Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
Sequestration Becomes 2016 Buzzword
September 6, 2015 | The Hill
Many 2016 Republican presidential candidates are being asked whether sequestration should be lifted and how it should be lifted. Sequestration is a set of automatic federal government spending cuts that will take effect on October 1 unless a budget deal is reached.
- Learn more about sequestration on the sequestration action page at SfN.org.
Scientists Await Details of Reform of the Controversial Human Brain Project
September 3, 2015 | Science Business
A year after neuroscientists voiced concerns to the European Commission about the Human Brain Project, researchers are still waiting for details of the proposed reforms. Last summer, scientists voiced concerns over the project’s governance and scientific validity, and now await the release of a new Framework Partner Agreement to details the goals of the project.
- Watch a webinar about how to advocate for science around the world on Neuronline.
Budget Dispute May Cause Government Shutdown, White House Warns
September 8, 2015 | Bloomberg Politics
If no budget deal is reached, the government would shut down after the current fiscal year ends on September 30. The White House is warning against a shutdown, and has stated the President will not sign a 2016 budget that locks in automatic spending cuts (sequestration).
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed and take action on issues that affect neuroscience research at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Can Alzheimer’s Proteins Be Spread via Medical Procedures?
September 9, 2015 | PBS NewsHour
Researchers at University College London made headlines this week with the discovery that patients who had contracted prion disease from injections of human growth hormone also had amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. However, this does not mean that Alzheimer’s disease is ‘contagious’ although the finding warrants future research.
- See some of the latest research into Alzheimer’s disease on BrainFacts.org.
How the Human Brain Has Evolved in Size – Measured Using Tennis Balls
September 11, 2015 | Quartz
Paleoanthropologists announced the discovery of a new ancient species of humans this week, named Homo naledi. Although it’s not yet clear where H. naledi belongs on the evolutionary tree, studying its brain can provide hints.
- Read about how brain size expansion has occurred over the course of human evolution at BrainFacts.org.
The Unexpected Science of Manipulating Neurons with Light
September 8, 2015 | Wired
Optogenetics allows scientists to selectively activate or inhibit specific subsets of neurons in a controlled fashion using light, opening up a new realm of possibility for neuroscientific research.
- Watch neuroscientist Ed Boyden discuss how he uses optogenetics in his research at BrainFacts.org.
SpaceX for the Brain: Neuroscience Needs Business to Lead
September 9, 2015 | Live Science
In order to prepare for the escalating costs of treating neurological diseases, governments, research universities and the neurotechnology industry must cooperate and collaborate. Industry can help bring discoveries from the bench to the marketplace, furthering the pace of innovation.
- Find science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org.
Psychology Should Aim For 100% Reproducibility
September 7, 2015 | Discover Magazine
Critics of the push for reproducibility in psychological experiments state that context and other variables make reproducibility difficult. However, scientists should work to characterize the potential contexts for their effects, so as to make their work more generalizable and thus, more reproducible.
- Attend a symposium at Neuroscience 2015 that will discuss experimental design.
Reproducibility Will Not Cure What Ails Science
September 9, 2015 | Nature
In light of the new focus on reproducibility in the scientific community, pieces of legislation like the Secret Science Reform Act have been brought forward to address these issues. However, some types of studies are difficult to replicate and so politics risk taking over the discussion.
- Read about steps taken by SfN to tackle scientific rigor concerns at SfN.org.