Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
February 1, 2016 | Stat News
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who heads the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, announced this month that members will vote separately on bills ranging from neurological disease research to electronic medical records instead of considering the legislation as a package, dubbed the 21st Century Cures Act when passed by the House in 2015. Democrats are worried that the procedural shift is a way for Republicans to leave out the provisions that they have been championing, particularly a long-term boost in research funding since as of now, none of the bills include a version of the House’s Innovation Fund or additional mandatory funding for NIH.
- See more about the government funding of neuroscience research at SfN.org.
February 1, 2016 | The Telegraph
The life sciences industry in the U.K. raised £1.26bn on the stock market in 2015, the highest figure in more than a decade, while a further £708m was raised through private investment. The U.K. has previously been criticized by biotech companies for being a great place to set up a business, but not to market a product because government agencies have been slow to adopt treatments or unwilling to pay for them.
- Find information on global advocacy programs for neuroscience at SfN.org
February 1, 2016 | Nature
Scientists in London have been granted permission to edit the genomes of human embryos for research using the CRISPR-Cas method, U.K. fertility regulators announced. The recent approval by the U.K. Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority represents the world's first endorsement of such research by a national regulatory authority. The announcement comes on the heels of news that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to review the patent for the gene editing technology known as CRISPR. The judge's declaration of "interference," a technical term meaning that a conflict exists between a patent application and another patent or application, draws CRISPR into a drawn-out process that will determine who invented it.
- Read about a congressional briefing that discussed applications for CRISPR at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
February 1, 2016 | Science Magazine
The 2016 presidential election season got underway in earnest this week as voters cast their first ballots at the Iowa caucuses. Science breaks down the stances that each candidate has taken thus far on issues important to scientists and researchers in the U.S.
- Join the advocacy network to stay informed and take action on issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org.
February 1, 2016 | Harvard Paulson School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
An international collaboration of scientists have shown that while many molecular processes are important in determining cellular events, what ultimately causes the brain to fold is a simple mechanical instability associated with buckling. The number, size, shape and position of neuronal cells during brain growth all lead to the expansion of the gray matter relative to the underlying white matter, leading to a mechanical instability that causes it to crease locally.
- Learn more about brain development at BrainFacts.org.
February 1, 2016 | Houston Chronicle
Former Houston Texans star Eric Winston has pledged his brain to the Concussion Legacy Foundation for examination after his death. In September, the Concussion Legacy Foundation reported 87 of 91 brains of deceased former NFL players examined in recent years by researchers with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University had CTE.
- Learn more about the study of concussion and brain injury at BrainFacts.org.
January 28, 2016 | Huffington Post
Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) have written an opinion piece detailing their efforts to enact legislation to bolster support and funding for biomedical research, including Vice President Biden’s recent push to cure cancer.
- View science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org.
February 1, 2016 | National Post
If Canada is going to be at the frontier of discovery, it must do more than fill the holes from a decade of underinvestment by the government. This means attracting world-leading research talent to Canada, linking Canadian scientists with global networks of scholars, and mentoring the next generation of potential Nobel laureates right here. These objectives defy election cycles, meaning Canadian science policy must have a predictable, long-term vision so that Canadian scientists can plan their research, confident in sustained support from government.
- Read more about Canadian neuroscience advocacy programs at SfN.org.
February 3, 2016 | The New Yorker
In November, at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony in San Francisco, $21.9 million in prize money was awarded. This is three times the amount of money awarded through the Nobel Prizes. These and other new, big-money science prizes are impressive. But are they necessary or useful?
- Learn about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.