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Category archives for Science policy

Back from a vegetative state

FromMind Hacks: We’ve reported before on brain imaging research that shows brain activity in those in a ‘persistent vegetative state’. What I didn’t know until today was that one subject in this research, Kate, has since woken up. This YouTube video tells Kate’s story: Sometimes firm ground proves to be slippery.

Is this working? Jefrey Mervis brings the word from Science ($): U.S. students using educational software do no better learning primary school math and first-year algebra than their counterparts who follow a traditional curriculum. That’s the conclusion of a new federally funded study that is loaded with caveats about what it means for students, educators,…

Philip Dawdy takes a interesting look at a new study of the safety of placebo arms in clinical trials of antidepressants in teens. My own quick scan of the study [which Dawdy makes available as pdf download] suggests it’s full of great nuggets. Its take-home: Placebo treatments produced remission rates of 48%, while the rate…

I noted earlier that Harold Varmus, Obama’s key science advisor, was on the Daily Show, but after viewing again the clip of his short appearance I thought it should get its own little show here. Varmus is everything you’d want as a public face to science — immensely accomplished but amiable and everyday as could…

I’m having difficulty even reading, much less posting about, the river of stories about pharma and device industries, FDA regs, conflicts of interest, and so on. But I’ll take a stab here at spotlighting the main events and making some sense of where this is headed. For I don’t think it’s just coincidence that brings…

Ezra Klein gives the short whodat on Kathleen Sebelius, the Kansas governor who will be Obama’s health and human services secretary. Sebelius’s tenure as insurance commissioner in Kansas seems to have been both successful and fairly quiet: She is not defined by the battles and struggles of that period. She was not at the center…

A roundup of wonderful stuff I won’t get to. Then again, many of these need no help: “Come tomorrow and sort this hell hole out. Dinner and drinks, 4 p.m. Bring wine and caviar only.”. Woman emails party invitations while asleep. Hat tip: BoingBoing Obviously, the drug and medical device industry is not looking forward…

Angell on drug money: Just say No

Marcia Angell makes it plain: The fact that drug companies pay prescribers to be “educated” underscores the true nature of the transaction. Students generally pay teachers, not the reverse. The real intent is to influence prescribing habits, through selection of the information provided and through the warm feelings induced by bribery. Prescribers join in the…

Check this very scary projection of what current trends in health-care spending will mean for our economy: a growing weight that will account for half of GDP by 2082: Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director, shows that slide in his standard talk on what’s wrong with our budget. It shows why, as Ezra Klein puts it,…

Pharma giant Pfizer got bigger on Monday, purchasing Wyeth Pharamceuticals for $65 billion in one of the few big business moves to get funding lately. This comes after several years of aggressive cost-cutting and huge layoffs at Pfizer, and was announced as the company released an annual report revealing a $2.3 billion settlement for offl-label…