Science retracts chronic fatigue study

Perhaps journals should require “replicate first” rather than “retract later.”

The Washington Post reports,

A two-year scientific controversy all but ended Thursday when the prestigious journal Science retracted a study linking a strange virus to chronic fatigue syndrome, a sometimes-debilitating disorder with no known cause.

The journal’s editors “lost confidence” in the study after at least a dozen attempts to replicate the finding failed, Editor in Chief Bruce Alberts wrote in a retraction notice to be published Friday.

Further, the study’s authors “omitted important information” from some of the figures in the paper, Alberts wrote.

The retraction formally removes the study from the scientific record…

Last year, the original study prompted the American Red Cross to ban blood donations from chronic fatigue patients.

On Thursday, a Red Cross spokeswoman said the group’s policy remained unchanged. “If somebody tells us they have chronic fatigue syndrome, we will continue to defer them,” said Stephanie Millian, although not because of fears of XMRV transmitting through the blood supply. Rather, Millian said, the Red Cross was “following the lead” of patient advocacy groups that advise ill patients not to donate blood.

Between 1 million and 4 million Americans are thought to have chronic fatigue syndrome, a mysterious disorder that causes prolonged and severe fatigue, body aches and other symptoms…

This is not the first time Science rushed to publication an unreplicatable study that had public policy ramifications.

One thought on “Science retracts chronic fatigue study”

  1. Chronic fatigue syndrome comes down to one thing. If you eat crap you feel like crap. Garbage in, garbage out.

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