George W Bush has made it clear that during his administration science should be producing tangible benefits for society. In simple terms, the culture has had to shift from a very basic science oriented approach inherited from the freewheeling 90’s to an applied focus now. Often what that means is that the same scientists who were on top of basic research for so many years have to give lip service to clinical studies and trials.
A good example came out right before halloween. Here is a hodge podge of quotes from neuroscientists who study fear in the brain.
The first comes from Stephen Maren of Michigan, who is a reputable and good scientist.
“We’re making a lot of progress,” said University of Michigan psychology professor Stephen Maren. “We’re taking all of what we learned from the basic studies of animals and bringing that into the clinical practices that help people. Things are starting to come together in a very important way.”
The translation is: “Please don’t cut my funding. Look this is all going to pan out clinically in a couple of years, we promise!”
That being said, some progress is being made in this field…so, uh, don’t cut NIH funding!