The manner in which we as a country have been attacking the cancer problem is not working. Cancer still takes kids from their families on a daily, weekly and yearly basis and the incidence rates are not lessening. That is unacceptable.
We know that examining the human brain is essential for neurological disorders like Alzheimer's, but it is also key for vision diseases like macular degeneration, a major cause of visual impairment in the United States.
The Supreme Court's decision about today's case will either extend or crimp the capacity of patients, doctors, researchers and other biotechnology firms, to use information about the human body to detect and treat other illnesses in the future.
I can't say, on the basis of evidence, that NIH is misdirecting vast fortunes from where they could do the most good within our lifetimes. But I certainly do believe it. What I can say is that biomedical research dollars are subject to the same myopia that tends to dominate our personal lives.
Freud knew we could not fully understand the biology of the brain, and consequently, his approach was more art than science. Now, science is getting closer to creating the holistic puzzle to help scientist solve pervasive challenges for brain health.
The sequestration will devastate US science research for decades by freezing American ideas while the rest of the world moves forward and gaps in the innovation pipeline would cost billions of dollars and hurt the national economy for decades.
We often equate knowledge with power: The more we know, the better we are able to make decisions. Unfortunately, there are cases where ignorance really may be bliss, and Alzheimer's isn't the only one.
Federal funding for research is neither a gift nor a handout to scientists. Instead, it is an investment that pays dividends many times over to the American taxpayer. Will our elected leaders cut the very programs that provide greatest benefit both now and into the future?
Hanging on to a bit more of our money might sound good until the day of reckoning, whenever and however it arrives, when our flight is ending and our landing becomes salient. At that point, we are apt to find ourselves wishing for... a pool.
With the election over, America is facing a fiscal cliff that could impact everything the government does. Meanwhile, somewhere in America, in the next minute (and roughly every minute after that) another American will get Alzheimer's or dementia.
While we need to celebrate the success stories in medical research that allow us to carry on our lives, we have more work to do. We must ensure that we continue to have a robust flow of scientific discoveries that we can then translate into better health.
Early in his administration, Obama launched the Educate to Innovate campaign to help move U.S. students from mediocre ratings internationally in science and math achievement to the head of the class during the next decade.