research

Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, a high energy discussion on Advocating for Basic Science in a Disease-Focused World at the Society for Neuroscience conference once again revealed the strong appetite for advocacy among scientists, and young scientists in particular. The audience resonated with my point that “you can’t outsource advocacy,” and many were inspired to tweet on the spot. In case you doubt the impact of scientists engaging in advocacy, consider this: Research!America’s Board Chair, former Congressman (R-DE) and Governor Mike Castle, was recently interviewed by the Society for Neuroscience: “Scientists deepened my understanding of the promise of embryonic stem cell research...
"My doctor just told me I have lung cancer… What do I do?" This is a familiar line for anyone who has spoken with a patient on Lung Cancer Alliance’s HelpLine . With a historically low survival rate and a significant stigma due to the misguided belief that it is only a “smoker’s disease,” lung cancer flies under the radar. However, no one deserves to die from any cancer, and most people don’t know that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer that will claim an estimated 160,000 lives in the U.S. this year alone. Fortunately, thanks to the power of research, the tide is turning in the fight against this disease and there's an entirely different story to tell this November during Lung...
When Grace Anne Dorney Koppel was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe, her doctors told her she had 3-5 years to live. She had that conversation with her doctor nearly two decades ago. Today, she is a passionate advocate for COPD research and treatment. Noting that COPD patients have had the same treatments for 30 years, Koppel said “the clock is ticking and we cannot breathe.” Koppel, president of the Dorney-Koppel Foundation, joined other speakers at a Research!America Capitol Hill briefing on November 15, 2017 that highlighted ongoing challenges with COPD research funding and access to treatment. She said the...
Despite the best efforts of scientists and researchers, clinical trials on Alzheimer’s therapies have had a 99% failure rate and it has been 14 years since the Food and Drug Administration approved any Alzheimer’s-related medication. Like millions of others whose families are personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease, I am increasingly concerned that the medical, scientific, and advocacy communities are disproportionately focused on the hope that a blockbuster drug will suddenly emerge from a biopharmaceutical laboratory. This is not to say that increased investments in research should not be our foremost priority. NIH funding for Alzheimer’s-related research still lags well behind the...
Deaths from drug overdoses are at an all-time high in the United States, with opiate abuse – both prescription and illicit – the main cause of these fatalities. Opioids were responsible for more than 30,000 deaths in 2015, representing a quadrupling of opioid-related fatalities since 1999. The concerted efforts of academic researchers, public health officials, and pharmacists are vital to the development of preventative strategies and accessible and effective treatments for opioid abuse disorder. Speakers for Research!America’s webinar "Innovative Research and the Opioid Epidemic: Are We Closer to Finding Solutions?" on October 13, discussed how medical science and public health are...
The percentage of working-age civilians in West Virginia who are employed has dropped below 50% for the first time in decades, partly due to a steep rise in opioid addiction across the state, said Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) during Research!America’s program “West Virginia Research and Innovation: A Catalyst for Better Health and Economic Growth” on October 16 at Shepherd University. Sen. Manchin and other speakers at the event discussed possible solutions to West Virginia’s opioid crisis and ways to reposition the state as a regional and national research leader. “We’ve got thousands and thousands of jobs in West Virginia going unfulfilled,” Manchin said. “Every job fair we had over 100...
Migraine affects about 12% of the U.S. population but medical school education is lacking, the disease is often misdiagnosed, and stigma surrounding the condition persists. Speakers at the Society for Women’s Health Research’s October 2 event in Washington, D.C. discussed these and other factors impacting access to quality care for migraine sufferers. Three-quarters of migraine sufferers in the U.S. are women. Panelist Katie Golden, who suffers from chronic migraine, had to quit her job because of her condition which fueled her passion for advocacy. She said advocating for migraine-related policy to close existing gaps in care has added meaning to her life. “My first advocacy event was...
Let’s start with this: think of each person’s cancer as a unique locked door. Now imagine that with a simple test, we could find the right key to unlock that door and cure the cancer on the first try. This is the world of precision medicine, an emerging area of research that the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) feels is the mechanism for finally unlocking the cancer problem. So what does this mean for patients? Consider Mark Meerschaert’s experience. In a matter of weeks, Mark went from being an active on-the-go professor to someone who could barely walk; metastatic prostate cancer had come from nowhere and spread throughout his body. As a respected mathematics professor and researcher,...
Postdoctoral researchers (postdocs) comprise a large part of the scientific community and have been instrumental in many scientific advances. Unfortunately, there is currently no nationwide standard to guide how they are mentored as they transition to the working world. This needs to change. Since its inception in the 1920s, postdoc training has gone through several changes, and there are currently many variations in how it is carried out, but the primary objectives remain the same: to give new Ph.D. scientists direct mentorship and hands-on experience as they transition to tenure-track faculty positions, and to free up time for professors to teach, complete administrative tasks and write...
Dr. Barbara McCrady recalls interviewing a woman who used to pass out on her bed before her husband came home from work. Suspecting something was amiss, the couple spent two years visiting sleep specialists and neurologists. Nobody suspected that the cause of her early slumbers was alcohol. The woman was drinking one liter of alcohol per day. McCrady, distinguished professor of psychology, University of New Mexico and Director, Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions, was among the speakers for a congressional briefing titled, The Changing Patterns of Women’s Drinking and Their Impact on Public Health, at the Rayburn House Office Building on June 22, 2017. “This underscores...

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Luck shouldn't play a role in why I'm alive.
Laurie MacCaskill, a seven-year pancreatic cancer survivor