Updates on the past few posts:

I have a some updates on a few stories I covered the past couple of weeks:

Some people who proclaim to have 'chronic fatigue syndrome' show everyone just how NOT CRAZY they are... by transcribing my entire interview with Conspiracy Skeptic by hand (they cant hold a job you see-- 'brain fog') and comparing me to a cheerleader/goat, and fantasizing about me getting my comeuppance for daring to speak negatively about St. Judy Mikovits (ie-- tell everyone the bullshit she and her comrades have been up to). Just to be clear, these folks are NOT CRAZY. THEYRE NOT FUCKING CRAZY GODDAMMIT!!!! We know they arent crazy because their comments look a lot like the ones we see from the posters/commentors at Freethought Blogs, and they totally are NOT CRAZY too.

The French are with me on The Pill for HIV-1 prevention.

"The vote can only be explained by the lack of independence of the agency from financial and other powers," Doctor Lafeuillade adds, "because this is an absurd way to face the HIV pandemic."

'Absurd'-- the grown-up way to say 'stupid'.

1 - First, treat all those who are infected;
2 - then promote safer sex (if 56% of patients in the IPrEx study got HIV infection, that is the proof that they did not use condoms in a well controlled trial, with counseling... What will that be in real life with Truvada* available over the counter, in black market and on the internet? It is a blank check for other sexually transmitted diseases.
3 - European doctors in a vast majority, and patients' advocates in Europe do not agree with this kind of "trade off"
4 - However, they will have to face the public health consequences of such a decision.

Exactly. Condoms are 80% effective at preventing HIV-1 transmission, at worst. Some studies have no transmission events in their entire cohort when their subjects are extremely compliant. Truvada got 56% efficacy... even though they told their subjects to wear condoms. So even in a well controlled, well designed study, the patients werent using condoms as instructed. They werent taking the drugs as instructed. What is going to happen in the real world? A goddamn train wreck. And the entire world will have to deal with the negative consequences of the FDAs decision-- drug resistant HIV.

THUNDERSTRUCK!!!! It was a really weird last two minutes of Wednesdays Thunder game (was watching it with people from Argentina. it was very hard to explain wtf was going on the last two minutes 'well he tried to miss the freethrow on purpose...') Downtown OKC went nuts. Well, nuts by OKC standards.

Also, Metta World Peace might have elbowed one of our best players in the back of the head/neck, a potentially deadly bullshit move, but he just won me over:

"I didn't realize Oklahoma had so many, like, fine women . . . I felt really comfortable. I hit my first two shots, it was mainly because of how beautiful the women were."

"You don't need makeup to be beautiful. That's the American way of telling a woman she's beautiful. She can be beautiful without make up. And that's what I've seen in Oklahoma City."

*squint* I know saying women look pretty without make-up is guys ace-up-the-sleeve (chicks version), but Im on to you, buddy. Thats only going to work on me 30-40 more times.

One of the politicians I made fun of for saying *insane* things about how to stop the HIV epidemic in Zimbabwe is saying he did not say that stuff (and others present said he said it, but it was sarcastic):

Femai is now threatening to sue the newspaper which also quoted him saying 'women should always have bald heads, lose weight and dress shabbily as HIV is spreading at an alarming rate because men are finding it difficult to resist attractive and well-dressed women'.

Women's rights groups and HIV/Aids activists are demanding an apology from the senator for being 'reckless and irresponsible'.

But he says he will not apologize for something he did not say.

"People should wait and see whether I am wrong or right because I can't apologize for something which is still being investigated as I have told you I have handed the case to my lawyers to deal with it. So people will know the truth in the near future."

You know what, I will give Dude the benefit of the doubt until this is cleared up. Its not that I believe him, its that people take things said in sarcasm/jest 'seriously' for social/political purposes all the time, so it is a plausible defense. Lets see what happens 'in the near future'.

La Sierra University has non-sponded
to accusations they fired a biology professor and three board trustees for supporting teaching students Evolution, and not Creationism, in their science courses:

Dr. Lee Greer is currently employed by La Sierra University as a non-tenured Assistant Professor of Biology. His contract expires by its own terms on June 30, 2012. The University honors its contractual commitments.

Beyond confirming the status of employment, the University does not comment on specific details of personnel matters as a matter of policy. This puts the University at a disadvantage in responding to public criticism such as Dr. Greer's "press release," but it is the policy of most employers for sound reasons of human resource management and the law.

If it were just Dr. Greer, I would have to give La Sierra the benefit of the doubt here too. Contracts expire. People get fired. It happens.

Except it wasnt just Dr. Greer.

This involves Dr. Greer AND three board trustees. There was no 'contract expiration' to explain the firing of the three trustees, and those three women appear (to this outside observer) to be over qualified for the position.

Four people fired at the same time.

The only thing they have in common is that they all supported the statement making it clear the kids were going to be taught science. They are not BFFs, they are not lovers, they arent even professional colleagues. Four people with nothing in common (except La Sierra U) have the exact same hypothesis: They were fired for supporting evolution.

What a coincidence, eh?

More like this

ERV states: "and comparing me to a cheerleader/goat"

That's a nice looking goat. . .

As a ME/CFS patient myself it sickens me to read the responses of most individuals on that toxic forum. They never post anything constructive and have immensely harmed the ME/CFS community. Their support for vitamin promotor Mikovits astonishes me, because anyone with more than two brain cells can see the XMRV hypothesis is burried. Unfortunately it hasn't played out but science isn't a popularity contest. I just want to get better and supporting conspiracy theories isn't going to do a damn thing. But I guess you have these kind of people in any disease group. The autism community is full of them, cancer has them too (Tim Cook from Apple is still lauhging) and by reading this blog the AIDS/HIV community too.

I guess my main point is that we're not all like this and it's just a very small minority that has twisted minds.

Abbie, now that I'm making my first post here anyway, I hope you have some time to answer a question. I already asked this question to Jay Levy on the Science chat (after his XMRV paper) and on prof. Racaniello's blog, but I never got an answer.
Regarding the antibody response, what does this mean? I remember a WSJ article where prof. Racaniello said it could be explained by another virus, but I haven't heard much about it since. Excuse me if this has already been answered, but I couldn't find it in your earlier XMRV blogs.

By Roberts Ronald (not verified) on 18 May 2012 #permalink

I am sorry to hear that you've been afflicted with cranks. I checked back through some of your XMRV posts, saw "XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome: Why?" and noticed that yup, a bunch of people commented about Motivation and not about Mechanisms.

For those of us trained in the Scientific Method, 'why' most often means 'how'. We process 'Why does X happen?' as 'How did X happen?' For other people, it often means 'Why did you perform X?' In my experiences, it's been most effective (and time saving) to begin asking about processes by opening with 'How did X happen?'

You'd think that asking 'Why' would work well for those times that you really want to understand someone else's motivation. Er...not so much. Most people don't understand their own motivations. They're likely to answer with information about how their decision rises from their core identity ('X happened because I'm/They're a theist/scientist/patriot/etc. and all Good Whatevers would do the same.') I've found that asking 'When did you decide that X was the way to go?' is an effective way of unlocking someone's motivations. 'When did you decide that playing the lottery was a great way to replace the car?' 'When did you decide that lower/higher tax rates created/destroyed jobs?'

So 'how was the XMRV study flawed?' Contamination. 'When did the CFers decide that erv was a goat?' When they heard that erv said XMRV wasn't linked with CF, dashing their hopes that curing XMRV infections would cure CF. The sad thing is, your work may contribute to treating many diseases, including CF, but they'd rather call you a goat.

Bet you'd be a cute goat, even so. Maybe one of those Lamancha goats with tiny ears and built-in cashmere coats: http://www.pbase.com/jjacquie11/image/39730399

Not that I'm a basketball fan, but the Thunder's (or ex-Sonics') playoff run has got to be generating some bitterness here in Seattle.

I just listened to the Conspiracy Skeptic podcast.

I had no idea how much you kick ass. I mean, literally. You *literally* kick ass, and that's awesome.

And what else can doctors conclude other then [sic] it's all in our head. According to her she's not a doctor or even a PhD [emphasis mine]. Oh and there's several things she would have done differently (being an expert and all) in the Science paper.

lol. Oh, Robyn, you are amusing.

Didn't give a shit about NBA since the 90's, but fuck the lakers.

Hey ERV, speaking of XMRV, did you see that Dr. Silverman located the original tumor used to make the 22Rv1 lines and tested it for XMRV? Not surprisingly, it had neither XMRV or related viruses (or mouse DNA).
Linky here

By Poodle Stomper (not verified) on 19 May 2012 #permalink

It's been a few years...shouldn't you have earned a graduate degree by now?

By William Wallace (not verified) on 19 May 2012 #permalink

Getting a combined M/PhD in 5 years is nearly impossible. My wife started grad school before I proposed, and yesterday was our 10th anniversary. Abbie is right on track.

Taking the stats from Bill's link, it is likely that Abbie won't get her PhD for another 2-3 years.

In Vitro Infidelium is digging up some things about WPI/VIPdx/RED/Lombardi/

It's a woo-fest form the looks of it. In Vitro is doing some nice work there.

And you got Mikovits covered in your blog it seems â but who is going to take care of the NCI/Mikovits/Ruscetti connection? Is there someone looking into this? Writing what you write about Mikovits is shooting with canons at ducks swimming in a barrel (or somesuch). Calling some deluded patients crazy â oh well, I am impressed at you courage. What about Frank? Is he too big for you?

Willy won't go, try tellin' everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won't, go home

Bless your heart willy. Bless your heart.

I will say that I'm pleased to see the people in the ME/CFS forum dismissing you because you USE BAD WERDS. I'm sure Ophelia would be proud.

I must know some of the people who get their advanced degrees fast enough to balance out the people who never get their degrees and result in the TTD shown in those statistics you cite. It reminds me of the statistic that the average person has one fallopian tube.

The statistics you cite are alarming, almost absurd. My wife earned a masters in 1.5 years with a 4.0 gpa while juggling the rearing of two young children at home. A friend's daughter earned a bachelor's in three years thanks to college credit she earned in high school, and has a combined scholarship plus paid research position that makes me envious, and got to pick from several top schools, and plans to get her masters in microbiology 1.5 to 2 years. Another friend earned his Ph.D. when he was 23. By the time his wife was what I guess to be Abbieâs age, she had been doing post doctorate research at the mayo clinic for some time.

Don't get me wrong, I think Abbie is a sharp cookie. I also think she should aspire to be better than the average time to Ph.D. The only distinction that might explain the disparity is the people I know didn't blog.

Anyway, do those statistics include years off from education? As a parent, I hope my children look toward the greats for their inspiration, and not NSF TDD statistics

By William Wallace (not verified) on 20 May 2012 #permalink

Roberts Ronald-- Racaniello said it could be explained by another virus...
CFS in general? Sure! These particular avenues of research? No. All of this XMRV fiasco was def contamination by plasmids/mouse DNA/manipulated cells. We know that. We dont have to hypothesize about another virus.

Tree-- Oh Im used to cranks. No big whoop. I feel bad for the normal scientists who arent used to this shit. Also, that is the most terrifying goat I have ever seen in my entire life. LOL!!!

Poodle-- I actually hadnt seen that, thank you!

WW-- I also think she should aspire to be better than the average time to Ph.D.

PhD isnt about time. Its about training. If I were 'average', I would be graduating this spring. I have met the requirements. But I am voluntarily staying longer because Ive got several inventions I want to get off the ground first. *I* invented them, *I* want 100% of the credit (not some new grad student who finishes what I started).

Where did you get the idea that faster is somehow 'better'?

Science seems to be boring because scientific technicians have not magnified her equipments.

By Vivian Bassey (not verified) on 20 May 2012 #permalink

Thanks Abbie, but I was refering to the XMRV antibody response. This was Racaniello's full quote:

"He says that other viruses have proteins that are highly related to XMRV proteins. If the patients then test positive for antibodies, it looks like they have antibodies to XMRV but they are not specific to that virus."

(source is a WSJ article, but the page doesn't exist anymore so I had to find a back up link http://chemistryondemand.com/study-finds-no-link-between-xmrv-and-chron…)

I believe he makes the same point on his recent blog for two PC studies:

"In both papers XMRV detection in tissues was accomplished by using serological procedures. Based on the papers summarized here, the assays did not detect XMRV â but a satisfactory explanation for the positive signals has not yet been provided."

Wouldn't it be valuable to study what's the cause of that antibody response or has it already been discreted as a fluke/fraud/contamination?

By Ronald Roberts (not verified) on 20 May 2012 #permalink

Ronald Roberts--
Ah, gotcha. I forgot which pharm company tried this-- but they formulated an XMRV test based off of the HIV tests we use in the clinic. When they looked at thousands of peoples blood, no one had XMRV antibodies.

Im assuming that whatever was found in previous studies was an 'artifact'-- With flow cytometry, if you want to 'find something' you can find it. And if you are looking for more data to back up something you already believe, its easy to 'see', whether its real or not.

This is a more likely hypothesis for me, rather than 'there is another virus'.

Thanks again, Abbie.

I just did some digging myself and noticed Mikovits found the same antibody response in ME/CFS patients and controls in the BWG study (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/334/6057/814.short)

Your hypothesis definetely makes sense and even if there is 'something' else it's not ME/CFS specific.

By Ronald Roberts (not verified) on 20 May 2012 #permalink

Faster->better from my perspective because I assumed people with degrees earned more money than graduate students, and I appreciate a fair compensation. But if you're inventing something, and have the freedom to work on what you want to work on, that's good, or even great, and equally valid forms of compensation and satisfaction. To be honest, it's been awhile since I've been able to work on something I wanted to work on the way I wanted to work on it--indeed, hasn't happend in a long time, so your approach sounds more reasonable to me now.

I wish you succes and fame via your invention.

By William Wallace (not verified) on 20 May 2012 #permalink

Abbie looks homely, therefore she is a lousy scientist.

Good job, Robyn.

I have Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFS/CFIDS/ME) and NON-HIV AIDS, idiopathic CD lymphocytopenia. With these two clinical diagnoses, I believe that makes me living proof that the AIDS-like CFS/ME is transmissible, something that the medical establishment seems unable to admit or to acknowledge. I also believe it makes me living proof that CFS and NON-HIV AIDS are the same mysterious immune disorder.

Three years ago, after a heterosexual sexual encounter, I became seriously ill with what looks like the natural disease progression of AIDS. After an "acute infection" and a "period of asymptomatic health," I have fallen extremely ill to an unrelenting, progressively-worsening AIDS-like demise. I can pinpoint exactly when I was infected with my "chronic viral syndrome of unknown etiology" and because the "acute infection" stage was so distinguishable, I can also pinpoint exactly when my undiagnosed pathogen left my body and infected yet another host.

Increasingly, I have become concerned that my systemic diagnosis is caught up in the treacherous politics of CFS/ME and AIDS. Most people with CFS/ME do not like to talk about the many symptoms and immune abnormalities that they share with AIDS patients. I also suspect that most ailing patients would rather be told that they have the very mysterious CFS than to be told that they have AIDS.

I have a Master's degree. I am a director at my firm. I used to be a triathlete. I have never used IV drugs. I have never traveled abroad. I can count my sexual partners on two hands. Statistically speaking, I know that my undiagnosed infectious and communicable disease is not rare...so, you tell me, if they are not in the miscellaneous CFS/ME category, where are all these other immunosuppressed people?

Anyone with CFIDS, who does not consider the possibility that CFS/ME will eventually progress to a NON-HIV AIDS diagnosis, is very well trumping their own ability to diagnosis the root cause of their illness.

Why isn't CFS/ME a reportable disease overseen by our public health department? Why are CFS and ME (i.e., the same exact disorder) suspiciously categorized as two separate illnesses on a worldwide level (i.e., by ICD codes)? Doesn't anyone else but me, very clearly see, the catastrophic cover-up going on here?

Why are we not reading about NON-HIV AIDS cases (and/or the AIDS-like nature of CFIDS) on the front pages of every newspaper in the world? And if CFS/ME is NON-HIV AIDS, then, depending on who you believe, there are anywhere between 500,000 - 14,000,000 Americans out there with a transmissible illness. If that is what it truly is, our new form of AIDS dwarfs the ‘original’ AIDS epidemic ---> TENFOLD.

I am not afraid to say that I have AIDS without HIV --> idiopathic CD lymphocytopenia. I am equally as unafraid of saying the most obvious thing about CFS/ME: IT SURE DOES LOOK LIKE AIDS TO ME.

If it takes courage to think and to say the things that I do, I hope that there will be a miraculous outbreak of bravery from coast-to-coast. I stopped fighting for myself a long, long time ago. I fight for humanity.

I demand a CFS/HIV revolution. Vive La Revolución.

To learn more about NON-HIV AIDS, and to see the *new* face of AIDS, please visit:

www.cfsstraighttalk.blogspot.com (or simply google "non hiv aids")

Could I be you?

Boston, MA, USA © 2007
Join me on FACEBOOK: HIV-Negative AIDS?

By CFSBOSTON (not verified) on 23 May 2012 #permalink

Enjoyed the podcast with the analogies to Pokemon and breakup explanations. I was surprised about not originally checking for the antibiotic resistance gene although you said it was not surprising that this happened. It seems like something that should be done by default but perhaps I'm missing something.

I would have missed the podcast if it weren't for this update. Thanks to Wildaisy for the transcript. That was very long. (Although in defense of "brain fog", transcription is pretty low on the totem pole.)

Where can we send chocolate? Seriously.

By Smurfette (not verified) on 24 May 2012 #permalink