American taxpayers spend $30 billion annually funding biomedical research. By some estimates, half of the results from these studies can't be replicated elsewhere-the science is simply wrong. Often, research institutes and academia emphasize publishing results over getting the right answers, incentivizing poor experimental design, improper methods, and sloppy statistics. Bad science doesn't just hold back medical progress, it can sign the equivalent of a death sentence. How are those with breast cancer helped when the cell on which 900 papers are based turns out not to be a breast cancer cell at all? How effective could a new treatment for ALS be when it failed to cure even the mice it was initially tested on? In Rigor Mortis, award-winning science journalist Richard F. Harris reveals these urgent issues with vivid anecdotes, personal stories, and interviews with the nation's top biomedical researchers. We need to fix our dysfunctional biomedical system-now.
Richard Harris is one of the nation's most-celebrated science journalists, covering science, medicine, and the environment for twenty-nine years for NPR, and the three-time winner of the AAAS Science Journalism Award. He lives in Washington, DC.