The Cognition Blog (“CogBlog”) was begun with the intention to present commentary on the progress of clinical trials, particularly in the area of Fragile X Syndrome, the most common form of mental retardation. Many of the initial trials of compounds to treat Fragile X have now ended (as of 2016), so careful analysis of the results will be important as a new generation of trials is being prepared. Special emphasis will be given to correlating tests used in clinical trials with tests that had been employed in preclinical animal work that led to a particular trial.
It is also our intention here to present some information on our work to produce animal models that we believe will be more effective in screening new pharmaceuticals for use in Fragile X trials.
Finally, we are very interested in open data issues. This interest grows both from the obvious importance, and very significant obstacles, that become apparent when clinical trial data is not adequately shared - as should become quite clear from some of the posts already written - to other areas of interest in terms of handling allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse. The latter problems are not specific to clinical trials, but certainly clinical trials are not free of them either.
Blog posts will be in the form of a detailed, real-time investigation of a particular point of interest. It is hoped that this will provide an opportunity for those less than fully expert in a topic to learn by traveling along with the writer in the exploration of a topic. The posts will attempt to stay away from simplified, conclusory statements that that are not based on evidence shown, for example at least by quote. Research articles will be clearly designated as such, and will be given a referenceable identification.
Information and commentary provided by those working in relevant government agencies, foundations, or other sources will also be credited when appropriate. We will try to be as compulsive about checking facts as we can be in order to get things right, but as one professor recently stated in his own blog post, “Every damn day I'm out here working, making mistakes, and tracking them down. I'm not complaining; I like my job. I like it a lot. But it really is work, it's hard work”. (A. Gelman, Columbia University, http://andrewgelman.com/2015/04/10/a-silly-little-error-of-the-sort-that-i-make-every-day/). So if the reader has a question or feedback on whatever has been written, please feel free to upload comments; we can even arrange for a post or publication if warranted.