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International Commission on Heritable Genome Editing Holds First Public Meeting

August 20, 2019

Last week the International Commission on the Clinical Use of Human Germline Genome Editing held its first public meeting at the National Academy of Sciences building in Washington, D.C. The commission was convened earlier this year by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of the U.K. With the participation of science and medical academies around the world, the commission will develop a framework for scientists, clinicians, and regulatory authorities to consider when assessing potential clinical applications of human germline genome editing. Read More

Review of Report on Supplemental Low-Activity Waste at Hanford Nuclear Site Now Available for Public Comment

August 15, 2019

A new National Academies report — which reviews a separate report by a federally funded laboratory that examines options for treating low-activity radioactive waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation — is available for public comment until Oct. 31. A survey that can be used to comment on the National Academies report or the federally funded laboratory’s report is available online, along with links to both reports. Read More

2019 Communication Award Winners Announced

August 15, 2019

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine announced today the recipients of the 2019 Communication Awards. ‘She Has Her Mother’s Laugh’ has won Best Book Award; NPR, Science News, ProPublica, and GroundTruth Project/Frontline PBS also take top prizes. Supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation since 2003 as part of the Keck Futures Initiative, these prestigious awards in four categories — each of which includes a $20,000 prize — recognize excellence in reporting and communicating science, engineering, and medicine to the general public. That program has ended, and this will be the final year of these awards. The winners will be honored during a ceremony on Oct. 16 in Washington, D.C. Read More

National Academies Forum Examines Role of Tech and Social Innovation in the Food System

August 14, 2019

Rev. Heber Brown III wants people to erase the term “food desert” from their vocabulary. “What I would rather say is ‘food apartheid’,” said the pastor of Baltimore’s historically black Pleasant Hope Baptist Church at a recent workshop on food system innovations held by the National Academies’ Food Forum. Read more about how emerging technologies in the food system could make a big difference for communities like Brown’s.

Stronger Policies Needed to Protect the Public From Legionnaires Disease

August 14, 2019

The U.S. needs stronger policies and guidance to combat Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia caused by inhaling air contaminated with Legionella bacteria from water systems, says a new report from the National Academies. Currently there is an absence of regulations that can broadly control the presence of Legionella in water systems. The report calls for a range of actions to combat the growth of the bacteria, such as ensuring that hot water temperatures in buildings are high enough, requiring a minimum level of disinfectant in public water systems, and providing homeowners with more guidance on how to prevent Legionella. Read More Interactive Resource for Facilities Managers

National Academies' Gulf Research Program Announces 2019 Science Policy Fellowship Recipients

August 7, 2019

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies has announced the nine recipients of its 2019 Science Policy Fellowships. Now in its fifth year, this fellowship program supports the development of future generations of scientists, engineers, and health professionals prepared to work at the intersections of ecosystem health, community health and resilience, and offshore energy system safety in the Gulf of Mexico and other U.S. coastal regions. Read More

National Academies Report Helps Inform Metrics for Healthy People 2030

August 6, 2019

The National Academies today released Criteria for Selecting the Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2030, the first of two reports that will help inform the development of Healthy People 2030 (HP2030). Every 10 years, Healthy People — a federal initiative aiming to improve the health of all Americans — releases a comprehensive list of goals for health promotion and disease prevention at the national, state, and local levels. Each edition of Healthy People also includes Leading Health Indicators (LHIs), a select subset of objectives related to high-priority health issues. A National Academies committee was asked to comment on the criteria that will be used to choose the LHIs, before HP2030 is finalized and released next year. In a second report expected later this year, the committee will also recommend a slate of LHIs that are aligned with the vision, mission, and overarching goals of HP2030.Read More

Virtual Clinical Trials: A New Model for Patient Engagement

August 2, 2019

For some patients, the ability to participate in a clinical trial from the comfort of one’s home is becoming a reality. Nearly 70 percent of potential clinical trial participants live more than two hours away from a study center, limiting their opportunities to benefit from possibly life-changing therapies. For many, getting to the site for one or multiple visits is not an option. However, digital health technologies – including mobile phone apps, fitness trackers and other wearables, and electronic patient portals – are enabling some clinical trials to be conducted partially or entirely remotely. At a recent National Academies workshop, panelists examined the potential benefits of virtual clinical trials, such as faster participant recruitment and improved retention; fewer geographic, financial, and time barriers for participants; and increased participant diversity and representation. Read More

Editorial Marks 40th Anniversary of Landmark Report on Climate Change

August 1, 2019

In the most recent issue of Science, NAS President Marcia McNutt authored an editorial about the 40th anniversary of a groundbreaking Academy report on climate change. “Fast-forward to 2019, and these calculations of the sensitivity of climate to a doubling of CO2 have proven to be remarkably on target,” writes McNutt. “What else can scientists do to spur action to avert the worst impacts of climate change?”Read the editorial

Advancing Health Equity for Kids

July 25, 2019

The lack of supportive policies for families in the United States, such as paid parental leave, has serious implications for health equity, as it affects families’ overall health and financial stability, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Implementing paid family leave at the federal, state, or local levels could improve workforce participation, sustain household income, and in turn, promote children’s health and well-being, says the report. It also recommends improving financial stability, food security, and housing quality and safety to help families meet basic needs during the prenatal through early childhood periods. Read More

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