Archive by date | September 2011

Chronic fatigue study partially retracted

Chronic fatigue study partially retracted

The authors of a controversial study linking a retrovirus called XMRV to chronic fatigue syndrome have partially retracted their findings. The retraction was published today by Science, along with another study, conducted by nine independent laboratories, that failed to confirm the link between the virus and chronic fatigue.

Trading places? Republican Senators battle Democrats’ NIH cut

Trading places? Republican Senators battle Democrats' NIH cut

The US Senate Appropriations Committee tonight approved a 2012 spending bill that cuts 0.6% from the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) — and offers a starting point for negotiations with the Republican-led House of Representatives in the coming weeks. Significantly, the bill, which cuts the NIH budget by US$190 million to $30.5 billion, also includes money for a proposed translational medicine center whose establishment has become a key priority of NIH director Francis Collins.  Read more

Researchers to map human toxic pathways

Testing substances for toxic effects still relies largely on animal experiments, and is an expensive and time consuming approach that can provide results of limited value for human health. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, have now won US$6 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin an ambitious project to develop an alternative testing approach.

OECD publishes latest research statistics

Universities in Asia are beginning to emerge as world leading research institutions, and are giving the United States and Europe a run for their money in key science areas, according to new figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), based in Paris.

UK mathematicians protest fellowship cuts

First the chemists: now, the mathematicians. In Britain, both groups of researchers have written to Prime Minister David Cameron to express anger about the policies of their grant-funding agency, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

In a letter sent today (20 September), twenty-five eminent mathematicians — including four Fields Medallists — complain that EPSRC has scrapped fellowships in all but two areas of mathematical sciences, statistics and applied probability. This, they say, will force many PhD students to leave the country to continue their careers and will stop the best postdoctoral students coming to the United Kingdom. “If EPSRC continues this policy, British mathematics will face mediocrity in a decade,” they say. Separately, a group of doctoral and postdoctoral mathematicians are coordinating their own letter to Cameron (they are collecting signatures here). 22 September update: A response from EPSRC has been added to the bottom of this blog.