Thursday, July 25, 2013

Scheibenbogen, WTF?

Knops (from the Scheibenbogen/Charité group) wrote an promotionthanks Dr. Speedy for pointing us to it. However, I am underwhelmed:
1. Any explanation involving "oxidative stress" or "nitrosative stress"("oxidativer und/oder nitrosativer Stress") makes me wary. This type of explanation is fashionable here in Germany for some people, but I would not bet my life on it.

2. While they are citing these cellular "stresses" very prominently, the Knops/Scheibenbogen group did *not* themselves test anything in that area. They have no own data whatsoever for this nitro/ROS stress. They cite works of other people – people that I find dubious (to put it mildly).

3. They did not use any healthy controls!!!! They compared the results of their patients against the lab reference ranges!!! Seriously, WTF???? And of course they did not compare it with other diseases. How do these results compare to those from MS patients? Or arthritis? A small group of controls from other diseases would have been interesting. What a wasted chance.

4. Personally (mildly) interesting is the MCHC value (page 31) on the high side of the reference value that they did find (which coincides with my MCHC values that are consistent somewhere around 35.5 to 36). But this is not a result that is in anyway a slam dunk for "us".

5. The values that they report are difficult to reconstruct. They should have used plots comparing results for CFS patients with results from healthy controls. By how much are the MCHC values increased in CFS patients? I don't know, as they don't report it. I would not have accepted a study that makes such important things not clear (but then again nobody cares about what I have to say).

6. The immunology results (CD8, IL2, CD57-/CD8-, CD4, IL5) seem interesting. Whether these results can be reproduced in another group of CFS patients, nobody knows.

7. The same goes for the IG subgroup deficits.

8. The correllation between MCHC and the CD*/IL* results seems *very* interesting. But then again, how does this look for healthy controls? Or other diseases?
Furthermore, I would have added "healthy sedentary controls" (if there is actually such a thing – if someone is sedentary, that person is not healthy IMHO) .

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