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Now, and in the Future

Inadequate funding for the US National Institutes of Health hurts not only the health of the current generation of Americans, but also that of future citizens, as researchers scramble to get their work funded, writes Claire Pomeroy, the president of the Lasker Foundation, in an opinion piece posted at Forbes.

The NIH, as Pomeroy says, has lost nearly a quarter of its purchasing power during the past 10 years, and researchers, especially new investigators, are facing difficulties getting grants. Researchers under the age of 36 receive half as many grants as researchers over the age of 65, she says. In addition, many new investigators are choosing to leave research altogether as they watch their mentors struggle to fund their work.

Pomeroy adds that this has implications for future generations of scientists as one generation trains the next, and if people are leaving the field, there will be fewer mentors available, as well as fewer studies conducted, hurting the health of the country now and in the future.

"We are at a time of immense potential for developing new treatments and therapies for cancer, Alzheimer's, and other diseases that could mark a watershed moment in medical research," Pomeroy writes. "But this will happen only if labs stay open and the work of our best and brightest scientists is funded."