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May 1992

The LAST Award: A Not Entirely Tongue-in-Cheek Proposal

Author Affiliations

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science Putnam Hall—South Campus State University of New York at Stony Brook Stony Brook, NY 11794-8790

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49(5):415-416. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1992.01820050079014

To the Editor.—  It is said to be difficult to initiate and maintain longitudinal and programmatic investigations. That may be true, although in modern times it is possible to obtain funding for long-term studies of disorders that did not exist before 1980 (DSM-III),1 and that may not exist after 1993 (DSM-IV). Clearly, some progress is being made.How difficult it is to terminate longitudinal and programmatic research is seldom mentioned. Such a study can take on an identity of its own, hanging like an albatross around the neck of its aging investigator and occasionally depositing its by-products in the form of book chapters and meeting abstracts. Over time, investigations can become older than vampires, and investigators may begin to look for the scientific equivalent of a wooden stake.Unfortunately, at just that point, an eager postdoctoral fellow, a non-$ tenured collaborator, or an impe nious administrator will

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