The Price We Pay – Lily D.

“Scientist often face a starch choice: they can do what’s best for medical advancement by adhering to the rigorous standards of science, or they can do what they perceive is necessary to maintain a career in the hypercompetitive environment of academic research.” (page # 3)All though this sounds horrible, it makes sense. I think that it is very sad that they have to make this decision, because most scientists just want to help people.


Before I started to read this book I thought it would just talk about the mysterious ways that scientists lie, not specifically how those lies affect us. “American taxpayers contribute more than $30 billion a year to fund the National Institute of Health… the average american household spends $900 a year to support biomedical studies.” (page # 2) I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money that we spend for scientist to lie about the results of their research. Another thing that is concerning is that our advancements in the medical treatments and knowledge are slowing down.

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“By Casadevall’s reckoning, medical researchers made much more progress between 1950 and 1980 than they did in the following three decades.” (page # 17) This is very concerning because you would think with the advancement of technology we should be making more advancements. Because of the scientist not recording / reporting the information they gathered properly it is setting other people’s investigations back because the scientist work off of others findings, “ Begley said one of the studies he couldn’t reproduce has been cited more than 2,000 times by other researchers, who have been building on or at least referring to it, without actually validating the underlying research.” (page # 13) I understand that maybe those scientists should of checked, but I think that if you are in a scientific community you should be able to trust each other and their findings.

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As Alex S. was saying in her post Never-ending Corners how you do not get a lot of funding or recognition on checking others work I think that their should be. As it mentions in the book, and Alex mentions in her blog post scientist often just get one good result and don’t try to do it again or dig deeper to make sure it is correct. I think that we should hire scientist to check others work before they post about it. Even though this sounds pretty extreme we do need to bring forth more of the rigor in science. We need to be able to make more advancements in treatments such as ones for cancer and alzheimer’s. “ Consider the development of blood-pressure drugs, chemotherapy, organ transplants, and other technologies. Thoes all appeared in the decades before 1980.” (page #17-18).


In all through reading just the first chapter and introduction in Richard Harris’s book I realize that the scientific research community is not as trustworthy as I once thought it was. Even through just this first chapter I have started to understand that there is a very big problem with lying in biomedical research. I hope through reading this book and learning more about research next year I can better understand this problem and possible ways to help prevent it from happening in the future.


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