Thursday, June 17, 2010


In my interviews with Dr. Myra McClure (principal investigator of the first British ME/CFS XMRV study) and Dr. Kate Bishop (principal investigator of the second British ME/CFS XMRV study), both acknowledged that their studies were not replications of Dr. Judy Mikovits's XMRV study.  (See their comments in the BLOOD FEUD: Part 2 post.)  However, most of the media has mislabeled their studies as replications.  
A friend sent this page from his daughter’s ninth-grade biology textbook, Biology, by Stephen Nowicki, published by McDougal Littell, 2008.  According to Nowicki, to be considered a replication:

"Scientists repeating another person’s experiment must be able to follow the procedures exactly and obtain the same results in order for the experiment to be valid. Valid experiments must have

• a testable hypothesis
• a control group and an experimental group
• defined independent and dependent variables
• all other conditions held constant
• repeated trials"

McClure's study didn't use controls, and the methods she used to test for XMRV were different from Mikovits's methods.  While Bishop included controls, like McClure she used different methods to test for the retrovirus.

Why isn't the media picking up on this?  One reason is that many reporters don't have time to read the actual studies, especially in this dried-up journalism climate, where newspapers and magazines are cutting back staff and coverage or going under.  Reporter Nick Davies terms much of today's journalism "churnalism."  Whether from overwork, disinterest or blind trust, some reporters simply scan a study's abstract, plug in perky quotes from the study's authors, and call it a day. 


Next week:  "HARD CELL."  ME/CFS patients do hard time in mental wards and foster care.


  1. Thank you for creating this blog, Ms. Kitei! It provides invaluable information that can't be found elsewhere.

    Neglect has long bedeviled the ME/CFS community; you're helping to change that.

  2. I think this is an extraordinary blog. You write and synthesize the issues superbly. I wrote to Google asking that they reverse their decision about the ad. I hope they do


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