal of the stated date, where the reader can learn that Mr David Whittemore, then 51, "stated that he had an interest in viewing pornographic images depicting girls between the age of 11 to 13 years old" and that he had "between 300 and 600 images of child pornography, primarily using his work computer."

For this he has been convicted in 2006 to "five years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine", while also loosing his license to practice as a lawyer.

This is not something that is good for the Whittemores' reputation, but the reason this case from 2006 did get some publicity in 2012 is probably - I am guessing - related to Harvey Whittemore's present problems relating to his financial funding of various politicians that are documented in the following two links, both dated February 14, 2012:

- Whittemore connections give Reid $ 117,000 in one day
- Elected officials get rid of Whittemore contributions

It is only indirectly related to ME/CFS, through the WPI-connection, but it doesn't sound very hopeful for the WPI's chances of survival either, though it is also true that the WPI does have its own funding from the NIH, that is, the US government.

Whether that is enough to keep the WPI afloat without further financial investments I don't know.

In fact, my two main reasons two write about this in Nederlog are (1) that these tawdry legal affairs are connected to the WPI that I have written about repeatedly in the context of ME/CFS and XMRV and (2) that both the XMRV-connection and the WPI's reputation have been derailed in a short while - some 5 months - in a quite spectacular way.

Finally, as far as I am myself concerned:

I am in my 34th year of ME/CFS, or what looks enough like it for the doctors to have concluded, repeatedly, since 1989, that is the most likely hypothesis for what ails me, and thus got interested in XMRV and the WPI in 2009, since it seemed then as if XMRV was strongly correlated to ME/CFS and that this had been established by researchers working for the WPI.

Presently, it seems - see section 1 - that XMRV is not strongly correlated to XMRV at all, and never was, while both the WPI and the Whittemores on the one hand, and dr. Mikovits on the other, are in serious personal and legal problems, indeed both for acts not directly related to XMRV itself.

And as far as the demise of XMRV itself is concerned:

In fact, I am rather amazed at the speed with which this was unravelled - and the reasons for that speed are probably (1) that the US Blood Work Group was forced to take an active and serious interest, because there are such strong moral, medical and political motives to try to keep the blood in blood banks clean, and (2) that the editors of Science fairly soon seem to have come to believe that Mikovits's data were faked or at least were not what the original paper said they were, and felt abused.

My guess is that without these two points it might have taken easily ten years or a generation (for research on rare diseases tends to go slow and to depend much on funding) - which then also might have made the Whittemores, the Ruscettis and Mikovits rich, for reasons of holding various patents related to XMRV and research into it, which I am not against, in strong principle, if it were on the basis of honest science or as a reward for taking investment risks.


Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Short descriptions of the above:                

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understa, but nds ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:

7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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