This Week in Science Policy and Advocacy
Policy and Advocacy News
Congress Rejects Trump Proposals to Cut Health Research Funds
September 11, 2017 | The New York Times
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill providing NIH with $36.1 billion for FY18, marking the third consecutive year the agency has received a $2 billion increase. The previously approved House Appropriations bill had a smaller increase to NIH’s budget, $1.1 billion, and lawmakers expect NIH’s final budget to be closer to the Senate amount. Both the House and the Senate also explicitly prohibited cuts to facilities and administrative costs proposed by the Trump Administration.
PETA Versus the Postdoc: Animal Rights Group Targets Young Researcher for First Time
September 8, 2017 | Science
PETA has been targeting postdoc Christine Lattin, who studies stress in wild house sparrows, a much younger and less established scientist than PETA typically signals out. Fellow scientists have expressed concern that Lattin may be a target because of her status as an early-career researcher and are working to support Lattin by sharing her side of the story. Lattin has also taken additional steps to better describe her research on her website and feels that more clarifying preemptive actions could thwart these types of demonstrations in the future.
- Read more about animal research at SfN.org
UK Gender-Equity Scheme Spreads Across the World
September 13, 2017 | Nature
A pilot program based off of the UK program Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network), which assess UK universities on gender equality in science, is set to begin in the US. The US project, STEM Equity Achievement Change (SEA Change), will assess gender equity in science as well as inclusiveness in regards to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, and other marginalized groups. Around eight or nine institutions will take part in the pilot program and project organizers hope SEA Change produces the same degree of success seen with the Athena SWAN program.
- Join the Advocacy Network to stay informed about issues related to neuroscience research at SfN.org
Pall Hangs Over U.S.-Iran Science Ties
September 11, 2017 | Science
Experts at a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) forum reported that increasing tensions between the US and Iranian governments have led to a freeze in most scientific contracts between the nations. Engagement efforts between the two countries were gaining momentum as of 2015, but the current administration’s efforts to restrict travel from Iran have hindered growth.
- Find information about global advocacy programs at SfN.org
VA Secretary: Disabled Veterans Need Research on Dogs to Continue
September 12, 2017 | USA Today
Dr. David Shulkin, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, wrote an op-ed stating the importance of canine research to the VA and calls on the Senate to reject legislation that would eliminate such research. Shulkin discusses successes that have come out of canine research and the societal benefits it produces to strengthen his argument.
- Learn about U.S. advocacy programs at SfN.org
Articles of Interest
Gut Germs Play Role in Multiple Sclerosis, Studies Show. Are Probiotics for MS Next?
September 11, 2017 | STAT
Two research teams have found strong evidence that gut bacteria plays a role in multiple sclerosis (MS). One study found that bacteria commonly found in MS patients increases the types of cells that activate immune attack and decreased the type of cells that suppress excessive responses, such as autoimmune attacks associated with MS. The second study found that mice receiving gut microbes from MS patients were more likely to develop a mouse version of MS than those receiving healthy gut microbes. If these findings hold, they could serve as a basis for new microbe-based therapy or disease prevention.
- Learn more about microbes and the brain on BrainFacts.org
NIH Awards Nearly $100M Over Five Years for Autism Research
September 7, 2017 | Genome Web
NIH Awarded nine research grants totaling nearly $100M over the next five years under the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program. ACE was created in 2007 and supports research projects aimed at understanding and developing interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
- Read more about autism spectrum disorder on BrainFacts.org