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Critical shortage of physician-scientists

America is facing a major roadblock to medical progress. For the speedy translation of promising scientific discoveries into patient treatment, we need a special breed of medical researchers who are trained to ask clinically relevant questions in a health research environment. It's these individuals who transform clinical observations into research studies and eventual medical advances.

Sit ‘n Spit: NIH spearheads salivary diagnostics research

The National Institutes of Health is partnering research on new saliva tests offering multiple and rapid analysis of salivary secretions for use at home and in the dentist's office, calling for "more sensitive assays" useful in fighting terrorism or war. Oral fluids recently have shown "great diagnostic potential" in a variety of clinical situations, for detection of HIV and monitoring drug use (see the Spectrum Series report on saliva). But progress on this front hasn't always kept pace with expectations. Now, says the NIH, the technology is ripe and the time at hand for simultaneous multi-analyte detection of markers for disease and exposure to environmental, occupational or abusive substances including agents dispersed by bioterrorists.

U.S. gov’t targets autoimmune diseases in new research push

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson has announced the release of a comprehensive research plan from HHS' National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fight autoimmune diseases, a collection of disorders including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis that affect an estimated 14 to 22 million Americans. The plan will foster research to identify genetic, environmental and infectious causes of autoimmune diseases and to develop new treatments and prevention strategies.

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