Patient-led advocacy has created a shift in the way the U.S. government prioritizes money for medical research and has significantly changed the way policymakers think about who benefits the most from these dollars, according to the recently released study from the University of Michigan.
In “Disease Politics and Medical Research Funding: Three Ways Advocacy Shapes Policy,” researcher Rachel Kahn Best analyzed data on 53 diseases over a 19-year period from 1989 to 2007.
Best found that diseases tied to strong advocacy organizations received millions of dollars more in research funding over the period than others whose advocates were not as strong, according to a news release.
She also found an increasing number of these organizations, from about 400 large nonprofits working on disease advocacy in the early 1990s to more than 1,000 by 2003.
Two things from the study that stuck out to me:
“Increases in the number of nonprofits and lobbying expenditures are both significantly associated with increases in research funding, with each $1,000 spent on lobbying associated with a $25,000 increase in research funds the following year.”
Stigmatized diseases received less funding in the new political climate. I document this pattern by tracking funding for lung cancer and liver cancer. Both cancers have potentially stigmatized risk factors (smoking for lung cancer; hepatitis infection and alcohol consumption for liver cancer). Year after year, both diseases received smaller funding increases than would have been predicted based on mortality.
From time to time, I look on Google Trends to see what search terms are popular among Oklahomans, especially in the realm of health.
This one stood out to me today: Since school has started, “Adderall” has been a growing Google search trend among residents in Oklahoma.
As you can see, throughout the month of September, there’s been a rise in interest in searching Adderall.
It could just be a coincidence, but it is interesting to see the time periods that searching for Adderall increases.
Below, I’ve posted a chart that shows trends in searching “Adderall” over the past year. Around the time that various Oklahoma university have their finals weeks, you’ll see there was an increase — from Dec. 11 to Dec. 17, 2011, and from April 29 to May 5 of this year. Those are both right around finals week.
Adderall is a drug prescribed to people who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some people abuse it, in an attempt to stay awake for long hours. According to this article, a good chunk of young adults are thought to abuse it:
Adderall is abused mostly by college students and young adults. Estimates are that somewhere between 20-30 percent of college students regularly abuse Adderall …
It’s important to note the side effects of Adderall abuse:
Side effects are numerous. Some are minor, some serious, and some very serious. Most users have no clue as to negative side effects and usually don’t care. Ignorance, we suppose, is bliss. The most important and most negative side-effect is the overdose. Overdose with Adderall is nasty. Results include Cardiac and/or pulmonary arrest, death, severe and lasting mental effects/defects. Which one happens to you is a matter of chance.
As an aside, Google Trends notes that “adderall side effects” is a related search term when someone is searching the term “Adderall.”
Growing up, eating dinner with my parents was a very normal thing. My parents were such good cooks that, frequently, my friends came over to have dinner with us.
Research published recently through the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University shows that my parents did me a favor by making these family dinners a routine part of life.
Researchers at CASA found that, compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are:
• Almost three times likelier to say, “it’s okay for teens my age to use marijuana;”
• Three and a half times likelier to say, “it’s okay for teens my age to get drunk;” and
• Twice as likely to say that they expect to try drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs without a prescription to get high) in the future.
You can read more about the study by visiting this link.
Did you grow up having dinner with your parents? Let me know. I would be interested to learn about your experience.
The Affordable Care Act will be the topic of discussion next week during a panel at the University of Oklahoma. The discussion is titled “Preparing for Health Care Reform after the Supreme Court Decision.”
- Gary Raskob, OU College of Public Health dean
- Dr. Robert Roswell, Senior Associate Dean & Professor, OU College of Medicine
- Val Schott, Chief Executive Officer, Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust
The panel will start at noon Wednesday at the OU College of Public Health, 801 NE 13th St., in room 150.
I’m going to venture to guess you don’t have time to read hundreds of pages of policy, so I would recommend visiting FactCheck.org’s site and reading up on some of its articles about health care. To find out more about health care reform specific to Oklahoma, visit our health care coverage page.