Policy and Advocacy News

Basic Studies of How Our Brains Work Are Now Clinical Trials, NIH Says

August 25, 2017 | Science

The NIH has confirmed that their clinical trial definition will now include imaging studies of normal brain function. NIH released case studies to help researchers determine whether their experiments would be considered a clinical trial under the expanded guidelines. Discussion is ongoing regarding these case studies and further refinement and changes are expected.

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

Science Suffers as China's Internet Censors Plug Holes in Great Firewall

August 30, 2017 | Science

China’s increasing crackdown on virtual private networks (VPNs), is causing concern amongst the science community. Scientists have often used VPN software to gain access to sites like Google Scholar, and fear that tighter regulations on VPN usage could threaten collaborative efforts and the ability to stay connected with peers abroad.


Stop Blocking Postdocs' Paths to Success

August 30, 2017 | Nature

In this op-ed, Dr. Ben Barres, neurobiology professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, argues that post docs should be allowed to take research projects with them when they start their own lab. Barres argues that not allowing post docs to take projects with them harms science and suggests that the topic of research ownership be increasingly discussed and included in ethics courses.

Keep on Marching for Science Education

August 29, 2017 | Nature

High-school science teacher Brandon Haught argues that while the March for Science showed scientists were willing to take action, there has been a lack of action surrounding legislation that negatively impacts science education. Haught acknowledges some support from the scientific community, but calls for increased action so politicians, administrators, parents, and business leaders know there is support for high-quality science education.

Articles of Interest

Human Stem Cells Fight Parkinson's Disease in Monkeys

August 31, 2017 | Scientific American

Researchers using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) were able to restore functioning brain cells in monkeys. Tests found that the cells boosted dopamine production, improved movement in affected monkeys, and showed no existence of tumors in their brains. Researchers believe that iPS cells could be highly effective in treating Parkinson’s disease and hope to test this treatment in clinical trials by 2018.

All Clear for the Decisive Trial of Ecstasy in PTSD Patients

August 26, 2017 | Science

The FDA has designated MDMA, also known as ecstasy, a “breakthrough therapy” for PTSD and approved two phase III studies of MDMA for PTSD. These phase III trials will involve comparing MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to psychotherapy with an inactive placebo, as well as making sure the doctors who evaluate the patients are unaware if they received the placebo or MDMA. Now that the FDA has approved the study design, the next hurdle will be raising the money needed for the trials themselves.

  • Read more on PTSD at BrainFacts.org

Brain-Altering Magnetic Pulses Could Zap Cocaine Addiction

August 26, 2017 | Science

This article looks at the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and repetitive TMS (rTMS) to curb cocaine addiction. The piece highlights current research being undertaken and the personal stories of individuals who have experienced success using TMS as a therapy method.  

  • Find more information on TMS at BrainFacts.org