When was the last time you stopped to think about your heart? If you can’t remember, it’s probably because it’s been a while. Many of us try to follow a healthy diet and exercise, if time permits, but it’s difficult to make your heart a priority if you don’t know how. Only 55 percent of women actually know that heart disease is their number one killer. Too many women are not aware of the prevalence, risk factors, symptoms, and ability to control their heart health. In fact, a new study released in the journal Circulation on Feb. 20 underscores the gender differences in symptoms of heart attacks for women under 55. The misinterpretation of symptoms puts these younger women at a greater risk...
Today, many Americans know behaviors, like smoking cigarettes and eating a high fat diet, are significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). But for researchers in the 1940s, who were seeing 1 in 2 Americans die from CVD, this knowledge would have been revolutionary. They were facing an epidemic, and had no way to stop it – until the Framingham Heart Study. Celebrating its 70 th anniversary this year, the landmark research study has solved many mysteries about heart disease, given us several groundbreaking treatments, and laid the foundation for our modern understanding of CVD risk factors. In 1948, under the direction of the National Heart Institute, now the National Heart,...
Dear Research Advocate: The nation continues to reel in the aftermath of the Parkland massacre. This tragedy has raised the profile of both gun violence and mental illness, each of which demands attention in its own right. I hope you will take the opportunity to read a recent blog post Research!America member the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) posted on this topic. Each year, 43 million Americans experience a mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S and depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide – and these just scratch the surface of the challenge. The R&D pipeline in the mental health arena, and in other areas of neurobiological...
On February 12–13, the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy organized the 11 th annual edition of the “Headache on the Hill.” This is a unique opportunity for patients and their families, headache providers and scientists to interact with legislators and advocate for pressing issues in the field. The single most important problem to address has been identified, and solutions for it have been proposed under a bipartisan bill introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives as the Opioids and Stop Pain Initiative Act (S.2260/H.R. 4733). The annual societal cost of the pain and opioid crisis has been estimated at $1.1 trillion per year, making it the most costly U.S. health...
Dear Research Advocate: I write tonight’s letter grieving for the Parkland, Florida victims’ families and all those touched by yesterday’s shooting. Americans should feel safe to gather at a concert, go to work, go to school, and live our lives without fear of gun violence. Sadly, as I have noted too many times before, (see this post-Las Vegas weekly letter and statement post Orlando), our nation’s leaders are failing to act. We urge that this time be different. President Trump has decried the tragedy and announced a trip to Parkside. HHS Secretary Azar asserted before Congress that gun violence research will (finally) go forward again at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC...
Dear Research Advocate: Advocacy works! Yesterday the Senate reached a bipartisan agreement to raise both the Defense and non-Defense budget caps for FY18 and FY19. We expect the Senate and House to pass the measure and the President to sign the bill in time to prevent another government shutdown. The two-year deal is part of yet another (but this time very different) continuing resolution (CR), giving appropriators until March 23 to work out a final omnibus appropriations bill based — at last! — on higher spending caps. Many thanks to our partners in the Raise the Caps campaign, and thanks to all who joined us on social media to help secure the higher caps. Together, we gave voice — loudly...
February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Low Vision Awareness Month. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the United States and the developed world, as well as of low vision, which means that even with glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery, people find everyday tasks difficult to perform. AMD destroys vision through proliferation of new blood vessels (“wet” or neovascular AMD, reflecting about 10% of cases) or where photoreceptors (light-sensitive cells in the retina) die away (“dry” or atrophic AMD, accounting for 90% of cases). Since AMD affects the central part of the retina—called the macula—the resulting vision loss makes it increasingly difficult for an...
World Cancer Day, taking place on February 4, aims to "get as many people as possible around the globe to talk about cancer ." This year, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) hopes that, in addition to talking about cancer broadly, people around the world will also discuss the disproportionate impact that cancer has on disadvantaged and minority groups. We must continue to talk about the problem of cancer health disparities and address this pressing issue comprehensively and with passion and commitment. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), cancer health disparities are “adverse differences in cancer incidence (new cases), cancer prevalence (all existing cases),...
The February 2018 newsletter is now online . Highlights from this month include: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will receive the Edwin C. Whitehead Award for Medical Research Advocacy for her leadership in increasing federal funding for medical research, particularly Alzheimer’s disease research, at Research!America’s Advocacy Awards Dinner on March 14 in Washington, D.C. at the Mellon Auditorium. Atul Gawande, M.D., MPH , surgeon, writer, and public health researcher and advocate, will be honored with the Isadore Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion for dramatically raising the profile of health systems research, and promoting evidence-based research to improve health care delivery...
Dear Research Advocate: In President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, there was little mention of research or innovation, although he noted that Americans aren’t satisfied with the status quo; they “...fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery.” The president talked passionately about challenges that require overcoming the status quo. He spoke of fighting the opioid epidemic and “helping get treatment for those in need.” Treatment is absolutely essential, as is research. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is funding critically important research to inform prevention, intervention, alternative pain treatment and other...

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.
Abraham Lincoln