New book sheds light on conflicts of politics and science

December 26, 2007

NEW YORK (Dec. 26, 2007) -- From stem cell research to needle exchanges to medical marijuana and HIV/AIDS prevention, politics is getting in the way of science, according to a new book by a leading authority on health-care policy and women's health issues at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"Truth, Lies, and Public Health: How We Are Affected When Science and Politics Collide" (Praeger Press, 2007) is authored by Dr. Madelon Finkel, professor of clinical public health, director of the Office of Global Health Education and director of Cornell Analytics Consulting Services (CACS) at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"While political activists and the government can bring much-needed attention and money to a public health problem, politics can also poison science," says Dr. Finkel. "Over the last two decades, politics and ideology have increasingly hijacked and distorted science to serve its own purposes -- often ignoring incontrovertible evidence and preventing much-needed policies to improve public health."

The new book looks at how ideology affects research funding and explores the evolution of public health policies on contraception, AIDS, stem cell research, medical marijuana, needle exchanges, tuberculosis control, dietary supplements, silicone breast implants, obesity, vaccination and disease prevention.
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Weill Cornell Medical College

Weill Cornell Medical College -- Cornell University's Medical School located in New York City -- is committed to excellence in research, teaching, patient care and the advancement of the art and science of medicine, locally, nationally and globally. Weill Cornell, which is a principal academic affiliate of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, offers an innovative curriculum that integrates the teaching of basic and clinical sciences, problem-based learning, office-based preceptorships, and primary care and doctoring courses. Physicians and scientists of Weill Cornell Medical College are engaged in cutting-edge research in such areas as stem cells, genetics and gene therapy, geriatrics, neuroscience, structural biology, cardiovascular medicine, infectious disease, obesity, cancer, psychiatry and public health -- and continue to delve ever deeper into the molecular basis of disease in an effort to unlock the mysteries behind the human body and the malfunctions that result in serious medical disorders. The Medical College -- in its commitment to global health and education -- has a strong presence in such places as Qatar, Tanzania, Haiti, Brazil, Austria and Turkey. With the historic Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, the Medical School is the first in the U.S. to offer its M.D. degree overseas. Weill Cornell is the birthplace of many medical advances -- from the development of the Pap test for cervical cancer to the synthesis of penicillin, the first successful embryo-biopsy pregnancy and birth in the U.S., the first clinical trial for gene therapy for Parkinson's disease, the first indication of bone marrow's critical role in tumor growth, and, most recently, the world's first successful use of deep brain stimulation to treat a minimally-conscious brain-injured patient. For more information, visit www.med.cornell.edu.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center

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