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‘Scandal in BMJ’s XMRV/CFS Research’ by Phoenix Rising Forum member could open can of worms

  [ 58 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ] • March 26, 2010

“Parvofighter,” a member of the Phoenix Rising Forum, posted an article on the Forum March 22 titled “Scandal in BMJ’s XMRV/CFS Research.”

The article/expose details Parvofighter’s findings regarding the sources of patient blood samples for the Feb 25 British Medical Journal article by van Kuppeveld, et al. which reported failure to find any evidence of XMRV in the blood of CFS patients in the Netherlands.

The Dutch press soon picked up on Parvofighter’s findings and, according to an English translation by Carla from the Diagnose Support site (, provides this observation:

“An American patient opens a Can of Worms from Nijmegen”
”The Nijmegen Research of Van Kuppenveld et al. on XMRV and CFS excluded, beforehand, patients infected with XMRV. This is based on the selection of the population which was, amongst other things, based on self reported psychological symptoms. An American patient opens the 'Can of Worms of Nijmegen' in a critical and well documented report in spite of all the laudatory discussions in the British Medical Journal and elsewhere.”

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Article link with illustrated version - all graphics
Posted by: Parvofighter
Mar 27, 2010
Thanks kindly for posting this! The link provided above unfortunately doesn't have the screen captures of the incredible quotes from the original article. You can also find the 5-part article here specifically posts #1,2,4,6,7 with all the attached graphs and quotes: Some actual quotes from the study where the BMJ's 20 year old blood came from. "Information on physical abnormalities and treatment relied on self-report". “Using a score of 16 or more, 36% of patients could be considered as having a clinical depression.” "To test generalizability, the present study sample was compared with a recently tested group of 68 patients with Unexplained Fatigue” (not ME/CFS). And the clincher: the source of the blood came from a study where the examiners expressly, “Minimalized the risk of including patients with delayed convalescence of a viral infection”. The BMJ stated their XMRV research was on CFS patients, when by their own admission it was on a group of depressed patients with unexplained fatigue - who had been explicitly screened to remove patients with "delayed convalescence of a viral infection". Were they REALLY trying to find XMRV in that cohort? Add to that the fact that the samples were 20 years old... and how strong are the BMJ's conclusions that XMRV isn’t in the UK – and that it isn’t associated with ME/CFS! Yet the Editor-in-Chief of the British Medical Journal herself said: "We and our reviewers also thought it was well done.” Doesn't say much for the BMJ's due diligence or peer review process, does it? P.S. There's also an afterword with a summary of our discussion of the article in post #86 here:
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BMJ: lost or sold its scientific objectivity
Posted by: oerganix
Apr 2, 2010
It becomes more apparent with every issue that BMJ has lost its scientific objectivity and has been captured by the "it's all in their heads" group, also known as the psychobabble school of "thought", regarding ME/CFS. Is it also driven by economics and politics on other health issues? A recent editorial by one Dr McClure hyped the first failed XMRV study in UK, without even mentioning that she was the lead researcher on it! Neither the 2 failed UK XMRV studies nor the Dutch one were true attempts to shed any light on the cause or cure for ME/CFS. One has to wonder why those researchers, and the BMJ, are so afraid of the biological cause of this devastating illness (recognized as a physical illness by WHO for decades) being found in UK, or anywhere else. Thanks to Parvofighter for doing the job the BMJ should have done.
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