Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wasting Your Tax Dollars In The Name of Science

Our governments on all levels have an incredible ability to waste our tax dollars, especially when ideology and plain stupidity get mixed up. This is exactly what happened with The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which was created out of someone "beliefs" and not a sound science. The center continues to waste our money on studies and alternative therapies that have no basis in reality and keep returning negative results.
It is nice to see that a respected journalist Trine Tsouderos, in a major news outlet such as Chicago Tribune, takes a hard and critical look at the Center:
Thanks to a $374,000 taxpayer-funded grant, we now know that inhaling lemon and lavender scents doesn't do a lot for our ability to heal a wound. With $666,000 in federal research money, scientists examined whether distant prayer could heal AIDS. It could not.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine also helped pay scientists to study whether squirting brewed coffee into someone's intestines can help treat pancreatic cancer (a $406,000 grant) and whether massage makes people with advanced cancer feel better ($1.25 million). The coffee enemas did not help. The massage did.
Federal center pays good money for suspect medicine

This is our tax dollars at work, and while the amount might be insignificant in a large scheme of things, this money would be better used for a real research that could, one day, help someone live a little bit longer. David Gorski of Science-Based Medicine put it nicely:
"We have to be good stewards of public money for science," said Gorski, the cancer researcher. "I don't view NCCAM as being a good steward of our public money at the moment. Even if they are doing rigorous science, they are still looking at incredibly implausible things."