Supporting Parents of Children Birth to Age 8

July 20, 2016

Research 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.

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

July 13, 2016

A 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

NAS Announces New Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences

July 13, 2016

The 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.

Marcia McNutt Takes Office as 22nd NAS President

June 30, 2016

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." McNutt Bio

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

June 30, 2016

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

New Commission Needed to Examine Regulation of Human Subjects Research

June 29, 2016

A 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

Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Data

June 21, 2016

A 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.

Integration of Military and Civilian Trauma Care Systems Needed

June 17, 2016

Across 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

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

June 16, 2016

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

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

June 8, 2016

The 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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