Differences on display on US informed-consent rules

Was it enough for doctors to tell the parents of extremely premature infants that there was “no additional risk” to their babies if they enrolled them in a randomized trial?  One treatment group, in which the preemies were maintained with higher blood oxygen, risked eye damage.  The other kept the babies at lower oxygen levels, risking brain damage and perhaps death.  Both were within the range of care that the babies would have received anyway.  Read more

Senate bill would boost NIH budget to $31 billion in 2014

Supporters of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) just got what passes for good news in Washington DC’s current climate of fiscal austerity: the US Senate subcommittee that funds the biomedical agency voted today to boost its budget by nearly $2 billion, to $31 billion in 2014.  Read more

NIH retires most research chimpanzees

NIH retires most research chimpanzees

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced today that it will retire to sanctuary nearly all of its research chimpanzees – about 310 animals —  leaving a rump colony of up to fifty animals available to researchers who can meet high ethical and regulatory hurdles for using them.  Read more

US Institute of Medicine lays out gun-research agenda

When he responded in January to the massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut, US President Barack Obama issued 23 orders aiming to address the US epidemic of gun violence — including one directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to re-start gun research, which has languished since 1996.  Read more

Strapped Texas cancer centre built pricey office suite for president’s wife — UPDATED

Strapped Texas cancer centre built pricey office suite for president's wife — UPDATED

The financially stressed MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston appears to have invested at least US$1.5 million in capital funds in a new ‘corporate’ office suite that will be home to Lynda Chin, the wife of MD Anderson president Ronald DePinho.  The revelations come in an article in The Cancer Letter, published today.  Read more

Gairdner Foundation honours two of three prizewinners for hepatitis C research

As they sipped an Ontario sauvignon blanc and munched on Canadian lobster and tuna tartar, guests gathered last night at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC for the presentation of the prestigious Canada Gairdner Awards. But one key guest was missing.  Read more

FDA lowers age for over-the-counter access to morning-after pill

The controversial emergency contraceptive Plan B One-Step will be made available without a doctor’s prescription to girls aged 15 and 16, who currently need a doctor’s order, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday. The agency also said it would move the pill (levonorgestrel) from behind the pharmacy counter to drugstore shelves. That means that, on weekends and after work hours, older women will no longer need to seek a pharmacy with a working pharmacist to obtain the pill, which becomes less effective the longer after sexual intercourse it is taken. Under the new regime, girls under 15 will continue to need a doctor’s prescription and older females will still need to show proof of age.  Read more

Society for Neuroscience quashing dissent on BRAIN Initiative, critic complains

NIH Director Francis Collins and President Barack Obama announce the "BRAIN" initiative at the White House on 2 April.

Fresh from attending President Barack Obama’s announcement of the BRAIN Initiative at the White House on April 2nd, Society for Neuroscience president Larry Swanson, a neurobiologist at the University of Southern California, composed this letter to SFN’s nearly 42,000 members.  Read more