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#IceBucketChallenge

abbywellskd —  August 8, 2014 — 1 Comment

I think by now if you are living in or around Boston you have heard of the #IceBucketChallenge to #StrikeoutALS.  The Ice Bucket Challenge was created to raise awareness for support of ALS and more specifically Pete Frates.  Pete is a former Boston College baseball captain who is battling the disease. If you are nominated to complete the challenge, you must film yourself pouring a bucket of ice water on your head, after nominating others to complete the challenge within 24 hours.  By now you have probably seen Pro Athletes, friends, family, and even politicians completing this challenge.

While watching Pete Frates’ video on his site, I learned what rewriting the end of ALS meant to him.  “Rewriting the end of ALS means raising money to get better research for treatment and ultimately finding a cure.”  So if you head over to karmadata, we can dig into the research part of ALS.  You are able to see below that the number of Industry Sponsored ALS trials are declining.  As Pete said, the way to a cure is through research.  We need to raise the amount of research that is being done.

ALS TrialsIf you head over to Sponsor Finder and search for ALS Trials, you will see that there are only 8 companies actively conducting ALS clinical trials.

ALS

 

Lastly, this data card below shows government funding.  John Hopkins University being the top organization who grants money to ALS.

ALS_Grant Money

 

So what does all this mean?  This challenge is to create awareness for ALS and I believe it is working.  When I log in to facebook, it’s the first thing I see and it fills my news feed from top to bottom.  By creating awareness, we are able to become more knowledgable on ALS and more likely to donate to the cause, which will hopefully result in more research.  With all of the visualizations on funding and number of companies/trials, you can see that ALS may not be something people are too aware of.  The Challenge will definitely not cure anything right away, but it is a big step in the right direction!

A couple of us here at karmadata have already donated to ALS and completed the Ice Bucket Challenge, even our CEO Sean Power who completed it last night!  We urge you to visit petefrates.com and donate!  You can also check out the sweet Frate Train gear at petefrates.storenvy.com

 

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From time to time we’ll highlight a data set on karmadata.  Today I’ll provide a quick look at the NIH RePORTER grants database.

The RePORTER database (which replaced the old CRISP database) “provides access to reports, data, and analyses of NIH research activities, including information on NIH expenditures and the results of NIH supported research.”  In other words, we get to see our tax dollars at work.

When looking at these data sets I’ll try to highlight what is great about the source data/website (I can’t just be complaining all the time), and then highlight the value that we’re able to add.

The data itself (provided in both csv and XML) contains the funding agency (NIH, NCI, etc), the organization receiving the grant, the location, the principal investigators running the study, a list of terms associated with the project, and the amount funded for the project.  The RePORTER website has some pretty nice functionality for aggregating and ranking by those different entities.  You can play around with that tool here.  You can even map the data and drill down to view grants awarded to different states.  Neat.  The greatest limitation is probably the fact that you can only analyze the data one fiscal year at a time, but overall it’s a pretty nice presentation of the data.

The first thing I look for when I get my hands on a new dataset is the potential entities that we can standardize to.  This was a fun dataset for me because of all the entities that can be teased out.  In addition to the aforementioned entities, we were able to match the terms list to drugs and diseases.  The RePORTER database also provides an ID for the principal investigators, but unfortunately, much like the reviewer ID from BMIS, it is not unique.  We consolidate those entries.  We consolidate different company names to resolve to a unique ID, and then we are ready to go: city, state, country, organization, principal investigator, drug, disease, and time.  A robust database for both building our entity profiles and creating cool visualizations.

Leading Organizations Receiving NIH Grant Funding

Johns Hopkins leads organizations receiving NIH grant funding

 

Some facts we have gleaned from the database:

  • Johns Hopkins leads the way in NIH funding since FY2000 (with more than $7.5 billion)
  • NIH funding increased steadily from 2000 until peaking in 2010 at $38 billion
  • Boston leads the way in funding over that time (score one for Boston in the Boston-New York rivalry)
  • NIH funding was not limited to the United States.  $5.4 billion were funded outside the US since 2000, with South Africa leading the way
NIH grant funding trend

NIH grant funding peaked in FY2010

That should give you a flavor for what you can do with the dataset.  Try copying one of my datacards and discovering your own insights.