The ‘April Surprise’

May 1, 2010

Posted by Cort Johnson

Dr. Peterson Leaves the Building (er Construction Site) – Our putative ‘April surprise’ turned out to be a real shocker. Six months prior to the WPI opening in its new facility the WPI announced that he was leaving the Medical Director’s position at the WPI and returning to practice at his clinic. Both parties have remained completely silent on the move – the WPI’s Facebook site posted something and then took it down and Dr. Peterson has not posted any more statements. (Transparency is not the order of the day this time ( :)).

Although the notice said Dr. Peterson’s ‘retirement’ from the Medical Director’s position was ‘planned’ there’s no indication that Dr. Peterson planned to dissociate himself from the WPI prior to the opening of the facility. Indeed there is no indication, as yet, that Dr. Peterson will be affiliated (other than having his name on the building) in any official capacity with the WPI in the future. Dr. Peterson stated he was proud to have been part of the creation of the WPI and the WPI acknowledged his many contributions to the field. Whatever the cause of the split Dr. Peterson wishes the WPI well, and the WPI wishes him well, and, for all our sakes, we wish them both well.

The WPI is beginning the search for a medical director to take over the position when it opens in the fall.

Does Dr. Peterson’s Leaving Effect XMRV? It doesn’t seem that it should. XMRV’s fate has essentially been out of the WPI’s hands since the publication of the Science Paper in Oct. As much as we talk and ponder about WPI we should remember that, for all the splash its made, its a small Research Institute with a small staff. The WPI started the XMRV ball rolling but has never had the capacity to decide its fate; that is in the hands of the other researchers that ended up picking up the ball. Dr. Peterson’s departure will have no effect on the ultimate fate of XMRV.

A May Surprise? - Not only didn’t we have the much anticipated ‘April Surprise’ but it’s now been 9 weeks since the last paper on ME/CFS. It took about 9 weeks after the Science Paper for that first validation study to appear and two more studies followed over the next six weeks. We’ve heard for at least a month that the CDC and Huber XMRV papers were in press and we believe the NCI is completing work on their paper as well. While April wasn’t ‘the cruelest month’ (aka Eliot) it wasn’t the most enlightening other. At some point these papers are going to come out and then we’ll have real news on XMRV.

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