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GreenMedInfo is honored to welcome Dr. Judy Mikovits to the team as she continues her search for absolute truth within the scientific community. As a true scientist, Dr. Mikovits believes it is her duty to seek truth at any cost, and we gladly stand by her side.
The moment an oppressive system begins to fail is when it loses the support of its best and brightest minds. It is for this reason that we so proudly welcome Dr. Judy Mikovits to the Advisory Board of GreenMedInfo. In a different time, the background, character, and publications of Dr. Mikovits would have put her on the fast-track to head one of our most prestigious public health entities, whether that be the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control, or even the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Mikovits earned her BA from the University of Virginia and her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University and started her research career in the lab of legendary retrovirology researcher, Dr. Frank Ruscetti, who along with Bernie Poiesz and Robert Gallo, isolated the first human retrovirus, HTLV-1. As a post-doc, Mikovits helped create the first infectious molecular clone of that retrovirus. She rose from being an entry-level lab technician to become director of the Lab of Antiviral Drug Mechanisms at the National Cancer Institute before leaving to direct the Cancer Biology program at EpiGenX Pharmaceuticals in Santa Barbara, CA. Dr. Mikovits has published more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and before she entered the chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) world, her work had never been questioned.
In 2009 she shocked the scientific world by publishing evidence that a recently discovered retrovirus, XMRV, (xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) was found in 67% of a well-defined chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) population and only 3.7% of healthy controls. This research was later confirmed by Dr. Shyh-Ching Lo of the Food and Drug Administration of Dr. Harvey Alter of the National Institutes of Health. The findings of Lo and Alter were of a wider group of murine leukemia viruses which included XMRV, but the results were even more robust. In a different chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) group the rate of infection by these viruses was 86% and 6.6% among healthy controls.
In a different time, in a better world, these results would have been celebrated, and great efforts would have been expended trying to find how to help these patients. Instead of jubilation, the response of much of the scientific community was to attack her findings. In a discipline which prides itself on a sober, methodical approach, the reaction to her findings was a hysterical one, followed by research which dramatically departed from her methods and patient profiles.
It is interesting to note that the same Dr. Ian Lipkin of Columbia University who proclaimed the retroviral theory of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) to be dead in 2012, would quietly admit in 2013 that among a different group of chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) patients there was evidence of a retrovirus in 85% of those patients. But rather than boldly exploring that finding, Lipkin is choosing to study the abnormal pattern of inflammatory markers (chemokines and cytokines) that underlie this disorder only in the those without evidence of retroviral infection. This is also confirmation and validation of the work of Dr. Mikovits, as she presented evidence of an abnormal pattern of chemokines and cytokines in this disorder to an invitation-only meeting for twenty-four leading scientists at the National Institutes of Health which was held on July 22, 2009.
But Dr. Mikovits is no fading violet, content to fade into the background as more powerful men in the scientific community attempt to take credit for her work and marginalize a desperately ill patient population. Many have commented that Mikovits has a "quality of fierceness" that is rarely seen in scientists today. But even more remarkable is her compassion for patients struggling with cancer and diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and autism. She seeks out patients, befriends them, and listens to their stories in an attempt to understand their diseases. She believes this is the method of classical scientific investigation, formulating a scientific hypothesis based on information from those most intimately connected to a problem.
And she is fearless in a way that most of us associate only with heroes of the silver screen or figures of history living in a distant past. When she observed that among children born to women with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) there was an abnormally high rate of autism, a clear explanation of that disorder began to form in her mind. From her background in retrovirology and HIV/AIDS she knew that a retrovirus could be passed between mother and child. And she knew as every competent retrovirologist did, that the HIV retrovirus resided in the B and T cells of the immune system, and thus any stimulation of the immune system could break the delicate balance in which the immune system was controlling the retrovirus, and result in devastating consequences. One can go onto the HIV/AIDS web-page for the University of California-San Francisco and find the recommendation that a child born to an HIV-positive mother be put on anti-retrovirals prior to immunization, because to immunize a child without such precautions risks turning the HIV infection into full-blown AIDS.
The duty of a scientist is to seek the truth and alleviate human suffering. That has been the guiding principle of Dr. Mikovits' work since she was a young girl and watched her grandfather and step-father courageously battle cancer. And so when her research found that children with autism also tested positive for XMRV, it was only reasonable for her to state that this was consistent with parental observations of a change in their children following a vaccination.
After the barrage of attacks on her personal and professional reputation left so many questioning what was true and what was false, Dr. Mikovits decided to collaborate on a book about her work with Kent Heckenlively, a science teacher, attorney, and autism advocate. The book, "PLAGUE: One Scientist's Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism, and Other Diseases" struck a deep chord with GreenMedInfo founder, Sayer Ji, and he even wrote an endorsement for the back cover.
"PLAGUE is a book so revolutionary in its implications that its author courageously faced character assassination and unlawful incarceration to keep her findings from being relegated to the dustbin of medical history. Riveting, if not at times paradigm shifting, this book reveals a dark side to modern medicine that no one knows exists, but that everyone should."
Another reader, Aimee Doyle, was similarly moved and posted her review on Amazon. She wrote:
"This is an amazing book. I applaud Dr. Judy Mikovits's courage and her unstinting efforts to help individuals with ME/CFS. One thing I really like about her is that she actually listens to her patients, and their families, unlike so many doctors and scientists. She also deeply cares, which is a rare and precious thing. There are exceptions, of course, but I have wondered why the scientific community as a whole seems lacking in empathy for those who actually suffer from diseases. The possible connections between ME/CFS, XMRV, and autism are intriguing and worthy of further research. Co-author Kent Heckenlively does an excellent job of making the science understandable to a lay person such as myself. I learned a lot about the biases in "big science" and the implications are scary. The final chapter poses a very important question "whether any powerful group should be 'self-policing' without significant oversight from independent bodies." It's easy to become trapped in tunnel vision, which is why I think that it is always a good idea to take a step back, look at the big picture, and ask probing questions."
We so often lament the lack of courage in our political and scientific discourse that it can seem unbelievable when a person of true courage and integrity steps forward, speaks the truth, and faces the consequences. Dr. Mikovits has done all of these things and paid a heavy price. Those who think they have succeeded in keeping this information hidden may believe they have won.
But an oppressive system is at its weakest when it confronts a person who will not back down. The truth-teller forces the oppressive system to let slip its mask of reason and show the face of the beast that hides beneath it. That is why all of our stories tell the same tale; that of a hero seemingly struck down, but who comes back, possessed of what seems to be an almost supernatural strength to vanquish the evil-doers.
Yes, in a better world, Dr. Mikovits would already be heading up the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control, or the National Institutes of Health. There may have been a time when Dr. Mikovits longed to have her reputation redeemed so that she could continue her work among long-standing friends and colleagues. It's only human to want the world to return to the way you have known. But it was the system which needed redemption and her courage and sacrifice is but a midwife to a rebirth of true science.
GreenMedInfo is proud to stand with Dr. Mikovits in her quest for honest, unbiased science. We are confident that one day she will stand at the very pinnacle of science and her exploits will thrill the hearts of the young who want to follow in her footsteps. And we will be very proud to have played even a small role in that story.
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