Looks like they’re offering $4M in grants to therapies like yoga, Reiki, Qi gong, spiritual ministry and transcendental meditation.
As many as 17 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, one congressional study estimates. Nearly 3,300 troops have suffered traumatic brain injury, or TBI, according to statistics assembled last summer. And the lifetime costs of treating these ailments could pile up to as much as $35 billion, a Columbia University report guesses.
Small wonder, then, that the government is looking for alternate means to treat these injuries. The Defense Department “is dedicated to supporting evidence-based approaches to medical treatment and wants to support the use of alternative therapies if they are proven efficacious,” notes a recently-issued request for proposals.
But many of these treatments haven’t been held up to much rigorous scientific scrutiny before. So the Army is looking to hand out $4 million in “seedling grants” to “conduc[t] rigorous clinical studies” into all sorts of “novel approaches.” Projects “containing preliminary data” will be eligible for up to $1 million. But even “innovative but testable hypotheses without preliminary data” could get as much as $300,000. Proposals are due May 15.
This is the thing I don’t understand. The military will spend $350M on a weapons system they don’t really need, but they won’t spend more money on grants for alternative therapies when they could end up saving them tens of billions down the road?
Even if one of these things works out and shaves off 10% of that anticipated $35B cost, that’s $350M saved right there. Think it might be worth investing $35M to save $350M? Instead we’re spending $4M.
And this is the way our world works…