Biting mosquitoThe gut tracts of many animals are inhabited by a microbial community composed of bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses. The interplay among these inhabitants can have an impact on health and disease. Mosquitoes are no exception – replication of dengue virus in the gut tract is modulated by a fungus and a bacterium.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Last week, I reported that Bristol University had launched an independent investigation of research led by Professor Esther Crawley, at the request of the UK’s Health Research Authority. Today, the HRA released a report on the PACE trial that has portrayed it as a well-conducted study. GET/CBT supporters are framing this report as a vindication.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Update: Since posting this several hours ago, I have learned that the story I’ve been “prebutting” is not in fact likely to appear imminently; I suppose that means it could be weeks before publication. I’m not sure whether I misinterpreted the reporter’s statement that obtaining my response to the “harassment” claims was the final outstanding issue or whether plans have shifted around for this or that reason. Hard to know.

So I guess for now I have expressed my thoughts about this matter and will make no further predictions about possible content or timing of the piece–unless or until I feel that I need to. In journalism, as in life, nothing happens until it happens. Time for me to focus on other posts that I have been meaning to get to.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Last week I broke the news that Bristol University is conducting an independent investigation of a number of studies that were exempted from ethical review on the grounds that they qualified as “service evaluation.” Because the issues involved are confusing and complex, I thought it would be helpful to repost here part of my initial investigation of one of those exempted studies–the 2011 school absence paper published in BMJ Open.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Yesterday I reported that Bristol University, at the request of the UK Health Research Authority, is investigating a number of studies conducted by Professor Esther Crawley. The results of this investigation are expected in two months or so.

Today I can disclose that the scrutiny involves papers linked to a specific research ethics committee (REC) reference: 07/Q2006/48. That is the number of a 2007 REC opinion issued for a study titled “What happens to children with CFS/ME? The study of a longitudinal cohort of children who access a paediatric CFS/ME service. Version 2.” The investigators were seeking permission to add some more questionnaires to those already being filled out by (or about) pediatric patients at the specialized Bath clinic run by Professor Crawley.

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More filoviruses in bats

Ebola dishThe family of viruses known as the Filoviridae (filo, from the Latin for thread) is well known for the ebolaviruses, which cause the hemorrhagic disease that regularly erupts in Africa. As Earth’s virome is slowly revealed, other filoviruses are discovered.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

The reporter writing the story I posted about earlier also contacted Professor Racaniello. Here are the questions asked, and his answers:

Could you please say why David Tuller publishes his blog posts on your site, instead of publishing it on a blog/website of his own?

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By David Tuller, DrPH

*I have corrected the paragraph involving tweets to Sir Simon Wessely. See note at end of post.

A major news organization is preparing to publish what seems to be a piece about me and my work. The piece also seems to be focusing on the narrative that dangerous and irrational patients are running rampant and threatening eminent scientists. The journalist—one of the many BFFs of the Science Media Centre among the UK press corps—could suggest that my work is somehow enabling horrible behavior.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

In the last year, I have raised multiple concerns about studies from the University of Bristol with the UK Health Research Authority, among others. The HRA is the National Health Service arm that oversees approvals for research in England; the agency’s role is to ensure that research receives a favorable opinion from an ethics committee before it begins.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Earlier this evening, I sent the following e-mail to Carolyn Crew-Graham, a professor of general practice research at Keele University. Professor Chew-Graham is the lead author of METRIC, the atrocious online training course hailed last week by Steve Brine MP as addressing “misconceptions” about the illness variously called ME, CFS, CFS/ME and ME/CFS.

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