Ask Wayne B. Jonas why the scientific foundation he directs is funding research into the effects of prayer, the use of homeopathy to fight bioterrorism and whether magnetic devices can heal orthopedic injuries, and he offers a straightforward answer: Science is the way to determine whether they work.
“We’re trying to stimulate good-quality research,” said Jonas, a former chief of the Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) who directs the nonprofit Samueli Institute for Information Biology (SIIB) in Alexandria. “There is a good case for looking at these things scientifically, because we don’t know a lot about them.”
But are they looking scientifically?
Critics of the institute say that while they support rigorous research into alternative medical treatments, Samueli is not doing it.
“There is nothing of scientific value they’re doing that I’m aware of,” said Wallace Sampson, editor of the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and clinical professor emeritus of medicine at Stanford. “They’re all ideologues trying to prove something that doesn’t exist.”
The institute’s patrons, Henry and Susan Samueli, contributed $20,000 to Moran’s campaign committee and another $3,000 to Moran’s leadership PAC, the Virginia Leadership PAC. Henry Samueli pled guilty to stock fraud, but Moran stood by principle and insisted on keeping the money.