Tuesday, December 13, 2005

One last thought on the Al-Bayati report

This will be the last thing I say about Dr. Al-Bayati's report and the Eliza Jane Scovill case for a while. If something new comes up, certainly I'll think about addressing it, but there are only so many times and ways one can debunk the Al-Bayati "rebuttal" to the L.A. County Coroner's report without starting to bore people (although the sheer number of howlers that Dr. Al-Bayati included in his report did provide a lot of blogging material to handle them properly, not just for me, but for Trent as well).

It's time to move on.

But, before I do, in all the discussion of this case and the Al-Bayati "rebuttal" of the L.A. County Coroner's report, one question has continued to nag at me, and I thought I'd put it out there for consideration while I await the inevitable attacks that are likely to come my way because of my last couple of posts on this case.

Consider: Christine Maggiore, Dr. Al-Bayati, Dr. Maniotis, and certain bloggers clearly do not believe that HIV causes AIDS. They've said as much on multiple occasions, and Maggiore, Al-Bayati, and Maniotis all belong to a group founded by Maggiore dedicated to the concept that HIV isn't the primary cause of AIDS. Yet, despite this oft-stated belief, they've gone to great lengths to discredit the coroner's report concluding that EJ died of Pneumocystis pneumonia and HIV encephalitis. Maggiore even hired Dr. Al-Bayati as an "independent" investigator to bolster her case, and he produced a shoddy, pseudoscientific "rebuttal" to the coroner's report that was so transparent and so biased that it's hard to believe that anyone could take it seriously. Yet this same report is being trumpeted as "proof" that an anaphylactic reaction, not AIDS, killed EJ. That in itself isn't so odd, given the investigation of Maggiore that is in progress. What has struck me as odd since the beginning, at least in the context of his beliefs about HIV, is how Dr. Al-Bayati went about making his arguments. In the report, Dr. Al-Bayati harnessed enormous abuses of logic and evidence in the service of trying to "prove" that EJ didn't have HIV p24 protein in her brain, that the Pneumocystis carinii seen in her lung was incidental, and that she died of an anaphylactic reaction rather than AIDS.

So my question is: Why? From my perspective, implicit in the arguments used by Dr. Al-Bayati seems to be the assumption that, if the coroner were correct about the p24 protein and PCP, these findings would constitute evidence that EJ died of HIV/AIDS.

Think about it. These people don't accept the science that supports the hypothesis that HIV causes AIDS. So why don't they just argue that in rebuttal to the coroner's report? Why don't they simply say, "So what if there was HIV p24 protein detected in the brain? It means nothing because HIV dosn't cause AIDS." After all, Dr. Al-Bayati argues in his book that "HIV is a harmless virus in both the in vivo and the in vitro settings." So why didn't he just say that explicitly in his report and argue that the HIV protein found in EJ's brain was simply an incidental finding that couldn't possibly have had anything to do with her demise (because it's "harmless"), rather than going through so many contortions to "prove" that the finding of the p24 protein was due to nonspecific binding 0f the antibody used to do the stains?

Wouldn't that have been a more intellectually honest position to take if he wanted to rebut the coroner's conclusions about the cause of death? Isn't that what Dr. Al-Bayati really believes? Then why didn't he just make the best case that he could that the p24 protein found in EJ's brain and the Pneumocystis organisms found in her lungs were irrelevant because HIV doesn't cause AIDS? Why didn't he make his best case based on his real beliefs, as clearly stated in his book and elsewhere?

I suspect that we have an idea of what the answer to that question is.


ADDENDUM:

More reading, for those new to the case:
  1. HIV dissidents, continued
  2. Maggiore on Primetime Live
  3. Eliza Jane
  4. An HIV/AIDS "skeptic" questions my honesty and decency...
  5. More rebuttals of HIV/AIDS "skeptics"
  6. The Eliza Jane Scovill case on Primetime Live
And here's a good general article on why making a vaccine for HIV is so difficult.

3 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 12/13/2005 2:46 PM, Anonymous Luis Fernando Waib said...

He couldn´t be intellectually honest because it´s not [b] just [/b] about HIV but also about Pneumocystis infection.

I believe there were so many colorful points about AIDS in this case he couldn´t follow only one line to explain it. And there was a huge pressure for a result. What would you do if you were in his shoes?

Best regards and sorry for the lousy english,

Luis F Waib, MD, MSc
Mogi Mirim - Brazil

 

At 12/13/2005 7:04 PM, Anonymous Chris Noble said...

If you read the introduction to Al-Bayati's book he describes how he came to doubt that HIV causes AIDS.

My investigation also revealed an astonishing result: the majority of AIDS patients who participated in the four major Zidovudine (AZT) clinical trials were HIV-negative prior to their treatment with AZT. (45-8) These studies cumulated in the approval of AZT by the USA FDA to treat AIDS and aymptomatic HIV+ patients. Therefore, it is sadly ironic that the conclusions of these studies stating that AZT prolongs the lives of patients with AIDS or prevents the development of AIDS in asymptomatic HIV infected individuals are false. Briefly, a total of 2,349 patients participated in these studies, and at least 77% of them were HIV-negative prior to their treatment with AZT. HIV status of participants upon entrance to these studies are: 1) Fischl et al., 1987: 282 patients participated; HIV was isolated at entry from 160 patients (57 percent of the AZT group and 58 percent of the placebo group); 2) Fischl et al., 1990: 406 AIDS patients were treated with AZT but only 50 percent of these subjects had detectable serum levels of HIV antigen before treatment; 3) Volberding et al., 1990: 1338 subjects participated; only 117 patients (9%) had detectable levels of HIV p24 antigen at baseline; and 4) Hamilton et al., 1992: 321 AIDS patients received AZT but only 63 patients (20%) had detectable level of p24 antigen at base-line. The findings of these studies clearly demonstrate that AIDS in 77% of these patients was caused by agent(s) or processes other than HIV. Moreover, the treatment of very sick people with a very toxic drug, AZT was not beneficial.

The entry criteria for all studies involved testing positive for HIV on one or more antibody tests. All patients were HIV antibody positive. Al-Bayati makes a big deal of the fact that many patients did not have a sufficiently high viraemia that would be detectable with the early HIV p24 antigen tests. The early tests were much less sensitive than the nucleic acid viral load tests used today and even the p24 antigen tests.

Al-Bayati makes the giant leap of illogic to assert that patients that have tested positive on antibody tests but do not currently have a high viraemia are HIV negative. He conveniently fails to explain the patients that subsequently developed a detectable viraemia. Without any justification Al-Bayati favours the HHIV p24 antigen test over the antibody test. There is then some irony in Al-Bayati's rejection of the evidence for the detection of HIV p24 antigen in Eliza Jane's brain.

 

At 12/18/2005 4:44 PM, Anonymous HCN said...

Should anyone ever wonder what kind of damage these people do, concider what was written in this weeks Millenium Project at http://www.ratbags.com/rsoles/ ... It is about an email received at Ratbags from an HIV/AIDS educator, here is a snippet: "This is very personal for me because I had a client, mentally ill, HIV+ , homeless, and a recovering drug addict. Long story in a short version he was on the road to recovery then he read a dissident site at the library and bam stopped taking his meds had a break and ended up in jail, using and not on treatment for his HIV."

 

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