Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[News release] Public Access to NSF (National Science Foundation) Research

From the [March 2015] news release

The National Science Foundation (NSF or Foundation) has developed a plan outlining a framework for activities to increase public access to scientific publications and digital scientific data resulting from research the foundation funds. The plan, entitled “Today’s Data, Tomorrow’s Discoveries,” is consistent with the objectives set forth in the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s Feb. 22, 2013, memorandum, “Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research,” and with long-standing policies encouraging data sharing and communication of research results.

As outlined in section 3.1 of the plan, NSF will require that either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions must:

  • Be deposited in a public access compliant repository designated by NSF;
  • Be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication;
  • Possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication;
  • Be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and
  • Be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements.

This NSF requirement will apply to new awards resulting from proposals submitted, or due, on or after the effective date of the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) that will be issued in January 2016.

March 21, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Audio program] The New Medicine: Hacking our Biology

From IEEE Spectrum

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 5.54.40 AM

The New Medicine: Hacking Our Biology is part of the series “Engineers of the New Millennium” from IEEE Spectrum magazine and the Directorate for Engineering of the National Science Foundation. These stories explore technological advances in medical inventions to enhance and extend life.

Transcripts are included.

March 7, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

[News article] Walking, driving and riding in a winter wonderland

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Snow and icy conditions affect human decisions about transportation. These decisions can ripple through other infrastructure systems, causing widespread disruptions. Shown here are points of connectivity.

Credit: Paul M. Torrens and Cheng Fu, University of Maryland, College Park; Sabya Mishra, University of Memphis; Timothy Welch, Georgia Tech.

From the 5 February 2015 article at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

For Paul Torrens, wintry weather is less about sledding and more about testing out models of human behavior.

Torrens, a geographer at the University of Maryland, studies how snow and icy conditions affect human decisions about transportation. He also studies how these decisions ripple through other infrastructure systems.

“After moving to the Washington, D.C., area from Arizona,” Torrens said, “I saw firsthand how snow upsets even careful plans for getting kids to school and commuting to work.”

Common disruptions such as those associated with snow, while not always catastrophic, have real economic costs, and the costs add up.

“Critical infrastructure systems are the lifelines of society,” said Dennis Wenger, program director in NSF’s Engineering Directorate. “They are complex, highly interdependent processes and systems and are subject to disruption through their normal life cycle and as a result of the impact of natural and technological hazards.”

In real life, transportation is affected by moment-to-moment decisions by people, explained Torrens, who may adjust their transportation routines depending on their individual circumstances and activities.

Relying on big data from social media sources, Torrens is building a dynamic, near-real-time atlas and census of a population from which motifs of human and infrastructure behavior can be extracted as rules for agents’ behavior.

“Social media data is a treasure trove for information scientists, because not only do we have the message content, but the content is stamped with a location and a time,” Torrens said. “We can study how information propagates throughout social networks and correlate that with physical situations as they unfold.”

When snowstorms and other behavior-changing events happen in the physical world, online interactions change, too. During a snowfall on the morning of Jan. 6, 2015, Washington-area residents tweeted about traffic conditions (for example,#Alexandria residents – Van Dorn Street is awful @WTOPtraffic #vatraffic #snow #ice #dctraffic).

One school system tried to open on time despite the slick conditions. Soon local Twitter users began posting photographs of snow-covered streets, car crashes and links to television news reports with the quickly viral hash-tag #closeFCPS. Information about the resulting problems seemed to spread, bottom-up, via a viral tag, rather than via official school channels.

 

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February 9, 2015 Posted by | Consumer Safety | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] New technology makes tissues, someday organs – Science360 News Service | National Science Foundation

New technology makes tissues, someday organs – Science360 News Service | National Science Foundation.

From the 28 January 2015 post

A new device for assembling large tissues from living components could someday be used to build replacement human organs the way electronics are assembled today: with precise picking and placing of parts.
[Go to the above link for the 1 minute, 23 second video]

Provided by Brown University
Runtime: 1:23

January 30, 2015 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Experiments in Collaboration: Interdisciplinary Graduate Education in Science and Justice

This grant caught my eye at least partly because I am now reading a rather dense biography on Robert Oppenheimer.
Oppenheimer was the director of the  Manhattan Project, the program that developed the first nuclear weapon during World War II. However, he later became the chairman of the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission,which later opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb. And he went on to support international control of atomic energy.

The Manhattan project, and the larger government-scientific community failed to look at the long term consequences of developing atomic weapons.

So it is refreshing to see, hopefully not too late !, that our government is willing to see the long term consequences of science and technology through grants as this.

From the article at PLos One

Over the past two decades, policy changes at the national level have created an increased focus on science-society relations. An example in the United States has been a subtle but significant shift in the foundational principles of the National Science Foundation (NSF): rather than assume societal benefits directly flow from support of science and engineering, the NSF now explicitly seeks to create knowledge that benefits society [1][4]. To achieve this goal, the agency moved in 1997 to adopt the Broader Impacts Criterion (BIC) to review grant proposals [5],[6]. Similarly, the 2007 America COMPETES Act increased ethics education requirements for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows without specifying content[7][10]. While these policy changes require scientists and engineers to practice science and engineering in new ways that engage “the public” and benefit “society,” few institutions provide physical spaces for cross-disciplinary contact and intellectual space for figuring out how practically to achieve these ends [10][13].

SJTP is a graduate-level research and education program that trains science and engineering students alongside students of social science, arts, and humanities to respond to the ethical and social justice questions that arise in their research. Rather than treating justice as a concern to be tacked onto an already formed research project, SJTP graduate fellows are provided with fellowship funding and faculty mentorship that supports them to explore questions of ethics and justice as they arise in their research.

The space, funding, and institutional recognition of the program give fellows the opportunity to reorient their research questions, methodologies, and goals around questions of science and justice.

 

Some related bioethics resources

August 7, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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