Acronym Acrimony; November 2001; Scientific American Magazine; by Brenda Goodman; 1 Page(s)
What's in a name, the Bard asked. We thought about titling this story "SMART" (See My Article? Read This!), "WISE" (Writing Inside Smartest Ever) or "FUNNY" (Fine Use of Nouns and No Yawns). The struggle to strike a balance between an eye-catching, memorable name and a suggestive sales pitch is becoming a topic of debate in medical research, too. Scientists and ethicists are raising eyebrows over what they say is a shift in the way sobriquets are used for clinical trials, wondering if a few letters may end up spelling big money for pharmaceutical companies but trouble for good science.
Steve R. Cummings, for example, says that he is still less than satisfied with MORE. An epidemiologist at the University of California at San Francisco, Cummings was asked to be a principal investigator on a trial sponsored by the drugmaker Eli Lilly. The test would pit the company's new designer estrogen, raloxifene, against traditional compounds used in hormone replacement therapy. The goal was to see which offered women the greatest number of benefits, among them stronger bones and the prevention of mental decline.