Policy and Advocacy News

Lawmakers Shoot Down Trump's Proposed Cuts to Medical Research

May 17, 2017 | The Hill

In a House Appropriations hearing with NIH leaders, lawmakers made it clear that they had no intention of carrying out President Trump’s proposal to decrease NIH funding by $5.8 billion. Congress recently increased NIH’s budget for FY17 by $2 billion dollars, which multiple committee members applauded while reinforcing their commitment to supporting NIH.

Biotech Execs, Academic Leaders Make Case for NIH Funding at White House Meeting

May 9, 2017 | Science

Scientific leaders and biotech executives met at the White House to discuss how federally funded basic research leads to discoveries that companies turn into treatments, and why private investment cannot substitute NIH support. Participants did not directly discuss the proposed FY18 budget cuts, but the overall consensus among attendances was that the meeting was productive.

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How Trump's Science Cuts Could Hurt States That Voted for Him

May 17, 2017 | Nature

Trump’s proposed budget cuts would eliminate federal research money being distributed to many of the states that voted for him. Former President Barack Obama established a network of institutions to develop manufacturing technologies, but President Trump’s budget plan would cause uncertainty in the programs funding, possibly causing the elimination of many blue collar jobs.

Americans' Opposition to Animal Testing at Record High, Survey Says

May 12, 2017 | STAT

A recent survey conducted by Gallup found that 44% of adults think medical testing on animals is “morally wrong”; an increase from the 26% of Americans that felt this way in 2001. Gallup believes this increase can be attributed to younger Americans who are more likely to disapprove of medical testing.

Revamped 'Anti-Science' Education Bills in United States Find Successes

May 12, 2017 | Nature

State and local legislatures are successfully approving laws that urge teachers to embrace ‘academic freedom’ and present the full spectrum of views on topics such as evolution and climate change. Teachers and scientists claim these bills to be ‘anti-science’, but legislators claim that they are not anti-science but a way for parents to hold school districts accountable for teaching students the full spectrum of information.

Opinion

Blank, Mailick: Strengthen the Government-Science Partnership

May 12, 2017 | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rebecca Blank, Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Marsha Mailick, Vice Chancellor for research and graduate education at UW-Madison, wrote an op-ed advocating for strengthening the government-science partnership through funding basic research. Blank and Mailick highlight the historical significance of federally funded research and states that basic research allows for fundamental questions regarding how the world works to be answered, serving as a basis for future innovation in industry.

Articles of Interest

Could Magnetic Brain Stimulation Help People with Alzheimer's?

May 18, 2017 | Scientific American

A recent study testing the effectiveness of a transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) device called neuroAD showed a moderate improvement in cognitive ability in participants with mild Alzheimer’s. Researchers noted that it was hard to tell if the cognitive improvement can be attributed to rTMS alone, but agree that further investigation should be undertaken.

This is Your Brain On....the Modern World

May 18, 2017 | The Los Angeles Times

Researchers are exploring how 21st century conveniences like fast food, cell phones, and computers, impact brain biology. Studies have already shown that brain biology could be adapted by certain conveniences, but researchers’ understanding of how these changes occur and their significance is still incomplete.  

Cells That Trim Brain Connections are Linked to Autism

May 11, 2017 | Nature

Results from a new study suggest that the number of behavior of microglia, cells that prune connections between neurons, vary between boys in girls, which could help explain why more boys are diagnosed with autism and related disorders. Microglia has previously been identified as something that could affect autism and these new findings reinforce researchers’ belief that greater understanding of microglia could lead to new autism discoveries.

  • Read about autism at BrainFacts.org

Science Publishers Try New Tack to Combat Unauthorized Paper Sharing

May 10, 2017 | Nature

In an effort to combat the rise in unauthorized sharing of copyrighted research papers, some publishers are coming together to create systems which would allow for legal sharing of articles, called fair sharing. Publishers believe that this provides a compromise between sharing data and sustaining the research publishing business, but open-access advocates say this plan will not satisfy scientists who object to copyright restrictions and expected to be able to make their work available online for free.