Document Type

Editorial and Commentary

Publication Date



The idea of abolishing or simplifying government regulations has a large following in Washington at the moment. As Reagan and his minions start to prune the growth of the past twenty years, we must hope that they are able to distinguish between the healthy growth which provides needed support and the unnecessary growth which strangles necessary initiatives. However, there is one area where we need more regulation rather than less, namely, biomedical research. In calling for more regulation in biomedical research, I do not mean the imposition of outside controls by allegedly ignorant and insensitive bureaucrats (although I think some outside control is unfortunately necessary), but rather the control which scientists themselves are meant to exercise over their work. I am calling for more attention to the regulation and control of experimental variables, such control being ever more important as the questions asked probe deeper and deeper into the subtle workings of biological systems.