Science Retracts 2009 Report On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
December 24, 2011

Science Retracts 2009 Report On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

On Thursday, the journal Science retracted a 2009 report linking a mouse retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome.

The 2009 study found that the retrovirus XMRV was frequently present in the blood of chronic fatigue sufferers.

However, Science said it "lost confidence in the report and the validity of its conclusions" after researchers earlier this year had failed to detect the virus in chronic fatigue patients.

The retraction said that "there is evidence of poor quality control in a number of specific experiments in the report."  It also said that important information was omitted from the legend of one of the figures that appeared in the report.

The notable journal said the authors agreed in principle to retract the report, but were unable to agree on the precise wording.

"It is Science's opinion that a retraction signed by all the authors is unlikely to be forthcoming. We are therefore editorially retracting the report," Science said in the retraction statement. "We regret the time and resources devoted to unsuccessful attempts to replicate these results."

The study has been thought of as a breakthrough for one to four million Americans who suffer from the illness, leading many to being treated with antiretroviral drugs used to fight HIV/AIDS.

However, a separate group of researchers found earlier this year that the 2009 study was wrong and its findings were based on contaminated lab samples.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a mysterious disease that can last for years and cause memory loss, muscle pain, extreme tiredness and insomnia.

The disease was first detected in humans in samples of prostate cancer tumors in 2006 and is believed to be present in six to 27 percent of men afflicted with this form of cancer.


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