It’s The Way Medical Science Is Done
I’m not at all surprised with the reluctance, even resistance with which the medical research community disregards virtually all of the Anavex story. It’s something learned as an undergraduate science major. First, just lots of stuff to learn. So be sure to learn the “right stuff,” the material from the “right people.” The entire enterprise is run and controlled by the right people (expert professors) who have all the right information (theirs).
Undergrad science majors learn early on how to play the game. Ask the right kinds of questions. Don’t bring in any sort of external, unaccepted, or questionable information. Stay focused on what is actually known (meaning, what the professor believes). Aberrant, controversial, or hazy information or concepts that are put forth by an undergrad jeopardize his standing with the instructor. Stay focused and confined to what’s known. That demonstrates one to be a real student.
Then, science students have to learn how to conduct valid research. Validity, by and large, is demonstrated by generating statistically significant data. Be sure to demonstrate that derived experimental data have no more than a one in twenty chance (0.05) of being caused by chance, not the tested factors.
In short, the formal training of scientists simply does not in any way promote out of the box, new, or innovative thinking. The whole game is to keep investigations narrowly confined to what is known or understood; merely to more accurately substantiate existing bodies of knowledge. To conduct exciting new research in new areas, with new ideas dramatically lessens the chances of yielding statistically significant data. With out of range P values, the findings, arbitrarily, can not be accepted. Yes, the results might actually be correct; some really new things might have been demonstrated. But, who knows? Dare not take a chance with it.
Those are the constraints of undergrads and grad students doing their own research. But it’s exactly the same for doctoral and post-doctoral research. There is throughout modern science a decided pressure to restrain research to what it known; merely to more thoroughly confirm it. The consideration and testing of innovative, novel, and untested ideas can be career-jeopardizing.
Dozens of MDs and PhDs have read all of the Anavex research papers I have; even understood them better than I could. Privately, they know full well that the data, both murine and human, are valid; that the Anavex sigma-1 receptor agonists will yield profound therapeutic outcomes.
Why, then, no generalized acceptance or recognition of Anavex? Not enough people yet know. It’s not yet shared, mutually understood knowledge. For a PhD to state to her colleagues that Anavex is really on to something would evoke looks of alarm or astonishment. “What do you mean? That can’t be true. No molecule can rejuvenate a dysfunctional neuron. Get real.”
Since Hippocrates in the 4th century BCE medicine has always resisted new understandings. Of all the sciences, medical science has always been the most reluctant to change or accept new knowledge. “Nope, that’s not what my med school professor taught me; can’t be true. Alzheimer’s can’t be treated or prevented; period.”