The 10 Most Popular Research!America Blog Posts of 2016

Izzy Okparanta

As 2016 comes to a close, we’re taking a look back at our 10 most popular blog posts (based on page views) for the year! The posts cover a wide range of topics including basic and clinical research, public health, mental health and the 21st Century Cures legislation. We thank our distinguished group of guest bloggers including young researchers, academics, industry experts, public health professionals, and patient advocates who are united in their support for stronger investments in research and innovation to combat diseases and build a safer, healthier nation.

1) NIH Plan to Expedite Lupus Treatments and Cures

January 29: In our most-read post of the year, Sandra C. Raymond, president & CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America, wrote about the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s report, Action Plan for Lupus Research. “Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat. Increased support for lupus research is vital for improving the quality of life for all people affected by the disease.” Read our top blog post here.

2) Improving Quality of Life for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease

May 19: Our second most viewed blog post comes from Sarah-Jo Stimpson, M.D., a clinical fellow in pediatric hematology/oncology at Vanderbilt University’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital, and Michael R. DeBaun, M.D., MPH, a professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and Director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease at Vanderbilt University. They wrote about vaso-occlusive pain associated with menstruation in sickle cell disease. Read more here.

3) A World without Disease — Are We Ready for a Paradigm Shift from Treatment to Prevention and Disease Interception?

June 9: Research!America board members Dr. Keith Yamamoto, executive vice dean of the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and Dr. William N. Hait, global head of Research and Development of Janssen, the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, discussed the science and policy implications of the concept of immorbidity during a session at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s International Conference. Read more here.

4) What Doesn’t Kill You, May Reduce Your Quality Of Life — Quickly

April 22: Glenn Leppo, CEO of Leppo Group, Inc., an equipment rental and sales company, wrote about his personal struggle with Parkinson’s disease after being diagnosed in his late 40s. “We need to provide more funding for researchers who are advancing science to slow the progression of, and ultimately cure Parkinson’s.” Read more here.

5) The Fight for Cures Now

August 4: This blog post was written by rare disease advocate Shira Rose who described the importance of the 21st Century Cures bill, which is now law, and the OPEN Act, which proposed giving bio pharmaceutical companies incentives to make off-label medication on-label for rare disease patients. The OPEN Act was dropped from the Senate’s final version of the Cures bill. Read more here.

6) Public Health and Health Care Professionals Prevent Health Impacts of Disasters

November 16: This guest blog post from Nicole Lurie, M.D., MSPH, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discussed the role of public health professionals in disaster preparedness. “My agency, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), stood up after Hurricane Katrina to serve as the unique focal point for public health and health care sectors to tackle the complex health impacts that accompany disasters.” Read more here.

7) A Discussion on Health Inequities with Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck

November 22: This Q&A post featuring LaMar Hasbrouck, M.D., MPH, Executive Director of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), focused on social determinants of health and health inequities. “Right now, overall, the continuous deterioration of the public sector also weakens the ‘social immune system’ in cities: the infrastructure of schools, water systems, electrical grids, public transportation and so forth required for a thriving community. Inequities in the U.S. are higher than at any time since before the Great Depression.” Read more here.

8) Mental Illness: The Scourge of Our Time

October 5: Research!America board member Herbert Pardes, M.D, President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of New York-Presbyterian, discussed the need to raise awareness and funding to address mental illness and substance abuse. Read more here.

9) Basic Research of the Brain Unlocks Myriad Discoveries and Gives Us A Path toward New Treatments

August 1: Bill Martin, Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Research and Development at BlackThorn Therapeutics and Chair of SfN’s Government and Public Affairs Committee, described how basic research deepens our knowledge of various neurological and psychiatric conditions. “The only way to foster the scientific breakthroughs needed to alleviate that suffering is with strong, consistent and reliable public funding of biomedical research.” Read more here.

10) Extraordinary Payoff from Investment in Basic Research on Weird Viruses

August 8: David A. Sanders, associate professor in Purdue University’s Department of Biological Sciences, highlighted the role of basic scientific research in understanding  cell growth, human development, genetics, and evolution. “A century of basic scientific research on retroviruses was required for the current advances in cancer and HIV prevention, diagnosis, and treatment and gene therapy to be achieved.” Read more here.

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Without continued support for health research, many of the most promising young scientists, their ideas and a myriad of potentially life-changing scientific breakthroughs will vanish into oblivion.
Paul Marinec, PhD; University of California San Francisco