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Electrical device funded in-part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) helps paralyzed men move legs.

This first paragraph says it all:

LONDON (AP) — Three years ago, doctors reported that zapping a paralyzed man's spinal cord with electricity allowed him to stand and move his legs. Now they've done the same with three other patients, suggesting their original success was no fluke.
Sadly, medical breakthroughs such as this may become more rare in the near future, particularly if Republican-backed efforts to gut the NIH continues.  In the meantime, it's worth heralding this scientific achievement as an important medical milestone.  And while scientists caution that this discovery is by no means a "miracle cure", it is an important step forward, and one which "might eventually prove more effective than standard approaches, including medicines and physical therapy."

The above graph illustrates recent cuts to NIH's budget.

Originally posted to Dr Christopher Boerl on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 10:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Science is everything. (12+ / 0-)

    Anyone who opposes it is attacking the future and humanity itself.

    If we didn't have anti-science religious types slowing the train down, we'd probably have cybernetic eyes by now,  or at least be closer.

  •  It is the privatization of Science (16+ / 0-)

    If it doesn't turn a buck, it is not worth funding.

    I attended a forum on the future of our land grant universities. The Monsanto Global Plant Breeding Director got up and said one sentence:

    Since USDA funding is drying up, the universities should seek partnerships with private enterprise.
    It is the self-same Dark Ages thinking that pushes trade school training as a priority. The US of A did not become a premier nation by "educating" our children to become welders and hair dressers (altho those careers are good and honest ways of making a living).

    Basic Science research is sorely needed and needs to be funded by our society.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:05:45 AM PDT

    •  Great comment. nt (5+ / 0-)

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 12:21:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely Happens (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think it's fine for universities to team up with private industry, but that needs to only be a part of the research endeavor.  Purely academic research and government cooperation are both important, too.  It's key that universities get more than just a cut out of patent royalties.

      •  I think it is particularly true of our land grant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        universities which is an important part of our Commons. They did research for local farmers and gave it to them for free. Corporations are good at coopting public goods for private profit.

        Agriculture is key to how we will survive climate change. The agrochemical industry is a dead end according to the UN and many others while small scale farming is seen to be a great solution. However, industry will not fund that, so it becomes a large overarching direction that needs to be changed.

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 08:37:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Scientifically (3+ / 0-)

    your graph is a disaster, should never suppress the zero like that. :P

    Agree with the diary though.

  •  What on earth can a scientist do that can't be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    done better and cheaper by some political hack?

    We all know that opportunists and outright thieves are the only people that get anything done in America, and that nobody ever does anything for any reason beyond $.

    That was sarcasm, this is not. Get out while there is still time.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 11:40:28 AM PDT

  •  What we need to fund is your attendance (0+ / 0-)

    at this course. I heartily recommend it.

    •  I wasn't aware that presenting the Y axis (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      somehow made the graph deceiving. It seems pretty clear what the graph is stating. In fact, one could argue that the graph doesn't do a good enough job depicting the the extent of NIH cuts. After all, 26 and some change doesn't seem all that far from 31 and some change...that is until you realize that this drop constitutes a cut of nearly 20 percent.  That's a pretty big deal. I'm not sure about you, but I'd really have to cut back if my income was cut by that much.

      “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” -Albert Einstein

      by Dr Christopher Boerl on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:53:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't have a problem with criticisms of my work. (0+ / 0-)

      But in this case, I take issue with any claim that the data wasn't presented accurately.  

      “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” -Albert Einstein

      by Dr Christopher Boerl on Tue Apr 08, 2014 at 01:55:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Accurate is often misleading, and (3+ / 0-)

        an unsourced graph is just bad form, period. It appears you got it from here, or from wherever Mediaite got it. If you read the text that accompanies it, you know that the final data point does NOT reflect a cut to the NIH budget, but the number that Paul Ryan's budget called for.

        Your main point is that Republicans want to gut NIH funding. (At least I think that's your main point. It can't really be "science is good" can it?) Fair enough if you're just saying Republicans want to gut all nondefense discretionary spending. But you make the point in the specific case of NIH by leaving out nearly all the years of Bush II, during which there was a substantial increase in appropriations, and ignoring the fact that the President's own recent budget request for NIH recommends a peanut-sized increase.

        2000     17,840,587.00
        2001     20,458,556.00
        2002     23,321,382.00
        2003     27,166,715.00
        2004     28,036,627.00
        2005     28,594,357.00
        2006     28,560,417.00
        2007     29,178,504.00
        2008     29,607,070.00
        2009     30,545,098.00
        2010     31,238,000.00
        2011     30,916,345.00
        2012     30,860,913.00
        2013     29,315,822.00

        The last thing I want is to be in the position of defending Republicans. It may well be that the appropriations in the 2001-2009 years were higher than Bush wanted. It certainly may be that other science agencies like NSF & NASA were gutted, or skewed away from climate research, or whatever other nefarious meddling could be done. They've got a long history of anti-science nonsense going back to Golden Fleece awards.

        But the recent cuts you're emphasizing by your choice of Y-axis and your short timeframe are largely the sequester effects and secondarily some accounting changes like transfers to another agency, as explained in the footnotes to the NIH appropriations history.

        Who agreed to (and by many accounts suggested) the sequester again?

      •  Fox News (2+ / 0-)

        was just excoriated, and rightly so, for presenting a graph with a suppressed zero thus exaggerating the change from one point to the next. It would be unfair for us to take them to task, and ignore one of our own doing the same.

        I agree with your main point, that a 20% drop, heck even a 10% drop can be calamitous when grants are already stretched to the limit. We had to lose a productive scientist from our group because of the ~10% sequester across-the-board cuts over the last several years, which had a significant impact on our research. Science is sub-critical in many important research areas.

        But just about every scientific presentation course or lecture I've attend stresses that it's rarely ever a good idea to suppress the y-axis on a chart to exaggerate the appearance of change.

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