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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Report Seeks Boost for Surgical Research
15 June 2011 2:55 pm
Scientists almost always think they need more money for research, so a report today from England's Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) isn't a big surprise in that regard. It predictably calls for additional funding of surgical research. Still, it makes some compelling points. Titled From Theory to Theatre: Overcoming barriers to innovation in surgery the report argues that spending on surgical research in the United Kingdom is pitiful: the two big medical research funders in the country devoted just $41 million to surgical work in 2008-2009, out of a nearly $2.5 billion budget. Only 11 surgical trials got U.K. funding in 2009.
Surgical research can be ethically fraught and expensive, two reasons why it might get short shrift. Furthermore, the report argues, the surgical culture "is not always conducive to supporting research, with surgeons themselves not always acting as effective advocates for, or champions of, surgical research and evidence-based surgery"—that's arguably a delicate way of saying that surgeons favor their own pet techniques and aren't interested in modifying them.
Surgical trials have made some headway in the United States, particularly to test cutting-edge science: whether gastric bypass surgery can cure diabetes, for example, or whether fetuses with serious health conditions can be helped by surgery before birth.
RCS suggests that one way to improve things on its side of the pond is to get surgeons participating in research during their training, and making research activities a factor in hiring. The report also notes that some major funders stipulate that grantees devote 60% to 80% of their time to research, a commitment that the RCS argues is not realistic for many surgeons. The report calls for funders to therefore be more flexible in their grant requirements.