Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
September 29, 2016 | The Hill
Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) have stated that the 21st Century Cures bill is a top priority for the three week lame-duck session following the election. The bill passed the House in 2015 with $8.75 billion towards new medical research and a speedier approval process for new drugs, but it is likely that a revised version will be introduced in November.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
October 3, 2016 | Science
While the bill that would fund research to fight Zika was held up in Congress, NIH and other organizations had to pull $600 million from other projects to pay for their studies into preventing and treating Zika. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would like to establish a permanent emergency fund to deal with crises like Zika so they don’t have to wait for Congress to pass funding.
- Contact your legislator today to tell them how devastating a CR is for biomedical research funding.
October 6, 2016 | The Guardian
Duncan Haldane and Sir Fraser Stoddart, who received Nobel prizes this week for their work in physics and chemistry, warned that Brexit would hurt science and research in Britain. Both expressed concern about limiting the ability of international scientists to work and study in Britain and the loss of critical research funding that comes from the EU and related European agencies.
- Read about global advocacy programs at SfN.org.
Articles of Interest
September 30, 2016 | Scientific American
The U.K. Biobank Imaging Study, which aims to use various MRI protocols to scan the brains of 100,000 people, published preliminary results based upon its first 5,000 subjects. The study aims to use these scans in conjunction with detailed health and demographic information about the subjects to understand the progression of disease during aging, and is making all the data collected for the study open-access.
- Learn more about brain scanning at BrainFacts.org.
October 3, 2016 | NPR
A review of 130 studies on the effectiveness of brain games found that while they may improve performance on the specific skill needed for the game, that improvement does not transfer to related tasks or more general cognitive abilities. Additionally, many of the studies had problems with their experimental design, often including no control groups or a very small sample size.
- Find out how to keep your brain young at BrainFacts.org
September 30, 2016 | Nature
The Nuttfield Council on Bioethics released its preliminary report on the ethics of genome-editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 system. The Council will also be forming two working groups to further explore the ethical use of gene-editing in addressing genetic disorders in human embryos and in livestock intended for human consumption.
- Read about how scientists use CRISPR at BrainFacts.org
September 28, 2016 | Nature
While the lack of scientific input in recent political debates may frustrate scientists, Bill Colglazier, former science and technology advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State, writes to remind the science community that the effect of scientific evidence becomes visible over a longer time scale than any one political event. He advises focusing on engaging with policymakers to determine their needs from the science community and helping current and future scientists understand the conjunction of science and policy.
- Read about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
October 4, 2016 | US News & World Report
Bernadette Gray-Little, the Chancellor of the University of Kansas, writes to bring more political attention to the critical role that science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) plays in driving the U.S. economy. Among her suggestions for how the government can prioritize science is to raise funding for research and development from its current level of less than 4 percent of the federal budget to 12 percent, the funding level at the height of the Space Race.
- Find science funding resources at SfN.org.