The Institute for Scientific Analysis (ISA) is pleased to report the award of a NIH Challenge Grant, September 2009. These grants stress innovation and are expected to have “a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and /or public health”. Awarded to Dr. Kaye M. Fillmore, the spirit of the award fits well into the path-breaking and innovative research characterizing the ISA since 1968— a tradition exploring the very boundaries of drug and alcohol use.
Dr. Fillmore’s research brings to the institute’s honored tradition an epidemiological approach. She will investigate probable systematic error and other features of epidemiological research that can keep the research community from solidly concluding the validity of associations between alcohol use and disease incidence. The work will contribute to an evidentiary basis for clinical practice and international guidelines, and inform the general public. Left undetected and uncorrected, systematic error in these studies will substantially undermine the quality and accuracy of public health policy. This could lead to the potential dissemination of misleading information. The public health significance of this is not trivial, especially for common conditions such as heart diseases and cancer. This was highlighted recently by the 2007 World Health Organization’s expert committee on the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Noting Dr. Fillmore and colleagues work showing that past consensus regarding alcohol’s cardio-protective effect had been overstated, the committee revised their guidelines.
Dr Fillmore and colleagues utilize a cross-study, multiple disease focus, bringing to the area of alcohol use and disease outcome, substantial health policy implications to inform public debate.