National Institutes of Health – One of Our Best Kept Secrets
By Congressman Mike Simpson
(Photo L to R: Francis Collins, Director, National
Human Genome Research Institute; Pat Grady, Director,
National Institute of Nursing Research; Roger Glass,
Director, Fogarty International Center; Congressman
Mike Simpson, Chairman, Oral Health Caucus;
Dr.Ting-Kai Li, Director, National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism and Congressman David Obey,
Chairman, House Appropriations Committee).
“The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is our country’s primary agency for conducting and supporting medical research. NIH scientists investigate ways to prevent disease, research the causes of disease and look for better and more effective treatments and cures for everything from heart disease and stroke to cancer, AIDS, and sudden infant death syndrome.
“A few weeks ago, I joined the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee on a tour of NIH to learn more about the exciting and groundbreaking research NIH is doing to improve the health and quality of life for all Americans. Here are just a few examples of some of the exciting research they are doing there:
“These are just a few of examples of the exciting research that is occurring at NIH everyday. I encourage you to learn more about National Institutes of Health and how research they are doing can improve your health and quality of life by visiting www.nih.gov.”
- Salivary Diagnostics – Today, getting tested for diseases such as diabetes or having a pregnancy test require making a trip to the doctor’s office to get your blood drawn or to provide a urine sample. At NIH, scientists have identified genes and protein in the salivary glands to detect diseases such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes. Soon, it will be possible to use saliva to detect various conditions and diseases, making painful needle sticks no longer necessary.
- Heart Disease – In the 1960s, it was common for Americans to die of heart attacks in their 50s and 60s. Today, through medical research, scientists have learned the common risk factors for heart disease to help prevent the disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise. In addition, they have found ways to control blood pressure through medication. Now, instead of waiting until they need open heart surgery, people are taking action to prevent heart attacks through lifestyle, diet and medicine.
- Cancer – NIH Scientists have already developed vaccines to help protect against some forms of liver cancer and cervical cancers and are evaluating several more cancer vaccines. Imagine a world in which a vaccine was available to prevent cancer! While we are a long way from that goal, advances in research are putting us closer everyday.