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Criminal Charges Dropped Against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Researcher Judy Mikovits

Posted Jun 14 2012 5:04pm

Science Insider has been reporting on the research and, well, drama surrounding the idea that XMRV ( Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus ) and its proposed link to chronic fatigue syndrome.

XMRV has also been proposed as being linked to autism.

This research came out of the Whitemore Peterson Institute (WPI) and former WPI research Judy Mikovits .

There has been a lot of controversy over the research (for example, Science retracting one paper) as well as Ms. Mikovits. Judy Mikovits was let go from WPI and later charged with having materials removed from the institute. Charges around that have been dropped , but a civil case is still active.

Last November, the district attorney in Washoe County, Nevada, filed a criminal complaint against Mikovits that charged the virologist with illegally taking computer data and related property from her former employer, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI) in Reno, Nevada. In a separate civil court that month, WPI filed suit against Mikovits over her alleged possession of similar material, which included the laboratory notebooks she compiled while doing the CFS research.

On 11 June, the district attorney’s office for Washoe County filed a petition to dismiss the criminal charges against Mikovits without prejudice (which means they can file a related complaint in the future), a clerk to the Justice Court of Reno told ScienceInsider.

Ms. Mikovits joined the team of Ian Lipkin who is part of the multi-site team investigating the proposed XMRV/CFS link:

Mikovits told ScienceInsider that the only work she has been able to find has been collaborating on a large study funded by the National Institutes of Health that should be the final word on the otherwise dismissed theory that CFS is linked to a mouse retrovirus, XMRV, or its relatives. “Everyone who wanted to work with me was deterred by the threat of litigation,” Mikovits wrote in an e-mail.

The results of the large study, led by Ian Lipkin of Columbia University, are expected to be revealed in the next few weeks.

The proposed XMRV/autism link was made public before any scientific results were made available. However, two papers have been published since that news broke pointing away from an XMRV/autism link

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