On Monday, President Obama made a fundamental change in policy. In a speech delivered at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, Obama said the U.S. will begin to reinvest in science and technology.
A half century ago, this nation made a commitment to lead the world in scientific and technological innovation; to invest in education, in research, in engineering; to set a goal of reaching space and engaging every citizen in that historic mission. That was the high water mark of America’s investment in research and development. And since then our investments have steadily declined as a share of our national income. As a result, other countries are now beginning to pull ahead in the pursuit of this generation’s great discoveries.
He set a goal that will put investment in science in technology to levels not seen since JFK made the then-audacious claim in 1962 that man would walk on the moon by the end of the decade.
I’m here today to set this goal: We will devote more than 3 percent of our GDP to research and development. We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and improve education in math and science…. This represents the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history.
This new plan also includes renewed focus on science education, including an additional $5 billion for the Secretary of Education’s Race to the Top program and improved funding for graduate and post-graduate training.
“Minerva” is the name of a project announced earlier this year by the once and future US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, to have the Pentagon fund social science research in support of the American “War on Terror.” (Minerva was the ancient Roman goddess of wisdom. Hegel once pessimistically declared that “The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.” That is, we only achieve wisdom once it is too late.) Continue reading US Military Funds Social Science (again)
American psychiatry and government drug oversight bodies came under attack again this week when a panel of federal drug experts concluded that “powerful antipsychotic medicines are being used far too cavalierly in children, and federal drug regulators must do more to warn doctors of their substantial risks.”
The New York Times article about the panel’s report noted that:
More than 389,000 children and teenagers were treated last year with Risperdal, one of five popular medicines known as atypical antipsychotics. Of those patients, 240,000 were 12 or younger, according to data presented to the committee. In many cases, the drug was prescribed to treat attention deficit disorders. Continue reading Anti-psychotic Drugs, Kids, Gov’t (and Money)
This item comes more from the category of history-in-the-making, rather than history proper.
The New York Times has just published an article on just how extensive the financial ties are between the pharmaceutical industry and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). According to the article, nearly 1/3 of the APA’s budget comes directly from the pharmaceutical industry, in the form of journal ads, convention exhibits, and the sponsoring of fellowships, conferences, and symposia. Continue reading Psychiatry, Pharmaceutical Funding, and Congress
The blog Mind Hacks has an interesting item on US state governments that are now suing major pharmaceutical manufacturers for allegedly misleading advertising campaigns in support of the new generation of atypical antipsychotic medications. The new drugs were billed as being more effective and as having fewer side-effects than the “old” (typical?) antipsychotics (Thorazine, Haldol, Lithium, etc.), However, atypicals are much more expensive than their older counterparts, in no small part because the patents on the older drugs have long-since expired allowing makers of generic drugs to produce cheaper copies. Continue reading US States Sue Atypical Anti-Psychotic Producers