NAM Releases New Special Publication to Help Clinicians Counter Opioid Epidemic

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:00 EDT

Halting the opioid epidemic requires aggressive action across multiple dimensions, including informed, active, and determined front-line leadership from health clinicians working in every setting throughout the nation, says a new special publication from the National Academy of Medicine. The 21-page publication is an action guide for clinicians if they are prescribing an opioid or managing a patient who presents with a likely opioid use disorder. To successfully marshal progress, the paper calls for clinicians to prioritize non-opioid strategies when managing chronic pain, follow five axioms of responsible opioid prescribing, and promote policies that stimulate and support available scientific evidence. Read More

Policies Governing Dual-Use Research in the Life Sciences Are Fragmented, and Most Scientists Have Little Awareness of Concerns

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 11:00 EDT

A new report from the National Academies examines policies and practices governing dual-use research in the life sciences – research that could potentially be misused to cause harm – and its findings identify multiple shortcomings. While the U.S. has a solid record in conducting biological research safely, the policies and regulations governing the dissemination of life sciences information that may pose biosecurity concerns are fragmented. Evidence also suggests that most life scientists have little awareness of biosecurity issues, the report says, stressing the importance of ongoing training for scientists. Read More

New Report Calls for Comprehensive Redesign of Process for Updating Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 11:00 EDT

Although the process used to develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) has become more evidence-based since its inception more than 30 years ago, it is not currently positioned to effectively adapt to changes such as food diversity and chronic disease prevalence, while also ensuring the integrity of the process, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should comprehensively redesign the process for updating the DGA to improve transparency, promote diversity of expertise and experience, support a deliberative process, foster independence in decision-making, and strengthen scientific rigor. Read More

Report Collection Provides Targeted Resources for All Stakeholders in a Disaster Response

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 14:30 EDT

With communities reeling from the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, a number of our reports provide guidance and serve as resources on responding to and recovering from such devastating disasters.

New Publication Considers Past and Future of U.S.-Iran Science Engagement

fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:00 EDT

For over 15 years, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have organized workshops and other cooperative activities between U.S. and Iranian scientists on topics ranging from earthquake preparedness to urban air pollution to wetland conservation. More than 1,500 scientists, engineers, and medical professionals from about 120 institutions in both countries have participated in these activities, which are intended to contribute to global science in areas of mutual interest. U.S.-Iran Engagement in Science, Engineering, and Health: A Resilient Program, But an Uncertain Future, a new publication authored by Glenn Schweitzer, director of the National Academies' Program for Central Europe and Eurasia, documents the history and details of the Academies' program of science engagement with Iran from 2010 to 2016. The publication also identifies lessons learned from past cooperative activities – for example, the importance of involving both highly respected leaders in the field of interest and early career professionals who can sustain joint efforts for years and even decades. The publication also offers a perspective on future science engagement with Iran.

NAS, NAM Members Receive Lasker Awards

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 11:30 EDT

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced today that NAS member Michael N. Hall, professor, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland, is the recipient of the 2017 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for "discoveries concerning the nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth." Dual NAS/NAM member Douglas Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute, has been awarded the 2017 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, along with John T. Schiller of the NCI, for "technological advances that enabled development of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumors caused by human papillomaviruses." For more than 70 years, the Lasker Awards have recognized the contributions of scientists, clinicians, and public citizens who have made major advancements in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of disease. The prestigious awards each carry an honorarium of $250,000.

NASA Should Continue Its Large Strategic Missions to Maintain United States' Global Leadership in Space

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 11:00 EDT

NASA's large strategic missions like the Hubble Space Telescope, the Curiosity rover on Mars, and the Terra Earth observation satellite are essential to maintaining the United States' global leadership in space exploration and should continue to be a primary component of a balanced space science program that includes large, medium, and smaller missions, says a new report. However, controlling the costs of these large missions remains vital in order to preserve the overall stability of the program, the report finds. Read More

Statement Regarding National Academies Study on Potential Health Risks of Living in Proximity to Surface Coal Mining Sites in Central Appalachia

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 12:00 EDT

In an August 18 letter, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement informed the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that it should cease all work on a study of the potential health risks for people living near surface coal mine sites in Central Appalachia. The letter states that the Department has begun an agency-wide review of its grants and cooperative agreements in excess of $100,000, largely as a result of the Department’s changing budget situation. The National Academies will go forward with previously scheduled meetings for this project in Kentucky on August 21-23 -- which are allowed to proceed according to the letter -- and encourages the public to attend open meetings in Hazard and Lexington on August 21 and 22. The National Academies believes this is an important study and we stand ready to resume it as soon as the Department of the Interior review is completed. We are grateful to our committee members for their dedication to carrying forward with this study. Read More

New Report Proposes Framework to Identify Vulnerabilities Posed by Synthetic Biology

Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:00 EDT

Given the possible security vulnerabilities related to developments in synthetic biology – a field that uses technologies to modify or create organisms or biological components – a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes a framework to identify and prioritize potential areas of concern associated with the field. This report is the first in a two-phase study that is examining the changing nature of biodefense threats in the age of synthetic biology, focusing on the degree to which it can be used to create a weapon. Read More

New Report Outlines Research Agenda to Better Understand the Relationship Among Microbiomes, Indoor Environments, and Human Health

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 9:00 EDT

Even with a growing body of research on microorganisms and humans in indoor environments, many of their interconnections remain unknown, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report proposes a research agenda to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the formation, dynamics, and functions of indoor microbiomes that can guide improvements to current and future buildings as well as enhance human health and well-being. Read More

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