NIH director Francis Collins wrote a new article in JAMA to sell the latest boondoggle of ‘precision medicine’.
Quite ironically, he made a strong case for his resignation from NIH and focusing on more productive activities (such as reading informative JAMA articles he failed to read).
Collins wrote the following text in the introduction -
As the worlds largest source of biomedical research funding, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been advancing understanding of health and disease for more than a century. Scientific and technological breakthroughs that have arisen from NIH-supported research account for many of the gains that the United States has seen in health and longevity.
For example, an infant born today in the United States can look forward to an average lifespan of about 79 yearsnearly 3 decades longer than one born in 1900.
The sense you get from the above text is that NIH helped greatly in improving life expectancy of Americans. The rest of the article suggests that NIH should be funded more to continue doing its great work.
But how is NIH doing under Collins? Let us see how much US life expectancy at birth improved since Collins joined NIH in 1993 to lead the human genome project. The answer comes from a figure in another important JAMA article Collins failed to read (“The Anatomy of Health Care in the United States”). We cannot access the original article, but the relevant figure is available from Incidental Economics blog.
As you can see, gap between the life expectancy of Americans and other OECD residents is increasing steadily ever since Collins started to lead HGP/NHGRI/NIH. USA is falling behind.
Since NIH claimed credit for gain in life expectancy since 1900, following the same logic, this is the clearest admission of failure of NIH under Francis Collins for over two decades.
Readers may also enjoy a good article written by Mike Eisen to call the bullshit of Francis Collins -