This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
February 8, 2017 | Science
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced a bill that would ensure that research funded by federal agencies cannot be suppressed or manipulated by presidential appointees and protect the transparency and open communication of scientific research. The bill is based on a 2009 executive order that required federal agencies that fund research to include policies that would safeguard scientific integrity.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
February 13, 2017 | Science
A lawsuit was recently filed by an animal law expert at Harvard University with PETA and other animal welfare groups claiming that USDA violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the removal of inspection reports and enforcement records from their website. They argue that USDA violated a section of FOIA requiring agencies to make publically available records likely to be the subject of subsequent requests.
- Read more about animal research at SfN.org
February 13, 2017 | Silicon Republic
Professor Michael Morris, director of the AMBER Materials Science Centre, discusses the threats and opportunities for Ireland’s scientific community in response to Brexit. For example, Morris highlights increased funding from the Government’s Innovation 2020 strategy as a pull for displaced researchers, but warns that a decrease in boarder transparency could harm UK partnerships.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
February 11, 2017 | The Salt Lake Tribune
The authors argue that science is being threatened by the presidential advisors who have little familiarity with the practice of science. From vaccine development to the creation of GPS, the authors highlight how publicly funded science has positively impacted the lives of Americans, and warn that suppressing science will hinder the development of new ideas and the quality of life for the American people.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
February 13, 2017 | Scientific American
Abraham Al-Ahmad, a student at Texas Tech University, discusses his experience with the travel ban, specifically how it prevented him from attending the BRAIN 2017 conference in Berlin and presenting his work on a stem cell model of stroke. Al-Ahmad argues that international meetings are crucial for the scientific community to progress and warns that restricting cross-cultural collaboration could have a lasting negative impact.
- Take action against the executive order on immigration at SfN.org
February 14, 2017 | New York Times
Recalling when Canadian scientists were being muzzled by their government, Wendy Palen, an associate professor at Simon Fraser University, offers advice to American scientists under the Trump administration. She encourages American scientists to speak out against political censorship, share documents, and come together as a community to act against science being silenced.
- Learn how to communicate your science at Neuronline
Articles of Interest
February 10, 2017 | Science
A recent study attempted to mimic the path of the rabies virus using nanoparticles to target brain tumors in mice. The engineered particles, triggered by infrared lasers, were successfully able to reduce the size of brain tumors, but the exact route the nanoparticles took to reach the brain tumors is unclear, leaving room for further study on the mechanism by which the nanoparticles were able to find the tumors.
- Read more about brain cancer at BrainFacts.org
February 15, 2017 | The Guardian
Using brain scans of babies who had older siblings with autism, scientists were able to identify anatomical features that were able to predict with 80% accuracy which of the children would be later diagnosed with autism. Researchers taking part in the study hope this new technology could lead to early behavior intervention, helping children with autism from reach important developmental milestones.
- Find more information about autism at BrainFacts.org
February 14, 2017 | CNN
For the first time, scientists have been able to confirm the presence of CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, in retired professional and amateur soccer players. Study participants diagnosed with CTE also had Alzheimer’s disease, though it is unclear how CTE may affect the later development of Alzheimer’s. In light of these results, the research team recommends that professional players and soccer associations take note of risk factors when examining possible adjustments in the sport’s rules.
- Learn more on the science of concussions at BrainFacts.org