Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
Workshop on Ethics of Monkey Research Earns Cheers and Boos
September 8, 2016 | Science Insider
In response to a request from Congress, NIH convened a workshop to review the ethical policies related to nonhuman primate research. The event featured presentations about the advances made possible by nonhuman primate research, discussions about oversight and regulation, and discussions about when the use of nonhuman primates is necessary.
- Read SfN’s summary of the workshop and SfN President Hollis Cline’s public statement on SfN.org.
In Wake of Attacks, Science Bodies Fend for Animal Research
September 6, 2016 | Science Insider
After attacks by animal rights activists in recent years, Germany’s major research institutes have partnered to publicly defend responsible animal research as a necessary part of biomedical science. The organizations launched a five year project, called Understanding Animal Testing, to educate the public about animal studies.
- Find resources for institutions to use to support animal researchers at SfN.org.
Senate Considers Making a Short Pre-Election Session Even Shorter
September 9, 2016 | The Washington Post
Senate leaders are preparing to move forward with a continuing resolution (CR), possibly packaged with Zika funding, which would keep the government open through December 9 and keep funding levels the same as the current fiscal year. Congress would then need to pass funding legislation, in the form of an omnibus package or another CR, by December 9.
- Contact your legislator today to tell them how devastating a CR is for biomedical research funding.
U.S. Science Agencies Face Budget Limbo
September 6, 2016 | Nature News
Congress needs to pass government funding before the current fiscal year ends on September 30, and it is predicted they will pass a continuing resolution (CR) that will keep agencies’ budgets at current levels. This means that NIH, NSF, and other science agencies will not see funding increases, remain unsure of future funding levels, and will be unable to start new programs or end old programs without permission from Congress.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Lattes is Back To Mess With Your Brain
September 6, 2016 | Wired
Starbucks’ seasonal pumpkins spice lattes have returned, and the fat, salt, and sugar in these drinks all have big impacts on the brain. This combination of sugar, fat, and salt is more likely to be found in processed foods than natural foods, and has been shown to be related to the development of food addiction.
- Learn more about how diet can influence the brain at BrainFacts.org.
Mouse Model Points to Potential Drug Target for Increasing Social Interaction in Autism
September 8, 2016 | EurekAlert
A study of a new mouse model identifies a drug target with the potential to increase social interaction in individuals with autism. This study helps further understanding of the brain mechanisms related with the social deficits and may help researchers develop a drug that might help treat some of the social interaction deficits of autism.
- Read more about autism spectrum disorder at BrainFacts.org.
Zika Response Must Not Drain Research Funds
August 30, 2016 | Nature
As Congress still has not passed funds to combat Zika, this Nature editorial urges that the money to fight the virus should not come at the expense of research and health care programs. The editorial suggests that a permanent fund from which public health agencies can draw to address health crises would help in these situations.
- Learn about how animal models are being used to study Zika at BrainFacts.org.
There’s a Lot of Junk fMRI Research Out There. Here’s What Top Neuroscientists Want You To Know.
September 8, 2016 | Vox
As recent reports raise concerns over some published studies using flawed fMRI statistical software, researchers outline how to use fMRI and its limitations. Neuroscientists emphasize that interpretation of the results is important, fMRI is good at broad mapping but not at specifics, that other techniques exist to study the brain, and many other important points about the use of fMRI.
- Read about technologies used in neuroscience research at BrainFacts.org.
Second Thoughts of an Animal Researcher
September 2, 2016 | The New York Times
In the lead up to the NIH workshop about the ethical policies of nonhuman primate research, John Gluck, a researcher who formerly studied nonhuman primates, discusses how his views on the topic have changed. He calls for the establishment of a national commission to develop the principles to guide decisions about the ethics of animal research.
- Read about animal research issues at SfN.org.
A Boy Is Not a Rat, a Pig, or a Dog
September 6, 2016 | The Washington Times
As animal rights activists focus on banning research involving primates, this opinion piece highlights the many medical advances made possible by the use of animals in research. The author also points out that not using animals may amount to “unethical treatment of human beings.”
- Read frequently asked questions about the use of animals in research at SfN.org.