The US biomedical research industry is a huge enterprise which continues to drive our economy while improving public health and personal well being. Much of this industry is funded by the federal government through the National Institutes of Health. When it comes down to it, this industry is about people, hired by the taxpayer to do some good. These are the stories of a few of those people.
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*I take IACUC and IRB approval of research studies quite seriously and they are essential to the
protection of animal and human research subjects, respectively. The issue of dumb little unscientific
(read, not validated against various biases, screened for untoward harm to participants) internet polls
is very much a gray area. From what I can tell, there is a great deal of variance in the way local IRBs
deal with these sorts of things and there is always a question as to whether such polls should fall under "research" or not. I have actually gone so far as to get an initial read from my IRB in real life and have received the opinion that IRB consideration is not necessary for this sort of polling
activity (and for that matter blogging activity).