Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
October 26, 2016 | The Hill
Thirteen groups, including the Center for American Progress and the AFL-CIO, have written a letter to the Democratic leaders of Congress asking them to delay the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act until next year. They ask that Congress consider adding additional language to address rising prescription drug prices to offset the bill’s provisions that would speed the FDA’s approval of new drugs.
- Contact your legislator today to tell them how devastating a CR is for biomedical research funding.
October 21, 2016 | Science
NSF relies upon faculty members who work temporarily at the agency to help manage its research portfolio, paying their salary as well as reimbursing them for trips to their home institution and lost consulting fees. New rules regarding the payment of these rotators will require universities to pay 10% of the rotator’s salaries, in addition to no longer reimbursing consulting fees and limiting the trips to 12 per year
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
October 25, 2016 | Science
This interview with Joshua Gordon, the new director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), focuses on his priorities and plans for the Institute. Among his research priorities are the neural circuits involved in mood and cognition in animal models that can bridge the gap between mice and humans, using computational tools in psychiatry, and how to best address suicide via treatment and prevention.
- Read about US Advocacy Programs at SfN.org.
October 25, 2016 | Nature
In the year since he became Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has loosened restrictions on government scientists speaking to the public and media, increased science budgets, and begun to restore jobs for scientists in the government that were cut. However, researchers are still wary, waiting to see how Trudeau will approach environmental concerns, reform of how grants are awarded, and how he incorporates scientists and a chief science officer into his governance of Canada
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
October 26, 2016 | Nature
This series of infographics shows the challenges that young researchers face when it comes to starting and funding their labs. Among them are the data show that the average age of a scientist upon receiving their first NIH grant is 42, and that while over 40,000 students in the US received PhDs in STEM fields in 2014, the US only adds about 3,000 new full-time academic positions each year.
- Find careers and training resources at SfN.org.
October 24, 2016 | Scientific American
A new study found a link between bipolar disorder and levels of uric acid, which can happen when compounds called purines (which include the neurotransmitter adenosine) are broken down too fast. An earlier study found that adding a medication that reduces uric acid along with a mood stabilizer decreased levels of uric acid and mania symptoms, suggesting a new avenue for research into treatments for bipolar disorder.
- Learn more about bipolar disorder at BrainFacts.org
October 24, 2016 | The Guardian
A British study suggests that when we tell a lie and get away with it, we quickly begin to increase the size of the lie; in this experiment, subjects started out telling a partner that the value of pennies in a jar was £1 more than it really was and by the end were overstating the value of the jar by £8. Additionally, fMRI scans taken during the experiment suggest that the amygdala, which is important for processing emotion, becomes less active as more and greater lies are told, similarly to how we become desensitized to smells over an extended period of exposure.
- Read about the science of lying at BrainFacts.org
October 22, 2016 | The New York Times
Past SfN President Steven Hyman and Incoming SfN President Eric Nestler write that the treatment of mental disorders requires funding for more basic neuroscience research, not less. They argue that we need a basic understanding of how the brain changes in these disorders in order to lead to the effective and critical treatments that patients deserve.
- Find science funding resources at SfN.org.
October 24, 2016 | The Post and Courier
Elizabeth J. Glover, a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina and SfN Member, urges her fellow Charlestonians to advocate for the passage of an appropriations bill with increased funding for NIH and NSF. She emphasizes the fact that NIH funding is a key economic driver in South Carolina, generating more than $400 million in economic activity last year.
- Find resources for engaging the media at SfN.org
October 19, 2016 | The Huffington Post
The long delay in getting funding to fight Zika through Congress exposes flaws in the U.S’ science infrastructure, writes Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, whereby agencies need to scrape together funding for emergency research and public health initiatives while waiting for Congress to allocate funds. He suggests the development of an emergency fund for the CDC and NIH that they can draw upon in emergencies, as well as expediting regulatory processes for treatments to emerging diseases and considering unconventional methods of reacting to global health threats.
- Read about Zika and the brain at BrainFacts.org
October 20, 2016 | Scientific American
Researchers in the developing world are finding new treatments in plants and other natural resources, but the grants they receive often do not allow them to spend money on equipment and they have to pay out of pocket. This limits their abilities to publish in high impact journals, travel and collaborate, and showcase these treatments to investors. This piece argues that agencies need to work to increase funding opportunities and foster collaborations with these researchers to find novel treatments for diseases that plague the developing and developed world.
- Learn more about worldwide neuroscience initiatives at SfN.org.