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Research By The Various National Institutes Of Health

Part of your federal tax dollars go to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support a vast variety of research studies among a group of federal research agencies as well as NIH grants to medical centers and universities. NIH is a branch of the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services and NIH alone has some 18,000 employees. NIH coordinates research into health issues affecting the American public through 27 institutes, each devoted to research in a particular health area, plus other offices and centers.

The most familiar institute is the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which has the goals to develop techniques for curing cancers with valid treatments, was developed in 1937. NCI also seeks out solutions for managing those cancers that currently can’t be cured and researches the prevention of cancer. Another prominent research branch of NIH, called the National Institute of Mental Health, focuses the study of mental illnesses and basic research about the brain and human behavior.

Another part of NIH that has received significant coverage in the popular press is the National Human Genome Research Institute. Some years ago the race was on to analyze the structure of human DNA and this institute was established in 1989 to coordinate genetic research in the United States into both the structure of DNA and genetic diseases. Another recent addition to the research arena is the Office of AIDS Research, which is not yet an institute but instead is managed under the Office of the Director, as is the Office of Research on Women’s Health.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has been active in research into communicable diseases since 1948. This institute is the primary research arm for combating AIDS as well as other viral agents that occur throughout the world, performing basic research into vaccines that may be effective against bacteria and viruses. This institute is active in developing effective drug therapies as well. A great deal of research is being done into asthma, its causes, and effective treatments, especially for children.

The new institute National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering was formed in 2000. This institute promotes research in the areas of physics, computer sciences, mathematics and chemistry, along with engineering disciplines for the creations of new technologies that improve health.

Another recent member of NIH is the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Established in 1999, this center, not yet an institute, has the goal to explore alternative therapies through controlled studies and to train researchers on how to evaluate these alternative therapy techniques. Another NIH center that supports health training and conducts international research is the John E. Fogarty International Center.

These are only a sampling of the scores of NIH institutes, offices and centers. For lots of interesting information about all of The National Institute of Health~s programs, log onto

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