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NASA urged to rejoin the hunt for gravitational waves - New Scientist, Aug. 16, 2016

Astronomy’s next big space telescope could threaten the field, panel warns - Science, Aug. 15, 2016

Challenge to presidential candidates: Debate about science - Washington Post, Aug. 10, 2016

What Do Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Think About Science? Researchers Want to Know - Time, Aug. 10, 2016

Americans may know more than you think about science Science, Aug. 9, 2016

A path forward for gene drive technologies - San Diego Union-Tribune, Aug. 6, 2016

National Academy of Sciences to study mountaintop removal health effects - Charleston Gazette-Mail, Aug. 3, 2016

Obama Signs Controversial GMO Food Label Law - NBC News, Aug. 1, 2016

Obama to Leave the White House a Nerdier Place Than He Found It - New York Times, July 31, 2016

Americans Continue to Fear GMOs Despite Not Knowing Much About Them - New York Magazine, July 22, 2016

People want GMO food labeled — which is pretty much all they know about GMOs - Washington Post, July 21, 2016

Police abuse of trafficking victims weakens fragile help system - San Francisco Chronicle, July 17, 2016

Lack of data on gun violence is an embarrassment, researchers say - Dallas Morning News, July 16, 2016

Considering Gene Editing - The Scientist, July 12, 2016

Child Care Expansion Takes a Toll on Poorly Paid Workers - New York Times, July 12, 2016

How Square Watermelons Get Their Shape, and Other G.M.O. Misconceptions - New York Times, July 11, 2016

Science academy's new president cleared many hurdles on way to the top - Science, July 7, 2016

Painkiller panel drops experts linked to pharma industry - Associated Press, July 7, 2016

CubeSats set for deep space — if they can hitch a ride - Nature, July 6, 2016

Science academies blast US government’s planned research-ethics reforms - Nature, June 29, 2016

U.S. should abandon controversial effort to update human research rules, National Academies panel says - Science, June 29, 2016

Heat On White House To Scrap Redo Of Human Research Rules - NPR, June 29, 2016

Panel says upgraded trauma care could save thousands of lives each year - Chicago tribune, June 28, 2016

From Columbine to Orlando, medics grapple with how best to stop the bleeding - Washington Post, June 20, 2016

Report Urges Closer Ties Between Military, Civilian Trauma Doctors - Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2016

Battlefield Trauma Lessons Can Save Americans at Home - Bloomberg, June 17, 2016

Gene Editing to Alter Whole Species Gets Limited Backing - New York Times, June 8, 2016

Genetically engineered bugs to fight malaria and Zika? Not so fast, experts say - Washingtonpost, June 8, 2016

Fast-spreading genetic mutations pose ecological risk - Nature, June 8, 2016

Aug. 16, 2016

National Security Space Defense and Protection: Public Report

NASA image; artist's depiction of GOES satelliteThe rapidly growing global reliance on space systems to facilitate vital societal functions such as commerce, food production, electricity distribution, transportation, and weather assessment has outpaced the creation of national strategies and policies to protect this critical infrastructure. A new Academies report assesses currently available options for addressing threats to space systems and recommend strategies for increasing resiliency.

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Aug. 15, 2016

New Report Assesses Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Goals

NASA photo; the James Webb Space Telescope's mirror segments are tested to gaugeWhile scientists have made remarkable advancements in astronomy and astrophysics since the beginning of this decade, a new Academies report calls for federal agencies to maintain, and in some cases adjust, their programs in order to meet 2010 decadal survey's scientific objectives. Read More

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Aug. 9, 2016

General Support for Science Does Not Always Correlate With Attitudes Toward Specific Science Issues, Says New Report; Offers Conceptual Framework for Science Literacy Research

©stefanovicigor/iStock/ThinkstockU.S. adults perform comparably to adults in other economically developed countries on most measures of science knowledge and support science in general, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. However, attitudes toward some specific issues, such as climate change or genetic engineering, may be shaped by factors such as values and beliefs rather than knowledge of the science alone. Despite popular assumptions, research shows that increasing science literacy will not lead to appreciably greater support for science. Read More

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July 26, 2016

New Report Calls for Rigorous Monitoring to Evaluate Ecological Restoration in the Gulf of Mexico

©Michael Watkins/iStockTo improve and ensure the efficacy of restoration efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following Deepwater Horizon – the largest oil spill in U.S. history – a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends a set of best practices for monitoring and evaluating ecological restoration activities. Read More

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July 25, 2016

NAM and FDA Select Four Individuals for 2016-2017 Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellows

The National Academy of Medicine along with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) have named the 2016-2017 class of FDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Fellows. Four individuals were selected through a highly selective national competition based on their exceptional and diverse professional qualifications to contribute to the work of CTP. Read More

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July 20, 2016

Supporting Parents of Children Birth to Age 8

©monkeybusinessimages/iStock/ThinkstockResearch shows that when parents know more about child development, they are more likely to have quality interactions with their child and to act in ways that support their child's healthy development. Also, when parents have knowledge of specific evidence-based parenting practices, they are more likely to engage in those practices. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies a core set of parenting practices associated with positive child outcomes, such as routines and reduced household chaos; shared book reading and talking to children; use of appropriate (less-harsh) discipline; and practices that promote health and safety such as prenatal care, breast-feeding, vaccination, and children's adequate nutrition.

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July 13, 2016

Possible to Account for Disadvantaged Populations in Medicare's Value-Based Payments

©Ryan McVay/Photodisc/ThinkstockA new Academies report says that Medicare's value-based payment programs could take into account social risk factors -- such as low socio-economic position, residence in disadvantaged neighborhoods, or race and ethnicity -- but any proposal to do so will entail both advantages and disadvantages that need to be carefully considered. This is the third report in a series of five that addresses social risk factors that affect the health care outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and ways to account for them in Medicare payment programs. It was outside the study's statement of task to recommend whether social risk factors should be accounted for in Medicare's value-based payment or how. Read More

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July 13, 2016

NAS Announces New Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

NAS Announces New Prize in Food and Agriculture SciencesThe National Academy of Sciences announced today the creation of a new prize, the NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences, to be presented annually beginning in 2017 with an award of $100,000. The prize is being endowed through generous gifts from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences will recognize research by a mid-career scientist at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. The prize may also be shared by two or more scientists who collaborated closely on the discovery or accomplishment to be recognized. For the purpose of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics. Nominations for the inaugural prize will be accepted online until Oct. 1, 2016.

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June 30, 2016

Marcia McNutt Takes Office as 22nd NAS President

(Photo courtesy AAAS)On July 1, Marcia McNutt begins a six-year term as the 22nd president of the National Academy of Sciences. She succeeds Ralph J. Cicerone, who served two terms as president, the maximum allowed by the Academy's bylaws. "The Academy will be in good hands for years to come," said Cicerone. "Marcia McNutt is an energetic, thoughtful, and respected leader. She will be a strong advocate for the advancement of science and for its application for public benefit."

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June 30, 2016

New Educational Modules Aim to Help Professional-School Students Understand and Assess Scientific Evidence

A series of educational modules has been developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to help students in professional schools -- law, public policy, medicine, journalism, and business -- understand science and its role in decision making. The nine sample modules, which explore topics such as shale gas development ("fracking"), vaccines, forensic pattern evidence, and scientific modeling, are intended for use by professional-school faculty who wish to help their students understand basic scientific principles and approaches and assess the evidence underlying scientific claims. Read More

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June 29, 2016

New Commission Needed to Examine Regulation of Human Subjects Research

©ClaudioVentrella/iStock/ThinkstockA new Academies report that examines the regulations governing federally funded research recommends that Congress authorize and the president appoint an independent, national commission to examine and update the ethical, legal, and institutional frameworks governing research involving human subjects. The commission should make recommendations for how the ethical principles governing human subjects research should be applied to unresolved questions and new research contexts. In addition, the executive branch should withdraw the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the "Common Rule" (formally known as the Federal Policy for Protection of Human Subjects), the report says. The regulatory structure protecting human research subjects should not be revised until the national commission has issued its recommendations and the research community, patient groups, and the public have had a chance to consider and react to them. Read More

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June 21, 2016

Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Data

©Travellinglight/Getty ImagesA new Academies report serves as starting point for moving toward comparable, more unified data collection, analysis, and reporting practices related to obesity status in U.S. populations to inform crucial public health policy and program planning decisions. The report evaluates the strengths and weaknesses with existing approaches to collecting obesity data, creating estimates of obesity prevalence, and assessing trends and recommends ways to systematically assess obesity-related reports, given these strengths and weaknesses.

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June 17, 2016

Integration of Military and Civilian Trauma Care Systems Needed

Trauma care (c)Stockbyte/ThinkstockAcross the current military and civilian trauma care systems, the quality of trauma care varies greatly depending on when and where an individual is injured, and up to 20 percent of U.S. trauma deaths could be prevented with better care, says a new Academies report. Mass casualty incidents and increasing foreign and domestic threats to homeland security lend urgency to the translation of wartime lessons to civilian trauma systems. The White House should lead the integration of trauma care to establish a national system and set an aim to achieve zero preventable deaths after injury. Read More

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June 16, 2016

Academies Gulf Research Program and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Create a $10 Million Grants Program to Build Healthy, Resilient Coastal Communities

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has joined with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to establish a $10 million grants program to fund projects that enhance the science and practice of coastal community resilience in the Gulf of Mexico region. These projects will explore the interrelated health, social, environmental, and economic impacts of disasters and other environmental stressors and inform strategies to address these challenges in Gulf communities. Read More

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June 8, 2016

Gene-Drive Modified Organisms Not Ready to Be Released Into Environment

©kirstypargeter/iStock/ThinkstockThe emerging science of gene drives has the potential to address environmental and public health challenges, but gene-drive modified organisms are not ready to be released into the environment and require more research in laboratories and highly controlled field trials, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. To navigate the uncertainty posed by this fast-moving field of study and make informed decisions about the development and potential application of gene-drive modified organisms, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report recommended a collaborative, multidisciplinary, and cautionary approach to research on and governance of gene drive technologies. Read More

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June 2, 2016

Easier Access, More Affordable Options for Hearing Health Care Needed

©Polka Dot Images/ThinkstockHearing loss is a significant public health concern, and efforts should be made to provide adults with easier access to and more affordable options for hearing health care, especially for those in underserved and vulnerable populations, says a new Academies report. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report called for changes in the cost of hearing health care and expanded treatment options given the number of Americans who have hearing loss and the high cost of hearing health care. It recommended that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration remove the regulation requiring adults to have a medical evaluation or sign an evaluation waiver to purchase a hearing aid, as well as establish a new category of over-the-counter, wearable hearing devices.

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May 25, 2016

Strengthening and Sustaining Strong Safety Culture for Offshore Oil and Gas Operations Requires Collective Action Among Industry and Regulators

©StewartBurnett/iStock/ThinkstockTo transform the offshore oil and gas industry's safety culture, operators, contractors, subcontractors, associations representing these groups, and federal regulators should collaborate to foster safety throughout all levels of the industry and confront challenges collectively, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The industry also should implement the recommendation of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling that called for an independent organization dedicated to safety and environmental protection, with no advocacy role. Read More

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May 24, 2016

Reducing Carbon Emissions from Commercial Aircraft

Commercial aviation, like every means of mass transportation, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Although CO2 emissions from aviation make up only 2 percent to 2.5 percent of total global annual CO2 emissions, research on reducing these emissions is needed to mitigate the contribution that commercial aviation makes to climate change, given the high demand for commercial air transportation and its expected growth.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends a national research agenda for developing propulsion and energy system technologies that could reduce CO2 emissions from global civil aviation and that could be introduced into service during the next 10 to 30 years. The research agenda, which is intended to guide government, industry, and academic research, places the highest priority on four approaches: advances in aircraft-propulsion integration, improvements in gas turbine engines, development of turboelectric propulsion systems, and advances in sustainable alternative jet fuels.

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May 23, 2016

Eight Health Professionals Selected for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Program

The National Academy of Medicine and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today named the 2016-2017 class of RWJF Health Policy Fellows. Beginning in September, the eight health professionals selected will spend a year in Washington, D.C., working on health-related legislative and regulatory issues with members of Congress and the executive branch. They will also engage in seminars and discussions on health policy and participate in leadership development programs.

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May 20, 2016

Lessons Learned From Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident - Phase 2 Report

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power PlantThe 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident should serve as a wake-up call to nuclear plant operators and regulators on the critical importance of measuring, maintaining, and restoring cooling in spent fuel pools during severe accidents and terrorist attacks, says a new congressionally mandated Academies report. The report from Phase 1 of this study was released in July 2014. This Phase 2 report provides findings and recommendations for improving U.S. nuclear plant security and spent fuel storage as well as re-evaluates conclusions from previous Academies studies on spent fuel storage safety and security. Read More

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May 17, 2016

Distinction Between Genetic Engineering and Conventional Plant Breeding Becoming Less Clear

©stevanovicigor/iStock/ThinkstockAn extensive study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has found that new technologies in genetic engineering and conventional breeding are blurring the once clear distinctions between these two crop-improvement approaches. In addition, while recognizing the inherent difficulty of detecting subtle or long-term effects on health or the environment, the study committee found no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops, nor did it find conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the GE crops. However, evolved resistance to current GE characteristics in crops is a major agricultural problem. Read More | Watch webcast

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May 16, 2016

Defining and Classifying Crime

Since 1930, the FBI has served as central coordinator of data on known criminal offenses, combining reports from approximately 18,000 local law enforcement agencies under the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Since the early 1970s, the Bureau of Justice Statistics' National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) has used personal interviewing to view crime from the perspective of the victim and to estimate levels of total crime -- including those which are not known to or reported to police. Despite their prominence in the field, neither the UCR nor the NCVS is designated by law or regulation as the nation's "official" measure of crimes, at least in part because both possess unique strengths and limitations as measurement tools.

A new interim report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine develops a framework for identifying the types of crimes to be considered in a modern crime classification for statistical purposes by weighing various perspectives on how crime should be defined and organized to meet the needs of the full array of data users and stakeholders -- federal agencies, other law enforcement agencies, Congress, the courts and corrections officials, researchers, and the general public.

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May 10, 2016

Bullying Is a 'Serious Public Health Problem,' Says New Report; Evidence-Based Approaches to Prevent Bullying and its Harm Could Have a Dramatic Effect on Children's Well-Being and Development

©Louis-Paul St-Onge/iStock/ThinkstockBullying is a serious public health problem, with significant short- and long-term psychological consequences for both the targets and perpetrators of such behavior, and requires a commitment to developing preventive and interventional policies and practices that could make a tangible difference in the lives of many children, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. There is emerging research that widely used zero-tolerance policies -- those that impose automatic suspension or expulsion of students from school after one bullying incident -- are not effective at curbing bullying or making schools safer and should be discontinued. Instead, resources should be directed to evidence-based policies and programs for bullying prevention in the United States. Read more

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May 9, 2016

A Century of Service to the Nation

NRC Staff WWI Group with MillikanIn 1916, the National Academy of Sciences established the National Research Council as "a measure of national preparedness" to organize the country's scientific resources. During World War I, the Research Council fostered cooperation between civilian researchers and the military in "strengthening the national defense." Over the years, thousands of volunteer scientists and researchers have contributed pro bono to the Research Council's work, keeping to the promise of President Woodrow Wilson's 1918 Executive Order to "stimulate research in the mathematical, physical, and biological sciences, and in the application of these sciences to engineering, agriculture, medicine and other useful arts…"

Today, the National Research Council is known as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

[Members of the National Research Council staff during World War I. Robert A. Millikan, second from left, and other members of the Research Council were commissioned as reserve officers in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in order to set up the Corps' Science and Research Division. Photo courtesy California Institute of Technology Archives]

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May 3, 2016

Simons Foundation to Provide $10 Million Challenge Grant for the new Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions

Simons Foundation to Provide $10 Million Challenge GrantAt its 153rd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences announced the creation of the Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions, named in honor of the Academy's president from 2005 to 2016 and his wife. A $10 million challenge grant from the Simons Foundation will launch a special campaign to raise matching funds for the endowment, which will strengthen the Academy and be used to develop and support NAS programs and policy studies on newly emerging topics before they are widely recognized as major challenges to the nation. Read More

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May 3, 2016

Academy Elects New Members, Foreign Associates

New MembersThe National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the Academy is widely regarded as one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Read More

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May 2, 2016

Remote Real-Time Monitoring of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations

Over the last 25 years, deep-water oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has increased significantly. With the move into greater water depths and with deeper wells being drilled, operations can experience higher pressures, increased temperatures, and greater uncertainty. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends how the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) of the U.S. Department of the Interior could apply remote real-time monitoring (RRTM) to improve the safety and reduce the environmental risks of offshore oil and gas operations.

While no standard RRTM practice exists, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report concluded that mandating a standard approach is not likely to work or be needed for every drilling company or well. Therefore, BSEE should pursue a performance-based regulatory framework that allows industry to determine relevant uses of RRTM based on assessed levels of risk and complexity.

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May 2, 2016

NAS Honors Award Winners

NAS Honors New Members and Award WinnersDuring a ceremony at its 153rd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences presented the 2016 Public Welfare Medal to Alan Alda for his "extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public." NAS also honored 16 other individuals with awards for their outstanding scientific achievements.

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April 29, 2016

NAS Annual Meeting Begins

NAS Annual Meeting 2016The National Academy of Sciences will hold its 153rd annual meeting April 30 to May 3. During the meeting, the Academy will elect new members, induct members elected in 2015, and present its 2016 awards recognizing excellence in research or public service. Selected presentations and ceremonies will be video webcast. Follow the annual meeting activities on Twitter @theNASciences and join the annual meeting conversation #NAS153.

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April 29, 2016

New Publication Summarizes Academies' Second Symposium on Gain-of-Function Research

MERS coronavirus, NIAID photoIn 2014, the U.S. government began a process to create oversight mechanisms for gain-of function research involving avian influenza, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). As part of the assessment process, the government instituted a pause on funding certain new experiments and undertook a formal examination of the risks and benefits of gain-of-function research. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine were also asked to convene two symposia on the issues.

A new publication summarizes proceedings of the Academies’ second symposium on gain-of-function research, which was held March 10-11 in Washington D.C. At the symposium, invited experts discussed draft recommendations proposed by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity -- an official federal advisory body for providing advice on research that poses potential security and safety risks. Although no consensus recommendations were developed at the symposium, discussions will help inform the NSABB's final recommendations and government policy regarding GOF research.

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April 20, 2016

New Report Calls for Coordinated, Multidecade National Effort to Reduce Negative Attitudes and Behavior Toward People With Mental and Substance Use Disorders

Reducing the Stigma of Mental and Substance Use DisordersThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should lead efforts among federal partners and stakeholders to design, implement, and evaluate a multipronged, evidence-based national strategy to reduce stigma toward people with mental and substance use disorders, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Many private and public organizations in the U.S. -- including eight federal agencies -- are already engaged in anti-stigma and mental health promotion efforts, but these efforts are largely uncoordinated and poorly evaluated. Read More

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April 19, 2016

'G-Science' Academies Issue Statements

The science academies of the G-7 nations and seven additional science academies issued three joint statements to their respective governments to inform discussions during the G-7 summit to be held in May in Japan, as well as ongoing policymaking. The three statements -- on brain science, disaster resilience, and nurturing future scientists -- were drawn up by the academies under the aegis of the Science Council of Japan. Read More

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April 11, 2016

Hepatitis B and C Could Be Eliminated as Public Health Problems in U.S.

©RapidEye/iStock/Getty ImagesIt is possible to end the transmission of hepatitis B and C and prevent further sickness and deaths from the diseases in the U.S., but time, considerable resources, and attention to various barriers will be required, says a new Academies report. However, controlling the diseases by reducing the number of new and overall cases in the U.S. is more feasible in the short term. This is the first report of a two-phase study; the second report will outline a strategy for meeting the goals discussed in this report. Read More

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April 7, 2016

Six Practices to Improve Health Care for Disadvantaged Populations

©Ryan McVay/Photodisc/ThinkstockA new Academies report identifies six practices to improve health care for individuals with social risk factors for poor health care outcomes, such as people who are in low socio-economic positions, reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods, or possess limited health literacy. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report said with adequate resources, health care providers can feasibly respond to incentives to deliver high-quality and good-value care to socially at-risk populations. This is the second report in a series of five that addresses social risk factors that affect the health care outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and ways to account for these factors in Medicare payment programs.

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March 31, 2016

Eric J. Grant Appointed Assistant Chief of Research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan

Eric J. Grant The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have appointed Eric J. Grant to serve as assistant chief of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) in Hiroshima, Japan.

RERF is a bi-national foundation supported by the governments of Japan and the United States, the latter represented by the U.S. Department of Energy, and is a global leader in the study of long-term effects of radiation exposure on human health and its interactions with genes, lifestyle, and environment. The Academies have a long-standing cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to recruit and employ U.S. scientists at RERF. Read More

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March 29, 2016

Longer-Term Weather and Environmental Forecasts Will Provide Enormous Benefit

©ponsuwan/iStock/ThinkstockWeather and environmental forecasts made several weeks to months in advance can someday be as widely used and essential as current predictions of tomorrow's weather are, but first more research and sustained investment are needed, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report developed a research agenda, outlining strategies to address the scientific and capability gaps that currently limit the accuracy and usefulness of long-term weather and ocean predictions. Read More

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March 11, 2016

New Report Provides a Guide to Effectively Communicate Chemistry

New Report Provides a Guide to Effectively Communicate ChemistryA new Academies report looks at how chemistry is communicated to the public outside of the classroom. The report includes a guide to assist chemists with their communication and outreach efforts.  Learn More

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March 11, 2016

Attributing Extreme Events to Climate Change

©Kheng ho Toh/Hemera/ThinkstockIt is now possible to estimate the influence of climate change on some types of extreme events, such as heat waves, drought, and heavy precipitation, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The relatively new science of extreme event attribution has advanced rapidly in the past decade owing to improvements in the understanding of climate and weather mechanisms and the analytical methods used to study specific events, but more research is required to increase its reliability, ensure that results are presented clearly, and better understand smaller scale and shorter duration weather extremes such as hurricanes and thunderstorms. Read More | Watch the report release briefing

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March 10, 2016

Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange

Vietnam Veterans and Agent OrangeThe latest and final in a series of congressionally mandated, biennial reviews by the Academies of the evidence of health problems that may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War changed the categorization of health outcomes for bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and spina bifida and clarified the breadth of the previous finding for Parkinson's disease. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report reviewed scientific literature published between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2014. Read More

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March 10, 2016

New Report Recommends Research to Improve Understanding of Relationship Between Fatigue and Crash Risk for Truck and Bus Drivers

©Milos-Muller/iStock/ThinkstockInsufficient sleep can decrease a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver's level of alertness, which may increase the risk of a crash, yet little is known about effective ways to minimize that risk, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Current research on the connection among hours of service, fatigue, and accident frequency for CMV operators is complicated by the difficulty of measuring driver fatigue objectively, invasive nature of capturing measures of the amount and quality of drivers' sleep, and many factors contributing to crashes that are unrelated to lack of sleep. Read More

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March 9, 2016

Informing Social Security's Process for Financial Capability Determination

©GetUpStudio/iStock/ThinkstockThe best indicator of whether a disabled adult who receives Social Security benefits is capable of managing his or her benefits is evidence of real-world performance of meeting his or her own basic needs, rather than an office-based assessment of financial competence, says a new Academies report. Read More

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March 4, 2016

Better Evidence, Oversight Needed to Improve Effectiveness and Availability of Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies

©kentoh/iStock/ThinkstockPotentially useful biomarker tests for molecularly targeted therapies are not being adopted appropriately into clinical practice because of a lack of common evidentiary standards necessary for regulatory, reimbursement, and treatment decisions, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. To enhance patient care and clinical outcomes, the report calls for the creation of a "rapid learning system" that would integrate research on these tests and associated treatments with clinical practice. Appropriate regulatory oversight is also needed to ensure that biomarker tests and targeted therapies are accurate, reliable, and properly validated and implemented. Read More

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March 2, 2016

New Report Finds 'Surprising Gaps' in Knowledge of Ovarian Cancers

'Surprising Gaps' in Knowledge of Ovarian Cancers Ovarian cancer should not be categorized as a single disease, but rather as a constellation of different cancers involving the ovary, yet questions remain on how and where various ovarian cancers arise, says a new congressionally mandated report from the Academies. The report presents research opportunities that if addressed could have the greatest impact on reducing the number of women who are diagnosed with or die from ovarian cancers. Read More

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Feb. 16, 2016

Marcia McNutt Elected 22nd NAS President; New Treasurer, Council Members Chosen

Marcia McNutt Elected 22nd NAS PresidentMembers of the National Academy of Sciences have elected Marcia K. McNutt, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, as the next president of the Academy. William H. Press, Warren J. and Viola M. Raymer Professor in the departments of computer science and integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin, was elected treasurer, and four new members were elected to the Academy's governing Council:

  • Susan G. Amara, Scientific Director, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health;
  • Fred H. Gage, Vi and John Adler Professor, Laboratory of Genetics, Salk Institute for Biological Studies;
  • Evelyn L. Hu, Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University; and
  • Laura L. Kiessling, Steenbock Professor of Chemistry and Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
All terms begin July 1. Read More

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Feb. 11, 2016

New Guide to Conducting Scientific Research Responsibly

Doing Global Science report coverDoing Global Science: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise, a new publication from the InterAcademy Partnership – a global network of science and medical academies – offers guidance on conducting research responsibly in a research environment that is increasingly international and multidisciplinary.

The guide identifies responsible practices at each phase of the research process, from planning to reporting results, and practices that researchers should avoid. The publication also explores how to prevent misuse of science and technology, ways to align incentives with responsible science, and the benefits and challenges of international collaborations.

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Feb. 11, 2016

Gulf War Illness Major Health Effect Linked to Gulf War Military Service

U.S. Department of Defense photoAlthough more than $500 million in federally funded research on Persian Gulf War veterans has produced many findings, there has been little substantial progress in the overall understanding of health effects, particularly Gulf War illness, resulting from military service in the war, says a new Academies report. Aligning with conclusions in a 2010 report, the committee that carried out the latest study said veterans who were deployed to the Gulf War appear to have an increased risk for Gulf War illness, chronic fatigue syndrome, functional gastrointestinal conditions, and mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and substance abuse. There is some evidence that service during the conflict is linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), fibromyalgia, chronic widespread pain, and self-reported sexual difficulties, but the data are limited. Read More

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Feb. 8, 2016

NAE Elects 80 Members and 22 Foreign Members

NAE New Members 2016The National Academy of Engineering has elected 80 new members and 22 foreign members, announced NAE President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr. today. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,275 and the number of foreign members to 232.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. A list of the newly elected members and foreign members is available, with their primary affiliations at the time of election and a brief statement of their principal engineering accomplishments.

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Feb. 3, 2016

Clinical Investigations of Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques Are 'Ethically Permissible'

©vchal/iStock/ThinkstockConducting clinical investigations of mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRT) in humans is ethically permissible as long as significant conditions are met, says a new Academies report. One of those conditions, among many laid out in the report, is that initial MRT clinical investigations should be limited to women who are at risk of transmitting a severe mitochondrial genetic disease that could lead to a child's early death or substantial impairment. Read More

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Jan. 28, 2016

Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors

©bastetamn/iStock/ThinstockEfforts to convert civilian research reactors from weapon-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuels are taking significantly longer than anticipated, says a congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for the federal government to take immediate steps to convert civilian research reactors currently using weapon-grade HEU fuel to a lower-enriched HEU fuel while awaiting the qualification of new LEU fuel. Additionally, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy should develop a long-term strategy to evaluate future civilian needs for neutrons to meet U.S. science and technology objectives and how these could best be provided by research reactors and other sources. Read More

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Jan. 27, 2016

Alan Alda to Receive Public Welfare Medal, Academy's Most Prestigious Award

Alan Alda to Receive Public Welfare MedalThe National Academy of Sciences is presenting its 2016 Public Welfare Medal to actor, director, writer, and science communicator Alan Alda in recognition of his "extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public." The medal is the Academy's most prestigious award, established in 1914 and presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Read More

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Jan. 26, 2016

Increase in the Number of Children Who Receive Federal Disability Benefits for Speech and Language Disorders Similar to Trends in the General Population

© MarkPiovesan/iStock/Getty ImagesThe increase in the number of children from low-income families who are receiving federal disability benefits for speech and language disorders over the past decade parallels the rise in the prevalence of these disorders among all U.S. children, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report's findings underscore the long-term and profound impact of severe speech and language disorders on children, as well as the degree to which children with such disorders can be expected to be a "significant presence" in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Read More

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Jan. 26, 2016

New Report Finds Near-Term Update to Social Cost of Carbon Unwarranted

©PinkBadger/iStock/ThinkstockThere would not be sufficient benefit to updating estimates of the social cost of carbon (SCC) within a year based only on the revision of a specific parameter in the existing framework used by the government's interagency group to measure the SCC, says a new interim report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that is conducting the study and wrote the report considered whether a near-term change is warranted on the basis of updating the probability distribution for equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) -- a parameter that translates carbon dioxide emissions to global temperature change -- and that was updated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its most recent Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Because ECS is only one input to the framework used to estimate the SCC, updating the ECS alone may not significantly improve the estimates.

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Jan. 21, 2016

Honoring Outstanding Achievement in Science

Honoring Outstanding Achievement in ScienceSince 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding scientific achievement through its awards program. NAS announced the 2016 winners of various awards this month. 

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Jan. 20, 2016

K-12 Science Teachers Need Sustained Professional Learning Opportunities to Teach New Science Standards, Report Says

©monkeybusinessimages/iStock/ThinkstockAs researchers' and teachers' understanding of how best to learn and teach science evolves and curricula are redesigned, many teachers are left without the experience needed to enhance the science and engineering courses they teach, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This issue is particularly pronounced in elementary schools and in schools that serve a high percentage of low-income students. The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report found a lack of coherent learning opportunities for science teachers across their careers and recommended changes to current systems for supporting teachers' professional development inside and outside the classroom. Read More

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Jan. 14, 2016

Examining Barriers and Opportunities for STEM Degrees

© Vyacheslav Shramko/Getty ImagesA new Academies report outlines the barriers faced by two- and four-year undergraduates who intend to major in STEM disciplines and opportunities for overcoming these barriers. The report provides research-based guidance to inform policies and programs that aim to attract and retain these students.

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Jan. 12, 2016

Socio-economic Status in Medicare Payment Programs

Recent health care payment reforms aim to better align Medicare payment strategies with the goal of improving the quality of care provided. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Academies to identify social risk factors that affect the health outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and how to account for these factors in Medicare payment programs. The Academies' study will be conducted in phases and produce five consensus reports. The first report in this series, issued today, defines socio-economic position and identifies social factors -- such as race, health literacy, and limited English proficiency -- that have been shown to influence the health outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries.

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Jan. 8, 2015

World's Largest Gathering of Transportation Professionals

Transportation Research Board's 95th annual meetingAt least 12,000 people from more than 70 countries -- including policymakers, administrators, practitioners, and researchers from government, industry, and academia -- are expected to attend the Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting. The event is returning to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., from Jan. 10-14, and will involve more than 5,000 presentations at over 800 sessions and workshops covering all transportation modes. Approximately 75 sessions will address one or more of three hot topics: transformation technologies, resilience, and transportation and public health.

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Jan. 8, 2016

New Report Finds No Significant Increase in Health Risks for 1960s Project SHAD Veterans

No Significant Increase in Health Risks for Project SHAD VetsVeterans who participated in a series of tests during the 1960s known as Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) show no significant increase in adverse health outcomes, specific causes of death, or death rates compared with a similar group of veterans who were not involved in the tests, says a new report from a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The congressionally mandated report builds on a 2007 Institute of Medicine report, which also found no consistent, specific patterns of poorer health among SHAD veterans. In addition, although the 2007 report suggested an increased risk of death from heart disease for SHAD veterans, the committee that wrote the new report found no such increased risk after analyzing cause-of-death data from seven additional years of follow-up. Read More

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