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  1. #1
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Economics, disability and research funding for disease.

    The National Institutes of Health (USA) which is the largest medical research organisation in the world is often representative of the levels of research funding in the west.

    A concise list of funding vs disease is here:
    http://report.nih.gov/rcdc/categories/

    Now most people when questioned, probably expect that in general, levels of funding will be proportional to economic costs, DALYs (Disability-life-adjusted-years - accounts for disability and early death).

    Except that in a number of notable cases they aren't. HIV-AIDS for example received many times more funding than other diseases compared to the economic costs in the USA.
    But that is not the real problem. There are a few diseases which are under-researched by a factor of 10-60 times when comparing the economic costs based on studies in the literature and the amount of NIH funding.
    Example of such a study: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/con...3/596.abstract
    edit - I would consider Diabetes to be on par in terms of funding, excluding HIV-AIDS which is off the charts... I was referring to different diseases when suggesting they are underfunded.

    I wonder if you guys know (or are willing to find out) which diseases they are and for what reasons do you think they are under-funded?
    Last edited by Octarine; 03-07-2011 at 03:49 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    I think the essential problem is that some diseases (particularly those which the entertainment industry and news media choose to concentrate on-remember the West Nile virus?) are simply more 'trendy' than others. And while 'there's no accounting for tastes', I think the popularity of AIDS funding can be partially explained by its celebrity victims and the fact that it comes about (in the United States) largely as the result of irresponsibly casual sex, which lots of people either engage in or wish that they did. As for why diabetes and the like are underfunded? I suppose its because familarity breeds neglect; most people know someone with diabetes who seems to be leading a decent life, and erroneously conclude that its not a big problem.

  3. #3
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Completely clueless on how decisions are made about which disease gets more or less funding.

    So, a straight out my ass guess, it might be based on mortality rates, quality of life of its victims post contraction, communicable nature factoring in the possibility of an epidemic and if it's endemic or not, potential for a lucrative recouping of research and development costs of a cure as viewed on an international scale, the ick quality of the disease as viewed by public perception since sex sells.

  4. #4
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenaphor View Post
    So, a straight out my ass guess, it might be based on mortality rates, quality of life of its victims post contraction, communicable nature factoring in the possibility of an epidemic and if it's endemic or not, potential for a lucrative recouping of research and development costs of a cure as viewed on an international scale, the ick quality of the disease as viewed by public perception since sex sells.
    The decision making process themselves are (in my opinion) arbitrary and poorly controlled. So 'cluelessness' is actually widespread even amongst those involved in planning budgets.

    I think early mortality rates is a big one. Quality of life doesn't seem to play nearly as much of a role as you'd expect. I think the big one is whether the average person thinks they are at risk or not. This is why genetic diseases in general are under-funded compared to cancer, diabetes, heart/lung diseases, obesity etc.
    Another big factor is whether the person with the disease is well enough to advocate for themselves or not! Many ill people are in effect invisible due to their illnesses and lack political representation for that reason.


    Diseases like autism cause a major hit to both the economy and quality of life, yet are substantially under-funded compared to diabetes. But Autism is still far from the most under-funded.

    Even if you don't want to double check with the published literature in terms of economic costs, you guys might still want to have a look at the NIH list and have a guess on which you think are under-funded.

  5. #5
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    So, few of you care what is being done to help the less fortunate? It figures.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    So, few of you care what is being done to help the less fortunate? It figures.
    You should employ me to help research these diseases

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