This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
April 10, 2017 | Vox
In arguing against a cut to NIH’s budget, the article focuses on what public spending on biomedical research “buys” the American people. This spending leads to new patents for drugs and medical devices, which can lead to the creation of biotech firms focused on creating more drugs and devices to save lives. The authors also point out that some aspects of biomedical research funding, such as indirect costs, are necessary for research despite the administration’s arguments that spending has gotten out of hand.
- Read SfN’s statement on the President’s budget at SfN.org
April 11, 2017 | Science
A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommended that a new nongovernmental Research Integrity Advisory Board (RIAB) be created and funded by universities and scientific societies. The new board would have no role in investigations or set enforceable standards, but the National Academies hope that focusing on ethical behavior could increase institutional attention to the issue of research integrity and prevent the government from creating their own research integrity standards.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
April 12, 2017 | Nature
A study found that countries that joined the EU in the 2000s would have had more cross-border scientific collaborations had they not joined the EU. Becoming part of the EU resulted in a “brain drain”, specifically in Eastern European countries, with scientists leaving to study and work in Western Europe. The study’s author suggests that Eastern European countries implement ‘home-return’ conditions ensuring that the departing scientific talent will eventually return.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
April 10, 2017 | Science
Following a review of Canada’s science and innovation landscape, a research panel recommended a $1.3 billion boost in scientific funding over the next four years, with almost $500 million dedicated to basic research. The panel’s report was met with great support from the scientific community, but the Trudeau government has yet to official respond to the report.
- Find science funding resources at SfN.org
April 11, 2017 | Nature
Wasim Maziak, chair of the epidemiology department at Florida International University, argues that removing the Fogarty International Center and shutting down international collaborations will not put ‘America First’ given the interconnected nature of health and well-being. Maziak also discusses his own experience as a public health researcher in Syria to reinforce how funding overseas research can benefit US citizens.
- Read about the importance of diversity in neuroscience at Neuronline
April 7, 2017 | STAT
Ronald DePhino, past president and professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and vice-chair of ACT for NIH, argues that failing to invest in NIH will lead to long-term consequences for America’s leadership in biomedical research. DePhino highlights successful research involving cancer treatments and states that future disease treatments and cures are possible, but only if investment in American research continues.
- Learn more about the federal budget process and its impact on your lab at Neuronline
April 11, 2017 | Science
March for Science co-chairs Caroline Weinberg, Jonathan Berman, and Valorie Aquino discuss their plans for the March for Science to pivot from being an event to a lasting force for science advocacy. The co-chairs note that April 22nd will kick off a week of science action and that they plan to meet with partners immediately following the march to discuss how the momentum can continue.
- Read SfN’s statement on the March for Science at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
April 10, 2017 | The Guardian
Researchers have found areas in the brain believed to be involved in dreaming, with dreaming about faces linked to activity in the brain region involved in face recognition and dreams involving spatial perception, movement, and thinking linked to brain regions that handle similar tasks when awake. The authors believe the study could help shed light on consciousness and what happens to the brain during sleep when humans switch from being unconscious to having presumably conscious experiences.
- Find more information about brain activity during sleep at BrainFacts.org
April 10, 2017 | NPR
Drug trials that were successful in mice often fail in human trials, leading scientists to rethink how animal studies can be made more effective for human health. Some researchers are suggesting that mice based research would be more reliable if studies were set up similar to human experiments, embracing variation instead of trying to ignore or control it.
- Read about why animals are vital to brain research at BrainFacts.org
April 10, 2017 | Scientific American
A study found that using a cocktail of genes enabled the brain’s astrocytes, cells that support and nurture neurons, to produce new dopamine neurons, which are critical to motor control centers of the brain and damaged in Parkinson’s disease. The ability for the brain to reprogram cells could reduce the amount of medication needed to be taken by Parkinson’s patients helping to ease disease management.
- Learn more about Parkinson’s at BrainFacts.org
April 13, 2017 | The Nautilus
Behavioral studies in rats have had a large impact in drug development and the study of psychiatric illnesses, but a decline in the number of drugs that have worked successfully in both animals and humans have caused researchers to rethink the way rodent behavior tests are being run. Scientists agree that studying rodents is valuable and the way forward is through refinement in behavioral testing rather than elimination.
- Read more on depression, the placebo effect, and the brain at BrainFacts.org