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Dear Research Advocate, Congress is back and there is talk of more stalemate, with support wavering for a deal to avert the fiscal cliff before the end of the year. Speaker John Boehner said early today that ’€œno substantive progress has been made’€ on negotiations. Amazingly, inaction (going over the cliff) remains a possibility. The more likely scenario is a short-term fix that leaves the major decisions in the hands of the next Congress. In the midst of behind-the-scenes negotiations between congressional leadership and the White House, appropriators are talking about finalizing their bills before the end of the lame-duck session rather than waiting to revisit the current continuing...
It started in Tennessee: one patient with an unusual recurrence of meningitis. An infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University worked the case like a detective, tracking down a lead. When the detective work led to an unusual suspect ’€“ a possible contamination ’€“ the Tennessee Department of Health was promptly notified. And when Tennessee public health specialists feared the contamination might be widespread, they contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In short order, a second federal agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and most states in the eastern half of the country were working to solve a puzzling fungal meningitis outbreak that affected...
Public Health Thank You Day, November 19, 2012 WASHINGTON, DC ’€”November 15, 2012’€”On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Research!America and leading U.S. public health organizations recognize public health professionals who work tirelessly every day to protect the health of all Americans. Public Health Thank You Day 2012 honors all those unsung heroes who keep our drinking water safe and air clean, develop vaccines, track and contain deadly illnesses and aid victims of devastating natural disasters. These everyday heroes include health inspectors, environmental health scientists, public health researchers, sanitation workers and many other dedicated workers. ’€œIn recent weeks, the nation...
The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has prompted a renewed discussion about climate change. Political leaders and climate scientists alike have raised concerns about the relationship between global warming and an increase in the number of extreme weather events. In addition to these concerns, climate change may also increase the threat of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) here in the U.S. NTD transmission depends heavily on environmental conditions and warming temperatures may increase the severity or change the patterns of these diseases. For example, funded by a grant from the Department of Defense, researchers at Texas Tech determined that climate change will allow dengue to...
On October 31 st , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported new cases of fungal meningitis in Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Virginia, bringing the total to 368 cases in the recent outbreak . This form of meningitis, which has been linked to contaminated steroid injections, is a serious disease that infects the brain and spinal cord. In the face of this tragedy, public health agencies and professionals have coordinated an excellent emergency response to the outbreak. The CDC responded quickly, identifying possible sources of contamination, tracking cases and communicating updates to the nation. CDC experts and local public health workers have been working day and night to...
During the final presidential debate, research finally got some airtime. President Barack Obama noted that ’€œ’€¦ if we don’€™t continue to put money into research and technology that will allow us to create great businesses here in the United States, that’€™s how we lose to the competition.’€ Similarly, Mitt Romney emphasized his support for research, saying that ’€œI want to invest in research, providing funding to universities ’€¦ is great.’€ It was great to hear both candidates acknowledge the importance of research for the future. As they explained, investment in research is crucial for supporting universities, creating jobs and maintaining America’€™s competitive edge (three of...
Source: CDC On World Polio Day, established by Rotary International , the global health community comes together to celebrate successes and renew commitments to eliminate polio once and for all. Polio is a highly infectious disease and can cause irreversible paralysis, but thanks to past research efforts, there is a polio vaccine that can prevent the disease. This year, World Polio Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Launched in 2008 by the World Health Organization, Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United Nations Children’€™s Fund, GPEI is playing a critical role in the final push...
On September 30, The Washington Post highlighted efforts in Haiti to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis. A neglected tropical disease (NTD), elephantiasis is a parasitic infection spread by mosquitoes that can lead to swelling of the arms or legs ’€” sometimes severely enough that individuals with the disease are stigmatized or unable to work. The good news is that elephantiasis can be prevented with anti-parasitic medicines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development’€™s NTD program have taken a leadership role in administering these drugs in countries that are affected by elephantiasis. U.S. public health...
On September 21 st , Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) announced that the Senate Malaria Working Group was turning into an official Senate congressional caucus focused on combating 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in addition to malaria. With NTDs affecting over 1.4 billion people worldwide and documented cases of NTDs here in the U.S., this commitment to finding new solutions is good news. Past U.S. government involvement in the fight against NTDs has yielded promising results. The National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense have funded crucial basic research for NTDs. Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have implemented strong...
Dear Research Advocate, To call attention to the unintended consequences of the sequester, we held a press briefing today in partnership with United for Medical Research. Two Members of Congress who are still in town, Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Brian Bilbray (R-CA), spoke about the high priority the nation must place on NIH and about the usefulness of data from a new national public opinion poll showing that 51% of Americans say that across-the-board cuts are not the right way to reduce the deficit. To see more poll results for use in your advocacy, click here . Other speakers this morning spoke about what’€™s at stake for everyone who cares about the research enterprise: patient hopes for...

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If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana