April 25, 2012
Neglect of the Basic Sciences in Medicine
Ever since reading this blog by Tom Ross, I have been looking for something to either confirm or refute this. All correspondence with my sources has confirmed what he states in his blog. Most articles that I have found seem to confirm what he stated as well. This article in the Lancet also confirms the basics in his blog. It approaches the topic from a different perspective, but is damaging in its statements.
What is unsaid is as important as the statements made. I may not be right, but I perceive the shortage of funding being the result of the type of studies Tom blogs about and people disbursing these funds of being more careful to not support research that yields fake or falsified results. In a way, these unscrupulous researchers are penalizing good researchers.
An example of this is described in this article and happened when an untimely article on Alzheimer's disease was published and later came under question. This happens, but since our own government-sanctioned research, (the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has no appeals process, her research request was denied and done. This systematically erosion of the basic medical sciences means that they are being neglected and this marginalization will have damaging effects on clinical care in the decades to come.
These studies that never prove out and cannot be duplicated by other researchers is turning the screws down tighter on the basic medical sciences and will make researchers leave the field for more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. This in turn will make drug development more expensive or prohibitive for the pharmaceutical industry.
Even big industries cannot continue to fund research when they cannot duplicate fabricated research results.
I will dare to say that researchers that present these falsified results need to face severe criminal consequences and be made to repay the grants used under false pretenses. Something needs to happen to restore the faith in our medical (and even food and nutrition) research.
There are many faults in our current system of medical research, but the scoundrels are creating other problems because both government and other research charities are determined to concentrate their funding in larger organizations where accountability is managed and false research is stopped sooner or may even be prevented. This will deplete research funding at many university medical research centers and thus curtail even commercial development by these universities.
This is a sad state of affairs for all basic medical research and creates future problems for retaining new medical researchers in the field.