Ladies and gentlemen, a magic trick*.

I am going to take two pieces of data, from two independent experiments, establishing ‘proof’ of two different concepts, presented in to different formats and to different events…

… And turn them into the same figure.

*waits for the astonished mummers to simmer down*

In my left hand I hold ‘Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’, a Science paper from 2009.

Detection of an Infectious Retrovirus, XMRV, in Blood Cells of Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

We can ignore parts of this paper– they have been retracted, as it seems some samples were contaminated in a rather curious (strategic?) manner. Which is fine, because what I want you, the audience, to focus on is Figure 2:

i-2b43758e27bf90730176b0c81aa5fb68-Science Figure 2.png

Specifically, Part C:

i-cb8eb8e265b6b88d61ef774a574e2e46-Science Figure 2, zoom.png

Lets zoom in on it, to get a nice, clear image. Actually, lets zoom in on the bottom part of that figure:

i-c5e626b967ed434d7c79d3980fe7156c-Science Figure 2, zoom 2.png

Its quite clear, there are 8 lanes.

1– Normal
2– Normal
3– 1235
4– Normal
5– Normal
6– 1236
7– Normal
8– SFFV-infected HCD-57

Here is the figure legend:

(C) Lysates of activated PBMCs from healthy donors (lanes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7) or from CFS patients (lanes 3 and 6) were analyzed by Western blots using rat mAb to SFFV Env (top panel) or goat antiserum to MLV p30 Gag (bottom panel). Lane 8, SFFV-infected HCD-57 cells. Molecular weight (MW) markers in kilodaltons are at left.

Not hard to interpret, right? Some cells from healthy donors do not express XMRV Gag protein, a couple CFS patients do express Gag protein, and a positive control does express Gag. It provides evidence to support the claim that CFS patients PBMC are infected with XMRV, and are capable of producing viral proteins.

Nothing out of the ordinary. *wink*

Now, in my right hand I hold Slide #13 from a presentation a Miz Judy Mikovits recently gave in Ottawa at the IACFS/ME 2011 conference, graciously provided to us by Miz Jamie Deckoff-Jones. A round of applause for Miz DJ, everyone!

*waits for the applause to die down*


Another fairly straight forward figure. Again, 8 lanes:

1– Normal
2– 2905 PBMC
3– 2905 PBMC + 5-AZA
4– Normal
5– 1674
6– 1674 + 5-AZA
7– Normal
8– SFFV-infected HCD-57

Again, PBMC from normal individuals do not express XMRV Gag proteins… but this time, though the CFS patients did not initially express viral Gag proteins, when treated with an epigenetic modifier, they could induce Gag expression. Fairly straightforward explanation for why some patients might *appear* to be negative, but with a bit of lab trickery (we do this stuff all the time in labs), we can make a hiding virus come out and play.

How nice for us all, right? *wink*

Lets zoom in a bit:

i-12e861b44c0be2b96d7ad55f5bc59a2d-IACFS13, zoom

And fiddle a bit with the brightness/contrast:

i-79b669f0e379e44949dd75183a5b9b20-IACFS13, zoom, edit 1

Science is all well and good– Two figures, one providing support of the claim that two patients, 1235 and 1236 are infected with XMRV, the other figure showing two patients, 2905 and 1674 might appear negative, but become positive after treatment with an epigenetic modifier. Neat, but so what?

Well, heres the *really* good part!

Now, watch carefully or you will miss the trick, ladies and gentlemen!


Thats some mighty fine purple.

But how about an alternative view!!! I think Ive made my point, I just like how the far-right blob looks like a rubber ducky:




Two bits of data describing and explaining to two entirely different things… and yet I can make the two images look identical!


Am I magic…?

…or is this a case of arrogant, bold-faced, lazy-ass scientific fraud perpetrated by an apparent pathological liar?

You be the judges, ladies and gentlemen.

I know what my opinions are, but I would very much like to hear your thoughts.

* Though much of this magic trick is my own creation, the original idea was not mine. That individual/Those individuals do not wish to step forward at this time (and rightly so), but should they ever want to take credit for this observation, I will *happily* give it to them. Its wonderful, something I myself missed.

But to all you frauds out there– remember this: Dont. Fuck. With. Scientists. Individually, scientists are smart folks. And even smart folks get screwed over now and then. But together, we are always smarter than you.



  1. #1 Poodle Stomper
    October 1, 2011

    Wow, that FB page makes it clear that not only have they no clue about science, they have no clue about photoshop usage…so sad.

  2. #2 Justicar
    October 1, 2011

    @ daedalus2u: except Snape. He could.

  3. #3 Poodle Stomper
    October 1, 2011

    ” IMO he/she is not (necessarily) being deceptive on purpose, they are just way out of their depth, don’t understand the science very much all, and have a very flawed perception of their abilities.”

    It’s called the Dunning–Kruger effect =P

  4. #4 anonymouse
    October 1, 2011

    Thanks for the links to the original science paper. All I can say is that V99 is a clueless moron with no effing clue of what she is talking about. What a disgrace. I am so frikking tired of her and her pseudonyms repeating the same tired lies over and over and over. I am waiting patiently for Mikovits to explain herself.

  5. #5 frozenwarnings
    October 1, 2011

    V99 and his puppetmaster Gerwyn have a lot invested in XMRV. They are not scientists but they like other people to think they are, because it validates them. Being able to make sciencey sounding noises about XMRV, no matter how wrong,and having the lemmings fawn over them makes them feel good.

    They are in a bit of trouble now though, because it’s blindingly obvious to anyone with eyes that the images are the same,and they’re floundering because their usual trick of trying to blind those people with pseudoscience isn’t working, except with a deluded few.

    Luckily, as ERV pointed out, they don’t represent the vast majority of CFS patients, some of whom have rather bravely come out against the nonsense. All power to those patients, and I hope a real cause/cure is found, but the likes of Mikovits and the deeply unpleasant echo chamber loudmouths are simply making the possibility of that even more remote.

  6. #6 FWD
    October 1, 2011

    Except now V99 with the help of Gerwyn has figured it out.

    “The point is even with a totally different experiment the slide presented in Ottowa should look identical to the diagram in figure C. Nothing to do with subterfuge just simple science.

    The evidence that ERV doctored the slides in her blog is attached below”

    Caution: not for the feint of heart,9733.15.html

  7. #7 Jack
    October 1, 2011

    ‘Wrong labels meeker. Also, when you combine like that, you can make an elephant and a mouse look the same. The are on top of one another and you cannot possibly compare them blurry.’

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! OMFG! Who the hell is she trying to kid here? Why do people fall for this? No need to answer btw.

  8. #8 Justicar
    October 1, 2011

    XMRV Global Advocacy ‎@Matt Keevil It is nothing like dropping paint from a height. It is a controlled experiment, using the same personal, equipment and variables.

    Wait, you mean they get to take the equipment home too?!

    Man, the perquisites of science. *sniffle*

  9. #9 Dwayne Litzenberger
    October 1, 2011

    If anyone with a Computer Science background is bored, it might be fun to have a look at this Google search:

    For example, this paper:

    “Detecting copy-paste forgery of JPEG image via block artifact grid extraction”

    I have no idea whether that technique would show anything, since it only detects a very specific method of forgery, but it might be an interesting thing to try.

  10. #10 Laurie B.
    October 1, 2011

    Pssst, ERV, fess up now. You have doctored at least one of the figures above!!! I just saw one of the duckies wink at the other.

    Did Judy’s slide do that? Huh?

    Yes, indeedy.

    Laurie B. ;>)

  11. #11 Dwayne Litzenberger
    October 1, 2011

    Obviously, with the technique shown in my previous comment (#108), be sure to consider the possible reasons for a false-positive result before making accusations.

  12. #12 Rick B
    October 1, 2011

    If the grammar used in this article was correct, it might have some validation. “To” and “two” have different meanings and thats your first sentence alone. A person can read a book and call themselves a nutritionist, but it takes 4 years of intense classes and a science degree to call yourself a dietitian. Therefore, if your not a virologist, you should not be commenting about things you know nothing about, didnt your mom ever teach you to keep your mouth shut if you had nothing nice to say? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an umbrella term used to describe a wife array of unexplained symptoms. This only goes to show how Psychiatry is struggling to keep its name as a legitimate science…

  13. #13 Dwayne Litzenberger
    October 1, 2011

    Oh, this looks like a goldmine:

    “Multimedia forensics bibliography”:

  14. #14 CG
    October 1, 2011

    Therefore, if your not a virologist, you should not be commenting about things you know nothing about

    And just what profession do you think Abbie is in?

    Hint: It makes you look very, very stupid.

    Most people commenting here are clearly scientists (including me). Anyone who has ever done a western blot could tell you those are the exact figures.

  15. #15 RRM
    October 1, 2011

    Self pwnage at its finest:

    “If the grammar used in this article was correct, it might have some validation.[…]Therefore, if your not a virologist[…]”

    Guess that means you have invalidated you’re own post.

  16. #16 Poodle Stomper
    October 1, 2011

    I’m a scientist and I’ve done Westerns, Southerns, ect… I can tell you that the odds of having two gels that exact is so astonomically small that I would call it impossible. Even with the same person doing the exact same thing with the exact same reagents, you get background noise in different areas at RANDOM. Now sure, you can easily tell what is background noice most of the time; a dot here, a spec there but the thing is, when it is random, the odds of any two gels being identical is essentially zero. Here are only a very few things in your WB that can introduce random background:
    1) Your blocking reagent
    2) The antibody used
    3) The lot of film used
    4) Any (ANY)specs on the film developer left by the previous person that used it.
    5) The lot of the film
    6) The age of the film
    7) The amount of time exposed to the film
    8) If you wrap your membrane in saran wrap (as I do for my Southern Blots) the EXACT overlaying folds of the wrap (good luck ever getting that 100% the same, ever).
    9) ect…

    The list goes on and on. As I said, essentially 0 chance. The ONLY possible excuse that Judy could give what that she inadvertently used the wrong scanned image in her power point. As this time, if she said this it would be possible. IF, however, she chooses to go the route of claiming that they are two different pictures but just look the same then, to me, it removes all doubt that this is intentional fraud.

  17. #17 Poodle Stomper
    October 1, 2011

    Rick B< "If the grammar used in this article was correct, it might have some validation. “To” and “two” have different meanings and thats your first sentence alone…Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an umbrella term used to describe a wife array of unexplained symptoms.”

    Don’t go all grammar Nazi if you aren’t without blame yourself. And stop blaming wives. They’ve done nothing to you!

  18. #18 Smurfette
    October 1, 2011

    So since it’s film instead of digital, that means whoever scanned it was staring at the written labels while doing so…? Wonderful.

    By the way, we’ve seen something like this relabeling before, noticed a few months after the original WPI paper was published.

    “four of the 12 CFS subjects (WPI-1118, 1150, 1199 and 1125) included in the Science paper were also reported to have cancer – either lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma or myelodysplasia.”

    References for above: (Part 5, Slide 1)

    The WPI said:

    “Were any patients with lymphoma mentioned in the XMRV study?
    Blood samples from the WPI repository were chosen at random and there were no patients chosen with lymphoma or mention of lymphoma in this study. Another preliminary study was done at a later date that had nothing to do with the XMRV Science publication.”

    When asked about the matching ID numbers: (Page is down.)

    “Did any of the samples used in the original study come from patients who ultimately developed cancer?
    Yes, one.”

    When asked again to explain the matching ID numbers:
    There were no patients with cancer!!

    When asked again to explain the matching ID numbers:
    We will answer all questions.
    Could you please tell me all of your questions again?

  19. #19 daedalus2u
    October 1, 2011

    #111 is a Poe.

  20. #20 anonymouse
    October 1, 2011

    Thanks for the links to the original Science paper. I was able to access it. I copied the slide and played with the contrast and voila, I got the same results as ERV. The Science and Ottawa slides are 100 percent identical and V99 is full of shit and should be embarassed by her latest toolish/foolish statements.

    Anyhoo. Lets say that somebody (Judy or one of her minions) selected the “wrong” slide for the Ottawa conference. One has to ask oneself, when was the slide labeled and by whom. Wouldn’t it have been labeled as soon as it was produced. How did it come to be labeled differently. Are blank slides just lying around to be labeled randomly to match the study or conference du jour?

    I can’t wait for an explanation of this. BTW, it seems the WPI facebook page has disappeared — some are saying it’s down for repairs or is it?

  21. #21 MaryMS
    October 1, 2011

    Oh dear – a message that I was still writing, disappeared and I assumed it was gone, instead it showed up half-edited here. My apologies.

    So first let me make my point: whatever you think of Dr. Mikovits, her purpose WAS honorable. I was there. She was trying to figure out how one million people could have an invisible disease – and why about 250,000 of them are bedridden and/or housebound … For decades. The particular case was that of a 32-year-old woman who has been sick since she was 12. I know many young people with this disease – I have friends who became sick in their teens, and are now in their forties. No college, no career, no spouse, no children.

    Dr. Coffin was so pleased with himself because no one had any way of knowing, at the time of this study, of the particular type of contamination he has found. So if we start at the beginning, her motives were honorable.

    Now, I happened to be one of the patients who was positive for XMRV in that study, by both serum and antibody. But … I am a scholar myself, in a different field, and I withheld judgment as to how this would eventually turn out. In part, however, I was able to do so because I have been in other studies that documented immune defects and viruses, that should not have been there, and I have had testing (SPECT, VO2 MAX, even a simple Romberg test) that show there’s quite a bit seriously wrong with me. And because of that, I have had treatment that alleviates many of the worst symptoms. I am lucky.

    But that danged name, chronic fatigue syndrome – created in 1988 – has kept most people from getting the testing I have had – that, and the refusal of CDC to take it seriously. Which benefits …. Whom? Insurance companies and those who think an “entitlement” is a shirker – not a clause in a contract by which you were promised care if proven unable to work, and I have been proven unable to work a lot. So there has been little research to hit the public – none of mine has – and XMRV did. A possible diagnosis meant a possible cure. I don’t know if you can understand what that meant to these people. To have their disease taken seriously. For there to be the possibility of a cure.

    I also want you to understand how sad this is. In my case, I loved what I did. I loved everything about scholarship and the university life. I loved taking my kids skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. I loved running on a beach early in the morning. I suffered a blackout in my office in 1994, and when I came to, all of that was gone.

    Now, I am lucky – lucky that my husband has been able to support me, that I do well on a Phase III immune modulator, and that my own disability check can pay for the medicine. Most of my friends cannot afford testing or medicine. Mine costs about $30,000 in cash – almost twice as much as most of my friends have to live on in a year, and that inckudes people who were once nurses, doctors, teachers, lawyers. But the worst is the teenagers.

    They want so badly to be mainstream. And this study promised that. I worried at the time that their hopes were too high and the fall would be too hard – and it has been.

    But while I apologize for the jerks who wrote nastygrams [I’ve received a few myself] I can’t say it has helped at all to be laughed at. What percentage of the one million victims of this disease wrote to you? Most can’t even do that. Many of us thought it would be unseemly to write to you at all.

    So when you get tired of poking cracks at someone who was honestly trying to help seriously Ill patients (Dr. Mikovits), would some of you please try to find an answer for why a clear subset of patients with this disease have opportunistic and reactivated viruses, immune defects, cardiac abnormalities, etc. Is it the viruses themselves? I have so many questions – for example, does ciHHV-6 exist? (chromosomally integrated HHV-6 , which is supposed to be inherited not like a retrovirus, but since it attaches itself to a chromosome, in a Mendalian manner). Is there something about EBV that makes us vulnerable, or is it our vulnerability that makes us susceptible to EBV? What does it mean to have beta herpesviruses active in my spinal fluid? You’re students – got any curiosity about all this?

    And then there’s the role of Coxsackie B. Did you know that when they developed a vaccine for Polio 1, 2, and 3, they simply renamed the remaining polioviruses “enteroviruses,” and then announced they had conquered polio? Coxsackie is an enterovirus, too – but all funding for enteroviruses died out at the end of the 1960s. So there’s no approved drug for Coxsackie B! Yet that’s the virus that researchers thought was behind M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which I really DO have, which has been diagnosed continually in the British Commonweakth since the mid-1950s). and it has shown up in a number of us (see the work of J.Chia), and me, too. So who needs a gamma retrovirus? I have quite enough that is ignored.

    About the myocarditis – I have another young friend with myocarditis and a diagnosis of CFS. He had to go to Germany to get the diagnosis because no one in the US would do the biopsy on a young thirty-something. He has active Parvo and HHv-6A in his cardiac muscle, and also has CMV in his blood, and viruses (I can’t remember which) in his bone marrow. Butnhe had a diagnosis of CFS.

    Another young man diagnosed with cardiac abnormalities was given a special wheelchair. But when he tried to take it to school (he was 16) the school authorities and social welfare decided his mother was making him sick, and put him in foster care – made him live in the basement so he would have to use the stairs to eat, because they thought he wasn’t really sick – she had just made him so. Why would they do that? Because he had an earlier diagnosis of CFS. I was involved in getting him sprung, finding specialists to testify, but it took ten months. At 16. (And no, they didn’t make him better, but thankfully he didn’t croak.)

    Do you WANT to know about the PEOPLE the research is about, or is it easier for you to think of it as things in a test tube? I’d like to think that some of you have chosen this path so you can help people – although it’s a really cool field, and if I were young, and not sick, I might have chosen it.

    If I could edit I would be more concise, but right now it is very difficult for me to read – I can spill words out on a page, but reading is difficult.

    So … While you are rejoicing in what appears to be a very sad story, perhaps some of you might think about these other viruses – EBV as a trigger, the beta herpesviruses, and Coxsackie B – and why the CDC says explicitly we shouldn’t be tested for them (that’s why I had to pay) – and why they are active. About the 37kDa Rnase-L and natural killer cell dysfunction.

    Oh. You’re just interested in it if it’s a retrovirus. Yes, we know. We’re used to it. Most of us. But for some, it’s a heartbreaking revelation and they say things they shouldn’t. But sometimes graduate students say things they probably shouldn’t, too.

  22. #22 Laurie B.
    October 1, 2011

    MaryMS, sorry for your health problems, but what in the world do you want? Science not to move on? No one allowed to criticize St. Judy?

    I fail to see just what you point is by going on and on ad nauseum about your illness on a science forum.

    There certainly is a time and place to do that, not saying you shouldn’t, but it does not add anything to this discussion. There are support boards where your post would be more approproiate as well as beter serving your needs.

  23. #23 herr doktor bimler
    October 1, 2011

    By the way, we’ve seen something like this relabeling before, noticed a few months after the original WPI paper was published.

    That Facebook page is an eye-opener, with Andrea Whittemore popping up immediately in the comments to call Dr Vernon a traitor and a “real piece of work” for failing to back everything Mikovits said with 100% support.

  24. #24 anonymouse
    October 1, 2011

    MaryMS == this blog is about what Judy presented in the Science paper and at the Ottawa conference. She presented two identical slides that indicated two different results. No more, no less. Don’t make it more than that.

  25. #25 Militant Agnostic
    October 1, 2011

    daedalus2u @118

    #111 is a Poe.

    Or a polygamist since they have a “wife array”.

  26. #26 TCC
    October 1, 2011

    Dear non-militant CFS patients,
    V99 and Gerwyn are saying to you, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”
    You can compare the gels yourselves by looking at the original figure and slide 13 that is posted on Jamie Deckoff-Jones’ blog.

  27. #27 David
    October 1, 2011

    Yeah, TCC, we ‘non militants’ (F.F.S) are quite capable of seeing whats what, and have been able to throughout this whole shambles. – thanks for your help though…

  28. #28 TCC
    October 2, 2011

    So what’s your conclusion?And why the hostile tone?

  29. #29 TCC
    October 2, 2011

    What’s F.F.S.? Assuming you are open minded, I assume you came to a conclusion similar to “Holy Guacamole…these gels are exactly the same and someone labeled them COMPLETELY differently, and they were presented as different experiments. how could this happen? I hope Dr. mikovits has a good explanation for how this could have happened.”.

  30. #30 mary
    October 2, 2011

    @120 MaryMS: you say *quote*

    Do you WANT to know about the PEOPLE the research is about, or is it easier for you to think of it as things in a test tube? end *quote*

    I’m going to answer this for myself and I hope that MaryMS does not feel that I represent any other scientist or lay person opinion.

    Mary..of course I realize that every cell I examine or test represents a person with a dreadful disease..but bringing emotions into science is a gigantic FAIL for me.. If I end up crying into every test tube..I’m good to no one..I’m not good to science..

    When Judy said in an interview that 15 suicidal patients call her.. well, If Judy did not take the appropriate actions after getting those phone calls..she’s screwed up again.. Legally (in most states) suicide is a reportable offense. A pt. (or anyone) calls me up, suicidal, I’m calling in the authorities who specialize in that behavior and I cannot let that interfere with my test results…

    Again, this is just me..doesn’t mean I don’t go home and feel despair for suffering people..just can’t bring that into the lab..

    @Smurfette…great find…!

  31. #31 jaranath
    October 2, 2011

    That Facebook poster isn’t just claiming the blots of two separate runs of the same experiment ought to look very similar; they are literally claiming they should look completely, 100% identical, RANDOM SMUDGES AND ARTIFACTS INCLUDED. They’re also claiming to have extensive experience with running gels.

    So…yeah. Now my head hurts.

  32. #32 Smurfette
    October 2, 2011

    @jaranath, and that is on a Facebook photo she titled, “ERV’s image is not the same.” LOL!

    Usually we just walk by crazy homeless people mumbling on the street or the one crazy inevitably found preaching in the middle of university plazas….

  33. #33 Camaro
    October 2, 2011

    Well, I posted it here somewhere else already, I also saw the blot of the co-IP of XMRV out of PCa patients plasma on the poster of JM concerning XMRV in PCa & CFS in Prague with different patients numbers on it than I saw it now in the third slide of that presentation mentioned here.

    But, what will happen? There will be statement that somebody used accidentally the wrong image in that slide or just but in the wrong patient numbers, but of course it was a true and valid experiment in the 2009 Science paper.

    For people who are already suspicious of JM it is just another piece of evidence, for the (small) rest of the scientific community or WPI supporters it is just an excusable mistake :-/

  34. #34 Jack
    October 2, 2011

    @117 Nice find. I hadn’t read of that before. Will take a look at the links.

    @120 Mary MS. I too am a patient afforded this accursed condition. Had you commented on what exactly Dr Mikovits had said when using that slide it would be relevant to this thread.

    Heck you might even have been able to explain why she chose to use the slide in the first place. What point was she trying to make? Your explanation as someone who was in the audience could have made all the difference here.

    But, unfortunately you have chosen not to do that. I too could spend just as long describing how bad this condition affects me and what a life-altering experience it has been – hell all those other patients who read ERV could do the same. But we choose not to as it is not relevant.

    I know from reading ‘CFS’ or ‘ME’ forums that are supposed to be supportive that ERV is too often held up as being the devil incarnate – but take a while to actually read what she is saying before proclaiming her guilty of some huge crime.

    And as for your other comments, I personally believe that one of Dr Mikovits biggest failings is that she is too close to patients and uses emotive language all too often. It’s like she is almost happy to scare people into believing one of her pet theories before producing any damn research paper that holds up to peer review and actually makes it out of her drawer and into a journal.

    She seems most comfortable at conferences and with patients where she can be the ‘scientist who knows AND cares’ and not when it matters most. If her latest answer to the BWG findings and the partial retraction, is that you are not ‘XMRV’ positive but ‘HGRV’ positive – then for heaven’s sake let’s see some darn evidence BEFORE she tells patients.

  35. #35 ERV
    October 2, 2011

    The response I want is:
    “A random blogger has pointed out that we made a mistake in a recent presentation. To our great embarrassment, we have actually been using that slide for some time. We apologize to the audience members of those conferences, we greatly appreciate this blogger pointing our error out as to prevent future confusion, and we greatly regret that we have played a role in cultivating an atmosphere where fraud is the first conclusion someone makes after spotting an error. We will do better in the future.”

    What I expect to be the response:

    “The blogger ERV is a fraud/liar/taking bribes from insurance companies.”

    I mean the UK group could not find XMRV?
    Accused of fraud/lying/conspiracy and harassed by WPI/Mikovits.

    Netherlands group couldnt find XMRV AND noticed inconsistencies in Judys presentations AND accurately predicted the results of the BWG?
    Accused of fraud/lying/conspiracy and harassed by WPI/Mikovits.

    CFS advocates notice inconsistencies in Judys presentations:
    “YOURE A TRAITOR” from the Oh-so-fatigued Princess-who-cannot-be-named.

    And how many ‘versions’ of the Methods and patient cohorts do we have, at this point? The actual Science paper, the ‘response’ in Science, the weirdly republished-in-another-journal methods, the several (dozens??) of ‘methods’ Judy has presented at conferences…

    These people have been forthcoming and honest about their methods and wtf is going on at the WPI a grand total of, what, ZERO times?

    And *really*?? *NO* response yet? Even ‘Its obvious we have made an error, and will be investigating it on Monday’? Cause it is *OBVIOUS*.

    My hope we are going to get a real, honest, human response out of this is dwindling by the minute.

  36. #36 herr doktor bimler
    October 2, 2011

    The response I want is:
    “A random blogger has pointed out that we made a mistake in a recent presentation…”

    Part of the mistake, though, is that the caption for Presentation Slide 13 would not arise naturally. As you pointed out at #53, it lacks the control condition (normal + 5-AZA) that is needed to prove anything.

    The only way that Slide 13 makes sense is if the illustration came first and the caption was reverse-engineered to fit.

  37. #37 Mary
    October 2, 2011

    It would be refreshing if WPI came out with an explanation…especially since those speaking for them (Gerwyn and the wanna be guy fawkes person) have really made them look like idiots)..

    I don’t think that there is any chance WPI will say anything..if they did then they’d have to splain all of their past “errors”

    Camaro….I did read a post from you a few days past about another discrepancy with her slides….BRAVO! that needs an explaination also..or an announcement that her lab tech is in serious trouble!

  38. #38 Joe Ballenger
    October 2, 2011


    Have you tried recreating the MW standards? If the ladder and lane measurements are the same, that basically proves the images are identical as far as I’m concerned.

  39. #39 windy
    October 2, 2011

    Have you tried recreating the MW standards?

    Look at the “overlay” image- I don’t think any recreating is necessary, since the sizes given by the authors match when the blobs match.

  40. #40 ERV
    October 2, 2011


    Game over.




    Please stay tuned. 🙂

  41. #41 mo
    October 2, 2011

    Don’t do anything to bold, legally shady or morally ambigious, it will all come out anyway. This cardhouse is going down fast.

  42. #42 daedalus2u
    October 2, 2011

    I don’t know very much about how gels are scanned, stored and then photoshopped for final inclusion in a paper. The scanned image always has all the labels and stuff that everyone always puts on their gels? Right? And the photoshopping usually just includes cropping and maybe some contrast adjustment? And the captions are put on the slide just to replicate in a pretty font what the gel already says, right?

    Wouldn’t it be unusual to take a gel that already had all of its labeling cropped off and use that for a presentation? Wouldn’t you pretty much always start with the original? Unless you were doing a review and wanted the exact same slide? And then it would be exactly the same, the same font, the same contrast, the same aspect ratio, the same labeling, the same cropping, the same everything? Right?

    How many gels does a lab generate and how many MB does a scanned image take? If one was a hot shot PI and had a top-of-the line laptop, wouldn’t one carry copies of the gels you wanted with you? If each gel is 1 MB, then 10,000 gels is only 10 GB. 100 gels a day for 3 years is only ~100k gels, at 1 MB that is only 100 GB. My cheap-shit laptop can hold that much.

    If you were using the gel as a slide to discuss specific results, how is it possible to be so confused as to use a different slide? Presumably there is a gel that does have the exact same labels as the image in the slide. A gel that uses wacky controls and doesn’t make much sense. Presumably WPI will be able to produce the full image of that gel that shows the actual wacky labels and that also shows how nearly identical it is to the Science image such that they could be so easily confused.

  43. #43 ERV
    October 2, 2011

    Im not doing anything until it is public.

  44. #44 Spence
    October 2, 2011

    More teasers??? Damn! Some of us are shockingly impatient you know. Out with it!

    PS. 🙂

  45. #45 mary
    October 2, 2011’s not like I’m not already refreshing this pg 30x’s/day…..

  46. #46 David
    October 2, 2011

    In Vitro @74 “Science as a process needs to get to grips with the XMRV fiasco but M.E/CFS patients are still sick and some acknowledgement of the patients would be good within any corrective process that now follows. ”

    Nothing less than an apology.

    To me personally – hehe.

    No, there are tricks, punked’s – and cruel jokes at others expense.

    There have been two years in which to tone down the taunting – ‘I have the cure – I have the cure’ – just a little bit.

  47. #47 windy
    October 2, 2011

    The scanned image always has all the labels and stuff that everyone always puts on their gels? Right?

    Not necessarily, it might just be named and dated so it can be connected to the sample information in the lab book. Even so, it would be hard to accidentally use a much older image from a different experiment.

  48. #48 ERV
    October 2, 2011

    The scanned image always has all the labels and stuff that everyone always puts on their gels? Right?



  49. #49 mo
    October 2, 2011

    About the patients, it would be cool to get some kind of guest post here by an accomplished CFS worker (not-retrovirologist) wo can give us a general, realistic, not ideological overview of the disease and acknowledge the patients problems and suffering.

  50. #50 MattK
    October 2, 2011

    Yeah that might be interesting and enlightening but I think that it is important to remember that this is not a CFS blog or a patient advocacy blog. So many problems seem to occur when sufferers expect it to be one.

  51. ERV,

    Good spotting! It’s strange, but when I read the Science paper I remember thinking “Why did they waste so many lanes with ‘normals’?” Now – thanks to you – I know why.

    I believe it was Feinman who said (something like), “Science isn’t usually a moment of ‘Eureka!’, it’s most often ‘Gee, that’s odd.'”. You were the one who went from “Gee, that’s odd.” to making the discovery – true science in action.


    BTW, I do Western blots all the time and I can’t get my well-characterised standards to look the same blot-to-blot, let alone identical. And that goes triple for when I was still using film – exposure time, developing temperature, film age, film batch, etc. made for a lot of variation. Now, of course, we use a phosphorescent screen and digital phosphoimager…and I still can’t get the controls to look as identical as Mikovits did.


  52. #52 daedalus2u
    October 2, 2011

    I think it is unreasonable for ERV to post about things that are outside of Abbie’s expertise. It would be like me trying to post or make a comment about something not related to nitric oxide ;).

    I am glad that this is on its way to a forum that is considered “public”.

    I hope you have kept screen shots and good notes so you can write a review paper about all of this when the shit storm finally clears.

    I think the most important lesson that science needs to learn from this is that privilege has no place in science, and that this is an excellent example of how the privilege that funding agencies, PIs and senior scientists hold over postdocs and grad students is harming science.

  53. #53 Opti
    October 2, 2011

    “….it would be cool to get some kind of guest post here by an accomplished CFS worker (not-retrovirologist) wo can give us a general, realistic, not ideological overview of the disease and acknowledge the patients problems and suffering.”

    Err, I’m sure I’m not the only CFS patient who reads this blog who would be mortified to see that happening here.

    There are already too many whiny sympathetic echo-chambers patient advocacy and support forums out there. This just isn’t the place for that, IMO.

  54. #54 laura
    October 2, 2011

    for the sake of science could people please use objective language rather than swear words.

    it is interesting that the latest paper shows an over active immune system. therefore leading the way for further research into this devastating illness. top scientists are now interested in M.E. and so regardless of any mistakes the WPI have done a hugh amount to raise awareness. Bringing top scientists to the field.

    How wonderful for M.E. patients to now have such wonderful scientists such as lipkin alter levy so interested to work on M.E. research.

    i know that nancey kilmas was quoted in the new york times as saying that she treated both aids/hiv patients and M.E. patients, and she would rather have hiv than M.E.

    how many years did i take for the scientists who found the real reason and effective and simple treatment for stomach ulcers to become accepted. for many years these patients were told to change life style and blamed for their illness.

    the real magic trick is the pace trial run by the shrinks who have left many bed bound and even lead to fatal outcomes by their treatments. ultimate responsibility has been shown by company directors for corporate directives. ergo should the real court case be against the shrinks who knowingly advocate and make magic tricks from the figures of such trials as pace?

    i would be interested to see your comments on how these shrinks are able to ignore the thousands of papers showing immune endocrine cns abnormalities.

    WPI may or may not prove the mlv family are involved however they never said that they were the cause merely that they may be. However the major scientists including the co founder of the first human retro virus working now in the field of M.E. has to be seen as a great achievement.

  55. #55 MattK
    October 2, 2011

    laura, if you’re going to dump long-winded copypasta could you at least make it relevant?

  56. #56 mo
    October 2, 2011

    But I don’t know anything about CFS. It would be good to know what this even is, from a scientists perspective. Right now, I only know random anecdotes patients posted here. I’m sure many people reading this are the same.

  57. #57 mary
    October 2, 2011

    @154..hey Matt…not only is the copy/pasta not relevant…but possibly wrong…imagine that…

    she thinks Jay Levy is just NOW involved with finding a cause for CFS/M…since WPI…hmm, I would be a bit hurt if I were Levy…

    Many..Many very good scientists have been trying in vain to find the cause for many years….and if I were one of them..I’d probably be insulted by Laura..who thinks only the good one’s have recently joined the fight…

    ..WPI has done you a great diservice laura..

  58. #58 David
    October 2, 2011

    opti @ 152 Seconded, absolutely.

    mo @ 155 It is a complex subject in itself, though a simple enough illness in its presentation.
    Its easy enough to google for the basics like aything else.

    At the minute it has no known cure, and although there is a constellation of fairly reliable ‘bio-narkers’ their interpretation is difficult.

    Science abhorrs a vacumm, hence the the bullshit that is sucked in around this issue.

    I come here for virology, not more CFS discussions.
    All I want to know is, is a virus a potential cause?

    Cant be one specific one since 70% of cases of CFS cases follow an infection from a few common different things like EBV. So, some kind of secondary agent that lays low might be involved, like shingles or herpes, or an … – until the immune system is compromised.

    Of course a virus may not be involved at all as the actual cause, and people may be suffering lingering immune system damage. Its all simple stuff really in terms of the right questions – why do some people get up quickly after a heavey blow to the immune system, others dont?

    Some will say its just being lazy, others, well everything under the medical sun.

    Being labeled lazy is obviously, after a cursory perusaul of the literature, a useless ideology.

    That leaves, pathogen, or immune system damage.

    Thats all.

  59. #59 FWD
    October 2, 2011

    I appreciate the comments requesting additional information on ME/CFS then this recent article by Levy/Peterson in the LA Times is a good start. 1-4 million people affected in the US at a cost of $29 billion dollars 17 million worldwide. For a snapshot here are some articles to understand this debilitating illness.,0,4021674.story

    or a personal account Laura Hillenbrand New York Times Bestselling Author for the book Seabisquit made into a movie with Jeff Bridges and PBS special by the same name and her new book Unbroken.

    or the story of Michele Akers 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist winner in Women’s soccer and considered the best woman soccer player in the world by Sports Illustrated who came down with this illness.

  60. #60 Laurie B.
    October 2, 2011


    Why? This is a science forum. Look for some medical forums. If I get a chance I will try to find some credible sources for you. You might want to start with the NIH/CDC sites.

    Now back on topic.

  61. #61 frozenwarnings
    October 2, 2011

    Laura, the PACE Trial is totally irrelevant here, but just for your information, it was a well conducted sound piece of research that needed to be done. You’ve obviously been listening to the echo chambers of the so called patient advocates. These people know NOTHING about science or research. They are conning you. Listen to the scientists, not the people pretending to be scientists and you will learn a lot more.

    Many scientists have been working hard for years to find a cause for CFS. Just because they do real science, are professional, and don’t whore themselves out to any group that will have them, and aren’t interested in personal glory does not mean they weren’t there doing what scientists do.

    This whole affair has been detrimental to the cause of finding a solution to CFS because it has shown other scientists that should you find anything that goes against the deluded people on certain forums you will be bombarded with vile abuse and false accusations (as ERV has been in the past, along with many others).

    For anyone who wants to know about CFS there are plenty of places to find out, but this isn’t the place, this is about science. Just stay away from patient forums where people are pretending to be scientists.

  62. #62 FWD
    October 2, 2011

    My apologies if this is a double posting as suddenly my computer froze as I hit post and didn’t know if this went through.

    For those requesting this information.

    I appreciate those who want to know more about this illness which affects between 1-4 million people in the US alone at a cost of $29 billion dollars and 17 million worldwide. For those who want a back ground information.

    Peterson/Levy article in the recent LA Times,0,4021674.story

    New York Times Bestselling author Laura Hillenbrand for the book Seabisquit made into a movie starring Jeff Bridges and PBS Special and for another NYT Bestseller Unbroken

    Account of Michele Akers 1996 Olympic Gold Medal Winner in women’s soccer and considered to be the best women soccer player in the world prior to her illness.

  63. #63 mo
    October 2, 2011

    It’s still science if this hasn’t anything to do with virology. medical science is also science. Don’t be so field restricted, people. Not everything interesting has to do with any viruses, and looking to fields outside of your own one can let you see things that have impact on your work. This attitude led to the bullshit Mikovits produced: “this is a serious and mysterious disease, therefore, retrovirus”

  64. #64 frozenwarnings
    October 2, 2011

    Mo, check out the name of this blog. It’s about virology. To assume that no-one has looked at any other aspect of disease is massively patronising, arrogant and wrong. I’m a medical researcher, I go to different places for different information. I don’t go to an immunology site for example, to look at quality of life data.

  65. #65 David
    October 2, 2011

    A little O.T.T frozenwarnings.

    Forums can be useful places, I dont avoid them because of cranks. You can pick up useful information, and there are some smart people around. I am a scientist, and I know others are since they also never got ‘I Love Judy’ tattoed on their butt.
    Some people on Star Wars forums think it was a documentary, but I’ll be OK dropping in to check out the blu-ray details.

    You may as well say, stay away from the interent because of all the people pretending to be…well you name it.

  66. #66 daedalus2u
    October 2, 2011

    Mo, if you want to learn about CFS, you have to go to the CFS scientific literature, read the literature until you understand it well enough to sort out what is crap from what is gold.

    Usually the data is gold, even when the analysis is crap. That is for honest scientists who have too much intellectual integrity to not be honest about their data. The reason the analysis is sometimes crap is because journals and funding agencies want “hypothesis driven” research. That means you have to have a “hypothesis” that can be “falsified”, even when your real hypothesis is “I don’t know what the #$%@& is going on, so I am going to measure some stuff!”

    There is no substitute for actually understanding the data and what that data means about the (as yet unknown) physiology of CFS. If you don’t know and understand the data, then you can’t have a valid opinion about it. It takes about 10,000 hours to become expert in a field. If you work on something 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 5 years you can become an expert too. If someone hasn’t put in that kind of time then they are not an expert.

    Real experts, real scientists don’t try to do things beyond their expertise. That is why you probably won’t see a blog post by ERV on CFS. CFS is not her expertise and she knows it, and she isn’t going to spend the 10,000 hours it takes to become one. Either find another expert or (much better) become one yourself.

  67. #67 mo
    October 2, 2011

    Yes. I was addressing David’s and Laurie B.’s statements of “All I want to know is, is a virus a potential cause?” and “Why? This is a science forum. Look for some medical forums.” and should have made that clear.
    I didn’t want to imply noone looked into CFS and also not that you two, David and Laurie, did not do that. I want to appologize if it came off like that. I was specifically criticizing the attitude of statements like those.

    It seems to be hard to look into the biology of CFS. The reviews I saw on this topic on pubmed show mostly that not much is known. yeah~

  68. #68 mo
    October 2, 2011

    That’s why I said “guest post”. 😛

  69. #69 Jules
    October 2, 2011

    According to V99 “ERV may be quitting virology after this latest blog sham”
    She can forecast people’s futures now?
    Really that forum is full of surprises!

    PS Looking forward to your next installment…

  70. #70 frozenwarnings
    October 2, 2011

    David, I didn’t suggest that everyone should avoid all patient forums, only the ones where people are pretending to be scientists, as happens on some of the CFS forums (and FB pages). These are echo chambers where people are being actively misled.

    Having said that I’ve seen a few patient forums on and there is often some very dodgy advice being doled out, especially about alternative “medicine”.

  71. #71 gf1
    October 2, 2011

    re WPI: It’s looked unlikely that their work was going to hold up for some time, but this could indicate something weirder is going on there than just contamination. It doesn’t make any sense for the Whittemores to do anything like this. Maybe Mikovits got so caught up in her own theory, she though that she had to do something to keep people doing more research on it? Maybe she feels like there’s no way out at this point?

    re PACE: I was just reading a new CFS paper that was arguing that more funding should be given to CBT/GET, and cited PACE: “Evidence from a recent evidence trial of cognitive behavioural therapy and graded exercise therapy indicated a recovery rate of 30-40% one year after treatment.”

    Lots of patients are claiming that there’s a group of researcher who are just lying about the efficacy of treatments for CFS. Another group of researchers also seem to agree that the benefits of CBT/GET are being massively exaggerated by some psychologists.

    To me, the actual data from PACE seems pretty unimpressive, but I’d like to take the time to have a more thorough look. If it’s true that mere management strategies, or caring therapies, are being promoted as cures, then that is something to be angry about.

  72. #72 David
    October 2, 2011

    gf1 – “If it’s true that mere management strategies, or caring therapies, are being promoted as cures, then that is something to be angry about.”

    That in a nutshell is the problem.

    frozen @169 – I dont know what to think about that, other than I am sure every self help forum for every disease has its alternative ‘medicine’ advocates. I mean people regularly swear a trip to the Holy stone of Clanricket, tea,chocolate, or shear force of will against negative forces cure them of anything from a bout of flu to cancer.

    I just watch out for people actually peddaling bumper ‘buy three get a ton’ offers for Immuno-booster factor Z.

  73. #73 The AnaIyst
    October 2, 2011

    Laura, the PACE Trial is totally irrelevant here, but just for your information, it was a well conducted sound piece of research that needed to be done. You’ve obviously been listening to the echo chambers of the so called patient advocates. These people know NOTHING about science or research. They are conning you. Listen to the scientists, not the people pretending to be scientists and you will learn a lot more.

    The PACE trial was poor piece of research. Not that it matters so much to me, because nobody seems to pay attention to Wessely and his junk science in the United States.

    However, despite Abbie’s potty mouth, it’s clear she uncovered something very serious. I don’t know whether to call it fraud or not, but it’s very suspicious. It’s sad to me that the extremely vocal and unreasonable minority on a specific CFS forum represents the community in the minds of many.

  74. #74 frozenwarnings
    October 2, 2011

    Oh dear, invasion of the Wessely haters. I’ve never read so much utter garbage on the internet as I’ve read about PACE.

    However, I’m not going to derail ERV’s blog with pointing out the total wrongness here.

    So …looking forward to the next update ERV.

  75. #75 ERV
    October 2, 2011

    Gonna be a while, maybe. Too big for me. I dont want to break it here– Like daedalus2u has mentioned, this particular information is way over my head as a random blogger/grad student. Letting the grown-ups figure this shit out.

    But… its *done*.

  76. #76 Poodle Stomper
    October 2, 2011

    Aww, at least let us in on the main point (other than “It’s done”)?

  77. #77 mary
    October 2, 2011

    well, since you can’t go any further….thank you and the annonymous co-contributors for exposing this much..

    can’t wait till it all comes out!

  78. #78 Lavendr
    October 2, 2011

    Thanks ERV.
    By “a while” – do you mean a few days, or more month-y kind of a thing. Or a “god-only-knows” kind of a timeframe?
    Just wondering whether I should get another F5 key in or not.

  79. #79 daedalus2u
    October 2, 2011

    Abbie, I hope you have a secure, well-defended, and undisclosed location you can hide in while the shitstorm rages, if you need one.

    Be sure to keep all the hate emails so you can publish them as supplemental information in the review article you are going to write after all the shitstorm has settled.

    Those hate emails are bullying. Bullying that is the same as booing a gay soldier, cheering the execution of innocent people, or cheering for the death of the uninsured.

    Bullying is people with privilege using that privilege to hurt people without privilege.

    I appreciate that bullies don’t care if they hurt people without privilege, in fact that is their goal and motivation. What bullies don’t always appreciate is that their victims can sometimes figure out that the bullies are trying to hurt them and would hurt and exploit them in a heartbeat if the bully got more privilege out of it.

  80. #80 daedalus2u
    October 2, 2011

    This is pure speculation on my part, I have had no communication with anyone, except what has been posted on this blog.

    If Abbie did send this to Science, then she can’t talk about it because it is embargoed. However, there is a Frontiers of Retrovirology meeting, tomorrow.

    My guess is that that people at the meeting have already arrived, have already talked about this, and have already gone to sleep because Amsterdam is 6 hours ahead of Boston (where I am).

    Discussions at scientific meetings are not embargoed, and even embargoed results and embargoed papers can be discussed at scientific meetings because that is the whole point of scientific meetings, for scientists to discuss data and results, especially the most current and hot-shit-cutting-edge results.

    My guess is that mainstream media has gotten a hint that something is happening, and that some of them (probably at least those located in Europe) will have a presence at the Frontiers of Retrovirology meeting tomorrow. It is unfortunate that bad news about science (and fraud is always bad for everyone) has more interest to mainstream media than does real science.

    I am not sure what the sciencey-type journal protocol is, but I suspect that if a sciencey-type journal gets material via the “embargoed” feed, they can’t report on it until the embargo date, even if they find a whole F-load of material they want to report. If Abbie did send this to Science, then they probably turned it around ASAP to get the embargoed version out before the Frontiers in Retrovirology meeting so it gets embargoed by the other journals until the embargo release date.

    But anyway, the XMRV sessions are not until Tuesday, which gives MSM plenty of time to get there.

    My hope is that the media attention will bring ERV to the attention of Annie Lennox who will write a hit song about it and bring great fame and kudos to Abbie (and funding too).

  81. #81 ERV
    October 2, 2011

    daedalus2u– Nononononono. Like I said, this is way over my head. I know because that Figure 2c was the key to Pandoras box.

  82. #82 Smurfette
    October 2, 2011

    Waiting (not) patiently!

  83. #83 Joe Ballenger
    October 2, 2011

    “Look at the “overlay” image- I don’t think any recreating is necessary, since the sizes given by the authors match when the blobs match.”

    The westerns that I run on a daily basis, which are not faked, could potentially be overlaid on top of one another because they look similar. Basically, I use different protease inhibitors to delay the dissapearance of a product I’m interested in. I look at the same proteins with the same antibodies-ergo similar blots. A lot of my blobs are different shapes, but some do look very similar.

    HOWEVER, my standards run at different distances down the gel every time. Perhaps the 150 mark goes 40 mm this time…next time it goes 45. Sometimes, it goes 42. If the markers on each gel don’t match up, it doesn’t matter if the images are identical because the markers won’t match. It’s easy to imagine labels which have been slapped there by people being identical…but the MW markers which get transferred along with the proteins in the gel generally run at slightly different places each time and thus serve as a *much* better fingerprint.

    I don’t know if Abbie has access to the originals, that’s what would clinch it for me.

  84. #84 herr doktor bimler
    October 2, 2011

    daedalus2u– Nononononono

    Surely NO should be in capitals.

  85. #85 Woden
    October 2, 2011

    herr doktor bimler @ 122:

    I didn’t know who the heck Andrea Whittemore was at the time, and while Google searching to try and figure it out, I found a LinkedIn profile that appears to belong to her, saying that she teaches English As A Second Language.

    The irony of her poor grammar and spelling in those comments was not lost upon me.

  86. #86 sylph
    October 2, 2011

    The thing is, it’s not way over your head. The publication record should be up to review by literally anyone. Otherwise, what the hell is it there for? My lab, in a manuscript review, found literally the exact same thing; a reused Western from a previous publication (not quite as bad). You should be able to raise this point as someone who works in Subway or McDonald’s. Although, as a grad student, I understand why you can’t. ;(

  87. #87 John
    October 2, 2011

    gf1 @ 170- That’s it in a nutshell. The ‘recoveries’ which were reported in PACE were obtained, in part, by patients scoring a 60 on the SF-36 Physical Function subscale at the end of the trial. This in itself is a fairly low score, in fact the trial’s entry criteria was a SF-36 65. Therefore a patient could not only have reported no improvement whatsoever, but actually could have had their scores decrease at the end of the trial yet still be characterized by the authors as having ‘gotten back to normal’, and as fulfilling a ‘strict criterion for recovery’ in the accompanying Commentary by Bleijenberg as well as in the article you cite.

    However in the PACE trial protocol, the score necessary for a ‘positive outcome’ was a SF-36 75, and ‘recovery’ was to be defined as a SF-36 85, along with other criteria. Therefore the score alternately reported as fulfulling part of a ‘strict criterion for recovery’ and indicating patients had ‘gotten back to normal’ would not even have qualified as a ‘positive outcome’ according to the trial protocol, much less that of ‘recovery’.

    In fact, the PACE Trial Steering Committee recommended that the PACE authors increase the score needed for a ‘positive outcome’ from a SF-36 70 to a 75 when the PACE authors requested changing the trial’s entry criteria from a 60 to a 65, specifically so that any reported improvements would be more than ‘trivial’, which the PACE authors initially did do in the trial protocol. However, as noted above, instead of sticking with this revised score necessary for a ‘positive outcome’ (from SF-36 70 to 75), after seeing the trial data (post-hoc) the PACE authors instead decreased it all the way down to 60 in the published paper, thus making the outcome variously reported as patients ‘recovering’ and ‘getting back to normal’ actually being less than trivial according to the language used by the TSC. In fact, patients could have reported no improvement whatsoever yet still be characterized as having recovered! Talk about magic tricks, huh?

    Finally, Gijs Bleijenberg, the author of the accompanying Commentary in the Lancet which stated that a SF-36 score of 60 fulfilled part of a ‘strict criterion of recovery’, published a paper in 2010 in which he wrote that “A cut-off of (less than or equal to)65 was considered to reflect severe problems with physical functioning.” How a score that is 5 points lower than one which ‘reflects severe problems with physical functioning’ (on a scale where higher scores mean better physical function) all of the sudden becomes part of a ‘strict criterion for recovery’ is anyone’s guess.

    This doesn’t even mention how the PACE trial ME/CFS patients’ average 6 minute walk test results after a year of ‘treatment’ were at or below those of patients with COPD, chronic heart failure, etc. It’s just a magical, magical world and we patients are too stupid to understand it, I guess.

    PS- I’m compiling a short-ish list of stuff like this about PACE, with references, if you want a copy email and I can send you one. There’s lots of other stuff about how the PACE authors deviated every which way from Sunday between the trial protocol and published results, for instance here’s a thread which deconstructs the whole trial if you can make it through it, it’s fairly long-

  88. #88 daedalus2u
    October 2, 2011

    The normal lanes were empty?

    The images were stolen from somewhere else?

    It was all made up?

    All the contamination was deliberate?

    I do hope you have a place where you are safe.

  89. #89 sylph
    October 2, 2011

    For all of you who are wondering if this gel could be replicated… Let’s take the position of the bands as number 1 problem. You run a gel to see the relative positions, and molecular weights, of your proteins – if they’re 47 kDa, you can run it for 30 minutes or 90 minutes. Your gel is going to look very, very different, but it doesn’t change the outcome… you’ll still be able to see your 47 kDa proteins acting like 47 kDa proteins. They will look different, very different, on the gel, but it doesn’t change the point of the experiment.

    Let’s say, for some reason, you want two gels to look exactly the same. You could load them with a robot, run them at and stop them literally the exact same second, and still you couldn’t overlay them. Because the world is messy.

  90. #90 ERV
    October 2, 2011
  91. #91 Elliptical
    October 2, 2011

    Joe, forget the MW markers. Any WB image has some random noise. As it was made abundantly clear by Abbie, If you over-impose two picts using the major bands as reference points, the probability of having the same smudges, speckles, scratches, dots and smears in two separate experiments is ridiculously low.

  92. #92 MattK
    October 2, 2011

    Wow. That was…fast?

  93. #93 FWD
    October 2, 2011

    Breaking news. The entire WPI research program has been closed by the institute’s CEO, and the facility is now locked down. It’s former principle investigator, Dr. Judy Mikovits, is in active discussions concerning institutions to which she may move to continue her grant-funded research. The institutions must remain unidentified, for obvious reasons, but it’s important for patients to know that she remains committed to continuing this critical work.

  94. #94 ERV
    October 2, 2011


  95. #95 Mary
    October 3, 2011

    OMG…you are a home wrecker!

  96. #96 ERV
    October 3, 2011

    Everyone is going to have to get a new F5 key after this weekend.

    What the… I mean… um… yeah… O.o

  97. #97 mary
    October 3, 2011

    new keyboard? crap I needed one yesterday cuz of f5!

    Never in my effing dreams did I see this coming..NEVER!..I saw other things happening..not this…

    You think Coffin’s hiring….. Lipkin? bets on where her next job will be?

    yes, I forgot…people will still be suffereing…(perhaps less)

  98. #98 Poodle Stomper
    October 3, 2011

    Was that what you were referring to, ERV?

  99. #99 LJ
    October 3, 2011

    Good work ERV, the news just broke today that Dr. Mikovits has been essentially fired from WPI and the research effort has been shut down.

    I am a CFS patient I am very happy with this news; I have grown more and more frustrated with the WPI over the past year. They have been a distraction and have made CFS researchers look crazy, not that there are many people who actually research our disease anyways. I really hope credible scientists will take a good hard look at this disease and have not been to turned-off by the actions of the WPI and the crazies on the internet to touch it. We desperately need scientist to take this seriously and we patients have no idea what to do to get researchers interested with the constant negative news and misinformation around CFS.

    I hope people realize that since there is no simple or one test for CFS it has become a catch diagnosis for people with all sorts of crap that is not actually CFS. There are tests you can do for bio markers of CFS and a two day cardiopulmonary exercise challenge at the university of pacific which costs $2000 and shows CFS clearly. But since many CFS patients are too sick to work they can not afford a lot of these tests. So the point I am trying to make is many of these crazies you see on the internet may not actually have CFS or if they do they probably have other issues going on in addition to CFS. All the CFS patients I have meet are pretty sane, do not believe in XMRV anymore, and are too preoccupied struggling with day to day life to post hate messages on ever blog post about CFS that does not agree with there view on XMRV.

  100. #100 Tristan
    October 3, 2011

    @195: Yeah. is loading noticeably slower right now.

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