The White House Has a New Advisor for the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Senate Confirms Meteorologist Kevin Droegemeier to Lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
January 3, 2019 | Nature
Nearly two years after he took office, US President Donald Trump has a White House science adviser in place. The Senate confirmed meteorologist Kelvin Droegemeier for the job in a voice vote on 2 January. Droegemeier, an expert in extreme weather, will lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act was signed into law on the last day of 2018. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Susan Collins [R-ME] and amends the Public Health Service Act to bolster the state of research on the disease.
Science in the News
Artificial intelligence turns brain activity into speech
January 2, 2019 | Science
For many people who are paralyzed and unable to speak, signals of what they'd like to say hide in their brains. No one has been able to decipher those signals directly. But three research teams recently made progress in turning data from electrodes surgically placed on the brain into computer-generated speech. Using computational models known as neural networks, they reconstructed words and sentences that were, in some cases, intelligible to human listeners.
Thriving on teamwork: new research shows how brain cells filter information in groups
December 31, 2018 | Salk Institute
For decades, scientists studying the visual system thought that individual brain cells, called neurons, operate as filters. Some neurons would prefer coarse details of the visual scene and ignore fine details, while others would do the opposite. Every neuron was thought to do its own filtering. A new study led by Salk Institute researchers challenges this view. The study revealed that the same neurons that prefer coarse details could change to prefer finer details under different conditions.
The battle over new nerve cells in adult brains intensifies
2018 Year in Review | Science News
Just a generation ago, common wisdom held that once a person reaches adulthood, the brain stops producing new nerve cells. Scientists countered that depressing prospect 20 years ago with signs that a grown-up brain can in fact replenish itself. This past year, though, several pieces of contradictory evidence surfaced and a heated debate once again flared up. Today, we still don’t know whether the fully grown brain churns out new nerve cells.