Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February News Round-Up

As we quickly approach the end of the shortest month of the year, here's some of the interesting stuff the New Voices bloggers are reading.

Reactions on Biomedical Research Funding
As you recall, earlier this month, the President's budget was released and requested $32.1 billion for NIH. This was an increase over the previous year's budget, but a decrease if you consider the financial bump from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act they have received for the past two fiscal years.

This past weekend the annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences was held in San Diego. One of the distinguished guests was Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health. During a press conference, Dr. Collins shared his thoughts on funding outlooks for biomedical research. In response to the 2-year stimulus money, Collins emphasized that major scientific progress can't be supported by short-term funding increases. One of the approaches the NIH is considering to compensate for the lower budget is by investing the funds that they do have into more high-risk projects, hoping it will enable larger breakthroughs to occur. Collins said, "If you’re not supporting research that fails sometimes, then you’re probably not doing a good job of encouraging the most groundbreaking ideas."
By: Sarah

New Hopes on the Fight against HIV/AIDS
During the annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Brian Williams, a research fellow at the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis, said that global public health officials could eliminate HIV/AIDS in 40 years, and stop HIV infections in as soon as five years. Epidemiologists are now looking to use anti-retroviral (ARV) medications to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. Since ARV treatment can result in a reduction of the HIV virus by twenty-five times, epidemiologists are hoping that if more people with HIV are treated earlier, there would be fewer new cases of the disease. If the program is introduced, it would be expensive – between $3 billion to $4 billion per year. However, Williams states that the plan would show savings immediately, reducing hospitalizations and lost years of life from youth passing away from the virus.
By: Kimberly

Reacting to Advancing Technology
Research inevitably leads to new advances. However, it can be a challenge for people to incorporate technologies or knowledge into their lives - be they computers, vaccines, or safety procedures. Over at Slate, Vaughan Bell gives us a history of "new" technology and how society has responded through the years. You might be surprised to find that even writing was once considered to be "too much" of an advancement for society.
By: Heather

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