To Americans, there are few things more terrifying than going blind . Glaucoma is a particularly scary vision-stealing disease because without screening it offers no warning to those it strikes, causing significant, irreversible vision loss before a patient notices something is wrong. But in January, in honor of Glaucoma Awareness Month, the vision-research community reflects on the past year’s progress toward managing this challenging disease. As with all diseases, progress is dependent on research. First, it looks into understanding what causes the condition, and then into therapies that prevent, treat or cure it. Glaucoma research, spanning decades, has successfully identified what...
Dear Research Advocate: Wake-up news this week: the U.S. has dropped out of the top ten on the list of “innovative countries” (see Bloomberg Innovation Index .) Also: for the first time, China is producing more scientific publications than the U.S. and recently released data from the National Science Board indicate that China is on track to overtake the U.S. in government investment in science research and development in two years or less. Meanwhile, among budget priorities, U.S. investment in R&D is treated like an afterthought -- with a broken budget system to boot. The fact that critically important government functions are in a “state of suspended animation,” as Ellie put it in a...
Dear Research Advocate: It’s “deja vu all over again” -- the current continuing resolution (CR) is set to expire tomorrow (January 19) at midnight. It may go to the wire, but Congress will likely pass a fourth CR to keep the government running until February 16. Last year, CRs dragged on and on until May 5! These serial deadlines are increasingly used as leverage by both sides of the aisle to push for legislative priorities, and thus it is increasingly difficult to pass a budget in a timely fashion. Still, a CR is far, far better than a government shutdown, which shortchanges the American public in many ways and can trigger serious and long-lasting effects on public health . Here is a good...
Dear Research Advocate: The clock is ticking; rumors abound; deals are on and off and the only thing certain is that we’ve been down this road four times already for this fiscal year without a resolution – yes, you guessed it! We are facing yet another round of flat government funding under a continuing resolution (CR). The current CR will expire on January 19, just a week from tomorrow. The latest news is that negotiations are moving ahead on a two-year package to raise the caps on defense spending by $72B in FY18 and $80B in FY19, and on non-defense spending by $45B in FY18 and $50B in FY19. I am cautiously optimistic that a deal will move forward, enabling appropriators to use the...
The January 2018 newsletter is now online . Highlights from this month include: In the new year, Research!America will continue to fight for the funding needed to speed medical progress and a policy climate in which public and private sector innovation thrive. Support for patient-centered research and efforts to strengthen public health, prevention and global health initiatives will be front-and-center, as major health challenges from the opioid epidemic, cancer to Alzheimer’s disease inflict damage on the health and economic prosperity of our nation. Record drug approvals and progress in addressing opioid misuse and stemming the spread of infectious diseases are among the many advances in...
Today marks Research!America’s 29th anniversary as your partner in advocacy. Thank you for your engagement and support as we enter the new year. Findings from surveys we commissioned in 2017 reaffirm a slow-boiling irony: Americans have confidence in science and say they trust and respect scientists, yet scientists and the institutions in which they work remain largely invisible to the public. It may be tempting to view these findings as a signal that silence (and invisibility) are golden, but that would be a dangerous leap to make. “Confident in” is not synonymous with “supportive of,” and “invisible” and “top priority” rarely go hand in hand. Our findings and those of ScienceCounts and...

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