Recent events have brought into question whether scientific research conducted for profit is more likely to produce results that are favorable to the company’s financial interests. These studies often depend upon funding from corporations, so it is important to consider how much influence these companies may have over the findings of the study they fund.
Studies show that pharmaceutical companies spend around ten million dollars per drug on marketing alone! That is without factoring in promotional costs such as TV advertisements or direct mailing pieces.
Furthermore, most major medical organizations accept significant donations and/or free drugs from industry representatives, which again help promote use of their product.
These powerful sponsorships can easily sway professional opinions about health benefits or dangers of certain treatments. It also creates an incentive to emphasize the value of the sponsor’s products instead of highlighting negative effects.
Government agencies are not immune to this problem either. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives heavy criticism for its close ties to the food and drug industries.
The FDA seems particularly susceptible to pressure due to its position as protector of public health. Many say that conflicts of interest prevent officials from acting with complete impartiality when reviewing potential new medicines and devices.
Politics and science
Recent events have made it very clear that how much political influence there is in what gets published, funded or ignored in academia is a major problem. It has also become apparent that some academic fields are totally politicized.
Academics are professionals who work hard to produce original research and spread knowledge through publications and presentations. They depend on funding from institutions like universities and independent sources such as private individuals to maintain their careers.
When someone outside of academia tries to contribute money for studies or surveys, they can face significant resistance. Political interference in scientific study design and data collection is extremely widespread and even illegal in some countries.
It’s important to note that not every researcher experiences this type of intimidation, but enough do that it does add an extra layer of difficulty to doing professional work.
Political pressure can also affect which questions get asked and what data gets collected. For example, researchers may be discouraged from asking about racial discrimination because of fears of being labeled racist.
There have been many examples reported in the media of politicians trying to censor information or use underhanded methods to distort the results of clinical trials and other studies.
In fact, one recent investigation revealed that over half of all medical studies done in America are completely fraudulent.
Corruption in science
Recent events have shed light onto some of the ways that the government controls scientific research. In October, The Guardian published an article titled “Cash for academic papers: Universities paid thousands to writers who ghost-wrote student essays.”
The article described how several universities hired writing services that paired students with professional writers to produce low quality content.
Some of these writers were even paid per paper they completed to ensure only one writer was assigned to each essay. This resulted in many of the same people producing multiple similar essays for different schools.
These fraudulent writing service providers used fake or non-existent academics as references to justify their expensive services. Some wrote their own vague general statements instead of being asked about a specific topic like a book or movie.
It is important to note that although this article focused on cheating through paying writers to create plagiarized material, there are other types of corruption within academia.
Such as professors requiring large amounts of money to give you grades or giving weaker students higher scores to preserve their place in the hierarchy.
A clinical trial is an important way to make sure that new health strategies work. It’s what we refer to as a controlled experiment, where one group of people are given the intervention (in this case, a particular diet or exercise program) and they see if it works better than a placebo — a harmless fake treatment – usually a routine test like taking a nutritional supplement for one week.
A placebo can be a real drug, like a vitamin pill, or a simple sugar tablet with no medicine in it. Sometimes there is a prescription medication that patients are already using that contains placebos so you take less of it!
By comparing how well each group does on the therapy in question with a second measure such as a nutrition questionnaire or survey, we can determine whether the active ingredient made any difference to the patient. This analysis is called efficacy testing. If both groups do not change at the same rate then we know the intervention was effective.
Clinical research helps us find best treatments for disease and/or wellness programs for healthy individuals. Because effectiveness tests are done under controlled conditions, they help ensure that even though one group has their own medical history, other things they were doing, etc., these factors do not affect the results.
Disclaimer: As with anything related to healthcare, there is always some risk in trying new therapies out. People who have allergies or sensitivities to certain medications may still benefit from them.
Results that matter
The more important the research, the greater likelihood there will be public funding to conduct it. Even if researchers are funded by private sources, they may still need government permission to pursue their studies.
As mentioned earlier, scientific research can include anything from studying how to improve your health through nutrition or exercise, to researching new technology or pharmaceutical drugs. These are all valuable projects, but only some get enough money to pay for themselves via findings that help people in other ways.
So what happens to those that don’t? They must find another source of income, which is why publishing research that looks good is very popular.
It is common for scientists to keep information about unsuccessful experiments and ideas to use as “materials” for future studies. This way, they have an internal motivation to continue trying to make things work because they want to add to their collection.
However, this also means that even well-intentioned attempts to prove one theory over another may go unpublished due to no interest from others in their field. It could also hurt someone’s chances of being hired for a job since employers look at past achievements when hiring.
Recent events have brought into focus how the government controls scientific research. In fact, it seems like they control almost every aspect of our daily lives!
We see this all the time; studies proving what we already know to be true are ignored or discredited even as they gather steam.
This is bad for society because most times these truths could lead to new ways to treat and/or prevent disease, improved technology, etc.
It is also costly for companies that want to market products using false information or misinformation about their product.
On top of all of that, you now have an election where one candidate promises to go after “the media” while openly stating his intention to use fear to gain power.
How to read a study
There are several ways that the government regulates scientific research. Some of these regulation methods have been around for quite some time, while others only came into effect in the past few years.
Some of these regulations focus on specific studies or areas of research, whereas other legislation is more broad or covers all studies. Some regulate certain types of research, whilst others limit the type of researcher that can be employed on a project.
All of these regulatory schemes aim to protect the public from harmful or ineffective health treatments. By requiring proof before new therapies can enter the market, regulators ensure that any intervention has been tested thoroughly and works!
General requirements to conduct clinical trials apply not just to pharmaceuticals but also diet supplements, medical devices and procedures. These include having adequate funding, ethical approval by an ethics committee, informed consent, and proper recording and reporting of results.
One of the most important ways that the government controls scientific research is through the use of scientific methodology. This process requires researchers to be systematic, logical, and clear in their approach to gathering information and proving theories.
As we have seen so far in this article, scientific research can become corrupted when researchers are not properly trained in methodological standards. In addition to training about experimental design, statistical analysis, and other fundamentals of science, scientists must also know how to evaluate the quality of evidence being used to prove or disprove hypotheses.
There are several different types of studies that play an integral part in shaping our understanding of the world around us. It is essential for scientists to differentiate between strong and weak study designs before they begin testing their hypotheses.
Scientific method comes down to three basic components: observation, experimentation, and reasoning. All sciences incorporate some form of these three components into their theory building processes, but it is particularly crucial in biology because living things cannot directly tell us what they want!
That is why biologists rely heavily on studying patterns and behaviors to infer what something wants or needs. By observing natural occurrences over time, we can determine whether those events occur more frequently than random chance alone would predict.
By conducting experiments to test your hypothesis, you can either support or refute the truth of your claim. For example, if your hypothesis claims that eating berries will help prevent tumors, then you should conduct an experiment to see if this is true.
The influence of the media
As we have seen, the government has an enormous amount of power to control what goes into our food, how much radiation we are exposed to, and even whether or not you can get certain vaccinations.
However, one area that gets overlooked when talking about scientific research is the role the media plays in shaping public opinion.
The media not only covers stories, they also publish misleading information and hype up controversial topics to gain attention.
This article will talk more in-depth about some examples of how the media influences people’s beliefs around scientific issues.