Below the Line

An article at Pacific Standard says that the doubling of the US National Institutes of Health budget has essentially been undone.

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The way spending is laid out

The way spending is laid out here is a bit misleading. The facts are, the NIH budget did double during the 90s from $7,576,352 in 1990 to $15,629,156 in 1999 but it continued to grow to $29,178,504 (87%) in the Bush years until 2007. It was then that the budget began to stagnate and has grown only to %30,860,913 (2012) or a total of 6% over 5 years.
I know many would want to blame Bush or the House Republicans, but blame can go all around. If either the dems or reps had a bill on the table today to grow NIH, they would do gladly do it... but since they cant agree on much else, they now choose to let the sequester rule, preferring to live with arbitrary and bad spending priorities rather than fix the problem.


As with all institutional

As with all institutional response to stress, its the unenfranchised that bear the brunt of cutbacks. Even when flush, the NIH steadily adopted a large-lab support model - actually funding fewer labs although its budget was exploding.

The lack of diversity began as a willful strategy, favoring massive genome sequencing, e.g. Crying that diversity is compromised due to cutbacks is disingenuous. Bust up a dozen megalabs and distribute the monies - we'd all benefit.

The problems with NIH is that

The problems with NIH is that investments of billions of dollars failed to translate to improvement of national health standing in general. Autism prevalence among children this year is 1 out of 50 and takes epidemic proportion, according to recent congressional hearings. Recently, FDA has asked 23andMe to put aside its medical interpretations of the genotyping results they acquire for the lack of practical utility or potential danger of data gross misinterpretation, the decision with which I absolutely agree (except for the carrier status testing part). These predictions are more or less a fortune telling for the domain of complex diseases, after two decades of active research. I have put my ideas on improvement the situation in form of a paper draft