XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome: I fought the lawl and the lawl won.

I mean for Petes sake:

Chronic fatigue syndrome researcher Judy Mikovits arrested

I mean, this is funny. No doubt this is funny.

Its funny to see The Patient Community defending Mikovits, the woman who said she didnt have a problem lying to patients when it was convenient for her.

Its funny to see The Patient Community 'figure out' what is going on, including the hypothesis that *I* stole the stuff (I SO DID, YOU GUAIS! I USED MY STAR TREK TRANSPORTER TO TELEPORT INTO THE WPI SEPTEMBER 30TH! I DIDNT FIGURE THIS OUT FROM PUBLICLY AVAILABLE INFO, LOL!) and that Judy is going to get shanked by Simon Wessley.

Its funny to see the WPI, like Frankenstein, getting attacked by their own monster. The 'mobilized patient community' they happily encouraged to attack scientists who didnt support their XMRV-->CFS narrative, is now attacking them. Its funny, and I love it.

However, I need to make it clear that I dont give a rats ass about the WPI and their books of useless notes (Im assuming everything connected to the XMRV-->CFS paper was curiously convenient contamination or active withholding of information, nothing is to believed) or their $5 flash drives or $1000 computer.

I mean, yes, Mikovits and the WPI are white trash, so yes its funny to see them fighting over a laptop and a stack of paper on 'Judge Judy'.

But I really dont give a shit about the WPIs crap.

And I dont want Judy Mikovits in a county jail.

I want that piece of shit Science paper retracted.

I want Mikovits and Ruscetti and anyone connected to 'withholding relevant information' from the Science publication, causing MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars and man-hours of some of the smartest people on the planet to be WASTED chasing a SNIPE, during a FUNDING CRISIS... I want their asses in a federal court, explaining to a judge why, exactly, they thought their behavior was appropriate.


More like this

Thanks once again to Trine Tsouderos:Chronic fatigue and XMRV -- what one researcher (who's been there) has to say Weiss' main point is that the history of retrovirology is littered with the debris of papers finding a link between a virus and a disease that later turned out to be false results…
From a basic, logical perspective, XMRV as the causative agent for any disease has been dead in my eyes, for quite some time. One would literally need to bend the rules of basic epidemiology, basic cancer biology, basic immunology, basic virology, time/space for 'XMRV' to be 'real'. But of course…
Just when you think XMRV-->anything could get none more dead, it manages to get deader. When the possibility arose that there was a new pathogen circulating in humans, especially in the human blood supply, lots of labs from all over the world started looking for it. Unfortunately, no one could…
If Ive said it once, Ive said it a thousand times here on ERV-- Scientists are wrong all the time. ALLLLLLLL the time. Its what we *do*. We make a hypothesis, design an experiment, collect data, and refine the hypothesis, because the original hypothesis was wrong. Over and over and over and…

Wait. Let me get this straight Erv - you are an Okie who doesn't care about white trash. Boy are your comments illuminating. You have to be the most pleasant blogger in science hands down.

Honestly, it's hard to decide which is more unseemly, your gloating, cursing and name calling or the antics of the WPI and Dr. Mikovits. I'm afraid your Whack a Mole analogy was the highlight of your contribution thus far.

PS Didn't your mama tell you you rarely get what you want in this world and tantrums, whining and name calling rarely change that?

As scientists, have you no interest in either of the following?:

1.Benefit from B-Lymphocyte Depletion Using the Anti-CD20 Antibody Rituximab in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A Double-Blind and Placebo-Controlled Study http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0026…

2.How contempt for people with ME has become a part of your outlook. Did you choose it? As scientists, donât you wonder why ME is the only physical or mental (depending on your opinion) disease where contempt is an acceptable response to those who live with it? One example is the description of those people with ME who still support Dr Mikovits or the WPI. Personally, I do not share their feelings of loyalty, at all, but I donât despise them for it â I see it as indicative of a neglected people who have felt hope that their long suffering might end, and who cannot bear to let go of that hope. No, itâs not very scientific, but it is very human. Do you not have any compassion for that? For people who feel that desperate for help?

PS. Erv, your care and rage regarding the effect of non-vaccination on children is obviously genuine. But why does it not extend publicly to children with ME? Jane Colby, Director of The Young ME Sufferers Trust, describes some of the young patients she sees: âMany of these are children, some severely ill, suffering unbearable neuropathic pain, unable to be cuddled and too weak to stand.â http://www.imt.ie/opinion/2011/04/doctor-showed-himself-up-with-lack-of…
These children bear this, and often removal from their families, inappropriate treatment and/or medical disbelief â all as a result of the unquestioned acceptance of the psychological model of ME. Surely this outrages you too? It does me.

Regarding the millions and millions of dollars / time wasted: Amen. Worst of all is the loss of the donations made by all the patients / advocates, many of whom were likely giving money they really couldn't afford anyway.

I'm almost surprised to say that I think there might be an upside to all this, in spite of the high likelihood that the Science paper is meaningless. I just saw (via XMRV Global Action on facebook) that there is a new RO1 and R21 available for CFS-related research. Honestly, I wonder whether these grants would exist were it not for the increased attention brought to ME / CFS by this whole XMRV story. That's obviously totally speculative, just thinking out loud.

Moreover, I do think there has been some great research that might not have otherwise been explored were it not for the Science paper. Obviously I'm a bit biased here (just published in Journal of Virology), but I do think there's a lot of interesting data that came out of all this, even as the XMRV / CFS connection disintegrates.

Does any of this excuse what will likely be proven to be scientific fraud committed by Mikovits? Absolutely not. Nonetheless, there is a bright side of sorts.

- Andy Vaughan

By Andy Vaughan (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

So, who else guessed two plus years ago, when Abbie first wrote about XMRV, that the story would end up with the lead "researcher" in jail?

"I want their asses in a federal court, explaining to a judge why, exactly, they thought their behavior was appropriate."

Can we still have Judge Judy preside? Given how she tears people a new asshole over a $300 cellphone bill, I'd love to see her on a case involving serious money.

I worry that this will just add to her reputation amongst her supporters. If CFS has a parallel to "AutismOne" (a parent convention), Mikovits will be invited to speak, given an award and a standing ovation.

It is really sad to see the damage this is causing in real time. At least with Andrew Wakefield, I came to the story rather late.

I think it is more "I fought someone with massive connections in the Nevada gaming industry and someone with massive connections in the Nevada gaming industry won".

I think it is pretty unusual for someone to be arrested and detained without bail due to a civil lawsuit that hasn't even gone to trial yet. But I am just a scientist, so what do I know.

However, I think they have her between a rock and a hard place. She has said a lot of things and very strongly implied that what she said was backed up by data. If that data is not to be found anywhere, where did it go? Either she lied about having stuff backed up by data, or she took the data that backs up what she said. Scientific misconduct and fraud or theft and/or destruction of propriatary information.

Yes, you were and are right. Kudos for that and for the entertaining posts.
I just want to add that there is no such thing as THE patient community. The cult of WPI (the fanatical supporters of WPI) make a lot of noise, but are probably a small minority of "the" online community and most patients (small sample size: the patients I have met IRL) don't out themselves as patients. The patients that I know of stay clear of mecfsforums and (most of them) don't agree with Jamie D-J or follow Saint Judy.
Just had to get this off my chest.

It is sad for all the patients who were mislead, but you are right that in a way it is funny that WPI is now the focal point for the anger, frustration and distrust it cultivated in its followers.

Yep, I believe it was John Coffin that said that scientists would burn her at the stake and her loyal disciples would canonize her (and not the funny kind like in the Simpsons). She will end up being the next Wakefield, pushing crap "science" and making money off of her followers. It's really sad.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

Andy-- Except Mikovits wasnt 'the lone gunman'. Frank Ruscetti is the one that lied about the figure in question. And Frank is an Old Dog-- I seriously doubt he performed that Western with his own two hands. So there is another person/people, whether grad students or post docs, who went along with the lie for a Science paper on their CV.

Judy Mikovits is batshit, but we cant blame everything on her. 'Our' people, 'normal' scientists we are supposed to be able to trust had a hand in this.

Matt-- Judy Mikovits *has* presented at AutismOne :-|

I do have to wonder, though, what the deal is with Ruscetti. I know next to nothing about him but did he have a good reputation before this? I wonder why he'd do something as obviously wrong as omit the details of the treatment the cells before the Western Blot was performed. I can't believe it was an accident or just poor judgement as it is just too obvious that it was wrong to do so, so what's his angle?

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

Yeah, Ruscetti had a great reputation. It's really hard to imagine what's been going on in his head through all of this.

By Andy Vaughan (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

C'mon people, if you want to play in the XMRV sweepstakes with questions like "What was Frank thinking?" you've got to keep up with the latest. Maybe somebody spiked the samples they shared with Frank with something different than the ones they shared with Bob, just to keep it interesting.

From the 12th Annual Symposium on Antiviral Resistance, held in Hershey PA on Nov. 8, 2011:

Multiple Sources of Contamination in Samples from Patients Reported to Have XMRV Infection

M.F. Kearney, J. Spindler, A. Wiegand, W. Shao, E.M. Anderson, F. Maldarelli, J.W. Mellors, S. H.
Hughes, S.F.J. Le Grice, and J.M. Coffin

Xenotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV)-related retrovirus (XMRV) was reported to be associated with prostate cancer by Urisman, et al. in 2006 and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) by Lombardi, et al. in 2009. To investigate this association, we independently evaluated plasma samples from 4 patients with CFS reported by Lombardi, et al. to have XMRV infection and from 5 healthy controls reported to be XMRV uninfected. We also analyzed viral sequences obtained from supernatants of cell cultures reported to contain XMRV after coculture with clinical samples from 9 patients. A qPCR assay capable of distinguishing XMRV from endogenous MLVs showed that the viral sequences detected in the CFS patient plasma matched endogenous MLVs and not XMRV. Single-genome sequences (N=89) from CFS patient plasma were indistinguishable from endogenous MLVs found in the mouse genome that are distinct from XMRV. By contrast, XMRV sequences were detected by qPCR in 2 of the 5 plasma samples from healthy controls (sequencing of the qPCR product confirmed XMRV not MLV). Single-genome sequences (N=234) from the 9 culture supernatants reportedly positive for XMRV were indistinguishable from XMRV sequences obtained from 22Rv1 and XMRV-contaminated 293T cell-lines. These results indicate that MLV DNA detected in plasma samples from CFS patients was from contaminating mouse genomic DNA and that XMRV detected in plasma samples from healthy controls and in cultures of patient samples was due to cross-contamination with XMRV (virus or nucleic acid).


ERV, you state:
"However, I need to make it clear that I dont give a rats ass about the WPI and their books of useless notes (Im assuming everything connected to the XMRV-->CFS paper was curiously convenient contamination or active withholding of information, nothing is to believed) or their $5 flash drives or $1000 computer."

Is it a fair understanding to take this statement as your educated opinion of the market value of these missing materials? Say hypothetically, for the basis of an insurance claim for loss of the disappeared materials and data? Are there scientific/accounting specialists that are able to value a body lost research in the event of theft or other types of destruction such as a non-backup/hard drive crash situation?

Also, is there a federal law you know of that can be utilized to criminally prosecute scientists for merely causing bad research to be published? Or would you need some proof of deliberate/intentional actions on the part of a rogue researcher to successfully go after and prosecute them?

Dr Ruscetti has been finding these viruses, remember he said his tests are picking up a family of Gamma retroviruses.

By UKpatient (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

Judging by the ironic capital letters in âthe Patient Communityâ I assume you mean that minority on the 'anti-science' forums, not the other (estimated) 17 mio of us worldwide. It would be, uhm, very sad, if some of your less informed readers would not make the distinction.

As I said to you the other day: once a person starts lying to/taking advantage of the sick and dying for any reason said person/people/group have forfeited any claim that I am to care what happens to them. They traded on the fears and suffering of sick and dying people to either promote an agenda or make money, or both. They worked very hard at this, and have thus earned whatever consequences are headed their way.

Wait a moment! Arrests. Courts. Jail time. Ruined Careers. Bad PR.

You'd almost think that they'd hired Marcotte at some point . . .


I don't think it's likely that Mikovits was arrested because of the civil suit, despite some reports to that effect. Although I am no US criminal law expert, I think it's very unlikely that the police could have otherwise searched a third person's home (after Mikovits had already been arrested). I though and think it is much more likely that the Whittemores also pressed criminal charges, besides the civil lawsuit.

Annette Whittemore confirmed this to Science:

"The Whittemore Peterson Institute was required to report the theft of its laboratory materials to law enforcement authorities. These authorities are taking the actions that they deem necessary."

Make sense to me. In the case of theft, all insurance companies will (at least where I live) demand you press charges (/file a criminal complaint, whatever) with the police in order for them to consider your claim.

RRM states:
"Make sense to me. In the case of theft, all insurance companies will (at least where I live) demand you press charges (/file a criminal complaint, whatever) with the police in order for them to consider your claim"

Good thinking RRM. That "required to report" WPI quote you mention very well makes one wonder if there is an underlying insurance claim issue. Which leads back to my question upstream of how exactly do you value the research at issue here? Cost or market value? Future income potential? If I read ERV right, she seems to think its mostly worthless flotsam at this point. If you read the WPI civil complaint, they seem to think the missing items and data are very, very valuable.

Do you have an opinion of the missing items are worth RRM? Does that new Coffin et al research mentioned upstream in this thread make them even less valuable? Scientists typically sign away all rights to their research in favor of employers, do they not? Do they ever bother to try to figure out the potential value of the rights they are signing away beforehand?

Congrats on one of the snarkiest blogs ever! Your lack of insight is refreshing. Your understanding of the broad concept of what it means to be "a patient" is utterly reassuring. At least I can rest peacefully with the knowledge that the future of HIV research will fall into the hands of mediocre scientists. Yawn. Whatever.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

As others have said, whilst you have been right all along about Mikovits and the WPI, please don't fall into the trap of linking " the patient community" with one wacky forum which has a handful of members. It's a misportrayal and insult to the rest of CFS patients who are largely rational. And it keeps up the "CFS patients are all crazies" narrative. You clearly care about truth and accuracy but your portrayal of things is sloppy in this one respect. Otherwise, keep up the good work.

The lab notebooks and computer have little intrinsic value, but I think to WPI they might be much more valuable if they could use them to show that Judy was a fraud and then blame the whole thing on her. They might view this as their only chance at recovering WPIs reputation.

Nonny, you're saying that you can rest in the same way Mikovits' career can? In peace?

Well, whatever gets you through the day.


Well, my guess is that the possible damage is not really in the "value of the research". It is most likely to be considered to be pretty worthless I guess, but I think the real danger lies in WPI losing their grant(s) if they don't retrieve their data. Which, I might add, is a good reason for why WPI isn't making this shit up.

I believe their largest grant is 300k/year, but, I don't know if this is expected to be covered by insurance (the same goes for future research value).

It could also be that the NIH required the WPI pressing charges BTW.

@TCC - I think that may be the most plausible explanation.

The whole meltdown between Dr. Judy and WPI happened shortly after the retractions were published and after Science said that they were going to investigate some of the issues highlighted here on erv's blog and elsewhere.

The story for public consumption was something to the effect that Lombardi wanted to look at some cell lines and that Mikovits objected because it would somehow violate some NIH rule.

I think that it is very plausible that WPI wanted to investigate Mikovits for possible scientific fraud or misconduct and that she realized what they were up to and grabbed her notes and skipped town.

ERV, elk herder:

I want that piece of shit Science paper retracted. I want Mikovits and Ruscetti and anyone connected to 'withholding relevant information' from the Science publication, causing MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars and man-hours of some of the smartest people on the planet to be WASTED chasing a SNIPE, during a FUNDING CRISIS... I want their asses in a federal court, explaining to a judge why, exactly, they thought their behavior was appropriate.

Quote related... though in this case, you're more like Eliot Ness.

By Bill Door (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

ERV @27 states:


Abbie, I guess you probably understand the concept of possessing stolen property. So it must be the conspiracy charge that is throwing you. Here is a short primer: most law first year law school students find conspiracy to be a real eye opener.

The elements are simple: two or more people agreeing to commit a crime, even minor one, and (((viola))) - you have a serious felony. Of course, there are statutory variations on this, but I will keep it simple like you do when you explain science to us civilians.

You could ask your lab partner to swipe a test tube for you, and in theory find yourself sentenced to years of hard time if a meeting of the minds occurs. Conspiracy is a very potent prosecution tool. The preferred strategy in the case I just outlined for successful prosecution is to get your lab partner to "roll" on you, confess, and make a deal to avoid said hard time him/herself. Since all conspiracy participants are held responsible for the felony, the leverage is strong.

If your school has security cameras, and someone complains about that missing test tube, it makes the school security crews job all that much easier. Of course, I am in the dark about the actual facts here, so we will see what develops soon.

some of the smartest people on the planet to be WASTED chasing a SNIPE

Smart people don't go on snipe hunts.

By William Wallace (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

Since when did a university issue arrest warrants?

Please tell me that this is a reporting error by Tsouderos rather than US law being even odder than it looks from my perspective on the other side of the world.

By Pipsqueak (not verified) on 21 Nov 2011 #permalink

What a freak show!! Does that mean I have to return all those CDs with data on them I have lying around my apartment?

If you removed them from Judy Mikovits's desk, then yes.

The only reason I can think of to go to Reno is to play blackjack or poker after a day of skiing in the sierras

*sigh* What a mess.. I thought that since the real science had prevailed, Gerwyn et. al, had been silenced and stopped postiing pseudoscience..but I see he has just started his own forum so he can have the research thread to himself...

He was probably a nice person at some point, but he is also part of the damage caused by WPI and she who must not be named...

ERV readers do not lump all patients together and think them nuts...despite being snarky!

For insurance purposes, the value of scientific data would be its replacement cost. If the data cannot be replaced (i.e. replicated), then it is not âscientific dataâ and so has zero value.

The more they try to portray this data as unique and irreplaceable, the less value it has as scientific data.

As JM proclaimed loudly that it's all "her" research, looks like one of her admirers made sure she got "her" stuff. That would explain the stolen property and conspiracy without an actual theft charge.

I'd guess that if she did not take them herself, that it's probably another lab member that worked with her. I think it would be a bit obvious if a stranger unknown to anyone were walking around the lab with a bunch of notebooks. Just my opinion, though.

Yeah, I've seen some of Gerwyn's crap floating around. It's a bunch of misinformed BS resulting in incorrect conclusions. The guy doesn't seem to have a clue what he/she is talking about which, of course, only serves to convince him/her all the more that he/she is right. Ah, Dunning-Kruger!

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink


No, but they do go on ivory-billed woodpecker hunts. And when (if ever) you understand the very real distinction, you'll have taken your first step toward rationality.

Wouldn't heart if you'd also learn to avoid conflating ignorance with stupidity along the way...

Quote AoA: "The normal manner of resolving such disputes has not been followed in this case."

Theres a reason for that.

Everything will make sense when Trine updates her article. Mikovits is *batshit insane*.

That timeline by Trine is obviously wrong!

While the Paprotka paper was supposed to be published June 2nd, because (ahum) someone leaked the retraction request/editorial expression of concern to the WSJ, Science decided to publish the paper(s) May 31st.

Yes, I have been reading too much about XMRV...

Everything will make sense when Trine updates her article. Mikovits is *batshit insane*.

Judy Mikovits is the president of Madagascar.
(or am I just imagining that the sidebar to the Tribune story is recreating the âShut Down Everythingâ meme?)

ERV, I want them to pin a medal on you for not only being the sane voice in favor of taking out the trash, but for both doing the legwork of taking it out and laying the incredibly convincing smackdown on anyone with the misinformed notion that the maggot-infected pile of tripe on the floor isn't actually trash.

Because there's real science to be done, and all that garbage in the lab really makes it hard for all the good, honest, ethical scientists out there to do their jobs.

Trine apparently received bad info regarding the charges (check her Twitter). She now updated her article accordingly:

"felony charges: possession of stolen property and unlawful taking of computer data, equipment, supplies or other computer related property."

RRM states:
.Trine apparently received bad info regarding the charges .(check her Twitter). She now updated her article accordingly:
."felony charges: possession of stolen property and unlawful .taking of computer data, equipment, supplies or other .computer related property."

Not good RRM, reporters are supposed to independently verify information like that before publishing. ERV, please delete my post @28 that discusses general conspiracy law in fairness and to avoid any confusion.

Update-- Not all the juicy details, but something:

"On Monday evening, Mikovits' former employer, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno, filed signed affidavits in district court in which a coworker states that she enlisted him to take the lab notebooks for her.

The affidavit from graduate student researcher Max Pfost states that he used her desk and office keys to take 12 to 20 lab notebooks, which he hid at his house in a large, multi-colored "Happy Birthday" gift bag before turning them over to Mikovits in mid-October.

"As I left for work at WPI that morning, Mikovits further requested that I keep her informed as to the whereabouts of WPI personnel so that Mikovits could avoid detection in Reno," Pfost wrote.

The affidavit also states that Mikovits had the two of them set up "a new separate email account for our secret communications about WPI" and that Mikovits told Pfost she was hiding on a boat "to avoid being served with papers from WPI.

Trine has updated the article:

On Monday evening, Mikovits' former employer, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease in Reno, filed signed affidavits in district court in which a coworker states that she enlisted him to take the lab notebooks for her.

The affidavit from graduate student researcher Max Pfost states that he used her desk and office keys to take 12 to 20 lab notebooks, which he hid at his house in a large, multi-colored "Happy Birthday" gift bag

Also there is a bit about Mikovits hiding out on a boat to avoid being served.

Holy crap..what a slime ball...wonder how long it will take before Max gets creamated by the whorde..they were supporting him earlier..

judy should just return the shit humbly, beg WPI to drop charges, and crawl under a rock..

Geez, hiding on a boat..effing coward..

The story writers in Hollywood should closly watch this story unfolding. They might make a first class thriller out of it. I propose the title: "XMRV - nothing sells like fear", "based on a true story" etc...

Please excuse my sarcasm!


I would have preferred Judy to have evaded capture and the Whittemores pursuing her in some sort of giant chartered harpoon boat.

"Pequod II" or something. The princess who shall not be named could wuther on the poop deck while Annette scanned the horizon for a dingy flying a lab coat.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Trine, make up your mind. ERV, disregard my request @51.

"Now, in a stunning twist, Mikovits is sitting in a California jail cell, held without bond, awaiting an arraignment hearing Tuesday. An arrest warrant issued by University of Nevada at Reno police lists two felony charges: possession of stolen property and conspiracy."

"judy should just return the shit humbly, beg WPI to drop charges, and crawl under a rock.."

I presume that's exactly what she's trying now her husband has asked the twatvocates to shut up and stop criticising the WPI while they're in "negotiations"

By frozenwarnings (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Christ almighty. I feel sorry for all the people that got sucked into Mikovits vortex of lies. Apparently, Mikovits husband, on behalf of the fugitive thief, has asked people to stop dissing the WPI because it's making it worse for her. I consider this to be more of the same manipulation.

As far as not dissing da WPI, it's a bit too late for that. The damage is done, can't take it back cause da internet never forgets. I have one question for Judy Mikovits, why the hell should people shut up, you started it, now finish it with an honest accounting of what you have done and why you did it. For the glory was it? or to keep your mistakes out of the hands of others? or to have your adoring fanbase kissing your saintly thieving feet for all eternity?.

By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

The affidavit from graduate student researcher Max Pfost states that he used her desk and office keys to take 12 to 20 lab notebooks, which he hid at his house in a large, multi-colored "Happy Birthday" gift bag before turning them over to Mikovits in mid-October.

Crap, well there goes his career, too. I don't think anyone reputable would hire him after he did this. The fact that he hid them indicates he knew very well that what he was doing was wrong/illegal. Way to drag others down with you, Judy!

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

More expansive details and analysis here:

Holy cow. No wonder WPI was pissed. According to the article:
"According to the affadavit Dr. Mikovits also attempted to have biological materials including cell lines and blood samples removed from the labs as well. At Dr. Mikovits behest Pfost attempted to recruit other WPI employees to remove these materials from the lab and send them to Dr. Ruscetti. According to the affidavit research assistant Amanda McKenzie, declined to do so."

Someone (or more than one someone) is going to go down big time if this is proven in court.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Hooray (Wildaisy on the mecfsforums), apparently Mikovits has been released on bail. I am not sure why this is a hooray moment. She's still guilty, she will still have to answer to the charges etc, etc, etc. Some people are stll thinking this is all the WPI's fault. Hello McFly, but Judy chose to be a thief, they didn't force her to be a thief. I can't seem to access the Ventura Superior Courts information about what went on today. No doubt it will be posted at some point.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Was able to access the records re: Ventura Superior Court

It states:

11/22/2011 Defendant remanded to custody of Sheriff in lieu of bail in the amount of $100,000.00 .

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

I must say that I am surprised to see Ruscetti's name pop up in the statements by both Pfost and McKenzie.

judy should just return the shit humbly, beg WPI to drop charges, and crawl under a rock.

Regarding the civil procedure, you're right. However, criminal prosecution serves public interests and should not be stopped at the wished of the (supposed) victim of a crime. Although, of course, in certain cases the cooperation of the (supposed) victim is essential for a succesful prosecution.

In this case, I sure hope the DA will seriously consider prosecuting the persons thought to be responsible, regardless of the WPI's wishes/cooperation.

I am just amazed at this story.
1. Max is damn lucky he didn't take the notebooks and send them via mail. By putting a US or using FedEx to mail stolen property becomes a serious federal offense.
2. I can't believe Ruscetti was willing to receive stolen material as well. He either didn't know it was stolen or is just as unethical as Judy which may not be a stretch considering she was trained by him.
3. Lastly, I suspect the request by Judy to stop the ME/CFS Forum attach against WPI is not because they are in negotiations with WPI but because the Forum is making WPI's case for the "irreparable" harm claim in the Complaint filed. All WPI has to do is produce the website forum postings to show how they have been damaged in light of the theft.

There's a great comment on all this on the "patient" forum, by the moderator no less:
Whatever Dr. Mikovits did or did not do I'm sure was in the interest of saving our lives and giving them back.

With fans like that ...


Crap, well there goes his career, too.

Actually, looking at the documents linked to in #65, his career may be the least of his worries. He actually did almost all of the dirty work! Typical, too... grad student does the work, PI gets the credit.Though, I must say, what a level of dedication and loyalty on the part of a grad student. Professors everywhere will be jealous. That whole cloak-and-dagger thing they had, with the fake emails, safe houses, etc., was impressive.

By Bill Door (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Well, I was already wondering why he posted (briefly) under the handle of "madmax" at the Phoenix Rising forums....

@68 -- damage already done even if the crazies stop posting about the evul WPI. I would assume that most of them have sent nasty emails to the evul WPI.

The crazies seem to alluding to the fact that the evul WPI has been telling Max what to say to destroy the credibility of Mikovits. So under oath, he lies while destroying his reputation. These crazy sheeple fanatics of Saint Mikovits fail to realize that most of what Max Pfost has said can be verified. Things like emails contain IP addresses, cell phone records can be accessed, rental car companies keep records etc, etc.

I saw where Max did all the PCR work. I also saw in the affadavit where Mikovits was trying to get Max to steal all Petersons records too - that goes behind the need to move your research elsewhere now doesn't it.

Judy must be home now washing the jailhouse stink off her saintly body. Guess she won't have to sleep with her shiv tonight.

Who is going to play Judy in the movie of the week?

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Who is going to play Judy in the movie of the week?

Charlize Theron's excellent performance in Monster springs to mind.

hey RRM, do you have a copy of Max's post on Phoenix rising?

After reading Pfost's affidavit, I'm left with a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. Their relationship was waaaay beyond what is appropriate for a PI and grad student. While I still think he was put in a totally unreasonable position, he had so many opportunities to stop helping her...

By Andy Vaughan (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

@ 73 -- I was thinking for along the lines of Miss Piggy. The whole saga could be a new Muppet Movie. Max Pfost could be played by Beaker. Gerwyn and V99 could be played by the two old hecklers that sit in the back of the movie theater.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Everyone wants xmrv over but it just won't stop.
This virus has legs!

By UKPatient (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

Hmm, according to the affidavit, Mikovits wanted to stop the ongoing Lipkin study...I wonder why /sarcasm. Also, I agree. It seems like something less than savory was going on with Judy and her grad student. Something seems off in the way he described his actions.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

"Charlize Theron's excellent performance in Monster springs to mind."

Not Kathy Bates in Misery?

@74: You mean it's not common practice for a PI to expect her post-doc to be mentee, lab rat, secretary, tenant, moving crew, chauffeur, drinking buddy, pillow pal, confidante, thief, shipper, getaway driver, fence AND conspirator?

Awfully strange that Max's affidavit also corroborates the WPI version of why Judy got sacked (insubordination) and not Judy's (everyone else's fault but hers).

Pillow pal...yeah I kinda got the same vibe. Creepy if it's the case.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

#74 Vaughan

While I still think he was put in a totally unreasonable position, he had so many opportunities to stop helping her...

If his science career goes in the toilet, I hear Penn State has an opening for a football coach. Sounds like a perfect match.

But, seriously, this relationship between Pfost and Mikovits is bizarre. I would narc on my PI in an instant if he suggested doing something like this. Then again, I'm neither (a) sleeping with him, or (b) his co-conspirator in research fraud, so maybe I don't understand this level of closeness. If your grad school PI commits fraud and you have nothing to do with it, your career isn't necessarily over - in fact, people would probably have sympathy for you, and you could go on and still be a success. So I have a hard time understanding why Pfost cares so much, unless he's been fucking his data or his boss.

By Bill Door (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

This stuff is unreal! Here's my prediction.

We'll soon hear that this has actually all been perpetrated by Judy's evil twin, Jodi. Judy herself has been suffering from amnesia for the last five years, working as a bartender in some country club (snort!). Any day now, Judy will get struck on the head by a bottle of rum and recover her memory. Jodi, realizing the jig is up, will disappear - taking the stolen notebooks and cell lines with her to sell on the black market and finance her lavish life on the Riviera.

Meanwhile, Judy's internet supporters, immediately recognizing the ring of truth in Judy's story, will rally to her defense, insisting that Simon Wessely and his evil minions stop claiming that amnesia is a neurological disorder and admit once and for all that it's caused by XMRV.

Oh, I remember when this happened. I remember how the entire nation was gripped with paralysis sorting through who shot JR.

I'm thinking more Soap than Dallas.

Dressed in a prison-issued blue jump suit with an orange T-shirt underneath, Mikovits entered the courtroom and took a seat on a bench already occupied by a few dozen similarly dressed male and female inmates. They sat in a large room-within-the-room that had white metal bars for walls. They looked like they were in a cage. Four bailiffs with Taser guns strolled around the open part of the court. The other inmates included heavily muscled and tattooed men and street-tough women. The 53-year-old scientist, who has been in jail since last Friday, appeared composed but wildly out of place.


Just goes to show you, all criminals are not tatooed wild looking animals.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink

For the record, when I talked about their relationship being inappropriate, I in no way meant to suggest it was sexual. I don't want to be associated with that sort of speculation.

Regarding Max's responsibility in this situation: I think this is more complicated than just saying that he knowingly aided in committing a crime. Who knows what Judy told him? She may very well have had him convinced that she was being legitimately persecuted by a morally-bankrupt WPI. Clearly she's been very good at pulling the wool over the eyes of much of the patient community, and indeed much of the scientific community, at least early on. I think it's fair to allow the possibility that Max was manipulated and is more of a victim than a criminal. After all, he may very well have gone to the WPI with his confession on his own.

By Andy Vaughan (not verified) on 22 Nov 2011 #permalink


Yes of course, the movie. I am sort of liking Ellen Page for the part of ERV. Great acting chops and snarky too. As well as a dog lover. I was impressed with her work in "Hard Candy".

...unless he's been fucking his data or his boss.

In both cases, I'd retract.

Two morning musings:

I wonder how many science writers/bloggers who have followed this story (ERV, Tsouderos, Cohen, Maher, Dove, Callaway, Kaiser, Enserink, Marcus) will choose multi-colored "Happy Birthday" bags for their holiday gift-giving? Are leather-bound notebooks on the Brooks Brothers "best gifts" list this year?

Cohen wrote of Mikovits in his "False Positive" story in September: "Mikovits shouted during one interview, her blue-gray eyes shooting fire." Do you think the blue inmate jumpsuit set off or competed with her eyes?

I assume Judy lived at the Palladio condo, and Max at the Riverwalk condo, which was "owned by Mikovits". Judy stayed over at the Riverwalk condo after Max picked her up from Reno airport on 17th October.

When Max got home from work the next day, Judy and the "items" were all gone.

Gah! Know how you feel Max... been there, done that.

@84: "What is funny is that the movie of this drama will make a lot more money than the bogus research ever would."

Unfortunately, a movie would probably depict her as being right, and being persecuted by corrupt pawns of Big Pharma.

ERV wrote I want Mikovits and Ruscetti and anyone connected to 'withholding relevant information' from the Science publication, causing MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars and man-hours of some of the smartest people on the planet to be WASTED chasing a SNIPE, during a FUNDING CRISIS... I want their asses in a federal court, explaining to a judge why, exactly, they thought their behavior was appropriate.

Absolutely - but in getting the scientists to be answerable (and let's not forget Lombardi), the WPI (and by association the University of Nevada) also have questions to answer. In the case of the WPI, its licensing of a test lacking any independent validation, to the VIPdx laboratory which marketed the test and for which it gained income in the region of $1 million, requires explicit explanation. Individuals, including those who were inevitably desperate and somewhat fragile were encouraged to pay up to $750 for a test which although worthless, encouraged belief in patients that they had disease comparable to HIV. Accademic wrong doing must be exposed, but it must not obscure the corporate failings at WPI and potentially at the UofN.

Andy-- "She may very well have had him convinced that she was being legitimately persecuted by a morally-bankrupt WPI."

I wrote a post about the affidavits, and didnt publish it because everyone involved with this case is fucking nuts, and I dont want to be sued, and you all are smart enough to figure this stuff out on your own--

But my personal opinion is that there is a pattern of Mikovits manipulating people-- She got Annette to fire Peterson (the MD who knew the patient cohort inside/out, thus one person who could have easily spotted their 'strategic data arrangement') and attack other scientists (specifically McClure and the Dutch group)-- Annette knows nothing about science. Shes a regular mom. She believed what Mikovits told her. Mikovits has a segment of the CFS patient community brainwashed, as we all have seen.

I think its very easy to come to the conclusion that Max was brainwashed, and when he got pushed too hard (asked to steal medical records and biological specimens) he woke up. Max spent his formative years as a Real Scientist, grad school, in an abnormal environment. Dissent from Mikovits/WPI was dealt with *harshly* (as opposed to the rest of us who are taught and encouraged to question our mentors). Mikovits was in a position of power over him in not only the Boss/Employee dynamic, but also the entirely inappropriate and too familiar Landlord/Tenant dynamic. Basic cult stuff there-- silence dissent, keep out outside dissenting opinions, control all aspects of your victims lives.

The landlord thing is totally inappropriate. When Bossman and I moved to OK, he thought about buying a house with a garage apartment for me to live in. Cheap rent for me! Help with mortgage for him and his wife! Hurray!

And then he realized THAT WAS A VERY BAD IDEA, for legal reasons, for power balance reasons, for personal reasons, and literally *everyone* would think 'Yeah, hes fucking her' if we did something like that because it is just way too familiar. Thats not a 'normal' mentor/grad-student relationship.

Which brings me back to what Ive been saying for two years-- Mikovits literally had NO IDEA what the word 'professional' means.

Maybe this is farfetched, but I already wondered why Lombardi's name wasn't on the Simmons et al. Blood Working Group paper (especially when his involvement must have been substantial, as Mikovits primarely blamed him for the disastrous results afterwards).

Mikovits and Pfost "represented" the WPI part. Almost seems like a small fuck you to Lombardi and a chance for Pfost to spruce up his resume with another Science publication. But, then again, he was responsible for the super-duper PCR optimization in the original paper, so perhaps that was the reason....

And props to Trine, I must say. I only made sort of a joke pointing out that very small (2 day) error in her timeline but, whether she read it here or found out about it herself, actually corrected that tiny tidbit of information.

Yup, Max Pfost only graduated in 2010 and WPI was his first job (says his Facebook page). He was born in Nevada, went to college in Nevada and worked in Nevada. That's not extensive life experience. Judy's press photos mostly show her looking little girlish, head tilted down, eyes peeping shyly up, hair all over the shop, "see me, I'm so little and unthreatening". But Max's affidavits show a different side. They start with angry Judy proclaiming that she is his boss and giving him orders. He then trots off to do what he is told, plainly knowing that it's wrong (using lies and duplicity to enter the building and hide the things he's taken). Further orders are issued to the female lab worker delivered by text message on Max's phone. For whatever reason (age, experience,?) she ignores the message but she doesn't report it.

sometimes he is praised (my grad student who invented these wonderful techniques that great scientists cannot understand) and sometimes he is shouted at. He runs personal errands (helps her move house, drives her to the airport)and lives in her rented apartment. People adore her. She makes grand statements about taking over the research from the WPI and "stopping Lipkin". Megalomania can be hard to see through. She presents herself as all-powerful and gives orders. All that is hard to deal with at about 24.

I'm sure I've got lessons to learn from this, as I never expected intentional fraud to be behind the discordant XMRV findings. I still have no idea what they were thinking, or how they thought they could benefit from this. Mikovits drew so much attention to herself, and must have known that her techniques were going to be tested under independently blinded conditions. Maybe the lesson is "Remember scientists can do crazy self-destructive shit too."

@99, I agree that there's a pattern here. And while I'm merely an interested observer from afar, the more I follow the saga, the more it appears that the behavior is reflecting a recognized psychopathology: BPD.

In short, a reality is created that reflects well on the creator but is not, in fact, reality as perceived by others. The creator offers an earnest, rational, and convincing presentation of the reality. Then fierce, combative, sometimes baffling attacks on those who question the reality. And finally complex, high-energy, sometimes baffling actions to defend the reality when things start to fall apart. In the process, the creator may start to believe that the created reality is true and feel victimized, providing justification for whatever actions are taken to defend it.

I have to wonder what JM's early childhood was like. This all may smack of pop-psychology, but wow, it fits to a T.

Regardless, it's a terrible shame that such a person was able to inflict an awful fraud on a vulnerable community. Significant harm was done unto the patients JM charmed and persuaded, though the words/actions of the extremist fringe patients makes me wonder about THEIR psychopathologies too. Big props to erv for having the guts to persist in calling it like she saw it in the face of repeated attacks.

@99 That's my feelings on Max's position as well. As you said, "Max spent his formative years as a Real Scientist, grad school, in an abnormal environment."

Poor guy. Assuming something along those lines is true, I hope he can somehow recover as a scientist after this.

By Andy Vaughan (not verified) on 23 Nov 2011 #permalink

what about this:

"One could hardly complete this first blog without commenting on the treatment meted out to Judy Mikovits by the WPI.It is my firm belief that the release of the affidavits was a calculated ploy.The aim of that ploy was to confuse Judy,s supporters and to until doubt regarding her innocence. The message that I believe the Whittmores were trying to convey was something like.âHey guys whatâs with all this criticism we are the injured party here, look at this evidenceâ When one penetrates the legalese however we see a paucity of facts with supposition and opinion spun to make the facts look incriminating when another interpretation would leave the reader wondering what all the fuss was about. So one interpretation would convey the impression that Dr Mikovits was guilty of wrongdoing and the other would convey the impression that she was totally innocent.I donât think there is any question which version the Whittmores would like you to believe. Please donât be fooled by legal trickery Dr Mikovits is blameless in this matter."



Now, I am not a fancy big city lawyer (though between this and my stalker fun, Mom thinks I should graduate with a PhD and a JD), but I wouldnt call text and phone records, emails, and car rental and flight info is a 'paucity of facts'.

That forum -- http://peoplewithme.com/blog/ -- is being run by Gerwyn and V99 (aka MRV) with the uber bitch Angela Kennedy as part of the "staff". It is a congregation of the most rabid lunatics who believe that Saint Judy (with the now tarnished halo) is totally innocent. Gerwyn went as far to say that the plea from Judy's husband for everybody to STFU was actually written by the Whittemores. They believe that Max Pfosts statements are all lies written by the Whittemores. The burning stupid, it burns soooooooo bad. These are people who will believe in Saint Judy even if she is found guilty in a court of law with hundreds of pieces of evidence.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 23 Nov 2011 #permalink

would think 'Yeah, hes fucking her' if we did something like that because it is just way too familiar

Wait a minute . . . he's not? Ok, then I'm totally confused why you call him 'daddy' at work at 'Bossman' online.


Gerwyn the Confused, Toady-V99 and Steamroller Kennedy.

Cheers for the alert on their new blog.

Let's hope that means they'll be less active on the messedupforums where they (and a few others) have done so much to discredit the patient community.

Poor grad student. If you aren't confident, everything from the PI can seem like words from god.

By mo (one of Abb… (not verified) on 23 Nov 2011 #permalink

If you have to start your own blog because they censor you too much on mecfsforum for being a lunatic ...

Talking about lunatics. Dr. Jamie Deckoff-Jones has posted a new and bizarre blog -- http://treatingxmrv.blogspot.com/

Sounds like a disgruntled employee having a dig at an ex-boss.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 23 Nov 2011 #permalink

Glory be! From WPI's Facebook page:

"Happy Thanksgiving

Among the many things we are thankful for today are our friends, our family and our faith. We have a roof over our heads and good food to eat, and hope that this is true for each one of you. We are thankful that our researchers are making good progress towards understanding this disease and are closer to finding the answers we need to help those who are suffering. We are thankful that most of our property has been returned. Finally, we are thankful for each new day that brings with it a chance to heal."

Emphasis mine -- "most of our property has been returned."

(VERY tempted to editorialize like Comedy Central does during the State of the Union, but there are important matters at hand...)

Anyone care to speculate on how the "return of property" happened? According to various conspiracy theorists, Ian Lipkin stole the notebooks, ERV stole the notebooks, somebody named RRM and/or Billy stole the notebooks. But miraculously, the day after Judy is sprung from jail, the property returns. Huh...

While we're guessing... tomorrow do you think Max and his mother are will fight for the turkey wishbone across the Whittemore's dinner table or Judy and David's?

Anonymouse, I read that blog, the most recent article. I know jack about setting up medical clinics, or anything of that sort, but I do know a snowjob when I read one. I'll summarize: nothing Annette said was true, and I knew it, but I'm a sucker and went along with it all anyway because I was being paid. Then they fired me and asked if I'd volunteer to continue knowingly be lied to and cooperate and facilitate what I knew to be unethical marketing practices, which defrauded the poor and sick out of money they didn't have.

And Judy's a victim, just like me. And the patients are the losers because Judy was 'hogtied by incompetence [of Annette]". Yes, there was incompetence there. In fact, it seems to be one of the few consistent qualities of the whole shebang. However, ineptitude isn't an explanation for deception and running a con. Hand in hand with that incompetence was deceit and exploitation of sick people.


@116: Right on, Justicar. Can't improve upon your verdict in this case.

got ilk?: reading what those close to the whole mess write reminds me of a small child trying to explain what happened to the cookies in the cookie jar. Yes yes, that's all an amusing tale, young one, but you have crumbs on your face and chocolate on your fingers. So, I'm a little suspicious you just might be lying about those cookie-nabbing space invaders.

Don't know if this is good news or bad news. From the WPI's facebook page:

We are thankful that most of our property has been returned

I sure hope that WPI didn't really "negotiate" with Mikovits in the sense that they would drop charges/allegations. Although it's possible, I don't see how Mikovits would have that much leverage anyway, and seeing that Mikovits hasn't stopped JDJ and the members from sheeplewithme.com from posting more negative stuff about WPI, I doubt it.

Also, from JDJ's latest blog:

There are issues with not just who owns, but who can even see the notebooks. [Judy Mikovits] said to me that the notebooks documented mistakes that others wouldn't want brought to light, something she had only realized recently

Ah, she was only trying to protect Lombardi? Makes sense...

Damn, I feel bad for Max..Maybe he can make a deal with WPI and at least get a pay check otherwise, he may have to move to a 3rd world country for a job.

My relationship with my PI was great. Yup, I knew that I was a well educated slave, being low man on the totem. However, that position was never abused by anyone in the lab. I had the utmost faith and trust in him, he held my future in that lab. I remember him flying into the lab, coat flaring out around him, pulling his hair, yelling "Now what have you done" but also crediting me on my successes.

Even though he held my life and future, I let him know that it would be painful to anyone who messed with my future. It was a mutual trust..(eventually!)

@got ilk?, 116,

But don't you understand? Lipkin, ERV, RRM and all the others returned the items in a concerted action to make it LOOK like Judy returned them...This shows how far the conspiracy goes (I am probably part of it to - will have to ask Gerwyn)! Fortunately, Gerwyn will find out the truth and tell us!

Re Max. Honest people deserve a second chance!


Excuse me absence and me language but:

What a fucking mess!

You couldn't make this up. Longest running soap-opera worth following since Dallas. And it still has legs.

Will the 'mistakes' ever see the light of day? Will Harvey pull the plug? Will Voldemort reveal himself? Will Dobby stop using 'Mad Max'? Will Dr D-J add any more spin?

The full retraction of that 'science' paper will surely be an anticlimax now!

@122 OWE: By George - I think you've got it! A conspiracy to cover-up the conspiracy by framing someone else. Brilliant! George Clooney can get 10 of his best pals in the biz to make the movie!

I agree that honest people deserve a second chance. Hard to see how Max could be considered honest. Foolish maybe, but not honest. Now that Amanda, I like. Would have been nice for her to tip somebody off to Judy's insane requests though...

From a comment on JDJ's blog:
"Thank you, Dr. Jamie, for filling in the missing pieces. I appreciate all you have done for us and all you continue to do for us. Ignore the idiotic comments on here; there are many people who are actively working against the ME community and the truth of ZMRVs in ME ever being taken seriously, as you know."

Can someone please tell me WTF a "ZMRV" is? And did anyone know we ilk were working against them?

It ain't over until it's over. Ever hear of a police investigation being conducted where the person confesses to a notary public employee by the institution in which he works. This is a police investigation. He has Miranda Rights and the right to an attorney. Were these confessions done at a police station witnessed by a detective. Did the criminal investigation ends because the parties involved return the stolen material shook hands and adios.

This is a criminal police investigation! The evidence is collected and presented to the DA who determines what charges will be filed or to a secret grand jury. The parties negotiate with the DA not the WPI. Something strange is going on here. There is more stuff to drop.

At the minimum, you have all of the events as stated were true you have: conspiracy to commit a crime, stolen property, crossing state lines with the intent to commit a crime, crossing state lines in the commission of felony, stolen goods possession, research espionage, interfering in the operations of a business, stealing Federal property, using emails in the commission of a crime which could invoke RICO, destruction of stolen property, fraud...to name just a few. I believe the Feds will sooner or later get involve. On the other hand if Judy's version plays out, you will have false reporting of everything, filing false police reports, false imprisonment, perjury, libel, slander, defamation of character etc.

All of this is a bit odd though.

Max's affidavit would be thrown out at criminal trial as it violates his First Amendment Rights. Maybe, they knew that?

@got ilk

Zoonotic Murine leukemia virus-Related Virus

It's apparently to convey the fact that not all the viruses that Mikovits contaminated her lab with are xenotropic.

On the other hand if Judy's version plays out, you will have false reporting of everything, filing false police reports, false imprisonment, perjury, libel, slander, defamation of character etc.

And she will stop the Lipkin study!!!!111!

By mo (one of Abb… (not verified) on 24 Nov 2011 #permalink

@RRM, 126


ZMRV = Zero Murine leukemia virus-Related Virus

fit the facts better? :)


@ 125 eek, Law degree by google? No..Max doesn't need to be mirandized..that right is reserved for those arrested (like Judy..) in most cases. Max gave a sworn statement, all he needed to do was admit to being truthful..

The 1st ammendment applies to those whose speech has been hindered. Max was not hindered, and thankfully came clean by voluntering this info..

Didn't need a lawyer, and obviously didn't want one..tho to save himself I would recommend getting one..Hopefull WPI realizes that they hired someone who was batshit insane (love that title for her) and not hold Max's actions against him. GOBBLE GOBBLE everyone!

"Anyone care to speculate on how the "return of property" happened? According to various conspiracy theorists, Ian Lipkin stole the notebooks, ERV stole the notebooks, somebody named RRM and/or Billy stole the notebooks. But miraculously, the day after Judy is sprung from jail, the property returns. Huh..."

I'm going to vote for "Judy returned it and begged not to be thrown in jail for a long time".

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 24 Nov 2011 #permalink

I do wonder a bit why (specifically) she wanted to stop the Lipkin study. I'm going to guess that she feared it could reveal details of the "contaminations". She could be using the "just recently found out about naughty stuff going on" BS to prep her band of loony disciples to accept that the coming results of the Lipkin study aren't her fault. Anyone else want to take a stab at it?

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 24 Nov 2011 #permalink

@129 I meant the 5th amendment rights. 'You know fruit from the poison tree' He confesses to serious felonious crimes and the police grab the affidavit and arrest him as proof that he actually committed the crimes. I mean there is no info on any duress that could have been applied in the civil affidavit.

My guess: The return of the notebooks was a condition for bail. If they would have been found during one of the searches they would probably stay as evidence, and WPI would talk about recovered, not returned.

Shit man, the point is that he confessed to a private party. I am sure he was under duress, but he was not pressured by police or something. The idea behind the 5th amendment is to protect you from the evul goverment, not from confessions made to third parties.

And even if (hypothetically speaking) Pfost's rights were violated, I seriously doubt whether the 'fruits from the poisonous tree' doctrine would apply (it certainly would not where I live). After all, in the case against Mikovits Pfost's statement would be regarded as witness testimony - no constitutional right of Mikovits would be violated through accepting it as evidence.

A little OT, but since her name came up, does anyone know the correct pronunciation of Trine Tsouderos' first name? Does it rhyme with 'brine', or is it something like 'Trinny'?

Speaking of names, whenever I see a reference to the Whittemore's, I always think of the character of Charles Whidmore from Lost. I can't be the only one, right?

By Dave Ruddell (not verified) on 24 Nov 2011 #permalink


Sorry, I was replying to #133. However:

I don't think it's likely that the return was a condition for bail. First, it does not make sense to have a condition that relies on the suspect incriminating him/herself. Of course, a judge could refuse bail because he's afraid that evidence might be destroyed (and a suspect could take that suspicion away by giving away the evidence). However, I don't think that any admission of guilt could ever be set as a condition for bail beforehand.

Second, the trial proceedings were public and there is no record of such a condition.

Trine Tsouderos' first name is pronounced like Tree-nah.

My guess is that it is Mr Judy who returned the notebooks. He probably knows her better than anyone and doesn't want the hole she is in to get any deeper.

I suspect that after the notebooks were returned, WPI had no objections to JM being out on bail.

What I think will/should happen is that the WPI should hire someone competent and honest (I hear ERV is competent and could use some $$$) to go through the notebooks with a fine toothed comb for anything that is of value in them. I think that ERV could do that in ~100 hours, about a normal week for her. At $150 per hour, that would be ~$15k, add $5k for travel and the total is still chump change compared to what will be spent on lawyers and investigations. Then WPI would know what they have, scrap paper that is worth $0.10 per pound or something else.

The risk for ERV is that she might get caught up in the legal wrangling that could go on for years. If there is nothing of value in the notebooks, then there is nothing worth spending years of legal wrangling over. The way she might avoid that is with an escalation clause on her consulting; $150/hr for the first 100 hours, $300/hr for the next 100, $600/hr for the next 100, $1200/hr for the next 100 and so on. At some point it becomes cheaper to settle and not do anything that to keep ERV involved.
WPI might not want it known that there is nothing of value in the notebooks because then they can't sell them for big $$$.

The WPI lawyers probably don't want to know if the notebooks are valuable or not. They have to make what ever case they are going to make independent of the facts, that is easier if they don't even know what the facts are.

#1321 I meant the 5th amendment rights. 'You know fruit from the poison tree' He confesses to serious felonious crimes and the police grab the affidavit and arrest him as proof that he actually committed the crimes. I mean there is no info on any duress that could have been applied in the civil affidavit.

The traditional (Anglian, Scotish and aligned legal systems) position provides for a clear separation of civil and criminal codes. An affidavit in a civil case is not equivalent to a witness statement taken by a police officer. Although an affidavit could be introduced as evidence in criminal trial it would have to meet all the rules of evidence, given how strongly the US system recognises the right to not self incriminate, it seems likely that a self incriminating affidavit might fall foul of the rules of evidence. Nevertheless giving a self incriminating account of a criminal act in an affidavit without having independent legal advice is very unwise. The 'notary' is a court officer and convincing a criminal court that an affidavit was sworn under duress can be a very difficult thing to achieve. Looks like Pfost got caught between competing interests neither side of which could give a damn about his well being.

Regarding the affadavit. Harvey Whittemore is a lawyer. The WPI has lawyers and uses them regularly. You can bet they crossed all the t's and dotted the i's when this affadavit was recorded. It has been filed as evidence in the civil case which was initiated by the Whittemores. I am sure by now, the police have had Max Pfost sign a statement that can be used later in any criminal proceeding. Also, it there is actually a criminal trial, he would be called to give evidence under oath.

There is no evidence that the Whittemores don't give a damn about Max Pfost. His name still appears on their list of researchers, they erased Mikovits within a day. He doesn't seem to have been arrested. Who knows. It's too bad he decided to drink Mikovits purple kool-ade though.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 24 Nov 2011 #permalink

Max Pfost is much more valuable to WPI as a friendly witness than he is as someone being criminally prosecuted. He has no $$$, he was a dumb naïve graduate who drank the JM koolaid. How many of the other people at the WPI drank the koolaid too?

Someone with nothing to gain from the outcome of the civil trial (Max Pfost has no financial interest in WPI, I assume) makes him a very credible witness against JM. If he was there when all the shit happened, when all the âmistakesâ were made in the notebooks and when they were noted to be mistakes, he can testify about them.

If he can testify as to the timeline of the test development, then he really is the key to much of what the civil suits are going to be about. If he is potentially in criminal jeopardy, then he can take the fifth and say nothing.

@140: "You can bet they crossed all the t's and dotted the i's when this affadavit was recorded."

Based on the way this whole thing has gone, I'd bet Harvey and his crack legal team crossed all the i's and dotted the t's, Nevada-style.

Someone with nothing to gain from the outcome of the civil trial (Max Pfost has no financial interest in WPI, I assume) makes him a very credible witness against JM.

Well, if he keeps his job at WPI and no criminal charges are pressed against him I'd say you could certainly attack his credibility as a witness (seen in isolation, that is).

On the upside, he has given a lot of verifiable information, and that is much more important. For instance, all of the (supposed) emails sent from the secret accounts are undoubtedly read by the authorities and I guess (for several reasons) they corroborate Pfost's account.

Puzzling how a lowly notary public from the WPI was able to 'get' him to 'confess' on a sworn affidavit no less. If he was willing to confess and since the police had been notified and the investigation had been turned over to them, why didn't they just call the police? I mean there are some issues surrounding his 5th Amendment Rights. What was in it for him to confess? All I see is nothing but downside, being made the 'fall' guy between the two groups?

Could it be that Mikovits is a saint after all.

From the forum full of people who beleive Mikovits is a saintly saint.

"I have been given permission to tell everyone that although Judy is going through so much herself right now, she has taken out the time to get her husband to email Jacqueline Mc Gorrigan to inform her that she (Judy) would be sending nutrients over to Ireland for Andrew. Can you imagine her thinking of Andrew right now? I know I can. This is so typical of her kindness."

Or could it be this act of kindness is just an attempt to manipulate patients.

Judy, Judy, Hey Judy, I could use a bottle of wine or two to ease my physical pain. Thanks. I will post what a saintly sainted saint you are when I receive the bribe, oops I mean saintly sainted gift.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 24 Nov 2011 #permalink

A notary doesn't vouch for his state of mind, only that the notary checked his ID and so can attest to the signature and the date it was signed.

Because the notebooks were outside of a chain of custody, the contents need to be testified to by whoever wrote in them, or read them, or signed the pages.

A lowly technician can't be the "fall guy". He didn't submit the proposals, he didn't submit the manuscripts to journals, he didn't supervise the work, he didn't decide the course of research and what protocols were appropriate for what tests. Those are all the job of the PI. If the PI wants to earn the big bucks, and get all the glory, the PI has to take the responsibility.

You know they say there is a silver lining in every dark cloud. I hear Judy is going to make a documentary with Sarah Palin called "Going Rogue in Reno". The WPI not to be outdone is seeking to raise money through a new hit T.V. reality show called "The Princess Diaries" ROFL

Would not the WPI's need to get the notebooks back has something to do with the grants which the notebooks represent. That is public money has been given for research. The notebooks prove that that research has been done. They also provide evidence that the WPI is competent ie doesn't lose its documentation. Otherwise (perhaps) they might have to give the grants back or certainly not get any more if there is no evidence to support their proper use.

Also the notebooks would show what research was done and by whom. If the research has been fraudulent I take it that the notebooks would confirm or not confirm that. Judy was summarily dismissed. If she were going to bring legal action against the WPI then the notebooks would be important to that.

Just losing the notebooks or allowing them to be carried off would show the WPI as inept (when asking for public funds) and reduce their chances of a successful defence against legal claims from Judy.

These seem adequate reasons for making strenuous efforts to get them back to me. The Koolaid may simply have worn off Max when Judy wasn't there to top it up.

#144 What was in it for him to confess? All I see is nothing but downside, being made the 'fall' guy between the two groups?

I don't think it is safe to assume that the WPI has been acting with absolute prescience. It seems that Pfost's role in the removal of the notebooks came to light in an internal, not a police investigation, and that the WPI then started on the process of civil action. Pfost may have been induced to co-operate with the WPI civil case on the basis that he would not be enjoined in the action or even suffer consequences in his employment status. It may only be after this that the WPI actually realised it had to report the criminal act to protect its own position. Of course that's the charitiabe interpretation, if the WPI made promises to Pfost knowing that he'd still face criminal liability, then he could be considered to have been 'stitched up'. There is a possibility though that the WPI lawyers have lined up a 'get out' for Pfost relating to the 'conspiracy' charge so the WPI may not be guilty of cutting Pfost adrift. On paper though Pfost's position looks horribly exposed and unless the emails are unequivocal, Mikovits could give a story which places the construction of the conspiracy and theft on Pfost, the WPI simply sitting back as innocent victim. Pfost may have been lucky though in resolving the 'prisoner dilema' by having a police interview in advance of Mikovits and been able to get an immunity deal from the Nevada prosecutors in return for a promise his testimony.

I think a big step into criminality is to lie when asked a straight question by someone entitled to ask it ie an employer. As the affidavits describe Max has been foolish and underhand, nay deceitful. But lying when asked directly would be another big step away from safety and he may have felt he couldn't take it. His trust was running out when he refused to post the notebooks. His co-worker got a message from Judy and refused to act on it. These things would be signs to him that he had gone off the straight and narrow. There would have been others which we don't know about. The best thing to do when you have gone astray innocently or foolishly is to get back on the straight and narrow asap and that is how his affidavits read to me.

DrDuke, thanks for that.

By Dave Ruddell (not verified) on 25 Nov 2011 #permalink

Unfortunately not another scandal, but Mikovits sure is sloppy. From an earier comment by Camarro about the infamous Mikovits presentation with the magic trick:

The posted link


shows some slide of JM and I was directly stuck with slide no. 3 'cause I saw this IP plot already in 2010 on JM poster in Prague at the "Centennial Retrovirus Meeting".

I just checked the original slide, and dear Sir/Madam, I want to have your memory:

Slide as presented by Mikovits (from JDJ's page):

Original slide:

Seems like she wanted to make a stronger case for "patient 1178" being positive, as Silverman had reported VP62 contamination in his "patient 1178" sample....

Where's the "like" button for Tree @ 147? My TiVo is giddy with anticipation.

RRM@136 Sorry, I forgot that condition of bail has a fixed judicial meaning. I was more thinking along the lines "she has notebooks valued at $2,000,000 in her possession, we request that number to be the minimum bail. Oh, the notes have been returned, 100k surety is ok."

How about...

Max honestly believed that Knickerfits was the 'rightful owner' of said property, and wanted to help out his landlady. Then, when the furore began in earnest, decided perhaps she wasn't and that he should come clean before getting into serious bother with the law?

This is all about ownership of property isn't it? And if Knickerfits could have walked out with the stuff herself she may well have done. Assuming of course that Max is indeed reporting a more truthful version of events and also assuming that those bloody notebooks were actually worth anything.

And I don't subscribe to Dr D-J's reporting that the notebooks hide 'mistakes' either though it is fun imagining whose mistakes they might possible refer to and what those mistakes might possibly have been...

God bless Stanford:

'Scientific Rock Star Crucified

Initially, Dr. Judy Mikovits was riding high atop a building wave of fame after publishing one of the hottest papers of the year in one of the world's premier scientific publications...

Today, stunned observers wonder why the 53-year-old revolutionary scientist was forced to piss next to a mat in a Santa Paula jail cell surrounded by gang members, accused of being a felony-level criminal...'


The end of that article is crazy:

All interested parties are urged to attend what is sure to be an informative hearing on a case that continuously grows in mystery, intrigue and questions regarding the motives of numerous parties.

Did the celebrated scientist find out too much through her research, perhaps?

Did she, who stands accused of conspiracy, actually stumble upon a broader conspiracy that became threatened by the findings of Dr. Judy Mikovits?

What the fuck?

That's a very weird article.

Simply Awesome! :-)

By Ramon Mendoza (not verified) on 25 Nov 2011 #permalink

I am giving Stanford the benefit of the doubt and assuming sarcasm throughout the article but maybe I am wrong ;)
Just catching up with the ppt 'debate' over on Dr D-J's blog - nice job with the vanishing patient samples btw :)

@153 You say "not another scandal" but surely that is another relabelled slide?

I would highly advise Judy not to start making claims about stumbling on a conspiracy, ect... When you start accusing a lawyer of BS to cover up your own fraud, you just double your trouble.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 25 Nov 2011 #permalink

Did the celebrated scientist find out too much through her research, perhaps?

Yes, indeed she did. Her research into perpetrating a fraud has indicated (with a small sample size) that it is unwise to do that while simultaneously publishing the evidence of it in prominent magazines, and presenting it at public speeches and lectures.

I can't make sense of the last 'what if' scenario at all. Sorry.

Thanks to anybody who added all the gel powerpoint stuff on the Deckoff-Jones blog. I assume it's V99 who has been posting over and over that somebody stole the raw data. I felt all alone answering her stupid comments, and then voila, so many more good comments.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 25 Nov 2011 #permalink

You're welcome, Anonymouse. I have been banging my head against this wall for a long time now. There is no reasoning with some people.

@APatient -- I guess the point is not to try and get the very confused and addled people who seem to adhere to beliefs with no proof to change their mind. The point is to get people who may not be sure of what is going on to be able to access the facts. The proof has now conclusively been posted that the powerpoints presentations are the source of the raw data. If V99 and Gerwyn want to cling to their crazy beliefs that's fine because it only makes them look stupid and unbelievable. I have known that all along but alas it takes some people longer to see the light. Confirmation bias and/or denial is strong in these people.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 25 Nov 2011 #permalink

ERV, I need your help. From the moment things started to go south for dr. Judy, I've seen posts from people (sheeple) alleging that a primary (secondary, tertiary) reason critics were unfairly persecuting Judy is because she is a woman. This particular "feminist" has declared Judy a "political prisoner": http://hysterical-woman.tumblr.com/post/13100686743/judy-mikovitz-jail-…

I don't dispute that Judy is a woman. But so is her former boss, Annette. So is Myra McClure, one of the authors on the first negative paper after Lombardi et al, and the one who did most of the talking after she published. Certainly the author that Judy, Annette and their ilk harrassed long after that paper was published. There are plenty of other women involved in the XMRV story. Look at the list of authors of the studies -- Ila Singh, Kate Bishop, Konnie Knox, Brigitte Huber, Mary Kearney, Rachel Bagni, Oya Cingoz, Simone Glynn, Indira Hewlett, Nicole Fisher, Rika Furata, Susan Stramer, Lucinda Bateman, Carmen Schiebenbogen, Donna Felsenstein. (Sorry -- my mostly Anglo-Saxon existence leaves me at a disadvantage for clues as to the sex of some of the authors of papers from outside the US - apologies to those women I've missed.) Maybe the men outnumber the men, but there aren't many areas of science where that isn't the case. There are also women journalists who've been important in reporting this story -- Trine Tsouderos and Amy Marcus for instance. (Some might include JDJ and Hillary Johnson here too; if so ERV has earned her place on that list.)

So ERV (and female readers of ERV) as a woman in science, does this particular dog hunt? Would Judy have spent 4 nights in jail pissing next to tattooed gang members if she was a he?

"Unfortunately not another scandal, but Mikovits sure is sloppy. From an earier comment by Camarro about the infamous Mikovits presentation with the magic trick:
Seems like she wanted to make a stronger case for "patient 1178" being positive, as Silverman had reported VP62 contamination in his "patient 1178" sample...."

It seems strange that there is only selective renumbering of samples, supposedly for the privacy of the patient, isn't it? I have to wonder why 2132, 2670, 2832, and 2948 weren't renumbered as well. It seems odd...

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 25 Nov 2011 #permalink

RRM, I left a comment over there, which covers some of the legal issues. http://hysterical-woman.tumblr.com/post/13100686743/judy-mikovitz-jail-…

I think there is a peaceful, nonviolent way this could have been resolved. In fact, it's so elegantly simple that I am absolutely flabbergasted that it still needs the occasional mention: don't steal other people's shit. If it's not yours leave it where you found.

To address your central point, which isn't that you care if Judy Mikovits, or anyone for that matter, is stealing other people's stuff, I'll just use a close analogy.

Let's GET REAL HERE. Is the public at risk because Bernie Madoff decided to go home?

No. And, as it happens, that's not why we arrest, charge and prosecute people. We do that for laws which are broken, not the final destination the person who cares so little about not causing harm to other people might have in mind.

Incidentally, if Annette were secreting herself on a boat to avoid legal process and a warrant issued, you bet your ass she'd be in jail. While being rich might buy one better PR firms and attorneys with more capacity, it is no bulwark against being arrested and jailed - that decision is based on probable cause and probability that the person will appear at all relevant court hearings. People who are on the lam, hiding on boats specifically to avoid legal process are generally poor candidates for trusting to show up to a trial.

Rich and poor alike.

What is more is that it is no kind of argument at all, as you've made it, to say that because one person got away with committing x number of crimes, Judy Mikovits therefore should be permitted to commit them all with impunity. Not even if she's for really real your most favoritist person ever. Or, if you think otherwise, stop with the all the hype and write:

Judy Mikovits is so important to me that the government should give her permission to violate whatever laws she'd like, and my fellow citizens should just accept that because I like her enough, she's legally excused from any liability for anything she does. Even if it hurts you or people you love. It's that important that my hobbyhorse get special treatment.

Batshit Crazy And Proud.

But you haven't the courage to even be plain about what you want.

Who is Gerwyn exactly? (V99 is clearly a gullible doofus but what about the puppetmaster?).

Who is Gerwyn exactly? (V99 is clearly a gullible doofus but what about the puppetmaster?).

All I know is that both of them demonstrate their ignorance repeatedly in the me/cfs forums time and again. Both of them were out and about claiming that the gel images that started the whole investigation by Science looked identical down to the background b/c that's how western blots turn out when done the same way (even after the gels were admitted to be the same by several people involved in the Lombardi paper). They are both as zealous as Wakefield's supporters. In short, they're both idiots who serve as nothing more than humour for those of us in the scientific community.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 26 Nov 2011 #permalink

@147 Tree and @154 Ilk?
I couldn't agree with you more. I think ERV should be nominated as the producer/director of the docu-drama of "Going Rouge in Reno" and the TV Reality series "Princess Diaries". Maybe South Park should create the episode of "Going Rouge in Reno"? Waddaya all Think?....ROFLMAO!

WHO is V99? Anyone know?
She's a she right? Does she have ME? What are her credentials?
Tanks in advance ;) if anyone can shed insight.

The problem with simply hitting "refresh" on a blog of interest to update the recently added comments is that it's possible to miss a new post for a few days.

To intentionally mix metaphors, someone sitting at the bottom of a rabbit hole seems to be acting like the pot calling the kettle black. "The community is so fractious and reactive that no course of action I could take or not take could possibly leave me without disappointed, critical people." Huh. Really? Wonder who helped rev up the factious and reactive element of the "community"? An anonymous poster called the post's author the "pied piper" of these elements -- how perfectly apt.

Bit of a let down that she says she won't blog again about WPI. However, I predict she'll change her mind about this as she has so many other things. Possible she won't admit to changing her mind until after she's posted more blogs about the off-limit subject, since hindsight seems to be her forte.

V99 has M.E. She is a she, lives in England. I don't believe she has any formal education in science. Attends the University of Wales and is taught by its only teacher -- Professor Gerwyn.

By Anonymouse (not verified) on 27 Nov 2011 #permalink

Trine should really make the effort to figure out who V99 and Gerwyn are and interview them. WE WANT to see the faces here.


The same University of Wales that was recently shut down for offering fraudulent degrees? It all begins to make sense...

Steamrolla Kennedy's new forum; People With ME.
They're only letting people join whose viewpoint doesn't conflict with the University of Wales.
Evidently they've decided AWOL, Flo and Justin Reilly are NOT sheep-like enough to be offered an invite yet.

got ilk?--

Of course, the gender of the perp has nothing to do with anything. As you pointed out, many of the people annoyed with Mikovits are female. Furthermore, many of The Big Dogs in virology, especially retrovirology, are female.

But lets pretend the negative attention Mikovits has received is not her fault AT ALL, but is because we are all SEXIST (I am a well known gender traitor, after all). A completely, unquestionably sexist math professor telling a female student she is wrong-- that 2+2=4, and not her answer of 857-- his sexism does not magically make 2+2=857.

Likewise even if 100% of the attacks on Judy were initially founded on sexism, that does not magically make XMRV a real human pathogen.

So fine, those people can baaaaaw sexism all they want. But even if that were true, it has no impact on Judys science, which indicates 'XMRV-->CFS' is all the result of contamination and deception (or just deception, depending on how the samples were 'contaminated').

Although there are certainly some fishy things about all of this, there is one thing that keeps me from thinking that is was maybe some kind of deliberate deception from the start:

I think it would be very easy to "fake" BWG results in your favor if you wanted to.

The fact that Mikovits(/Ruscetti) didn't, still implies to me that they thought they really had (a) working assay(s), although you must have really been lying to yourselves if you find out you don't after two years).

I thought the BWG samples were blinded before being sent to the labs to prevent just such a thing.

Yet, the 10 XMRV+ persons were self-selected by the WPI. Blood from the five positive Lo patients had also been in the WPI lab before the BWG study.

It should have been easy to manufacture "great" results if you don't have any moral scruples, although now that you're asking I'm becoming a bit hesitant to explain how I'd do it... ;-)

Just as criminal trials are often portrayed as a choice between "mad or bad" the scientific one may come down to "incompetent or fraudulent". Their inability to identify the tubes containing plasmid DNA in the BWG may be their strongest defense against "fraudulent". Although, as you say, to still be in denial after 2 years goes beyond the usual boundaries of wishful thinking - they were lying to the world, if that included lying to themselves it doesn't reduce the damage done.
Hopefully it will be career ending. There plenty of honest and competent scientists who get squeezed out of research careers through lack of funding/high impact papers, Mikovits has had more chances than most and I can't see why she should be offered another one.

By Perplexed (not verified) on 28 Nov 2011 #permalink

Although there are certainly some fishy things about all of this, there is one thing that keeps me from thinking that is was maybe some kind of deliberate deception from the start:

I think it would be very easy to "fake" BWG results in your favor if you wanted to.

The fact that Mikovits(/Ruscetti) didn't, still implies to me that they thought they really had (a) working assay(s), although you must have really been lying to yourselves if you find out you don't after two years).

Or, the person doing the "contaminating" realized that by spiking samples, they'd make it too obvious what was going on. Either way, I don't know for sure what was going on there but I do hope it all comes to light and the notebooks may have the answers...or not. =P

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 28 Nov 2011 #permalink

According to here: http://www.rgj.com/article/20111128/NEWS/111280325/Missing-notebooks-re…

"Whittemore said the civil suit against Mikovits could be dropped once the institute is satisfied all the materials have been returned, but the criminal investigation into the alleged theft of the notebooks and data will run its course."

So now we know why they were returned...

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 28 Nov 2011 #permalink

Returned is one thing - how are they going to verify that they haven't been altered in any way?

Does anyone know if Science had seen what it needed to before this stuff went missing?

@188 I thought this interesting too:

'"All this has been pretty dramatic, but this sort of (dispute among scientists) is very rare," Whittemore said. "We are moving forward with our research and there's no less of a commitment from the federal government to fund it."'

Who's going to be continuing this research then? Lombardi? I guess it must be as wasn't he appointed in Knickerfits' stead?

@189 In that same piece Annette is quoted as saying that they are checking the contents of the notebooks to see all is well. Of course it doesn't prevent them having been copied, does it?

I know the court order prevented alteration but copying doesn't come under that remit does it? And anyway, there was more missing that notebooks if I recall - fashdrives too wasn't there?

Here's what I don't understand... Property has been returned (presumably intact) which was all that WPI asked for prior to being forced into pursuing the 'theft' allegation.

And yet, Max is the one who technically did the thieving. Alright his defence might well be that 'Boss lady told me to do it' but it is he who has 'fessed up to the act and not - as we understand it - Knickerfits.

And what could they possibly be in 'negotiations' about? Intellectual Property Ownership rights? The dismissal?

As it said in the article, the criminal case will now run its' course according to the Judge and is effectively outside the influence of Annette - although the 'fact' that the property has been returned will no doubt affect matters I suppose.

And the NIH and 'Defense' grants? They still are happy to remain with WPI? Why? Do they have anything to do with dodgy retroviruses? I am thinking they can't but they probably do...

@Jack #190

Who's going to be continuing this research then? Lombardi? I guess it must be as wasn't he appointed in Knickerfits' stead?

Mikovits became "Director of Translational Research" at WPI back in March 2011 and Lombardi was appointed "Director of Basic Research" http://www.wpinstitute.org/news/docs/DirTransRes.pdf

Exactly what Mikovits was going to 'translate' given that there was no evidence of any disease causing agency or process in any of WPI's list of 'diseases Annette Whittemore thinks are interesting', er sorry I mean 'neuroimmune disease', was never defined. And how 'basic' research was somehow distinct from any other research also seems to have remained opaque - anyway Mikovits clearly felt she remained to dog (note the appropriate gender nominative has been left out to avoid any implication of sexism)and was somehow the owner of all research at the WPI. Given the lack of breadth in Lombardi's research career, Mikovits might well have felt she was the senior player, although it'll be interesting to see whether Lombardi was getting pay parity with Mikovits, if so the WPI was shelling out over $350,000 a year for two directors of research who between them were supervising a staff apparently ofno more than four or five. And Lombardi was sharing his time between WPI and VIPdx.

Thanks IVI.

I also noticed later that the charges related in addition to possession:

'The University of Nevada, Reno police issued an arrest warrant listing two felony charges: possession of stolen property and unlawful taking of computer data, equipment, supplies or other computer related property.'


I still don't understand the arrest as a 'fugitive' though. And who exactly had the property or indeed who returned said property...

Right, well I did pick up on this: http://okeefe-lab.blogspot.com/2011/11/so-lets-get-this-straight-cfs-pa…

It seems to me (non-scientist) that such a thing will be used - indeed welcomed - by those in pursuit of the 'HGRV-regardless theories' despite there being nothing substantive to go on i.e. no actual human gamma retrovirus.

I think Dr D-J was again promoting the idea that a retorviral cause was the only thing that fit or somesuch notion recently; but I don't get it.

I mean isn't it like forcing a sqaure shape through a round hole regardless? Surely to goodness you need some proof and 'XMRV' it weren't - as also acknowledged finally by Dr D-J:

'Why does it piss you off so much? What if I'm right? Why does no one want to consider it, even if Judy Mikovits' data is all wrong? What is the resistance?...'

Well Miller seems to agree Jamie at least to the possibility. I must read that paper he published.

She continued:

'What other class of pathogen fits? It wasn't XMRV, so we should stop looking? Your comment was of the "your dumb" variety. Maybe you would like to tell me why. What's wrong with what I've said? Other than that Judy Mikovits has thus far failed to prove it. There's been an awful lot of smoke to be so sure there is no fire.'


The thing is, it doesn't have to be 'a' pathogen does it? My whole beef with 'XMRV' was that it couldn't explain everything and we never did get anywhere near proving it caused anything.

And because of that the 'debates' began in the 'community' about the validity of each person's diagnosis not to mention their qualification as a genuine sufferer.

It didn't matter too much if you didn't understand the science, so long as you believed in those promoting it and were prepared to support them regardless of what they said.

Then when the 'XMRV' started to crumble, and fell apart, to remain a supporter and bona-fide sufferer, you have to now believe in the notion that maybe it wasn't 'XMRV' but it sure as hell is some sort of retrovirus, and that anything else that is happening is a direct result of 'it'.

So any developments that point to say, an auto-immune problem, are not worth supporting because without targeting the 'retroviral cause' they are too 'upstream' and somehow unworthy of notice!

The reason she was arrested on a fugitive warrant was that she hadn't done anything wrong in CA. The state charges from Nevada and the warrant issued for them don't matter for the CA courts per se, but crossing state lines to avoid prosecution in another state makes you a fugitive, and CA could arrest her for that. As for Max, there's no hurry for the DA to indict and get all kinds of clocks ticking. He'll probably plea bargain to a misdemeanor unlawful taking or similar with probation; if he has no priors he might get lucky and get it off the records by some diversion program (IANAL).

I think the most impressive comment from Dr. D-J is the following:

"Our informal survey is turning out to be worthy of a formal study, with controls. It shows the association between CFS and autism in offspring and siblings, as well as the increased incidence of the disease in partners, thus strongly suggesting an infectious etiology."

Here we go Wakefield, wait for us!


This whole thing would be perfect for Reno 911.

An ex-bartender/ex-MLM vitamin saleslady, doing sketchy "research" for a rich guy's institute, who goes on the run?

Officer Dangle could go undercover at the lab in his tiny shorts. Nick Swardson could be the roller skating guy, in the Max role.

Heh. WPI is not dropping their civil suit (apparently there was some rumor that cause they got their stuff back, they would forget about it). LINKY!

WPI President Annette Whittemore today issued a statement that said its civil case will continue. "The damage to the Whittemore Peterson Institute is substantial and recent news coverage indicating that WPI may dismiss its civil case against Dr. Judy Mikovits is incorrect," Whittemore's statement said.

I can beat that, ERV! Judy admitted to having taken the notebooks but don't worry...she didn't know that she couldn't coax a current employee to steal them for her so that "WPI [would] go down" and then lied about it because...wait for it...she's just a scientist.

From http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19432938

"Freeman said she actually surrendered to Washoe County deputies. He confirmed the notebooks had been returned "because they were requested." "Consistent with her innocence, we were more than happy to provide it," he told The Associated Press. He said any delay in producing the materialsâwhich Mikovits initially denied havingâstemmed from her failure to fully understand the workings of the legal system "Explaining to a scientist how the criminal system works is like a scientist explaining to us how to cure cancer," Freeman said."

What a load of horse-crap! I'm "just" a scientist and I know full well that if I ever stole material related to my research that I'd have the police on my ass! And yet, I don't think this will change the minds of her devoted sheep.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 29 Nov 2011 #permalink

So yeah...there ya go. Even though she was honestly confused and thought that she was allowed to have the notebooks, she still lied about having them because...errr....crap...her lies are as bad as her science.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 29 Nov 2011 #permalink

From the Mercury News

The former assistant, Max Pfost, said Mikovits told him that she was in charge of the research so that technically it belonged to her and she could transfer it elsewhere at any time.

that makes him idiotic and naive but not wicked. It makes her delusional but we knew that already

From the Mercury News

The former assistant, Max Pfost, said Mikovits told him that she was in charge of the research so that technically it belonged to her and she could transfer it elsewhere at any time.

that makes him idiotic and naive but not wicked. It makes her delusional but we knew that already

@Poodle Stomper

Wow, that's pretty bad, although I gather that's really the only excuse there's left to play...

Problem is that not only she lied about not having the notebooks on her own, but also through her (other) lawyer. Having access to a lawyer at the time effectively eliminates any "excuse of ignorance of the law" (even if it were a valid excuse a case like this, which it is not).

Just to refresh some memories, on 11/4, Mikovits's attorney Lois Hart stated in a letter in reply to Whittemore claims:

Dr. Mikovits never returned to the lab or her office after being informed she was terminated. Dr. Mikovits was not and is not in possession of the lab notebooks or any WPI intellectual property. A number of individuals have keys to the office and lab, including the administrative staff, lab staff and custodial. Your clientâs concern as to the location of those notebooks, and intellectual property, should be directed elsewhere.


Dr. Mikovitsâ notebooks, as well as those of the employees whom she supervised, should be returned to Dr. Mikovits so she can fulfill her responsibilities as PI on these government grants and corporate contacts [...]


Failure of WPI to make these notebooks and raw data available to Dr. Mikovits so that she can fulfill her obligations and defend against false accusations of fraud will constitute serious harm to her reputation and scientific career.


Dr. Mikovits cannot sign the Termination Agreement because she is not in possession of her notebooks, flash drives, nor her laptop computer, which were taken when her office and lab was in control of the WPI.

Yeah, this all so totally 'stemms from Judy Mikovits's failure to fully understand the workings of the legal system'. Seems more like a tragic case of failing to understand fundamental moral values to me.

I am a (somewhat leftish) German but when I listen to what Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann et al are currently saying I am not sure whether Judy is so unique in her "failure to fully understand" after all...


You couldn't make this stuff up even if you wanted to! Jees!


Yeah, I certainly wonder how this will affect the Gerwyn/v99 story that ERV, Billy, other mystery person must have taken the notebooks. I highly doubt that they will take a moment to wonder to themselves whether their trust in her is misplaced after all. It certainly gives fun insight into the minds of conspiracy theorists, though.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 30 Nov 2011 #permalink

What do the O'Keefe and Miller papers mean at this point?

@105 - Yeah, BPD came to mind too... whenever there's crazy manipulation, attacks, and self-deception. Be thankful if you have never met anyone like this in person!!

@209 - Interesting article at the end.

By Smurfette (not verified) on 01 Dec 2011 #permalink

Most of the articles on the issue have managed to fuck at least a couple things up, I think that ArsTechnica one was one of the worst in terms of factual errors. Jon Cohen at Science has done the best job covering it that I've seen.

It's not been clear to me though as to exactly how Mikovits ended up in gaol and I've even seen people say that arresting Mikovits was a step too far, but I think I've figured out the basic chronology. Keep in mind this is copyright 2011, Anonymous Inc, so take the following with a grain of salt-

1. On Sept. 29, Annette Whittemore fired Mikovits. According to Max Pfost's affidavit on the matter, later that evening Mikovits instructed him to secretly enter the WPI and remove the lab notebooks, which he does. When the rest of the gang at the WPI see that the notebooks are missing, it appears that they assume that Mikovits has taken them somehow since I think I've seen quotes from Annette from around that time which say stuff like 'Judy has the notebooks', etc.

2. On Nov. 4, the WPI files a civil suit against Mikovits to try and get the notebooks back.

3. Also on Nov. 4, according to what was posted on patient forums, Mikovits and/or Mikovits' lawyer send the WPI a letter of response to the WPI's civil suit stating that Mikovits does not have the notebooks, Mikovits does not know where the notebooks are, maybe the janitor took the notebooks so the WPI should check with him, etc.

IMO, this is where Mikovits really fucked up. If she had simply stated that she was indeed in possession of the notebooks and she would appreciate it if the WPI would give her the remaining notebooks, etc, then the whole thing could possibly have been settled in civil court as to who owns the notebooks, who gets copies of the notebooks, etc. However since Mikovits denied having the notebooks then the WPI basically had no choice but to report the notebooks as being stolen, which is what opened up the criminal aspect of the case.

4. Following Max Pfost's first affidavit dated Nov. 16, a warrant was issued and Mikovits was arrested on Nov. 18 and held without bail. So as far as I can figure it, this is how the criminal and civil cases interweave and why Judy got the banhammer.

By anonymous (not verified) on 02 Dec 2011 #permalink


Yes, it's about correct. Many people though (/think) that Mikovits was arrested because of the civil suit (in the sense that she had to stay in Neveda because of it and was arrested because she didn't), but that's clearly not the case.

Funny addition (at least IMO): Mikovits's husband returned much or all of the WPI's property on 11/23. One of Mikovits's criminal defense attorneys said that this was in line with her having no criminal intent; she just didn't understand how the legal system worked (although she had been consulting with attorney Hart long before that).

However, the latest Science piece reveals that, on the basis on Pfost's testimony, the (civil suit's) judge granted WPI the preliminary injunction they sought, which ordered Mikovits to return the notebooks and laptop or be held in contempt of court, one day before they were returned.

Pretty coincidental that her good intentions and sudden understanding of the law coincided with this court order to either return the WPI property, or return to jail...

It just goes to show that 90% of what comes out of Mikovits' mouth is a bunch of crap. She lies to patients, she lies to reporters, she lies to everyone. I find it hard to believe anyone still follows her.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 04 Dec 2011 #permalink

Oh yes, Poodle Stomper, they're still following her. Suggesting that the notebooks contain evidence that will exonerate Judy from any and all wrongdoing because someone else was responsible for any misconduct in the lab and it's all written down. [Alternatively, the notebooks contain the cure and the Whittemores want to make money off of it -- that's why they're maintaining the lawsuit.] They are arguing that the Pfost affadavit was coerced or fabricated. [On the other hand, if she did ask him to assist with the safe return of the notebooks it was only because they were hers to begin with.] They are arguing that whatever wrong she might have committed (if in fact she did any wrong) she did out of concern for the patients. She did because she was entitled to the notebooks, the product of her creative and scientific acumen (alone), and that if any law or contract says she shouldn't have them then they will petition the Congress or the state or the WPI to have that law or contract repealed, changed or set aside. [Or maybe it wasn't the notebooks that Judy's husband returned -- the Cohen articles doesn't specify WHICH materials were returned. You choose.] They've covered the bases.

Furthermore, now the blinding of the Blood Safety study is suspect. After all, Judy and Frank (the only true scientists involved in that study) got half positives. Whose to say the blinding wasn't WRONG and that's why the results appear to be mixed up? [Either that or Lombardi did the tests and Judy just signed off on the results and was forced to take the fall--take your choice, either case is being made.]

They are STILL following her and falling all over themselves to make excuses for [and to offer multiple confusing alternative explanations about] the situation she now finds herself in. They want their cake, they want to eat it too. They also want pie, cookies, ice cream and pudding. They want Judy freed from the shackles of civil and criminal charges, her record expunged, her reputation restored to its "world class" sterling quality and her grants doubled. They want her to have a top quality lab facility with ample staff and unlimited supplies and no interference from the scientific establishment.

Yes. They still follow her.

Well I can understand how desperate people can go to great lengths to deny reality but this has gone beyond stupid. Judy has lied about having the notebooks and then said that she did have them after all, ect... and with every lie the sheep just swallow it whole. I'd feel bad for them if the facts weren't so obvious.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 04 Dec 2011 #permalink

Poodle Stomper | December 4, 2011 6:44 PM

Well I can understand how desperate people can go to great lengths to deny reality but this has gone beyond stupid. Judy has lied about having the notebooks and then said that she did have them after all, ect... and with every lie the sheep just swallow it whole. I'd feel bad for them if the facts weren't so obvious.

Oh itâs gone well beyond stupid and is currently straining the definition of grotesque farce.

Latest development â vote for Judy as the Shine Woman of the Year.



I must admit to being a bit tempted to go vote for Saint Mikovits just for the hell of it. Hereâs an award for you, its meaningless and a bit of a waste of time, a lot like your contribution to science.

That or nominate Annette Whittemore just for gits and shiggles (or nominate Abbie, though I imagine if she were to win an award she would prefer for it to be a more meaningful one).

@got ilk? 214,

This is religion - not science, and rational arguments do not count anymore. And it shows that there is still a lot of "prey" around from which easy money can be made. People like Mr Wakefield will be pleased.



"Freeman [Mikovit's lawyer] argues that, legally speaking, it's unimportant how she obtained the material in dispute. "The question is whether or not she had the criminal intent to permanently deprive the institute of property that belonged to them," he says, adding that he hopes to get the case dismissed."

Riiiiiight. Because her behaviour was one of someone who innocently thought that they had the right to the materials, what with the hiding on the boats, lying about having the materials, ect... Good luck with that, buddy!

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 05 Dec 2011 #permalink

That Science url is one pretty epic abbreviation. 'Attorney speaks for con'....
Anyway, that attorney seems a bit like a nut (too).

First, that bail thing was decided by an independent judge so it's hard to see how he would use that as some 'look how they're treating my client' argument..

Second, it certainly appears she 'intented to permanently deprive' WPI of those notebooks and the data on that laptop. In her reply to WPI at 11/4 (through Lois Hart), she denied having the property. On top of this, she had this active 'campaign' running with the apparent objective of taking over the grants from WPI. For instance, Mikovits was (pretty blatantly) 'advising' patients to drop out of the ongoing WPI studies if WPI wanted to continue these stusies themselves (and this is well documented on the internets).

Finally, perhaps I being stupid for not understanding US law myself, but him continually playing the 'my client doesn't understand the law' card seems really ridiculous. You're supposed to know the law, and only extreme situations can lead to an exception to that rule. But with Mikovits hiding on boats and apparently lying about having the notebooks in her 11/4 reply, I can't see how you can put any energy into playing that tactic.

Oh, in case anyone missed it, here's the mugshot:


Yep, It seems to me to be nothing more than more lies from someone with a history of making them. Looks like her behaviour has finally caught up with her, though...although a little too late, IMO.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 05 Dec 2011 #permalink

I'd say that I am anxious for the Lipkin study to be published so that people can put all this junk behind them but I know they'll just march on regardless, most likely accusing Dr. Lipkin of conspiracy (if they haven't already).

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 07 Dec 2011 #permalink


They have already.

Remember that Lipkin visited WPI earlier this year (6/24 to be precise)?

Well, *coinidentally*, just after that visit, Annete's attitude towards Judy started to change....


That stuff from Cheney is not news. In fact, it's in the infamous 9/23 Slidegate presentation by Mikovits. But now I've seen his site: he's actually charging people for subscriptions to his "information portals" on the internets. And it's no cheap shit either:

3 Month
$79.95 per month
for 3 months

1 Year Monthly
$49.95 per month
for 12 months

1 Year Annual
$499.50 paid

Yearly subscription is about the same price, same utility as that VipDx XMRV test, I'd say.


So this NGS that will be used by Lipkin what exactly is he going to be looking for?

I mean presumably he must look for something that is identifiable and I note from the forums that they believe he will look for VP62 and so doesn't stand a hope of 'finding' this 'HGRV' (because of course only Mikovits could possibly do that).

So whatever Lipkin does do his results have already been condemned. I don't seem to recall much being published about Lipkin's study, but until the subtle shifting of position, he was called in to hunt for 'XMRV' if I recall correctly - so they can't really complain - and maybe it will nail Lombardi et al.?

Is this NGS as good as Cheney claims i.e. removing the contamination problems of PCR etc.? Must confess to knowing not a lot about it I am afraid.

Apparently another group has used NGS to find, uh, wait, CONTAMINATION (instead of XMRV) in prostate cancer:

Next generation sequencing of prostate tumours provides independent evidence of XMRV contamination

Fan Mo, Alexander W. Wyatt, Chunxiao Wu, Anna V. Lapuk, Marco A. Marra, Martin E. Gleave, Stanislav V. Volik and Colin C. Collins*

Dec. 2011, Journal of Clinical Microbiology


Clearly Next Generation Sequencing is in the pocket of big anti-XMRV-which-would-provide-a-huge-new-drug-market-Pharma!

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 08 Dec 2011 #permalink

@Jack, 227

So, a Merry XMRV ...uhum... XMAS, to everybody!


Yeah, I saw that. I sure as hell hope that a) they keep a very close eye on her work and b) bolt down their lab notebooks. I'm not even sure why they'd want her participating after she said she wanted to stop the Lipkin study before.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 16 Dec 2011 #permalink

Doesn't it make you long for the good old days of government hiring freezes, when OPM might actually have reason to reject the idea of bringing on staff with criminal rap sheets who have recently done time? Meanwhile at WPI not a creature is stirring. Nothing but dancing sugarplums, a few motivational quotes and some bizarre posts about ancient gene mutuations not related to NIDS on their facebook page. Guess its no biggie that they aren't part of the now infamous Lipkin study. EZ come. EZ go. I can hear it now: "Fa-la-la-la-laaaaa. Have another egg nog. Tis the holiday season and we're taking Judy to court on Monday!"

A scientist is for Christmas and not just for life?

It seems I am not the only one kerfuddled by what Lipkin et al. are up to (I note of late the lamentations of my peers calling for the study methodologies to be published).

This effort of Lipkin's is intriguing, no? Regardless of what one 'believes' or not about any association, it promises to scour blinded blood samples (note: blood) for something that isn't 'XMRV' using the very star-trek sounding NGS (which is not infallible particularly in terms of contamination).

The only paper published claiming an 'association' between blood samples from CFS patients and any retrovirus was Lombardi 2009 but that was about 'XMRV' and knocked on the head by, well, BWG to name but one.

So now they are looking for anything that isn't 'XMRV' that accounts for Mikovits' belief (shared presumably by the media shy Ruscetti) that there is indeed something out there... or rather in there.

So my question is: How? How do you do this? How do you look for anything and arrive - presumably - at any sort of definitive conclusion? And my layman's feeble answer is: you can't.

You can look presumably for known retroviruses (just as one's blood is routinely screened for known and suspected viruses (something that should in theory happen before a diagnosis is afforded of CFS - but only happens if a particular virus is suspected)) - but how can you look for the unknown?

And if Mikovits no longer has her notes....? Isn't this whole thing going to be based on conviction alone? And are we still talking about an association that is believed to be as high as that originally reported in Lombardi 2009? I mean where is the documented evidence of anything - any methods - any results - anything substantive?

How can any patient who has 'tested positive' for 'XMRV' still possibly believe they are in fact 'positive' for some other unknown retrovirus? Where is the science to back any of this belief? And even more importantly - when has anyone demonstrated that any of these perceived retroviruses cause or prolong the symptoms associated with my devastating condition?!

Lipkin was hoping originally to have this all wrapped up by the end of 2011 I understand. Any idea when he might now finish wrapping this very awkwardly shaped present?

1. Notice how the article says 'temporary' home. Lipkin is simply being smart enough to realize that unless Judy is allowed to fuck everything up herself and have the results come back dartboards following the samples being tested by hand by the one and only Saint Mikovits, aka Our Lady of Perpetual Contamination, with no outside interference whatsoever, there will be very little chance of keeping the XMRV addicts from being royal pains in the ass for decades to come. After this, it's done.

2. There are two 'Lipkin' studies. The first is the XMRV study in which Lipkin is not directly involved with the testing of samples, but is rather acting as a facilitator and/or referee. The CDC, NCI, Saint Mikovits and maybe the FDA are each going to do their own tests on over a hundred well characterized patient samples and see what the results are.

The second 'Lipkin study' is going to be Lipkin himself doing his hoodoo with molecular sequencing or deep sequencing or whatever the hell you call it where he is going to do an unbiased search for any and all pathogens, both known and unknown, on possibly samples from the same patients that are being included in the XMRV/MLV study. The one issue that I can think of with this one is that while sudden-onset patients might be more likely to have an enteroviral cause to their illness, there are a lot of pathogens such as HIV, Hep B and C, etc, where there is no sudden, flu-like onset but rather a gradual progression of illness, so it kind of leaves something lacking to only do a deep sequence study on sudden onset patients, IMO. I think they're even going to do rectal swabs and the like to see if there's any enteroviral DNA or RNA or whatever in patients' GI tracts, a la the findings reported by Chia a couple years ago in which he reported finding evidence of chronic enteroviral infection in the guts of 81% of ME/CFS patients but only 20% of controls. As an aside, I think I read recently that the CDC is planning on doing a similar study with fewer patients with Eric Delwart of Blood Systems Research Institute, another deep sequencing big dog.

For a quick starting point on deep sequencing, since I don't know much at all about it- "Dr. Lipkin was the first to use purely molecular methods to identify infectious agents. In 1999, he identified West Nile virus as the cause of encephalitis in North America. He developed MassTag PCR and Greenechip technology, two multiplex assays that have been used to identify and characterize more than 400 viruses, and was the first to use high throughput sequencing for pathogen discovery."

3. As for 'other viruses than XMRV' being tested for in the first Lipkin study, I think they're counting the Lo MLV sequences and/or other as yet unknown MLV viruses as being 'other' than XMRV. I think patients claiming that they have another virus than XMRV comes from the Silverman retraction of the Lombardi/XMRV paper, in which the XMRV sequences were shown to be the result of contamination. Ergo, according to the patients the whole snafu was Silverman's fault and not Mikovits'.

Therefore according to the XMRV faithful, as written in the Gospel of Saint Mikovits Chapter 11, Verse 99, as translated by the Prophet Gerwyn, the 'other' MLV retroviruses that they have would be the Lo MLV sequences, which I believe have also basically been shown to be the result of contamination, it's just that they don't know enough to understand this yet since until now the majority of the focus has primarily been on XMRV, with the Lo MLV's being more in the background. Verily, there have been several papers which have also looked for MLV sequences and did not find them, as well as several other papers indicating that the MLV sequences are the result of contamination, but these findings of course were dismissed out of hand by the faithful.

Thanks for the link Anon. I shall take a look.

I believe in the Lipkin facilitated 'XMRV' search it is interesting to note that the BLOOD samples will be fresh i.e. unrelated to the Lombardi et al samples.

Also perhaps that as Mikovits is in a new lab this may/may not be relevant to any results she produces given that previous efforts have all taken place in her WPI facility.

Finally, I believe one of the three contributing labs in this study is Alter but may be wrong.

And yes, Lipkin will separately do his thang looking for any virus known to man I guess. But in either study he ain't looking specifically for 'HGRVs' as some have claimed.

Not that there is such a thing anyway.

Did you see this: http://www.mynews4.com/news/local/story/Whittemore-Peterson-Institute-P…

Funny thing about Alter is that he really didn't have much to do with the original Lo et al. study. He didn't perform any experiments or analyzed any data - he "just" co-wrote the actual text of the paper after the science was completed (as well as sent provided Lo with the healthy control samples).

It really seems his most important contribution to the Lo et al. study was to provide the authors with a shortcut to publication.

One wonders what he will do this time round then RRM?

Do scientists get 'dumbass' insurance btw? I hear litigation in the states can be expensive and according to that news report, not everything has been returned.

So much for the original defence and Ms. Hart's assurances. Still, at least Mikovits can continue her work and this can all be laid to rest... or maybe not... ;)

'So here we are, two years after the scientific community was told which rock to look under, still arguing about whether two or three scientists can reproduce their work or not. In the meantime, a promising avenue of treatment, antiretrovirals, has been shut down like a prohibition, for the flimsiest of reasons...'


I am not comfortable entirely with the Rituximab research and trial but at least it was double blinded with placebo and is now on to larger scale studies...

So any thoughts on who in the Ruscetti lab will actually be doing the "Mikovits experiments"? She was the PI, I thought it was Pfost/Lombardi who did the bench work in the first place, but they are still at WPI. Does some poor sap in Ruscetti's lab get press-ganged into wasting their time or will they have the endlessly entertaining spectacle of a PI returning to the bench after more than a decade? Where are the fly on the wall documentary makers when you need them...

By Perplexed (not verified) on 20 Dec 2011 #permalink


Lombardi and Pfost did the PCR bench work, but NCI (Ruscetti and Bagni) did the serology work for the original study. Lombardi and Ruscetti shared first authorship on the Science paper BTW.

Also, Lo did send samples from their 9 retested patients to NCI/Ruscetti and not to WPI (there wasn't enough of the original samples left for subsequent testing BTW). At NCI, Ruscetti/Bagni did find all of these 9 samples positive for XMRV (and not the MLV-related viruses Lo found) using both serology and culturing techniques, so I think we can assume they think they have the necessary know-how to do this.

So Mikovits' magic PCR isn't part of the new study? Maybe I need to go back and check previous reports, but I thought Ruscetti/Bagni were already part of the Lipkin study doing their serology and culture assays and that Mikovits' lab was going to be doing PCR or culture+PCR at WPI. If all that happens at Ruscetti's lab is the same culture he was doing anyway then it's hard to see what the point of Mikovits' presence is, besides placating the crazies. And spritzing the apparatus with l'eau de souris.
On a side note, I really hope she going to be paid to be there.

By Peprlexed (not verified) on 20 Dec 2011 #permalink

"...so I think we can assume they think they have the necessary know-how to do this."

"... WPI filed an affidavit from a computer expert that said all the files had been recently deleted on the laptop..."

According to that article:
"Mikovits, who is also facing related criminal charges for possessing stolen property, returned some of the notebooks and a laptop after being briefly jailed. But WPI filed an affidavit from a computer expert that said all the files had been recently deleted on the laptop. WPI attorney Ann Hall further asserts that Mikovits returned only 18 of the notebooks, withholding half a dozen more that include experiments done between 2006 and 2009."

So apparently she REALLY wants to go to jail. Not only did she steal (or have stolen) the notebooks, she is still keeping some of those at the present. I feel bad for her lawyer who is probably beating his head against a desk wishing he'd never taken this case.

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 20 Dec 2011 #permalink

"... WPI filed an affidavit from a computer expert that said all the files had been recently deleted on the laptop..."

Well we obviously can't expect her to know how to wipe data properly if she's too naive and innocent to understand that the law says you can't steal, right?

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 20 Dec 2011 #permalink

Well, I mean for fucks sake the dumbass faked her figures IN POWERPOINT. Dumbass could get hax0r skillz from my mother, honest to god, my mother could provide her with some useful computer 'pro-tips'.

I mean for FUCKS SAKE!



From what I had read about it (before the latest developments), only WPI, CDC and FDA (Lo) were involved in the Lipkin study originally, although I asssumed that Ruscetti was to be a part of the WPI team anyway.

But the PCR has long been discredited, really. Mikovits has long been backing away (slowly but surely) from the original PCR findings (in December of 2010 she even proclaimed that they didn't do "direct PCR" at a BWG meeting were some shitty WPI results were announced) and found the culture and serology assays (as well as the purty EM picture) to be the "real evidence".

But that shit about deleting the data is crazy. That lawyer that explained that she really had no criminal intent (on account of her being a scientist) must indeed be banging his head against his desk right now.

Oops, the end of my previous comment should have read "ISN'T going to be paid".

By Perplexed (not verified) on 20 Dec 2011 #permalink

Thanks, for the update. Brings to mind a comment/truism I heard a little while back (perhaps on this blog, I forget), that if a hypothesis is true, more specific testing should yield a more obvious result. If the better your tests get, the less certain the data become, you're probably going in the wrong direction. In this case clearly the "best" data are those most prone to false positive, which makes perfect sense really.
The court case is just funny though, I must remember the "I can't be guilty, I'm a scientist" line next time I get a traffic citation.

By Perplexed (not verified) on 20 Dec 2011 #permalink

I hear that! I wasn't aware that there was a clause in the law that allows scientists use their careers as a way out of legal trouble. I'm going to remember that one, too!

PS, my kid could probably teach Judy some computer stuff, too. I guess her computer skillz are on par with her research skillz!

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 20 Dec 2011 #permalink

I assume the information deleted from the laptop was not germane...

Is there a limit to stupidity???


I also assume that the deleting of files was done for the welfare of CFS patients everywhere...right?

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 21 Dec 2011 #permalink

Of course we are all assuming that there was data on the computer and in those notebooks in the first place. Could have been recipes or doodles or something else totally worthless ;)

Abbie, you really, really (really) need to do three things right now:

1. Have a cup of coffee so you're good and revved up.

2. Post about the retraction @Poodle just mentioned above, but be sure you download and read the actual PDF of Bruce Alberts's statement (linked from the Nature blog post) first. Specifically, scroll down to the bit on "concerns expressed about Fig. 2C [summarized in (4)]" and follow the link to that reference. Yes, that's right, you're the one who broke that story, which led to Mikovits et al. admitting to "poor quality control" or whatever, which in turn is why Science is finally, fully retracting this POS paper.

3. Pat yourself on the back, then crack open a beer. Sure, it's not even noon yet, but you earned it. Congratulations on proving that science bloggers can do real reporting that leads to genuine change.

Alan, do you have a working link for that pdf? I just get to the Eurekaalerts page and it asks for a login...

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 22 Dec 2011 #permalink

Nature guy is a dork :P I think this is technically supposed to be embargoed until 2 pm Eastern, which is why non-journalists cant read the pdf yet :P

You can't stop Father Christmas Abbie :)

According to: http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2011/12/in-a-rare-move-scienc…

WPI's Judy Mikovits, who led the study with Ruscetti, says she and two of her contributing lab assistants refused to sign the retraction. The day after the publication of the Blood Working Group study, Mikovits presented new data at a CFS meeting in Ottawa, Canada, that purported to show evidence of human gamma retrovirusesâthe family XMRV belongs toâin patients. She essentially argued that the original paper focused too narrowly on one variant of XMRV. (She also showed a slide at the meeting that led to Science to discover that the original paper had a mislabeled image, which factored into the full retraction.) "We were confident of our data," Mikovits told ScienceInsider, explaining why they wanted to include a line in the retraction that said they still trusted their data and conclusions.

So not surprising that she and her labbies didn't sign the retraction but nice to know that exposing the duplicate image factored in the full retraction! A win for real science!

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 22 Dec 2011 #permalink

This study which linking a virus to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)has been withdrawn by the journal.

I thought it was a work made ââfor reasons of financial already.

Chicago Trib article today - w/ what you would expect, i.e., a general overview of events and background - was my first knowledge of this 'event", WPI, the XMRV-CFS claims, or Mikovits. What led me to look for more information -- and hence to this fascinating forum -- is that Trib buried link btwn WPI & U-Nev Reno; this intrigued me due to my professional role (as a Gen Counsel of a Univ). Some legal sub-points for your possible edification:
1. WPI evidently offered Mikovits a Termination Agreement (per her lawyer's Nov. 4 letter). What specific terms did WPI offer, I wonder? My guess is that reading this document would reveal how long the intention to fire her had been building up.
2. There are NIH grants here,correct? NIH funds are subject to a very specific research misconduct protocol, as many who post here know. Has NIH opened an inquiry? Will the retraction of the Science article impel NIH to do so?
3. If someone finds the court's latest ruling, I hope you will post the link. I believe the ruling is for issuance of a Preliminary Injunction, which only preserves the status quo (much as the earlier-granted Temporary Restraining Order accomplished). But the civil claims still will move toward trial. Given the strongly held views expressed on this forum, I'd guess that one could sell tickets when WPIs lawyers take Mikovits' deposition.
4. If I'm UNev-Reno's lawyer, I'm advising a hard, hard look at the relationship with an affiliated entity which runs its research ship in this fashion. Case in point: relationship between grad student Max and PI Judy -- as we say a lot in my field, "you can't make this stuff up"!!

By UnivLawyer (not verified) on 23 Dec 2011 #permalink

@8 and @11
"C'mon people, if you want to play in the XMRV sweepstakes with questions like "What was Frank thinking?" you've got to keep up with the latest. Maybe somebody spiked the samples they shared with Frank with something different than the ones they shared with Bob, just to keep it interesting. "

There are several things I don't understand (apart from most of the scientific details). For one, what tests were done in which lab? Who send samples to whom and when? I am trying to reverse-engineer this thing, but I won't get far because of my lack of insight into this â and I hope I can trick Dunning and Krugerâ¦

So I was thinking: What is the minimum amount of fraudulent work, with the minimum amount of involved people, necessary to get these results of Lombardi et al 2009.

The PCR seems easy: Add XMRV VP62 plasmid and send to poor Bob Silverman. Only one person in the know at WPI required.

Mikovits is very proud in her "Dear Dr. Alberts" letter that the EMs don't *show* contamination. Could the virus isolation be faked by adding XMRV VP62 plasmid at WPI, with no outsider knowing? Who did that part of the study? Who would have necessary been in the know?

What about the detection of viral proteins, who did this? Could it have been faked by a single person from the WPI, by adding 5AZA or somesuch?

And the 7C10 Env antibody thing, who did this? Could that have been faked by a single person from the WPI, by adding 5AZA or somesuch?

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