The Importance of Maintaining Open Debate Regarding XMRV

From the Holtorf Medical Group’s June 2011 Newsletter:*

Friends,

I wanted to share my comments on “More Doubt Cast on Study of Chronic Fatigue,” from the Wall Street Journal dated June 1st; concerning XMRV and Lyme disease.

The attack piece in the journal Science** is, unfortunately, typical of the way science and medicine now work; it is more about attack politics and demagoguery instead of honest debate. It is healthy to be skeptical but at the same time it is as important to keep an open mind and be willing to change opinions based on new data.

I was skeptical about XMRV at first and thought it was most likely an opportunistic infection.

One reason was that Quest [Diagnostics] did a pilot study in our office and we found that all the patients who had positive XMRV test results were chronic Lyme patients. Thus, my thinking was that Lyme must be the primary with XMRV being secondary or opportunistic.

However, I now think that was too simplistic and think the evidence is showing that having XMRV is a reason that Lyme may not be cleared in some or many patients, and may need to be treated.

The WSJ opinion piece selectively leaves out supporting studies that show an immune response by XMRV positive patients to the virus (so how can that be contamination?). And why wouldn’t the controls also be positive if due to contamination?

I understand the difficulty and limitations of laboratory methods to assess active infections, which has led to major controversies with the etiology and importance of a wide range of infections in CFS.

As a clinician, I am most concerned about the effectiveness (and safety) of treatment of such infections. Our initial treatment with anti-retrovirals and GCMAF has been promising and has been shown to be effective in some of our sickest patients.

I recently wrote an article for Prohealth.com explaining why Lyme Disease is hard to diagnose and treat. Take a look here.

With your optimal health in mind,

Kent Holtorf, MD
Director, Holtorf Medical Group (www.holtorfmed.com)

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* Reproduced with permission of Dr. Kent Holtorf, © Holtorf Medical Group, 2011

** “Editorial Expression of Concern,” by Science Editor-in-Chief Bruce Alberts, issued May 31, 2011

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