Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Will Science Go the Way of Journalism?

journalism_no_more Seth Roberts:

If the parallels between science and journalism hold up, we should eventually see a big restructuring of science — especially health science — that resembles the changes in journalism now happening. Dennis Mangan, who works at a blood bank, has shown that Restless Leg Syndrome can be due to niacin deficiency. No one ever found two causes of scurvy so it is likely that all cases of RLS are due to not enough niacin. So long, expensive drugs for RLS! The poor health of Americans pays for a lot of not-very-useful health science. When that health improves, that pool of money will shrink. Just as when people became better informed (by the Web), the pool of money available to pay journalists began to shrink.

Read the whole thing.

The only thing that would make me hesitant to 100% agree with Seth is, in contrast to journalism, much of health-related research is government funded.  It’s hard to see that pool of money shrinking anytime soon… even if it gets to the point that it should.


thinking said...

These anecdotes where someone's home remedy ends up working does not mean that the standard type of research has no value, or will be replaced.

The RLS story is nice, but it's just anecdotal evidence.

It would be nice to think of people conjuring up their own cures involving items as simple as vitamins for all types of medical problems, but that's not realistic.

Examine all types of advancements in medical science and you will see a need for deep, technical, expensive medical research.

thinking said...

As a followup, I'll take the NIH over the "DoctorYourself.com" site, which is where Seth Roberts got his story.

I'll bet the NIH saves far more lives and improves health far for the populace than "DoctorYourself.com" ever does.