A Danish autism researcher allegedly bought a home, a Harley, a Honda and other items by fraudulently billing a CDC grant program for more than $1 million, federal prosecutors said today. Prosecutors said this afternoon that a federal grand jury had indicted Poul Thorsen, 49, on 13 counts of wire fraud and nine counts of money laundering in connection with the scheme.
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Dr. Elizabeth Unger has been named to run the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s branch researching chronic fatigue syndrome, a move greeted with skepticism by CFS advocacy groups. She replaces her longtime boss, Dr. William C. Reeves, whose insistence on seeking a psychological explanation for CFS had enraged patient and medical groups that believe the cause is biological.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — under a spotlight again for conflicting research on chronic fatigue syndrome — have extended the search for a scientist to lead research into the disorder. The Atlanta-based agency is looking for someone to take over a branch that, critics say, has resisted and ridiculed outside research that suggesting a correlation between chronic fatigue syndrome and the XMRV retrovirus.
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The Atlanta-based CDC has reassigned its chief researcher into chronic fatigue syndrome, a longtime target of patient advocacy groups around the country. Outside researchers last fall reported a strong correlation between chronic fatigue syndrome and a retrovirus related to HIV. The CDC’s research, led by Dr. William C. Reeves, had no role in that study, and Reeves was dismissive of its findings.
Every two years, U.S. high school students answer questions in a CDC-sponsored survey that helps guide policy on sex education and teen pregnancy. But not in Georgia. The omission impedes public health officials trying to lower some of the nation’s highest teen-pregnancy rates, says advocate Michele Ozumba. It’s “a huge gap,” she says. “To do effective prevention, you have to have solid information.”
Dr. Howard Frumkin, the embattled director of a little-known but important division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been reassigned to a position with less authority, a smaller staff and a lower budget. For the past two years he had endured scathing criticism from Congress and the media for the CDC’s poor handling of public health problems created by the formaldehyde-contaminated trailers that the government provided to Hurricane Katrina victims.
Looks like the CDC’s chronic fatigue syndrome research group, led by Dr. William C. Reeves, may have some ‘splaining to do today in Washington. A possible research breakthrough — the discovery of a correlation between CFS and a retrovirus related to the AIDS virus — has fired up the medical community in recent weeks. “This is going to create an avalanche of subsequent studies,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told the New York Times this month. But will the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention play a role in that research? It hasn’t so far.