TWiV 501: Outbreak

Vincent visits the Smithsonian Institution and speaks with Sabrina Sholts, Jon Epstein, and Ed Niles about the exhibit Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World.

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p53Of all the potential uses for genome editing via CRISPR/Cas9, perhaps the most exciting involves introducing therapeutic changes into human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) which can then be differentiated into many different cell types. A serious obstacle to such engineering is the finding that the tumor suppressor p53 inhibits CRISPR/Cas9 editing in hPSCs.

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The entire TWiV team visits The University of Texas in Austin to record episode #500 with guests Jinny Suh, Jason McLellan, and Jon Huibregtse.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Update (7/6/18): I sent a follow-up e-mail to Dr Godlee yesterday to correct an inaccuracy in what I wrote about the 2011 report on PACE in The BMJ. I have included that follow-up e-mail at the end of this post.

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Earlier today, I e-mailed the following letter to Fiona Godlee, the editor-in-chief at The BMJ and editorial director of BMJ. I cc’d the Health Research Authority, the CFS/ME Research Collaborative, NICE, Carol Monaghan, etc.

The subject line: BMJ’s failure to address problems with pediatric studies of ME/CFS

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Dear Dr. Godlee—

I’m sorry if this sounds like an impertinent question, but I have to ask: Does BMJ care about the health of children? Frankly, the only conclusion I can draw from my recent efforts to address the methodological and ethical violations in two BMJ papers involving children with ME/CFS is that concerns about reputational damage have overridden other considerations, at least in this domain of inquiry. This is an unattractive conclusion, but as far as I can determine it is the only one that fits the facts.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

Update: Lucibee has done what I didn’t want to bother to do. Here’s her annotated version of Professor Sharpe’s statement:

https://lucibee.wordpress.com/2018/07/02/sharpes-briefing-on-the-so-called-pace-trial-for-the-21-june-2018-westminster-hall-debate/

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Before last month’s hearing in Westminster Hall, Professor Michael Sharpe sent the following briefing notes to Carol Monaghan MP. To anyone who knows the details of the PACE scandal, it is immediately evident that the document is full of half-truths, untruths, misrepresentations and absurd arguments. It repeats the kind of irrelevant and non-responsive responses the PACE investigators and their defenders have raised repeatedly–and remarkably have gotten away with, at least until the last couple of years.

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Child in Papua New Guinea receiving OPV. Credit: WHO

Last week we discussed the case of polio in Venezuela that turned out not to be polio. Unfortunately the same cannot be concluded about a bona fide case of polio in Papua New Guinea.

Surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) revealed a 6 year old boy in Papua New Guinea with lower limb weakness on 28 April 2018. As we discussed previously, AFP surveillance is a sensitive tool that is used to detect cases of polio, but it is not always caused by the virus.

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By David Tuller, DrPH

I recently wrote to Oxford University neuropsychologist Dorothy Bishop, who had provided a statement to the Science Media Centre about the Lightning Process study. Although she had expressed concerns about the pseudo-scientific nature of the intervention, she found it to be generally well conducted and noted that the findings appeared to be solid. In my e-mail, which I posted on Virology Blog, I noted the study’s methodological anomalies and asked her to review the documentation and consider whether she wanted to revise her remarks.

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By Steven Lubet

Steven Lubet is the Williams Memorial Professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where he specializes in professional responsibility and ethics.

Let’s assume that everyone on the PACE team, and all of their colleagues in the biopsychosocial school, always acted in complete good faith. Let’s agree that they all want nothing more than to help ME/CFS survivors, and they sincerely believe that CBT and GET are safe and effective treatments. Let’s grant the claim that they are committed to following where science leads, and they have no desire to cling to preconceived notions. Let’s allow that the methodological problems in the PACE trial were committed in error and were not intended to skew the results.

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Vincent and Alan travel to the Canadian Society for Virology meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia to speak with Nathalie and Craig about their vision for the society, and with Kate and Ryan about their careers and their research.

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Show notes at microbe.tv/twiv

AFP surveillance in Pakistan

AFP surveillance in Pakistan. Image credit.

In early June it was widely reported that the first case of poliomyelitis in 30 years had been identified in Venezuela (see this Tech Times report as an example). Fortunately these reports were incorrect, and Venezuela remains free of polio. Let’s unpack exactly what happened.

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