Big science spenders

mapnatoutlookMore money than ever is being invested in research and development. Countries that previously spent little are now pumping money into science to secure their future economic growth.

[Read the story at Nature // September 1 , 2016]

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The neuroscience of poverty

PovertyBrainA small but growing group of neuroscientists is exploring a striking idea: Growing up in poverty doesn’t just limit children’s circumstances, but actually alters the very structure and physiology of their brains. I took a close look at studies published over the last decade in this new and controversial field. Continue reading “The neuroscience of poverty”

Russian researchers protest against law dissolving Academy of Sciences

Vladimir FortovRussian researchers are vehemently protesting a bill  that would essentially liquidate the venerated Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and replace it with a newly -formed but as-yet poorly-defined body.  The bill was passed its first and second reading on 1 July and 5 July 2013, respectively. It is slated to be signed into law when the Duma resumes session on 10 September. According to Russian law, substantive changes may not be made to a bill after it passes its second reading.

“[RAS] is the main structure of scientific research in the country,” says Alla Valeria Mikhalevich, a protozoologist and micropaleontologist at the Zoological Institute of the Academy in St Petersburg and a member of the St Petersburg Union of Scientists. “This reform will destroy the entire structure of basic science in Russia.”

[Read more at Euroscientist // September 2, 1013]

Will we ever… eliminate animal experimentation?

LabMouseBBC_pOne of the most, if not the most, contentious issues in science is the use of animals in research. Scientists experiment on animals for a host of different reasons, including basic research to explore how organisms function, investigating potential treatments for human disease, and safety and quality control testing of drugs, devices and other products. Its proponents point to the long list of medical advances made possible with the help of animal research. Opponents believe it is cruel and meaningless, as observations in animals often do not translate directly to humans.

[Read more at BBC Future // June 10, 2013]

Delays in updates to ethics guidelines for research spark concern

CommonRuleNearly two years ago, the US government office that oversees human research ethics launched the first-ever major revision to the so-called Common Rule, the 22-year-old regulation that governs the protection of human research subjects there. But the process set into motion by that agency—the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP), a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—is dragging on. And a vocal contingent of bioethicists and researchers say the changes on the table are not enough to fix an outdated and overburdened system, advocating instead for a more fundamental rethink.

[Read more at Nature Medicine (paywall) or download PDF // May 7, 2013]

New tracking system proposed to help recall faulty devices

A miter saw, decorative lights, socks for toddlers—these were a few of the consumer goods recalled off of shelves across the US last month because they posed a danger to users. Recalling faulty pacemakers or catheters is much more difficult, however, because no system exists for tracking medical devices on the market. In an effort to remedy that and boost consumer safety, on 3 July the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlined plans to create a new comprehensive monitoring system for medical devices.

[Read more at Nature Medicine (paywall) or download PDF // August 6, 2012]