New Report Proposes Framework for Policymakers to Address Debate Over Encryption

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 11:00 EST

A new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes a framework for evaluating proposals to provide authorized government agencies with access to unencrypted versions of encrypted communications and other data. The framework is the product of an 18-month study led by a diverse array of leaders from law enforcement, computer science, civil liberties, law, and other disciplines. Read More 

National Academies Announce Initiative on Environmental Health, Appoint Advisory Committee

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:00 EST

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are launching an Academies-wide initiative to transform how the nation addresses the complex issues associated with environmental health — a field that examines how the environment affects human health. The initiative will bring together expertise across the institution, including environmental, medical, and social science, energy, and engineering, and involve leaders from government, corporate, and academic entities to explore the latest science, identify promising solutions, and create innovative pathways toward improving environmental health. Read More

NAS Announces Launch of the LabX Public Engagement Program

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 13:00 EST

In keeping with its mission to communicate the nature, values, and judgments of science to the public, the National Academy of Sciences is launching LabX, a public engagement initiative that will promote evidence-based decision-making on issues that have significant relevance to communities and in which science is an important factor. The new program will kick off with an immersive event on March 7, organized in conjunction with Museum Hack and the Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences. "In today's world where the boundary between science and science fiction is hard to discern, it is too easy to forget the very real way that science and technology are — and should be — applied to make meaningful differences in our lives," said National Academy of Sciences President Marcia McNutt. "LabX engages citizens in the application of science to community decision-making to promote resilience, improve safety and security, and achieve any number of other desirable outcomes." Read More

NAE Elects 83 Members and 16 Foreign Members

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 15:00 EST

The National Academy of Engineering has elected 83 new members and 16 foreign members, announced NAE President C. D. (Dan) Mote, Jr., today. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,293 and the number of foreign members to 262. Election to the Academy 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.

VA Provides Mental Health Care to Veterans of Recent Iraq and Afghanistan Wars of Comparable or Superior Quality to Other Providers, Yet Substantial Unmet Need Remains

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 11:00 EST

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides mental health care of comparable or superior quality to care provided in private and non-VA public sectors, accessibility and quality of services vary across the VA health system, leaving a substantial unmet need for mental health services among veterans of the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. A survey of these veterans developed and fielded by the committee that conducted the study found that approximately half of those who may have a need for mental health care do not use VA or non-VA services, indicating that a large proportion of veterans do not receive any treatment for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorder, or depression. In addition, more than half of veterans who screened positive in the survey for having a mental health care need do not perceive a need for mental health services. Read More

Gulf Research Program Awards $5.3 Million to Enhance Environmental Restoration Outcomes and Improve Oil Spill Risk Assessment

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 11:00 EST

The Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced grants totaling $5.3 million awarded for seven new projects. Five of the projects involve developing or testing new technologies or methods for monitoring or evaluating environmental restoration projects to improve future restoration efforts. The remaining two projects focus on improving the information available to decision-makers for evaluating public health risks resulting from oil spills. Read More

One of the Most Comprehensive Studies on Health Effects of E-Cigarettes Finds That Using E-Cigarettes May Lead Youth to Start Smoking, Adults to Stop Smoking

Tue, 23 Jan 2018 11:00 EST

Evidence suggests that while e-cigarettes are not without health risks, they are likely to be far less harmful than conventional cigarettes, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. They contain fewer numbers and lower levels of toxic substances than conventional cigarettes, and using e-cigarettes may help adults who smoke conventional cigarettes quit smoking. However, their long-term health effects are not yet clear. Among youth -- who use e-cigarettes at higher rates than adults do -- there is substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases the risk of transitioning to smoking conventional cigarettes. Although the research base is limited given the relatively short time e-cigarettes have been used, the committee that conducted the study identified and examined over 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies, reaching dozens of conclusions about a range of health impacts. Read More 

Paul Farmer to Receive National Academy of Sciences' Public Welfare Medal

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:00 EST

The National Academy of Sciences is presenting its 2018 Public Welfare Medal to physician, anthropologist, and humanitarian Paul Farmer for "pioneering enduring, community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings in the U.S. and other countries." 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

Integration of a Wide Range of Safety Systems Is Needed to Develop an In-Time Aviation Safety Management System, New Report Says

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 10:30 EST

A comprehensive aviation safety system as envisioned by NASA would require integration of a wide range of systems and practices, including building an in-time aviation safety management system (IASMS) that could detect and mitigate high-priority safety issues as they emerge and before they become hazards, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. An IASMS could continuously monitor the national airspace system, assess the data that it has collected, and then either recommend or initiate safety assurance actions as necessary. Read More

New Report Calls for Lowering Blood Alcohol Concentration Levels for Driving, Increasing Federal and State Alcohol Taxes, Increasing Enforcement, Among Other Recommendations

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:30 EST

Despite progress in recent decades, more than 10,000 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities occur each year in the U.S. To address this persistent problem, stakeholders -- from transportation systems to alcohol retailers to law enforcement -- should work together to implement policies and systems to eliminate these preventable deaths, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report recommended a number of actions, such as lowering state laws criminalizing alcohol-impaired driving from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent blood alcohol concentration, increasing alcohol taxes significantly, strengthening policies to prevent illegal alcohol sales to people under 21 and to already-intoxicated adults, enacting all-offender ignition interlock laws, and providing effective treatment for offenders when needed. Read More

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