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Jan 15, 2006 (Vol. 26, No. 2)

National Museum of American History

  • Strong emotional impact
  • Site not focused on science
I had the pleasure this past summer of visiting the National Museum of American History for the first time. I'm happy to report on at least one aspect of that organization's site. For those of you who have been there, the National Museum of American History offers a combination of pop culture with some very serious stuff. One of the more serious (at least sobering) aspects of the museum's offerings is the section entitled "Whatever Happened to Polio?" The museum's exhibit (and accompanying Web site) effectively conveys the dreadful nature of this disease, the race to find a vaccine to treat it, and the triumph of scientists who found the cure. Sadly, the prevalence of this disease in spite of the technological advances to eradicate it reminds us that without political leadership, we cannot hope to eliminate diseases, even when we have safe and effective treatments.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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