On the 5th, 15th and/or 25th of each month, we’ll post 5 “picks” selected by researchers, physicians, policymakers, other professionals, patients, advocates and caregivers. These picks represent articles, books, websites, films, etc. that they have chosen as particularly interesting, compelling or descriptive of science — either in general or in an area in which they have an active interest.
This time we’ve asked for picks from members of the AABB Interorganizational XMRV Task Force. In December 2009, the AABB (formerly American Association of Blood Banks) established an Interorganizational Task Force composed of representatives of blood collectors, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations dedicated to CFS research and policy, supplemented with additional scientific consultants. The Task Force was charged with reviewing the available data on XMRV, recommending action to assess and if necessary mitigate the risk of transmitting XMRV through blood and cellular therapy products, and advising AABB about informing donors, recipients, physicians and the general public regarding the risk of XMRV transmission. The committee reported on its activities and the current state of XMRV research in the March 2011 issue of Transfusion.
1. “I like this commentary article because it emphasizes the need to base medical management on good science, and the ability, even within the care system, to do studies that help us determine what treatments are most effective in real world settings. Lauer is an extramural scientist in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This kind of research:
- minimizes specialized infrastructure;
- minimizes visits designed solely for the purpose of retrieving measurements for the trial;
- explores novel methods of obtaining patient consent that minimize the need for specialized clinical trial staff and participant visits, while still meeting ethical and legal requirements; and
- employs low cost methods of monitoring study conduct such as adherence.”
Article Title: The historical and moral imperatives of comparative effectiveness research
Journal & Issue: Statistics in Medicine, Vol. 29, Issue 19, pages 1982-1984, August 30, 2010.
Author: Michael S. Lauer, M.D.
( is available open access; use the “Article Tools” to download a PDF.)
Harvey G. Klein, M.D.
Chief, Department of Transfusion Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Chairman, AABB Interorganizational XMRV Task Force
2. “This article reviews the quest to associate human chronic diseases for which there are no known causes with viruses for which no disease association has been proven. The desire is so strong to link these viruses as etiologic agents for diseases that in fact most associations are proven to be false and the associating data weak and nonreproducible. It raises the question of whether some RNA viruses may be nonpathogenic and part of a human viral flora, which is against the dogma of virology. Similarly, reference is made to the fact that up to 8 percent of the human genome is comprised of retroviral sequences.”
Article: Human RNA “rumor” viruses: The search for novel human retroviruses in chronic disease
Journal & Issue: Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 72:157-196. 2008
Authors: Cécile Voisset, Robin A. Weiss and David J. Griffiths
(This article is available open access.)
Susan L. Stramer, Ph.D.
Executive Scientific Officer
American Red Cross
Vice President, Board of Directors
3. “This is a dazzling and approachable, but extremely thoughtful walk through the issues around the discovery of new infectious agents, and particularly viruses. It has a number of illustrative and exciting examples of successes in the field, but also has a sober and cautionary section about the issues surrounding what he calls de-identification. This article gives a glimpse into the thinking behind Dr. Lipkin’s current study on CFS and XMRV.”
Article: Microbe Hunting
Journal & Issue: Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, 2010;73(3):363-377
Author: W. Ian Lipkin, M.D.
(This article is available on Columbia”s Center for Immunity and Infection website.)
Roger Dodd, Ph.D.
Research and Development
American Red Cross Holland Laboratory
4. “The book Microbe Hunters is a timeless tale of disease and pathogen discovery written in 1926 by Paul De Kruif. The book recalls the enormous impact of microbes on human health and nations focusing on Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, and other early greats of microbiology, as well as on the supporting cast of medical technicians, students, newspaper reporters, politicians, and volunteers. It has inspired many budding microbiologists over the years.”
Book: Microbe Hunters
Author: Paul de Kruif (1890-1971), a bacteriologist and pathologist, was a prolific author on the subject of medical science. He lived in Michigan and taught for many years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
(Available from amazon and other retailers.)
Robert Silverman, Ph.D.
Staff and Professor
Mal and Lea Bank Chair
Department of Cancer Biology
Lerner Research Institute
5. “I was a big fan of the television show M*A*S*H when I was a kid, so this presentation by Alan Alda about science informative and entertaining. Mr. Alda talks about his experiences with communicating science to the general public as a visiting professor at the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, as well as a personal medical crisis that he relates back to his role as “Dr. Hawkeye Pierce.”"
Presentation Title: Helping the Public Get Beyond A Blind Date with Science
Presenter: Alan Alda
Credited to: National Science Foundation
President & CEO
The CFIDS Association of America