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A bit of a reflection, a bit of a rant...is it time to just walk away from our incubment scholarly institutions and start again?
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Deepak Singh's profile photoHeather Morrison's profile photoGary Johnson's profile photoMatthew Todd's profile photo
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Perhaps medical "science" needs to be more of a science.
 
Replicability, relevance to people, affordability of treatment - those should be among the top priorities for medical research, not getting brownie points for publishing in a high impact factor journal.
 
Aren't you conflating two rather different things, though? The science versus therapy thing sort of mirrors the split between engineers and physicists. When you want to learn to build a better bridge you don't want to waste years on some abstract solid-state physics; but if you really want to understand the nature of material properties you can't restrict yourself to the particular issues around building construction.

The difference here is that we have separate names for it: engineering on one hand, and physics on the other. But for medical research, bot therapeutic development and basic science are both called the same. That creates a lot of tension and unmeetable expectations on any activity in the field. We can't expect all or most medical research to add to our undrestanding of disease; neither can we expect all or most of it to lead directly to any new treatments. It'd be really beneficial for all If we could split these two strands by name somehow.
 
I think the question should be framed as "how do we make science relevant for disease and patients?". I would argue that given how science has evolved in recent years, that does require a rethink of the current institutions
 
Yes, and that in fact "disease" is much more complex than many top-ranked papers would have you believe, i.e. that there is no such thing as a "disease" but rather a "disease-patient interaction." So to follow the analogy, you can understand physics and build the bridge, but it turns out the bridge you build is the wrong size for lots of vehicles, and some people would rather walk or take a boat. So you're pleased at building the bridge on one level, but unexpectedly only a few people care.
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