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NAS Annual Meeting Begins

April 29, 2016

The 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.

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

April 29, 2016

In 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.

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

April 20, 2016

The 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

'G-Science' Academies Issue Statements

April 19, 2016

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

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

April 11, 2016

It 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

Six Practices to Improve Health Care for Disadvantaged Populations

April 7, 2016

A 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.

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

March 31, 2016

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

Longer-Term Weather and Environmental Forecasts Will Provide Enormous Benefit

March 29, 2016

Weather 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

New Report Provides a Guide to Effectively Communicate Chemistry

March 11, 2016

A 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

Attributing Extreme Events to Climate Change

March 11, 2016

It 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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