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Popular culture often equates testosterone with virility, strength, and the macho male physique. Viewed by some as an “antiaging tonic,” testosterone’s reputation and increased use by men of all ages in the United States have outpaced the scientific evidence about its potential benefits and risks. In particular there has been growing concern about an increase in the number of middle-aged and older men using testosterone and the lack of scientific data on the effect it may have on aging males. Studies of testosterone replacement therapy in older men have generally been of short duration, involving small numbers of participants and often lacking adequate controls. Testosterone and Aging weighs the options of future research directions, examines the risks and benefits of testosterone replacement therapy, assesses the potential public health impact of such therapy in the United States, and considers ethical issues related to the conduct of clinical trials. Testosterone therapy remains an attractive option to many men even as speculation abounds regarding its potential.
The National Academies Press (NAP)--publisher for the National Academies--publishes more than 200 books a year offering the most authoritative views, definitive information, and groundbreaking recommendations on a wide range of topics in science, engineering, and health. Our books are unique in that they are authored by the nation's leading experts in every scientific field.
Centuries of scientific advances in agriculture have increased the quantity, quality, and variety of our food supply. Food in the United States is abundant and affordable, incomes are at record levels, nutrition and health knowledge is at an all-time high. Yet many Americans are not eating a proper diet. The result is an obesity epidemic that contributes to rising healthcare costs from increased rates of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and several cancers. Whether we see food as medicine or as the cause of disease, medical and agricultural research have the potential to come together in innovative ways to help consumers and producers understand and face the challenges of following a healthful diet. More than 100 leaders in agriculture, health research, education policy, and industry convened at the National Academies in June 2003 to share their opinions on what would be a more efficient and effective system for conducting food and health research. Some of their thoughts follow. Participants concluded that no one organization or agency can solve food-related health issues alone-- the nation needs better mechanisms for bringing together its agriculture and health-care infrastructures to address food-related health problems. Addressing the obesity issue, in particular, will require a multidisciplinary strategy that includes research on foods, consumer knowledge and behavior, and the economics of food- and health-related activities, including food pricing, health-care costs, and agricultural support programs.
“Climate sensitivity” is a term used to characterize the response of the climate system to an imposed forcing, and is most commonly used to mean the equilibrium global mean surface temperature change that occurs in response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. The purpose of this workshop was to explore current capabilities and limitations in quantifying climate sensitivity and consider whether there are alternative approaches for characterizing climate response that might better suit the information needs of policy makers.
The weather on planet Earth is a vital and sometimes fatal force in human affairs. Efforts to control or reduce the harmful impacts of weather go back far in time. In this, the latest National Academies’ assessment of weather modification, the committee was asked to assess the ability of current and proposed weather modification capabilities to provide beneficial impacts on water resource management and weather hazard mitigation. It examines new technologies, reviews advances in numerical modeling on the cloud and mesoscale, and considers how improvements in computer capabilities might be applied to weather modification. Critical Issues in Weather Modification Research examines the status of the science underlying weather modification in the United States. It calls for a coordinated national research program to answer fundamental questions about basic atmospheric processes and to address other issues that are impeding progress in weather modification.
Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay discusses the proposed plan to offset the dramatic decline in the bay's native oysters by introducing disease-resistant reproductive Suminoe oysters from Asia. It suggests this move should be delayed until more is known about the environmental risks, even though carefully regulated cultivation of sterile Asian oysters in contained areas could help the local industry and researchers. It is also noted that even though these oysters eat the excess algae caused by pollution, it could take decades before there are enough of them to improve water quality.
In 1985, Congress mandated the destruction of the stockpile of M55 rockets stored at several chemical weapons storage sites in the United States and its possessions because of the risk that the rockets may self-ignite. Risk assessments performed by the Army indicate the risk to the public is dominated by M55 rockets containing the nerve agent sarin (GB). During the disposal of these GB M55 rockets at a site in Tooele, Utah, it was discovered that the agent had gelled in a significant percentage of the rockets. In these cases, the standard destruction method would not work. The Army devised an alternate mechanism for incinerating the gelled rockets, but the State of Utah limited their disposal rate using this process. The Army, however, has since developed plans for increasing the destruction rate of gelled rockets and proposes that this method be used at Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF) in Anniston, Alabama. To assist in this effort, the Army asked the National Research Council (NRC) to evaluate the Army's plan for higher destruction rates. Former Congressman Robert Riley (now Alabama's governor) also requested an NRC assessment. This study was carried out by the NRC ad hoc Committee on Review of Army Planning for the Disposal of M55 Rockets at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility.
THE INFECTIOUS ETIOLOGY OF CHRONIC DISEASES : Defining the Relationship, Enhancing the Research, and Mitigating the Effectsby Forum on Microbial Threats
In recent years, a number of chronic diseases have been linked, in some cases definitively, to an infectious etiology: peptic ulcer disease with Helicobacter pylori, cervical cancer with several human papillomaviruses, Lyme arthritis and neuroborreliosis with Borrelia burgdorferi, AIDS with the human immunodeficiency virus, liver cancer and cirrhosis with hepatitis B and C viruses, to name a few. The proven and suspected roles of microbes does not stop with physical ailments; infections are increasingly being examined as associated causes of or possible contributors to a variety of serious, chronic neuropsychiatric disorders and to developmental problems, especially in children. The Infectious Etiology of Chronic Diseases: Defining the Relationship, Enhancing the Research, and Mitigating the Effects, summarizes a two-day workshop held by the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats to address this rapidly evolving field. Participants explored factors driving infectious etiologies of chronic diseases of prominence, identified difficulties in linking infectious agents with chronic outcomes, and discussed broad-based strategies and research programs to advance the field.
The committee assesses the USGS's responses to a 1996 program review, evaluates the minerals information team, and examines how the program's mission and vision might evolve to meet the nation's future needs over the next decade.
As both individuals and societies, we are making decisions today that will have profound consequences for future generations. From preserving the earth’s plants and animals to altering our use of fossil fuels – none of these decisions can be made wisely without a thorough understanding of life’s history on our planet through biological evolution. Companion to the best selling title Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science, Evolution in Hawaii examines evolution and the nature of science by looking at a specific part of the world. Tracing the evolutionary pathways in Hawaii, we are able to draw powerful conclusions about evolution’s occurrence, mechanisms, and courses. This practical book has been specifically designed to give teachers and their students an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of evolution using exercises with real genetic data to explore and investigate speciation and the probable order in which speciation occurred based on the ages of the Hawaiian Islands. By focusing on one set of islands, this book illuminates the general principles of evolutionary biology and demonstrate how ongoing research will continue to expand our knowledge of the natural world.
As the importance of the oceans to society grows, so does the need to understand their variation on many temporal and spatial scales. This need to understand ocean change is compelling scientists to move beyond traditional expeditionary modes of investigation. Observing systems will enable the study of processes in the ocean basins over varying timescales and spatial scales, providing the scientific basis for addressing important societal concerns such as climate change, natural hazards, and the health and viability of living and non-living resources along our coasts and in the open ocean. The book evaluates the scientific and technical readiness to move ahead with the establishment of a research-driven ocean observatory network, and highlights outstanding issues. These issues include the status of planning and development, factors that affect the timing of construction and installation, the cost and requirements for maintenance and operations, needs for sensor development and data management, the impact on availability of ships and deep submergence facilities, and the role of research-based observatories within national and international operational ocean observing systems being developed and implemented.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR) funds research across a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines in support of the Navy and Marine Corps. To ensure that its investments are serving those ends and are of high quality, ONR requires each of its departments to undergo annual review. Since 1999, the Naval Expeditionary Warfare Department of ONR has requested that the NRC conduct these reviews. This report presents the results of the second review of the Marine Corps Science and Technology program. The first review was conducted in 2000. The 2003 assessment examines the overall Marine Corps S&T program, the littoral combat future naval capability, the core thrusts of the program, and basic research activities.
In the last half-century, we have witnessed the birth and development of a new era: the information age. Information Technology (IT), the primary vehicle of the information age, has transformed the modern workplace and is pervasive in the development of new knowledge and wealth. IT has also dramatically influenced our capacity to educate. Yet, the application of IT in education has been disorganized and uneven. Pockets of innovation in localized environments are thriving, but the promise of open access, greatly enhanced teaching and learning, and large-scale use has not been realized. IT-Based Educational Materials: Workshop Report with Recommendations identifies critical components that support the development and use of IT-based educational materials. The report points to three high priority action areas that would produce a transitional strategy from our fragmented environment to an IT-transformed future in engineering education--Build Community; Create Organizational Enablers; and Coordinate Action. The report outlines six recommendations, including a call to establish a national laboratory to carry out evidenced-based investigations and other activities to insure interoperability and effective teaching and learning. The report stresses the need to pursue open architectures and to engage multidisciplinary researchers, including social scientists and others who address the transformation of faculty cultures. The report also discusses the need to engage users and developers of the IT-products in activities that are driven by student learning outcomes.
Drawing on the findings of sector-specific workshops, e-mail surveys, research literature, expert testimony, and committee and panel members’ expertise, this National Academy of Engineering study assesses the qualitative impact of academic research on five industries—network systems and communications; medical devices and equipment; aerospace; transportation, distribution, and logistics services; and financial services. The book documents the range and significance of academic research contributions to the five industries—comparing the importance of different types of contributions, the multi- and interdisciplinary nature of these contributions, and the multiple vectors by which academic research is linked to each industry. The book calls for action to address six cross-cutting challenges to university-industry interactions: the growing disciplinary and time-horizon-related imbalances in federal R&D funding, barriers to university-industry interaction in service industries, the critical role of academic research in the advancement of information technology, the role of academic research in the regulation of industry, the impact of technology transfer activities on core university research and education missions, and the search for new pathways and mechanisms to enhance the contributions of academic research to industry. The book also includes findings and recommendations specific to each industry.
The workshop examined the following three questions: (1) What projections have been made by government agencies for the U. S. supply of and demand for natural gas over the next 10 to 20 years? (2) Where are the current natural gas reserves and resources? (3) By what means and by how much can future reserves, resources, and production be increased?
The report evaluates a White Paper written by restoration planners in South Florida on the role of water flow in restoration plans. The report concludes that there is strong evidence that the velocity, rate, and spatial distribution of water flow play important roles in maintaining the tree islands and other ecologically important landscape features of the Everglades.
This report reviews the methods used to estimate the national number of people eligible to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) under full funding of the program. It reviews alternative data sets and methods for estimating income eligibility, adjunctive eligibility (which occurs when people are eligible for WIC because they are enrolled in other federal public assistance programs) and nutritional risk, as well as for estimating participation if the program is fully funded.
Dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, or DLCs, are found throughout the environment, in soil, water, and air. People are exposed to these unintentional environmental contaminants primarily through the food supply, although at low levels, particularly by eating animal fat in meat, dairy products, and fish. While the amount of DLCs in the environment has declined since the late 1970s, the public continues to be concerned about the safety of the food supply and the potential adverse health effects of DLC exposure, especially in groups such as developing fetuses and infants, who are more sensitive to the toxic effects of these compounds. Dioxins and Dioxin-like Compounds in the Food Supply: Strategies to Decrease Exposure, recommends policy options to reduce exposure to these contaminants while considering how implementing these options could both reduce health risks and affect nutrition, particularly in sensitive and highly exposed groups, if dietary changes are suggested.
Each of 32 nonprofit organizations contributing a presentation to the Pan-Organizational Summit on the Science and Engineering Workforce (November 11-12, 2002; The National Academies, Washington, DC) was invited to issue a corresponding position paper to be reproduced in this volume. The bulk of this report comprises these papers. In addition, Shirley Jackson and Joseph Toole, two of the keynote speakers, have included their remarks.
In response to concerns about the continued unrealized potential of IT in K-12 education, the National Research Council's Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Center for Education (CFE), Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS), and Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) undertook a collaborative project to help the IT, education research, and practitioner communities work together to find ways of improving the use of IT in K-12 education for the benefit of all students.
The Oklahoma City bombing, intentional crashing of airliners on September 11, 2001, and anthrax attacks in the fall of 2001 have made Americans acutely aware of the impacts of terrorism. These events and continued threats of terrorism have raised questions about the impact on the psychological health of the nation and how well the public health infrastructure is able to meet the psychological needs that will likely result. Preparing for the Psychological Consequences of Terrorism highlights some of the critical issues in responding to the psychological needs that result from terrorism and provides possible options for intervention. The committee offers an example for a public health strategy that may serve as a base from which plans to prevent and respond to the psychological consequences of a variety of terrorism events can be formulated. The report includes recommendations for the training and education of service providers, ensuring appropriate guidelines for the protection of service providers, and developing public health surveillance for preevent, event, and postevent factors related to psychological consequences.
As scientists carefully search for clues in the sun and storm patterns from our distant past, they are gradually writing a new history of Earth's climate. Layers extracted from cores drilled into glaciers and ice sheets, sediments collected from the shores of lakes and oceans, and growth rings exposed in ancient corals and trees all tell the same surprising story. It is now apparent that alterations in our climate can happen quickly and dramatically. Physical evidence reveals that centuries of slow, creeping climate variations have actually been punctuated by far more rapid changes. While this new paradigm represents a significant shift in our picture of Earth's past, the real question is what it means for our future. Many researchers are now quietly abandoning the traditional vision of a long, slow waltz of slumbering ice ages and more temperate periods of interglacial warming. While they've long recognized the threats posed by global warming, they must now consider that the natural behavior of our climate is perhaps a greater threat than we'd imagined. And though there is no need for immediate alarm, the fact that changes in our climate can happen much more quickly than we'd originally thought--perhaps in the course of a human lifetime--makes it clear that science has a lot of questions to answer in this area. What are the mechanisms for triggering a significant climate change? In what ways should we expect this change to manifest itself? When will it likely happen? Climate Crash seeks to answer these questions, breaking the story of rapid climate change to a general public that is already intensely curious about what science has to say on the topic.
The future of nonhuman primate (NHP) resources is a concern of scientists, veterinarians, and funding authorities. An April 2002 workshop brought participants from all over the world to discuss various aspects of the issue such as current shortfalls and excesses in NHP breeding and exportation programs, the status of breeding and conservation programs internationally, the development of specific pathogen-free colonies, difficulties in transporting NHP, and challenges in the management of NHP colonies.
The rising population and industrial growth place increasing strains on a variety of material and energy resources. Understanding how to make the most economically and environmentally efficient use of materials will require an understanding of the flow of materials from the time a material is extracted through processing, manufacturing, use, and its ultimate destination as a waste or reusable resource. Materials Countexamines the usefulness of creating and maintaining material flow accounts for developing sound public policy, evaluates the technical basis for material flows analysis, assesses the current state of material flows information, and discusses who should have institutional responsibility for collecting, maintaining, and providing access to additional data for material flow accounts.
Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous - both to themselves and society at large. Underage alcohol use is associated with traffic fatalities, violence, unsafe sex, suicide, educational failure, and other problem behaviors that diminish the prospects of future success, as well as health risks – and the earlier teens start drinking, the greater the danger. Despite these serious concerns, the media continues to make drinking look attractive to youth, and it remains possible and even easy for teenagers to get access to alcohol. Why is this dangerous behavior so pervasive? What can be done to prevent it? What will work and who is responsible for making sure it happens? Reducing Underage Drinking addresses these questions and proposes a new way to combat underage alcohol use. It explores the ways in which may different individuals and groups contribute to the problem and how they can be enlisted to prevent it. Reducing Underage Drinking will serve as both a game plan and a call to arms for anyone with an investment in youth health and safety.
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