Research Means Hope (also on Facebook), a coalition seeking sustained growth in NIH funding and other federal support for biomedical research, has developed a nice Web portal for communicating your concern over the NIH FY10 budget appropriation with your Congressional delegation. In addition to formatting both electronic and print letters to your House and Senate representatives, the Web form provides a canned letter body, suggests factoids for customizing your letter, and encourages you to add personal anecdotes. I’m sure your favorite professional society likewise has such a form letter available as well.
Of course, just in time for this process, a new report in PNAS whose “analysis shows consistent non-linear temporal correlations of funding to mortality rates across diseases” and, as summarized by Nature News, suggests that the past 50 years of NIH funding have “helped to avert up to 1.35 million deaths per year from four chronic diseases: cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.”
Now, given the nature of the paper, the funding citation for this work is, unfortunately, incorrect. The PNAS footnote refers to simply AG01159 –31 (no mechanism prefix), which RePORTER identifies as R01AG011595 (Blood Pressure, Cognitive Function & MRI in Older Adults), which seems to have limped along after only 6 years of funding on no-cost extensions from 1994 until 2003 under the direction of Iris Goldstein at UCLA. However, slipping in an extra “0” after the IC abbreviation returns the correct long-standing award to the lead author, Kenneth Manton: R01AG001159, Demographic Study of Multiple Causes of Death (funded through March 31, 2009 with a supplement last year and no doubt a pending competitive renewal (no A1s or A2s in the entire history – impressive).