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During a ceremony at its 152nd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences presented the 2015 Public Welfare Medal to Neil deGrasse Tyson for his "extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science." NAS also honored 17 other individuals with awards for their outstanding scientific achievements. News Release - Public Welfare Medal News Release - Awards
The National Academy of Sciences will hold its 152nd annual meeting from April 25 to 28. During the meeting, the Academy will elect new members, induct members elected in 2014, and present 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 #NAS152.
A new National Research Council report discusses the Federal Highway Administration's critical role in research, development, and technology to transform the nation's aging network of highways into one that is safer, more reliable, and more resilient.
Vehicle cost, current battery technology, and inadequate consumer knowledge are some of the barriers preventing widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Research Council. Developing less expensive, better performing batteries is essential to reducing overall vehicle cost, and a market strategy is needed to create awareness and overcome consumer uncertainty. The report recommends that the federal government refrain from additional direct investment in public charging infrastructure until more is known about the role of infrastructure in encouraging broader adoption of plug-in electric vehicles, but says that financial incentives to purchase such vehicles should extend beyond current production volume limits. Read More
From distant satellites to medical implants, sensors are collecting unprecedented quantities of digital data across the scientific disciplines. Other sectors -- government, business, and health -- are collecting huge amounts of data and information as well. If accurate and accessible, such information has the potential to speed scientific discovery, spur innovation, inform policy, and support transparency. However, the policies, infrastructure, and workforce needed to manage this information have not kept pace with its rapid growth, says a new report from the National Research Council. Read More
Considerable research has focused on how well students learn when they are grouped from two or more from health or social care professions, known as interprofessional education. Recently researchers have started looking beyond the classroom for how interprofessional education affects patient safety, provider and patient satisfaction, quality of care, community health outcomes, and cost savings. Without a purposeful and more comprehensive system of engagement between the education and health care delivery systems, evaluating the impact of interprofessional education interventions on health and system outcomes will be difficult, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. More studies are needed to answer key questions about the effectiveness of interprofessional education, and a conceptual model would greatly enhance the description and purpose of such interventions and their potential impact.
The U.S. ground-based optical and infrared astronomy system includes a combination of public and private facilities and a range of small-, medium-, and large-aperture telescopes and instruments that vary in sensitivity and functionality. A new report from the National Research Council recommends improvements in its observational, instrumentation, and data management capabilities and coordination among federal and private partners to better position the system to meet the objectives described in the Research Council's recent decadal surveys on astronomy and astrophysics and planetary science. Read More
Congress should continue to support the maintenance of the Air Force Health Study data and biospecimens and to facilitate making them available to the scientific community as broadly as possible, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. In 1979, Congress directed that an epidemiologic study, formally called the Air Force Health Study (AFHS), evaluate the possible health effects related to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam conflict. After the study concluded, the research assets -- including biological samples and medical examination records from veterans and a comparison group -- were transferred to the custodianship of the IOM. A later public law instructed that the AFHS assets become available for scientifically peer-reviewed research studies. Because the AFHS has been accessible to the scientific community for less than three years, the vast majority of its potential is yet to be realized, the report says. It identifies two options for the continued maintenance and management of the AFHS assets.
U.S. communities and federal agencies should more intentionally seek to create healthier communities during disaster preparation and recovery efforts – something that rarely happens now, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. By adding a health "lens" to planning and recovery, a community can both mitigate the health damage caused by disasters and recover in ways that make the community healthier and more resilient than it was before. Read More
Gradual and variable change in mental functions that occurs naturally as people age, not as part of a neurological disease such as Alzheimer's disease, is one of the most challenging health issues encountered by older adults, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Known as "cognitive aging," the type and rate of change can vary widely among individuals. Some will experience very few, if any, effects, while others may experience changes in their memory, speed of processing information, problem solving, learning, and decision-making abilities. The report presents three top actions individuals can take to help maintain optimal cognitive function with age. Read More