Earlier we were discussing whether research can be influened by commerce and outside interests.
If anyone is interested, here is a fascinating video (make some popcorn, it's long) on Vioxx and how the FDA is pressured into approving drugs before their safety and efficacy is determined.
To err is human:To forgive, canine."
Thanks, I'll watch this. This is a huge topic. You bet the FDA is pressured all the time. Policy making is inherently political, and science is not immune to it by any stretch of the imagination. There is an entire discipline (social studies of science) devoted to understanding how this happens. (This has been heavily studied with human nutrition, the food pyramid and all that.)
Where I get off the bus, however, is with some of the holistic and alternative advocates who believe that because science can be and often is politicized, that ALL science is ALL political ALL the time, and that there is a huge conspiracy to keep the American public sick and poor (Dr. Mercola, HIV denialists, the extreme wing of the anti-vaccination lobby).
It's difficult. There are lots of potentially really valuable things (like the raw diet) that you aren't likely to see a lot of studies on, because there isn't a lot of money at the end of that rainbow for food manufacturers. (Processing is where the money is, so you can take $0.10 of corn and sell it as $10 of cereal.) And university funding for such studies isn't likely to be forthcoming either. But without these studies, it's pretty hard to overcome the bias against holistic food and remedies as merely anecdotal, a religion, a bunch of pot-smoking hippie nonsense, etc. I wish I had $10 billion so I could fund those studies!
ETA: Oh, dear, it's Gary Null. HIV/AIDS denier, conspiracist, seller of expensive unproven remedies for just about everything. I'll still watch it on the logic that even a broken clock is right twice a day. But do be aware that some of his beliefs are dangerous. http://dir.salon.com/story/books/fea...ull/index.html
What I would much rather see the holistic field do is disavow the conspiracists like Null and Mercola, and build an army of interested patients who learn the science and take on the drug companies. Gay Men's Health Crisis and ACT-UP did this brilliantly in the 1980s and 1990s to confront the shameful inaction in the face of AIDS; dog people with science backgrounds could do the same to build a network of lay experts in nutrition and physiology, etc.