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By David Tuller, DrPH

I have repeatedly raised concerns about Professor Esther Crawley’s habit of bypassing ethical review in her research. This issue first came to my attention in connection with a study she conducted about whether school absence could be used to identify undiagnosed cases of the illness she has generally called “chronic fatigue syndrome.” In that study, published in BMJ Open in 2011, she shattered ethical principles by interviewing more than 100 minors and their family members without the typical oversight and scrutiny mandated for research with human subjects. She managed this feat by falsely claiming this research to be “service evaluation,” as I documented at length on Virology Blog. (The original post explains the distinctions between “research,” which requires ethical review, and “service evaluation,” which does not.)

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The TWiV team covers outbreaks of eastern equine encephalitis virus in the US and poliovirus in the Philippines, and explain how a chemokine induced by HIV-1 infection helps release more virus particles from cells.

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Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv

Polio PhilippinesCases of poliomyelitis have been reported in the Philippines 19 years after the country was declared free of the disease. The return of poliomyelitis to the country emphasizes the need to maintain high levels of immunization while polioviruses continue to circulate.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

On June 17th, Cochrane announced that it had received a revision of a much-contested review of exercise therapy for treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (as the organization has long called the illness or cluster of illnesses also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis, CFS/ME, and ME/CFS). In a posted statement, Cochrane noted that “the process has taken longer than hoped; the amended review is being finalised and it will be published during the next 2 months.”

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By David Tuller, DrPH

And now again with BMJ Open. I have written many, many posts about my efforts to get this supposedly reputable journal to acknowledge the issues with Professor Crawley’s school absence study. I won’t recap that unfortunate matter in this post, except to note that I am still waiting for the results from a Bristol University investigation of that and a number of other papers from Professor Crawley’s team.

In any event, last week I sent Professor Trudie Chalder a letter about a mistake in the PRINCE trial protocol, which BMJ Open published in July. Today I sent a follow-up letter to Adrian Aldcroft, the editor-in-chief of the journal.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

In its efforts to save money, the National Health Service has been expanding the program known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) by encouraging physicians to refer over all those with so-called “medically unexplained symptoms” (MUS). Under IAPT, the illness referred to as “chronic fatigue syndrome” falls into the MUS category. The program essentially provides CBT and related “rehabilitative” interventions.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

I have posted a batch of letters about the Lightning Process study that have been sent to Dr Fiona Godlee, editorial director of BMJ, here, here and here. I have been impressed with how direct these scientists and clinicians have been in expressing their dismay at BMJ’s failure to adhere to its own editorial standards. I get the feeling some of the writers have been inspired by the earlier messages to Dr Godlee.

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TWiV 565: Karolinska Virology

From the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Vincent speaks with Niklas Björkström, Ali Mirazimi, and Matti Sällberg about their work on the impact of chronic hepatitis C virus infection on NK cells, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus vaccines, and immunotherapy to block entry of hepatitis B and D viruses.

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Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv

After infection with poliovirus, only about 1% of individuals develop paralysis. I have always wondered whether genetic polymorphisms underlie the rarity of this disease outcome. The results of study carried out in Denmark provide the first insights.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

The trickle of letters from top experts to Dr Fiona Godlee about BMJ’s decision to republish Professor Esther Crawley’s Lightning Process study continues. The letters excoriate BMJ’s actions in this matter and urge Dr Godlee to retract the dung-heap otherwise known as “Clinical and cost-effectiveness of the Lightning Process in addition to specialist medical care for paediatric chronic fatigue syndrome: randomised controlled trial.”

I have previously posted six letters, here and here. Below are five more. They were e-mailed directly to Dr Godlee and cc’d to many of the 55 scientists, clinicians and other experts who signed Virology Blog’s recent open letter about the matter. The writers are: Dr Steve Olsen of Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region; Professor Alison Bested of Nova Southeastern University in Florida; Professor Rebecca Goldin of George Mason University in Virginia; Professor Ronald Tompkins of Harvard Medical School; and Professor Brian Hughes of National University of Ireland, Galway.

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