Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Government is Finally Taking Prostate Health Seriously.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the hub of American health research. Each year, the NIH invests more than $27 billion in research. The NIH divides that money into about 50,000 grants which fund research by over 200,000 scientists at almost 3,000 institutions. In other words, this is not just a government-run institution, it’s a major player in world health research.

This is why I was so excited to see a Program Announcement (PA) from the NIH relating to age-related prostate growth. The NIH is actively seeking research projects which can help to shed some light onto the serious problem of prostate health, and is particularly interested in addressing some big unanswered questions. For example, why do African American men face a greater risk of prostate cancer, but not a greater risk of BPH? If we find the answer to this, then we are much closer to finding the answer to the deeper questions. What is the relationship between prostate cancer and BPH? Why does the prostate start growing again after puberty? There are many more prostate-related questions like this which nobody has ever answered before.

Interested in this research are several sub-bodies of the NIH, such as the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kindey Disease (NIDDK), and even the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). This is a big deal. We have known for decades that prostate growth is a major problem for men as they age. Finally, a government body which is responsible for health research is showing some concern.

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