nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cutting The Budget For Medical Research? Not Really.

I was irritated when I read an article that was saying it was outrageous to cut medical research in an effort to bring over-spending under control.

Whatever you think about governmental spending increases, good or bad, isn't my concern here.  I want to point out how superficial arguments will be used by politicians and the media to influence your opinion.

Government medical research funding was expanded greatly last year.  In some areas, funds increased by 50% or more.  This is huge for a one year increase.

Take a hypothetical example  (all notional numbers);  if last year an agency (like the National Insitutes of Health) received a funding increase of 20% over 2009, then cutting their increased funding by half leaves them ahead of the game by 10% over the last two years.

Or to be more concrete, let's say NIH funding increased from $300 million in 2008 to $500 million in 2009.  To say that a 20% cut, back to $400 million is "outrageous"  doesn't meet the sniff test.

Despite being a "cut" it's still a major increase in funding over the two year period.

I'm all for medical research, but when people try to misuse numbers to make their case, the public loses trust.

Doc D

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