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Alternative Medicine

Congratulations on the publication of the Commentary by Dimitri Viza (The Scientist, 12[18]:8, Sept. 14, 1998). His comments are pertinent and powerful. However, I believe that he fails to give sufficient emphasis to why research is performed in the first place. Surely there must be some individuals who are driven by a need to answer a question that they believe is of overwhelming significance, such as, "How can the ability of organisms to learn be improved?" or "What is the basis of altruist

George Spaeth

Congratulations on the publication of the Commentary by Dimitri Viza (The Scientist, 12[18]:8, Sept. 14, 1998). His comments are pertinent and powerful. However, I believe that he fails to give sufficient emphasis to why research is performed in the first place. Surely there must be some individuals who are driven by a need to answer a question that they believe is of overwhelming significance, such as, "How can the ability of organisms to learn be improved?" or "What is the basis of altruistic behavior?" But, by and large, subjects are selected to be studied because funds are available for that project, and, as the old saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune. Until there is a fundamental change in the way research is supported, the important questions raised by Dr. Viza will not be addressed. The change, of course, is supporting the investigators, not the...

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