I spent the last week of November in Oslo. The Norwegian ME Association invited me to give a couple of talks and have some meetings with public health officials. The city was charming, even if dark and overcast at this time of year.
Not surprisingly, the same tussle taking place over this illness everywhere–between the biopsychosocial forces and the proponents of biomedical approaches–is also occurring in Norway. The country has its own branch of the GET/CBT ideological brigades and a small but vocal group of Lighting Process proponents. Yet Norwegian scientists have also been on the forefront of efforts to seek biomedical answers, with the prime example being the research into rituximab as a possible treatment.
Raul Andino joins Vincent and Amy to talk about the finding that a cricket paralysis virus protein restricts RNA-based immunity in insects by regulating the activity and stability of the Argonaute protein.
Yet another interesting development has taken place at Cochrane—and this new development again suggests that things there might be moving in the right direction. On Friday, the organization withdrew a protocol for what is called an “individual patient data” (or IPD) review of exercise therapy for the illness it has referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Earlier today, I sent the following e-mail to Dr Fiona Godlee, editorial director of BMJ. I cc’d Carol Monaghan MP, Darren Jones MP, and Nicky Morgan MP. I also cc’d Teresa Allen of the Health Research Authority.
Dear Dr. Godlee—
As you know, I have spent some time criticizing a 2011 BMJ Open study involving the use of school absence records to identify children with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME, or what many now refer to as ME/CFS). The investigators exempted the study from ethical review on the false grounds that it was “service evaluation” rather than “research.” To support this claim, they cited an unrelated 2007 letter from the regional research ethics committee.
In what can only be characterized as a welcome surprise, Cochrane has rejected the revision of a 2014 review of exercise treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, stating that the work does not meet the organization’s “quality standards.” Cochrane revealed the decision late Friday in a statement appended to the review, which itself was a revision of a review first published years earlier.
The TWiVsters review isolation of a naturally occurring DNA virus from fruit flies, and the cell-type specific function of a small transmembrane protein encoded in an open reading frame upstream of the enterovirus polyprotein.
For over 50 years the RNA genome of picornaviruses (illustrated below for poliovirus) was thought to be translated into a single, long polyprotein. All this time a very small upstream open reading frame (uORF) has gone undetected – until now.
Team TWiV cover the discovery of another giant virus from 30,000 year old Siberian permafrost, and how viral aggregation accelerates the production of new infectious viruses and increases fitness, demonstrating an Allee effect.
Susana López, Martha Yocupicio, Selene Zárate, virologists from Mexico, together with graphic illustrator Eva Lobatón, have teamed up to produce Paul Has Measles, a children’s book about viruses and vaccines.