Weekly Advocacy News Roundup
November 30, 2016 | The New York Times
The House approved the 21st Century Cures Act on Wednesday evening in a 392-26 vote. The act provides $4.8 billion over 10 years for NIH, including $1.5 billion for the BRAIN Initiative, as well as provisions to address the opioid crisis and mental health. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill early next week.
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November 30, 2016 | Chemistry World
Congress is likely to pass another continuing resolution to fund the government through March, rather than a full omnibus appropriations bill, leaving spending levels frozen and NIH and other research agencies without the increased funding included in the final budget. Under a continuing resolution, science agencies are more cautious with spending and are more likely to delay and reduce research grants and awards.
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November 29, 2016 | Science
As a small part of the 21st Century Cures Act, a Research Policy Board would be formed to examine the regulations and paperwork associated with federal research grants to eliminate waste and redundancy. Originally proposed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics, the board would be part of the White House Office of Management and Budget and would be made up of federal agency representatives and researchers.
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November 23, 2016 | Nature
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has promised a £2 billion per year investment in research and development by 2020. How the money will be spent is still uncertain, but the government will be creating two new systems for granting funding. The first, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, will support collaboration between business and science, while the UK Research and Innovation will award funding to researchers based on “national excellence.”
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Articles of Interest
November 28, 2016 | Science
The Spanish military flew 29 transgenic mice from Madrid to the Canary Islands two months after they arrived on the Spanish mainland. The two major airlines that fly to the Islands, Iberia and Air Europa, refuse to carry laboratory rodents, leaving researchers no way to get the animals they need for their studies. Universities and the civil aviation authority have begun negotiations with the airlines to work out a permanent solution to ensure laboratory animals can arrive on the islands quickly and safely.
- Learn more about how animals help research at BrainFacts.org.
November 23, 2016 | Nature
Solanezumab, a drug that targets the amyloid proteins that build up into “plaques” in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, was found to have too small a benefit to move to market in patients with mild dementia due to Alzheimer’s. This result has led some researchers to question whether amyloid buildup is key to the development of Alzheimer’s, while others believe that the pharmaceutical intervention may have come too late and treatment should begin before symptoms develop.
- Read more about Alzheimer’s Disease at BrainFacts.org
November 21, 2016 | Scientific American
As research into how repeated concussions affects the brain increases, the vast majority of brains being studied are from men. Some studies have suggested that women’s brains respond differently to concussions, possibly due to hormonal cycles or biological differences in neck strength and susceptibility to migraines. Of the 377 brains examined for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) by the Boston University brain bank, only four belonged to women and none showed signs of CTE; the group is now actively looking for female athletes willing to donate their brains.
- Find out how concussions affect the brain at BrainFacts.org
November 17, 2016 | Science
Rush Holt, CEO of AAAS, discusses the future of science under the Trump administration and offers advice for the president-elect and scientists. He advises Trump to appoint a respected scientist or engineer as his science advisor and integrate them into many decision making processes and to embrace evidence-based decision making. He also argues that scientists must present evidence to lawmakers clearly and directly and remember that support for research can cross political divides.
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November 30, 2016 | The Washington Post
After the presidential election, many scientists are beginning to publicly show concern about the upcoming administration and how it will affect their work. These concerns range from how the administration will use scientific evidence in its decision making to how to maintain diverse voices and participation in science.
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