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Letters

TWiV 156 Letters

Kevin writes:

Dear Professor Racaniello,

I have just seen some of the ridiculous comments regarding the picture which was posted on your TWiV website.

I have had CFS for over 16 years. I am a very firm believer in scientific method and have found it very frustrating at the lack of top quality scientists who have taken an interest in well-defined patients. It has therefore been a great pleasure to see people like Harvey Alter, John Coffin and others conducting research into XMRV. The data is the data. I hope resources and attention are now swiftly moved to other areas.

I want to personally thank you for giving XMRV a good run. As a CFS patient in the UK, I am used to seeing most apparently novel findings shot down rather quickly or simply not followed up. It has been heartening to see the XMRV issue tackled professionally and thoroughly. A true victory for science, regardless of the unfortunate events now taking place ( the “slide” issue ).

I am sorry you have been on the receiving end of attention from some of the less balanced members of what might loosely be termed the “CFS” community. I think anyone with any objectivity and belief in scientific method would frankly lose the will to live after just five minutes of reading some of the material on mecfsforums. I don’t know if you’re aware of the background, but this forum was set up after a group of very rude and rabidly pro-Mikovits posters left the Phoenix Rising Forums after continual warnings about their conduct. It’s actually possible to spot their contributions on Deckoff-Jones blog and many other places on the internet. They are an extremely vocal minority who misrepresent the vast majority of CFS patients. I’m sorry if you’ve been subjected to this kind of nonsense. Apart from anything else, most CFS patients simply don’t have the energy to sustain the relentless garbage which they produce.

My reading of some scientific literature over the last few years ( my degree is non-science so it’s layman’s opinion ) suggests to me that immune dysfunction rather than a persistent infection results in the immunological manifestations of CFS. However, it would be great for TWiV if Prof Lipkin finds something in his pathogen project. It’s just fantastic that someone of his calibre is doing the work, whatever the data.

Once again, many thanks for your patience and understanding.

Kind regards,

Kevin.

Janet writes:

Hi TWiV gang,

I just wanted to let you guys know that I love listening to your podcast. I only recently discovered it, so I’m still trying to frantically catch up with all the episodes. I remember you guys asking for a transcriber back in Episode 30-something, but judging from the Transcripts section of the website, I guess there weren’t that many takers. I don’t now if you’re still taking transcripts, but I thought I’d try my hand at it, so I’ve attached the transcript of the latest episode. I couldn’t figure out the formatting for the header, so I’ve also sent the .docx file to play around with.

I guess I can see why there aren’t so many people jumping to volunteer for this, as it took a lot longer than I thought it would! Nonetheless, if it’s alright with you guys, I will try to transcribe a few more episodes, especially the Virology 101 episodes, because I feel those would be the most beneficial to both the audience and myself.

I’m starting my PhD in two weeks at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. It’s a charming town and I will be working on foamy virus vectors, in the same building as Prof. Harald zur Hausen, so I’m very excited. It would be great to see an episode on foamy viruses one day; you mentioned them once very briefly in the reverse transcription episode and I find their apathogenicity and therapeutic potential fascinating. I’m coming from a biochemistry background, so I hope I’m not getting in over my head and any advice you could offer on the PhD life, virology, or science in general would be fantastic and greatly appreciated!

Keep up all the good work!

Grüße aus Deutschland,

Janet

Zachary writes:

Dr Racaniello and company,

I am a nursing student at the University of Washington and love listening to TWIV on my commute! In my pathophysiology class my teacher recently told us that the problem with polio is that immunity is not lasting as long as we previously thought. She stated that we are now seeing increasing cases of polio amongst the elderly due to the decrease in memory T & B-cells. I’ve listened to several of the podcasts on polio and do not remember hearing this information. Can you please enlighten me on this topic? Thank you and keep up the amazing podcasts!

-Zach

Kathryn writes:

Dear Twivers

I’m an ESL teacher in South Korea. I discovered your podcast through iTunes about a month ago. Though I now teach I have a background in science (college) and a masters in psychology. I enjoy your podcast greatly as it appeals to my math/science dominant side.

I enjoyed your recent episodes on XMRV and how well it demonstrates how the scientific process and peer review work. I was additionally interested because I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which seems to be related to CFS at least at a symptom level. Do you know of any work being done on possible viral causes of FM?

I also have a quick story to share. At an ESL training yesterday, we played essentially “Taboo” as an example of an “academic activity” (we can’t call them games here or the parents go nuts). One of the 10 words my team wrote down was phage. The team that got our paper passed on it. The leader asked if anyone knew and then asked whose word it was. I meekly raised my hand admitting it was mine. And she says. Well what the heck is it; we all want to know. After saying it was a virus that infected bacteria someone replied “You weren’t an English major, were you.” That’s where I admitted no, I wasn’t.

Thanks for your show and keep up the good work.

~Kathryn

 

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