A report this month by the McKinsey Global Institute — the subject of a story on The Washington Post’s Wonkblog — identified 12 “disruptive technologies” that could be transformative for the U.S. economy.
Such a forecast necessitates some parameters, of course. The authors, led by MGI Director James Manyika, DPhil, restricted their survey to already-established technologies which could have impacts across industries with a high potential economic impact. And with any forecast, the results are hardly ironclad. But, as Wonkblog contributor Neil Irwin writes, the study “represent[s] a serious effort by some smart people to quantify what appear to be some major forces shaping our technological future.”
Of most concern for us is Continue reading →
A recent Gallup poll shows that Americans have an overall positive opinion of the work being done by two federal health agencies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was given a rating of “good” or “excellent” by 60 percent of respondents. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was given equally positive and fair ratings by 77 percent of those polled. Of the ten agencies listed in the poll, FDA’s rating by the public increased the most between 2009 and 2013. Other agencies reviewed in this latest poll include NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Internal Revenue Service which scored low with nearly half (42%) saying the IRS is doing a “poor job.”
The polling, conducted between May 20 and 21, is the first taken by Gallup of these agencies since 2009 and there has been a steady increase in positive ratings for the CDC and FDA. But how will the public feel about these agencies and their service to the American people one or two years into sequestration? Only time will tell, but cuts to the budgets of these agencies could impair the ability of the CDC to protect Americans from disease outbreaks and hamper the FDA’s efforts to approve new and innovative medical treatments in a timely fashion.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a neurological disorder that is a leading cause of disability in young adults. May 29 is World MS Day; started in 2009, it is a global campaign to raise awareness of MS which affects more than 2 million people world-wide and an estimated 400,000 Americans. There is no cure for MS and current therapies have only limited benefits to slow disease progression. Learn more about MS on Research!America’s fact sheet.
A recently published, unexpected discovery coming from researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University suggests that vitamin C may be a useful component to treating drug-resistant tuberculosis. This finding may sound more like something out of a television medical drama than real life, but the research—funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health—suggests that ascorbic acid may help kill the bacteria that cause TB.
These preliminary findings have laid a foundation for clinical trials using vitamin C in tandem with other drugs. Researchers observed that vitamin C treatment of the cultured bacteria led to generation of harmful “free radicals” in both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB strains. It remains to be seen if vitamin C can have the same effect on the bacteria that have infected a human. Multi- and extreme-drug resistant forms of TB (MDR- and XDR-TB) are significant health threats and developing effective therapy requires the research community using every tool available. Continue reading →
NIH Career Symposium educates young scientists on range of career opportunities and burgeoning responsibilities of scientists
Now, more than ever, young scientists are grappling with important career decisions. For newly minted PhDs, there are fewer and fewer academic faculty positions available. These coveted “tenure track” positions have been the “typical” career path for research scientists in a variety of biomedical fields. Yet in an environment with flat funded research budgets combined with sequestration, a decade of cuts, more scientists are pursuing ‘alternative’ careers.
This desire to learn about the diversity of career options for scientists prompted nearly 1,400 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other scientists-in-training to register for the recent Career Symposium hosted by the Office of Intramural Training and Education (OITE) at the National Institutes of Health on May 14. This was the 6th such symposium and it featured sessions on not only the traditional academic track—still a popular career path—but also industry, policy, communications, education and research career options for medical doctors as well. The event also included rapid “skills blitz” sessions on topics like the basics of job searches, resumes and interviewing skills. Continue reading →
The United Kingdom recently announced a plan that will capitalize on its role as President of the G8 to promote an international cooperation to stop dementia.
This announcement sparks the beginning of increased international collaboration among world governments, industry and non-governmental organizations. Representatives of these diverse entities will gather at an upcoming dementia summit in London, scheduled for September. The global impact of dementia and Alzheimer’s is undeniable—over 35.6 million people worldwide battle with dementia. With the aging global population, this figure is predicted to exceed 110 million people by 2050. Continue reading →
On May 15, Research!America hosted a forum, “Neglected Tropical Disease Research in Louisiana: Saving Lives and Creating Jobs.” The forum, featuring leading NTD experts from the region, was held at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans.
Pierre Buekens, MD, PhD, dean of the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, made opening remarks. He set the scene for the day, reminding us that there is a false divide between global and domestic health. Dr. Buekens pointed out that borders don’t matter when we share climates and that NTDs can affect people in all corners of world, including New Orleans. He argued that the US is not doing enough to address the threat of NTDs and said that it is “really time to wake up, we really can’t tell other countries what to do if we don’t address it at home.”
The first panel focused on NTDs and NTD research in the U.S. and Louisiana in particular. The panel was moderated by Dean Buekens and featured the following panelists: Patricia Dorn, PhD, Professor of Biological Sciences at Loyola University New Orleans; John B. Malone, DVM, PhD, Professor of Pathobiological Sciences at Louisiana State University; Raoult C. Ratard, MD, State Epidemiologist at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and Dawn Wesson, MS, PhD, Associate Professor of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University. Continue reading →