Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
U.S. Senators Advance Biomedical Innovation Bills, But Key NIH Funding Issue Unresolved
April 7, 2016 | Science Magazine
Lawmakers on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee held the last of three meetings to approve bills that, once bundled together, will form a companion to the House of Representative’s mammoth 21st Century Cures bill. That legislation, which the House passed this past July aims to spur medical breakthroughs through reforms at NIH and FDA. But details on how to increase funding for those agencies, and by how much, is still missing. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the HELP Committee, told the committee yesterday he was still optimistic about devising a funding plan that could win a majority vote in the full Senate.
- Learn about the congressional committees responsible for funding research at SfN.org
Alexander, Murray Introduce Bill For NIH To Spend More Time On Life-Saving Treatments And Cures
March 31, 2016 | The Chattanoogan
The Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate health committee have introduced legislation to help those at NIH spend more time developing life-saving treatments and cures for America’s patients. The Promoting Biomedical Research and Public Health for Patients Act would “break down barriers … in the way of medical progress, and help ensure that our country’s innovators are able to focus on achieving the lifesaving breakthroughs that so many patients and families hope to see,” said Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).
- Learn about the public funding of neuroscience at SfN.org.
Brazilian Science and Technology Ministry Sees 2016 Funding Disappear
April 4, 2016 | ZDnet
The Brazilian Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry is suffering a massive budget cut as part of the government's decision to slash more than R$21bn ($5.8bn) off public spending. The new budget of R$3.2bn compares with the R$7.3bn ($2bn) that had been originally intended for the department at the start of last year.
- Read about worldwide neuroscience initiatives at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Neuroscience Learns What Buddhism Has Known for Ages: There Is No Constant Self
April 4, 2016 | GOOD Magazine
Buddhist Monks have known for thousands of years what science has recently found: the mind can be changed by training it. Neuroplasticity endows people with the ability to grow and evolve, still, exactly how consciousness relates to the brain eludes both Buddhism and neuroscience. Buddhists suppose there’s an iteration of consciousness that doesn’t require a physical body; neuroscientists disagree.
- Read more about consciousness and the idea of ‘self’ at BrainFacts.org.
Dr. Dettmer Goes to Washington, Part 2
April 4, 2016 | Speaking of Research
Amanda Dettmer is a primate neuroscientist who examines stress sensitivity and its effect on early life and resilience in life-long health using macaque models of human development. As one of the 2016 Early Career Policy Ambassadors, she is planning several advocacy activities, starting with blogging about her experiences learning about how science advocacy groups can influence the legislative process. In this installment, Dettmer interviews directors at the National Association for Biomedical Research on how a piece of pro-science policy come to fruition.
- Find science funding advocacy tools at SfN.org.
This Scientist Works with Tissue from Aborted Fetuses, Now Congress Has Come Calling
March 31, 2016 | Stat News
A House panel, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), has issued subpoenas to universities, companies, and abortion clinics, seeking documents about their use of fetal tissue and the names of individuals involved in such work. Fetal tissue research has been going on for decades, and has led to the development of vaccines for disease such as polio, but it burst into public view last year when abortion opponents released a series of videos that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal body parts. State legislatures have moved to crack down on research on fetal tissue and scientists are worried.
- Join the advocacy network to stay informed on issues of science policy at SfN.org.