This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
House Bill Gives NIH 3% Raise, Blocks Cuts to Indirect Payments
July 12, 2017 | Science
A House draft spending bill would increase NIH’s budget by 3.2 percent, to $35.2 billion for FY18. The bill also includes an increase of $400 million for Alzheimer’s research and $76 million in new funding for the BRAIN Initiative, bringing its total operating budget to $336 million.
- Read SfN’s statement on the HHS Subcommittee bill at SfN.org
White House's Dwindling Science Office Leaves Major Research Programmes in Limbo
July 11, 2017 | Nature
The lack of a science advisor and an increase of vacancies in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) have left government-wide programs without direction. Trump has waited longer than recent presidents to choose a science advisor, and some fear that this delay could make it difficult for the future appointee to restore OSTP’s role in scientific coordination.
- Register for SfN’s upcoming webinar and learn how to engage your members of Congress
Federal Research Support for Universities Dipped in 2015
July 12, 2017 | Inside Higher Ed
An NSF report found that federal obligations - including orders, awarded contracts, and related services- to universities for science and engineering, declined by two percent in FY15. Federal obligations totaled $30.5 billion in FY15 and $31.1 billion in FY14, with a majority of the decline coming from a decrease in research and development funding.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
R&D is Essential for Boosting the American Economy
July 11, 2017 | The Hill
Sen. Chris Coons discusses the importance of research and development (R&D) investment for the American economy. Coons also highlights a new piece of legislation he introduced with Sen. Pat Roberts, which would increase R&D tax credits for companies that design and manufacture in America.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
Stop Alzheimer's Before it Starts
July 12, 2017 | Nature
The authors, both of whom study Alzheimer’s disease, argue that research should shift from treating the symptoms of AD to preventing it before it begins. They suggest focusing on patients with a rare genetic mutation whose brains begin to form the amyloid-β plaques characteristic of AD in their 20s and 30s, and who are highly committed to participating in clinical trials to determine if these plaques can be prevented from forming in the first place.
- Find more information about Alzheimer’s at BrainFacts.org
Scientists Should Talk Directly to the Public
July 10, 2017 | Scientific American
Esther Ngumbi highlights the importance of communicating science outside of journals and publications and offers suggestions on how to support researchers who want to communicate about their work. She suggests finding innovative ways to share scientific findings, from making graphical abstracts that the public can understand to offering workshops on storytelling for scientists.
- Learn how to communicate your science at Neuronline
Articles of Interest
How Poverty Affects the Brain
July 12, 2017 | Nature
A study in Bangladesh is hoping to uncover how adverse conditions in impoverished areas, such as poor diet, could impact neurological development. This is one of the first studies to examine how the brains of babies and toddlers in the developing world respond to adversity. By measuring the blood flow and electrical activity of these children’s brains, researchers are hoping to track how the brain develops in adverse conditions and most effective interventions to prevent poor outcomes.
- Read more about diet and the brain at BrainFacts.org
Memory-Enhancing Drug Reverses Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury in Mice
July 10, 2017 | Science
A new study found that the compound ISRIB had the ability to reduce post-concussion memory impairment in mice. Researchers compared success in completing a task between healthy mice and mice with a brain injury. After taking ISRIB for a few days, mice with brain injuries performed as well as healthy mice, even if that injury took place a month before treatment began. If this compound can be used in humans, it could be used to treat those who experience a traumatic brain injury, including soldiers.
- Find more information about traumatic brain injury at BrainFacts.org
Brain-Training Games Don't Really Train Brains, A New Study Suggests
July 10, 2017 | The Washington Post
A new study indicated that students’ performance on cognitive tasks after playing “brain-training” games for 10 weeks was no better than those who played regular video games. Indeed, those who played either game improved their performance on cognitive tasks at the same rate as students who did not play any games, suggesting that the improvement may be due to repeatedly doing the tasks. However, researchers point out that while these games have no effect on young and healthy brains, the same may not be true for older brains.
- Learn more about brain training games at BrainFacts.org