The Impact of National Institutes of Health Funding on U.S. Cardiovascular Disease ResearchReport as inadecuate

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Intense interest surrounds the recent expansion of US National Institutes of Health NIH budgets as part of economic stimulus legislation. However, the relationship between NIH funding and cardiovascular disease research is poorly understood, making the likely impact of this policy change unclear.


The National Library of Medicine-s PubMed database was searched for articles published from 1996 to 2006, originating from U.S. institutions, and containing the phrases -cardiolog,-cardiovascular,- or -cardiac,- in the first author-s department. Research methodology, journal of publication, journal impact factor, and receipt of NIH funding were recorded. Differences in means and trends were tested with t-tests and linear regression, respectively, with P≤0.05 for significance.


Of 117,643 world cardiovascular articles, 36,684 31.2% originated from the U.S., of which 10,293 28.1% received NIH funding. The NIH funded 40.1% of U.S. basic science articles, 20.3% of overall clinical trials, 18.1% of randomized-controlled, and 12.2% of multicenter clinical trials. NIH-funded and total articles grew significantly 65 articles-year, P<0.001 and 218 articles-year, P<0.001, respectively. The proportion of articles receiving NIH funding was stable, but grew significantly for basic science and clinical trials 0.87%-year, P<0.001 and 0.67%-year, P = 0.029, respectively. NIH-funded articles had greater journal impact factors than non NIH-funded articles 5.76 vs. 3.71, P<0.001.


NIH influence on U.S. cardiovascular research expanded in the past decade, during the period of NIH budget doubling. A substantial fraction of research is now directly funded and thus likely sensitive to budget fluctuations, particularly in basic science research. NIH funding predicts greater journal impact.

Author: Radmila Lyubarova, Brandon K. Itagaki, Michael W. Itagaki



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