Vol. 5, Issue 1, March 6, 2007
Americans Frustrated With Lack of Cure for Death
Despite over a century of concerted effort, the medical community is no closer to solving the biggest threat to human life extant, commonly known as 'death'.
"It is extremely frustrating that this condition remains extremely prevalent even in nations with the most advanced medical technology," said Brian Baxter, who heads the Americans Defying Death (ADD) lobbying organization. "Frankly, we are disappointing the expectations of the American public, and I'm not sure how much longer voters will stand for the lack of progress in this critical area of medical research."
Death is a condition which afflicts nearly everyone at some point or another. It is characterized by a cessation of bodily functions and consciousness. Typically, the condition is fatal. However, despite the enormous prevalence of this disease, there is very little research being conducted on developing a cure.
"If you look at research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, they tend to focus on lesser diseases," said Baxter. "Diabetes, leukemia - not even AIDS has the mortality rate to match death. So why does our government continue to fund work on these conditions? I think it's a question of institutional bias and warped priorities."
The NIH has countered that there is plenty of interest in addressing the problem of death, but that it is a very complex condition which defies current methodology.
"As you know, death is a highly mutable condition," said Gerry Aster, associate director of the grants and contracts office at the NIH. "So far, we have not seen a convincing proposal for any treatment plan that will adequately protect patients from mortality vectors ranging from cancer to a bowling ball on the head." Adding to the problem is the fact that participants in any study on an anti-death treatment could run unacceptably high risks of dying.
Despite the logistical challenges, some independent researchers are starting to investigate the question on their own. Americans Defying Death provided an estimated $56 million in funding last year to three research programs investigating cures for death, and plans to award nearly double the amount in the coming fiscal year.
"By taking risks that the NIH won't take, we've been able to make some important strides," said Baxter. "We've found a very promising treatment that does well against several important vectors for death, such as influenza, strangulation by Ukrainian assassins, and choking on a pretzel. However, we haven't yet found a serum that protects adequately against all of these symptoms and blunt force trauma as well." He insists that they will continue to fund research that expands the range of deadly afflictions until they achieve a universal antidote, or possibly a vaccine.
"We'll lick this thing," promised Baxter. "I will see this through or die trying. Oh, wait..."