Policy and Advocacy News

Republican Scientists Negotiate the Trump Era

April 18, 2017 | Nature

Republican scientists discuss how the scientific community’s political divide is causing a negative impact, especially under the Trump administration. These scientists state they remain supportive of their profession and note that Republicans have not always been anti-science, highlighting Nixon’s creation of the EPA and former House leader Newt Gingrich’s spearheading of an effort to double NIH funding.  

  • Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org

For Congress, March for Science is a Democratic Event

April 20, 2017 | Science

March for Science organizers have avoided reaching out to elected officials in an attempt to keep the event apolitical, resulting in few members of Congress participating in the March for Science, and those choosing to participate being Democrats. Some representatives think Republican officials see the March as anti-Trump rather pro-science event, leaving them to believe participation could cause political harm.

Social Scientists Tell Congress: 'Don't Cut Our Funding'

April 14, 2017 | Nature

Social scientists recently took to the Hill to remind their representatives of the importance of funding social science research. The push for increased activism in social science research comes in response to proposed NIH cuts and the plan outlined by House Science Committee Chair Lamar Smith to shift 70 percent of the NSF budget into four research areas, reducing support for social and geoscience divisions.

French-Election Fears Unite Scientists in Defense of Liberal Democracy

April 18, 2017 | Nature

In response to the rise of Maine Le Pen’s far-right Front National Party, French researchers are coming together in an attempt to counteract the closed society vision proposed by Le Pen. The French scientific community fears the possibility of a French retreat from the EU and hopes that future research policy priorities will include increased funding for basic and long-term research, more science on topics relevant to citizens, and a simplification of the grant-application process.

Opinion

The Truth About the War on Science

April 17, 2017 | The Hill

Rep. Jerry McNerney discusses the war on science, highlighting that the current crusade against science by the Trump administration is not a new revelation, rather it has taken the dismissal of science for ideological purposes to a new level. McNerney points out the significant role science has played in our economy and calls for a commitment to science and technological advancement.

  • Read SfN’s statement on the President’s budget at SfN.org

Scientists Hit the Streets Saturday with a Powerful Message: Science Matters

April 19, 2017 | The Star-Telegram

In an op-ed by SfN member Robert Greene, he states that the March for Science will send a powerful message of the importance of scientific research. Greene shares his research successes, the importance of scientific funding, and calls on other scientists to share their own success stories and how it impacts human health.

Drastic Cuts to NIH Would Hamper Progress in Finding Cures

April 12, 2017 | Morning Consult

Rep. Fred Upton and Rep. Diana DeGette, members of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, wrote an op-ed on the importance of NIH and reinforcing their support for increased funding. Upton and DeGette also highlighted the impact of NIH research and their recent action of sending a letter to the Office of Management and Budget urging the administration to reconsider the proposed NIH cuts.

Nobel Scientist: When Did We Start to Value Killing Over Living?

April 13, 2017 | Time

Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel Prize winner and President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, reframes the argument for NIH funding as opposed to defense spending, by noting the enemies to human health which need to be defeated. Blackburn states that a decrease in NIH funding will kill research capable of saving millions of lives and argues for spending money to save people, rather than to kill.

Articles of Interest

Umbilical Cord Blood Could Slow Brain's Aging, Study Says 

April 19, 2017 | The Guardian

Infusions of a protein found in human umbilical blood successfully reversed mental decline in aged mice. The protein therapy rejuvenated the hippocampus regions of the old mice causing them to act like younger animals when performing a series of behavioral tests. Researchers hope these results could signal a treatment capable of staling mental decline in old age, but stress that further studies need to be done before adapting the treatment for clinical use.

What All Those Scientists on Twitter are Really Doing

April 20, 2017 | Nature

A study looking at scientist’s behavior on Twitter found that women are better represented on Twitter than in scientific papers. Results from this study also showed an overrepresentation of social and informational scientists and uncovered that scientists mainly interact with others from their field, similar to what occurs in academia.

By Blowing Up Brain Tissue to 20 Times its Size, Scientists See Unprecedented Details 

April 17, 2017 | Science

An improved visualization method called iterative expansion microscopy has allowed researchers to expand brain tissue close to 20 times its size. Using this technique, researches have been able to see detailed images showing the formation of proteins along synapses in mice and detailed visualizations of dendritic spines in the mouse hippocampus.

The Brain Boasts its Own Social Network

April 20, 2017 | Scientific American

Using fMRI, researchers found that seeing familiar people activates a network of brain regions which appear to encode the position of a person within the social group. The results suggest that we activate knowledge of where people stand in our social network in order to prepare us to think about and interact with them in an appropriate manner. Researchers hope to take these findings and use them to examine how this social information might influence individual’s behavior.