New Guide to Conducting Scientific Research Responsibly

Feb. 11, 2016

Doing 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.

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

Feb. 11, 2016

Although 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

NAE Elects 80 Members and 22 Foreign Members

Feb. 8, 2016

The 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.

Clinical Investigations of Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques Are 'Ethically Permissible'

Feb. 3, 2016

Conducting 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

Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors

Jan. 28, 2016

Efforts 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

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

Jan. 27, 2016

The 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

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

Jan. 26, 2016

The 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

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

Jan. 26, 2016

There 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.

Honoring Outstanding Achievement in Science

Jan. 21, 2016

Since 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.  Winners in Neuroscience and Psychological and Cognitive SciencesWinners in Physical, Earth, and Space Sciences Winners in Biological, Medical, and Agricultural Sciences

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

Jan. 20, 2016

As 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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