NAS Studies and President Trump’s Address

I received this post from a friend:

This morning I received an email from the National Academies Press (see the URL, below) containing both the script of President Trump’s recent Joint Address to Congress and — interspersed at relevant locations — copies of various NRC reports from the National Academies containing information, data and recommendations about the many scientific, engineering and medical issues facing our country (and the world).

This is a perfect representation of the Academies’ primary mission — to serve the federal government by bringing unbiased (and carefully refereed) technical and analytical expertise and results to the nation’s decision-makers.  I thought you, and friends and colleagues, might be interested in this document.  Feel free to forward it to all and any.

Author: Mike Maltz

Michael D. Maltz is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice and of Information and Decision Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently an adjunct professor of sociology at the Ohio State University His formal training is in electrical engineering (BEE, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1959; MS & PhD Stanford University, 1961, 1963), and he spent seven years in that field. He then joined the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (now National Institute of Justice), where he became a criminologist of sorts. After three years with NIJ, he spent thirty years at the University of Illinois at Chicago, during which time he was a part-time Visiting Fellow at the US Bureau of Justice Statistics. Maltz is the author of Recidivism, coauthor of Mapping Crime in Its Community Setting, and coeditor of Envisioning Criminology.

3 thoughts on “NAS Studies and President Trump’s Address”

  1. The part about the FDA being an obstacle to our getting great cures for terrible diseases was typical conservative/libertarian claptrap.

    Most investigational drugs do not make it into pharmacies because most investigational drugs do not work. This is not because of bureaucrats at the FDA, but because of the sheer complexity of chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s. A number of promising Alzheimer drugs have been tested and have been shown to reduce the amount of amyloid plaque deposited in the brain, but these drugs have not restored cognitive function and have had to be abandoned for futility. There turns out to be more to dementia than just amyloid plaque. That is, it is biology, not bureaucracy, which stands in the way of wonderful new treatments being placed in the service of suffering patients and their families.

    Do not be surprised if Jim O’Neill is appointed soon as FDA commissioner; he is an adherent of that libertarian ideology that the market will decide which treatments are effective in the real world. In normal times, such an appointment would probably receive a reasonable amount of attention during at least one news cycle. But it will be overshadowed by whatever outrageous tweet comes forth from the White House. That is a problem for all of us.

  2. "the market will decide which treatments are effective in the real world. "

    It will, of course, but at a terrible cost. Information is not free.

    1. Because information is not free, the market will not necessarily decide which treatments are effective. Unless your definition of "effective" is strongly weighted to include profitability for manufacturers and healthcare providers. Anecdotal evidence and selective publication are way cheaper than effectively-coordinated citizen data-gathering. Especially for diseases, like Alzheimers, that can have a strong observer bias in reporting conditions.

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