Recently there has been growing interest in XMRV (Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) and autism. I haven’t discussed it here on LeftBrainRightBrain as it has been very preliminary.
Well, it looks like I may not ever get into this story in depth as XMRV appears to not be associated with autism.
From ERV at ScienceBlogs, XMRV and Autism: Best conflict of interest EVAH! I learned of this new paper:
Here is the abstract.
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is a retrovirus implicated in prostate cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Press releases have suggested that it could contribute to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this study we used two PCR assays and one antibody assay to screen 25 blood samples from autistic children born to mothers with CFS and from 20 mixed controls including family members of the children assayed, people with fibromyalgia and people with chronic Lyme disease. Using a real-time PCR assay, we screened an additional 48 South Carolina autism disorder samples, 96 Italian ASD)samples, 61 South Carolina ASD samples and 184 healthy controls. Despite having the ability to detect low copy number XMRV DNA in a large background of cellular DNA, none of the PCR assays found any evidence of XMRV infection in blood cells from patients or controls. Further, no anti-XMRV antibodies were detected, ruling out possible low level or abortive infections in blood or in other reservoirs. These results imply that XMRV is not associated with autism.
“These results imply that XMRV is not associated with autism.”
ERV noted this paragraph of the paper:
In an interview given on the same day as the Lombardi publication, Dr Mikovits stated that they had found XMRV in a ‘significant number’ of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) samples and speculated that ‘this might even explain why vaccines lead to autism in some children’ . Shortly thereafter, widely circulated articles appeared, containing non-peer reviewed data with reports that XMRV may be present in ?40% of people with autism . Given the recent controversy over the connection between ASD and the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, a scientific evaluation of these statements is important [8,9].
Translation (via ERV):
Mikovits started talking to the media/patients/parents before she had any published science to back up her claims. She increased fear of vaccines. She still hasnt published anything. So I guess we are going to clean up this mess for her.
Also, ERV points out one of the most interesting competing interests statements in a paper:
BCS and RAG are employees of Cooperative Diagnostics. Cooperative Diagnostics is a commercial enterprise that owns the rights to the XMRV real-time PCR assay described in this manuscript, in addition to the Master Mix that was used. Publication of these results may well reduce the potential market that Cooperative Diagnostics could reach with its XMRV assay.
Yes, the authors are from a company which has rights to XMRV tests. If XMRV is not associated with autism, this company stands to make less money in the future.
Ironically, David Kirby is scheduled to present “breaking news” at an upcoming workshop in November:
Breakthrough News: David Kirby will discuss the recent research by Judy Mikovitz of the University of Nevada. Dr. Mikovitz helped discover that XMRV retrovirus was present in 95% of people with chronic fatigue, and she also found in 40% of a small sample of ASD kids. So far, virtually all of the kids whose moms have XMRV and chronic fatigue also have the XMRV virus.
Somehow I doubt the facts in this new study will divert Mr. Kirby from his “breaking news”. Facts have failed to stop him in the past.