Michele Bachmann's Alzheimer's cure statement rated "Pants on Fire!" by PolitiFact [IMAGE]
From Tuesday, Bachmann, Four Pinnocchios-style (left); and at right, Bachmann, Pants on Fire! edition. Suffice it to say it hasn't been a good week for her.
Image by Tatiana Craine
Michele Bachmann claims she's infallible when it comes to truth and falsity, but in reality, the AP concluded she was so full of it during her presidential run that they simply gave up on fact-checking her.
But PolitiFact didn't, and earlier this week, they scrutinized a preposterous statement Bachmann made during her March 16 CPAC speech about a cure for Alzheimer's disease.
During her speech, Bachmann said Alzheimer's could be cured if it wasn't for government red tape and taxes. Here's a transcript of her remarks:
We have another disease ... that's hurting us today. It's called Alzheimer's. ... There is no known treatment for Alzheimer's on the horizon. ... Scientists tell us that we could have a cure in 10 years for Alzheimer's, if we'd only put our mind to it. So why aren't we seeking to cure diseases like Alzheimer's, or diabetes, juvenile diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease? How did we possibly get to this point of political malpractice? Because our government, proclaiming to care so much, has created a cadre of overzealous regulators, excessive taxation and greedy litigators. That's not caring. It's time we care.
But there's a small problem with that line of thinking -- there doesn't seem to be a doctor on the face of the earth who truly believes bureaucracy or taxes is getting in the way of an Alzheimer's cure.
"The only thing keeping us from developing successful treatments for Alzheimer's disease is the lack of adequate funding for research from NIH and other federal agencies," Robert A. Stern, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Center at the Boston University School of Medicine, told PolitiFact. "That has nothing to do with her naive and scary statements. It only has to do with Congress deciding that it is worth spending money on."
And as the fact-check details, the Obama administration has been far from stingy when it comes to funding Alzheimer's research.
In one sense, however, government is indeed getting in the way of a cure. As PolitiFact details, sequestration will result in funding cuts for the National Institutes of Health, which will likely in turn result in less funding for Alzheimer's research.
Still, scientists say the biggest obstacle to an Alzheimer's cure is simply the disease itself.
R. Alta Charo, a bioethicist at the University of Wisconsin, told PolitiFact that Alzheimer's is "about the worst example she could give" of a disease where research has been stymied by the government.
Alzheimer's "develops over years from causes still unclear," Charo said. "The real dilemma for Alzheimer's drug trials -- or for trials of any disease that develops slowly with symptoms that may easily be due to other diseases and which may be of varying intensity -- is that there is no form of standard clinical trial that can test interventions and cures within a reasonable time frame."
In conclusion, PolitiFact rated Bachmann's statement as "Pants on Fire!"
Between that and her widely decried and misleading blast of President Obama regarding his allegedly lavish White House spending, has there been a more self-destructive speech in recent political history than Bachmann's CPAC address?
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