Who's Voting for Your Health?

Baby boomers and their children may suffer more from potentially curable diseases and even die earlier than their parents.
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Michael J. Fox gave the opening address at the first World Parkinson Congress held in Washington, D.C. last week. He spoke with passion, not so much about his battle with Parkinson's Disease, but about frustrating efforts to move medical research closer to a cure. "I did a search on PubMed, and there were 15,000 citations about Parkinson's over the last seven years," Fox said. "But I'm not tying my tie any faster."

Baby boomers may have lived the good life compared to their parents, but, surprisingly, if we don't assure otherwise, they and their children may suffer more from potentially curable diseases and even die earlier. Hard to believe, but not at all out of the realm of possibility as so many diseases like PD and certain forms of cancer are striking earlier just as government money for research is being cut. No one wants to hear this, and fewer want it to be true. But I have PD and have had cancer(a double whammy for sure). Had I not endeavored to find out exactly what goes on behind the scenes and by whom my medical decisions are influenced, I wouldn't be writing this blog today. With all the lies and obfuscation we've come to expect and even accept latley, you might give some thought to doing the same.

As if in some twisted consort with a government more concerned about the moment life begins in a cluster of cells than whether it prematurely ends, the same giant pharmaceutical companies that bring hope often slow or block the development of new medications or promising research avenues to protect their profits or develop redundant medications. Michael J. Fox said, "We don't need another agonist" - yet another of the same types of medication we already have. We need a cure. We need connections among researchers, not divisions born of competing funding sources. More of the "same science as usual," he said, "will not get us where we want to go."

While we're rightly attacking corruption that undermines liberty and justice in government on Huffingtonpost and with our votes, we should also be taking a hard look at medical slights-of-hand undermining our Constitutionally guaranteed right to life. If we don't find out exactly where our senators and congressional representatives stand with regard to our health and the kinds of trade-offs and compromises they're making to please a particular voter block or to curry favor with a pharmaceutical giant, we place our lives and those of the people we love in jeopardy. Some day we may indeed wish we had asked hard questions - sent e-mails to senators (or a copy of this blog) to ask where they stand, for example, on current stem cell legislation and, more specifically, how they'll vote and what if any other promising pipeline research they'll block as a trade-off. Fail to do this and you, your parent, child, sibling or friend may one day learn that tying a tie a little faster can indeed be just too much to ask.

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