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In 2005, the National Academies released the report Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research, which offered a common set of ethical standards for a field that, due to the absence of comprehensive federal funding, was lacking national standards for research. In order to keep the Guidelines up to date, given the rapid pace of scientific developments in the field of stem cell research, the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee was established in 2006 with support from The Ellison Medical Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As it did in 2007, the Committee identified issues that warranted revision, and this book addresses those issues in a second set of amendments. Most importantly, this book addresses new scientific developments in reprogramming of somatic cells to pluripotency by adding a new section and revising other relevant sections of the Guidelines.
Since 1992, the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) has produced a book on principles and practices for a federal statistical agency, updating the document every 4 years to provide a current edition to newly appointed cabinet secretaries at the beginning of each presidential administration. This fourth edition presents and comments on four basic principles that statistical agencies must embody in order to carry out their mission fully: (1) They must produce objective data that are relevant to policy issues, (2) they must achieve and maintain credibility among data users, (3) they must achieve and maintain trust among data providers, and (4) they must achieve and maintain a strong position of independence from the appearance and reality of political control. The book also discusses 11 important practices that are means for statistical agencies to live up to the four principles. These practices include a commitment to quality and professional practice and an active program of methodological and substantive research. This fourth edition adds the principle that statistical agencies must operate from a strong position of independence and the practice that agencies must have ongoing internal and external evaluations of their programs.
In order to ensure effective military operations and continued warfighter safety, the functionality and integrity of the equipment used must also be ensured. For the past several years, the Nondestructive Evaluation Branch at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has focused actively on the development of embedded sensing technologies for the real-time monitoring of damage states in aircraft, turbine engines, and aerospace structures. These sensing technologies must be developed for use in environments ranging from the normal to the extreme, confronting researchers with the need to understand issues involving reliability, wireless telemetry, and signal processing methods. Additionally, there is a need to develop science and technology that will address the sensing of a material state at the microstructure level, precursor damage at the dislocation level, and fatigue-crack size population. To address these issues, the National Research Council convened a workshop at which speakers gave their personal perspectives on technological approaches to understanding materials state and described potential challenges and advances in technology. This book consists primarily of extended abstracts of the workshop speakers’ presentations, conveying the nature and scope of the material presented.
On March 3-4, 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events hosted a workshop titled “Medical Countermeasures Dispensing.” The overall objective was to discuss a range of solutions to rapidly provide medical countermeasures to protect large numbers of people prior to or during a public health emergency, such as a bioterrorist attack or infectious disease outbreak. The United States is currently unprepared to confront the range of threats it is facing, such as an intentional anthrax release, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), or pandemic influenza, and it must plan aggressively to counteract the threat of these and other future public health emergencies. Countermeasure dispensing must harness all types of imaginative partnerships between public and private institutions, working together in ways tailored to meet individual community needs. This workshop summary highlights the presentations and subsequent discussion that occurred at the workshop.
Neuroscience has made phenomenal advances over the past 50 years and the pace of discovery continues to accelerate. On June 25, 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders hosted more than 70 of the leading neuroscientists in the world, for a workshop titled "From Molecules to Minds: Challenges for the 21st Century." The objective of the workshop was to explore a set of common goals or "Grand Challenges" posed by participants that could inspire and rally both the scientific community and the public to consider the possibilities for neuroscience in the 21st century. The progress of the past in combination with new tools and techniques, such as neuroimaging and molecular biology, has positioned neuroscience on the cusp of even greater transformational progress in our understanding of the brain and how its inner workings result in mental activity. This workshop summary highlights the important issues and challenges facing the field of neuroscience as presented to those in attendance at the workshop, as well as the subsequent discussion that resulted. As a result, three overarching Grand Challenges emerged: How does the brain work and produce mental activity? How does physical activity in the brain give rise to thought, emotion, and behavior? How does the interplay of biology and experience shape our brains and make us who we are today? How do we keep our brains healthy? How do we protect, restore, or enhance the functioning of our brains as we age?
Since the first commercial introduction of transgenic corn plants in 1995, biotechnology has provided enormous benefits to agricultural crop production. Research is underway to develop a much broader range of genetically engineered organisms (GEOs), including fish, trees, microbes, and insects, that could have the potential to transform fields such as aquaculture, biofuels production, bioremediation, biocontrol, and even the production of pharmaceuticals . However, biotechnology is not without risk and continues to be an extremely controversial topic. Chief among the concerns is the potential ecological effects of GEOs that interact with wildlife and habitats. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is charged with providing scientific advice to inform federal agencies that manage wildlife and their habitats. USGS has identified biotechnology as one of its major challenges for future research. Seeing an opportunity to initiate a dialogue between ecologists and developers of GEOs about this challenge, the USGS and the National Research Council (NRC) held a two-day workshop in November of 2007, to identify research activities with the greatest potential to provide the information needed to assess the ecological effects of GEOs on wildlife and habitats. The workshop, designed to approach the research questions from a habitat, rather than transgenic organism, perspective, is summarized in this book.
Many developing countries are exploring whether biotechnology has a role in addressing national issues such as food security and environmental remediation, and are considering whether the putative benefits of the technology—for example, enabling greater agricultural productivity and stability in the food supply—outweigh concerns that the technology might pose a danger—to biodiversity, health, and local jobs. Some policy leaders worry that their governments are not prepared to take control of this evolving technology and that introducing it into society would be a risky act. Others have suggested that taking no action carries more risk, given the dire need to produce more food. This book reports on an international workshop held to address these issues. Global Challenges and Directions for Agricultural Biotechnology: Mapping the Course, organized by the National Research Council on October 24-25, 2004, in Washington, DC, focused on the potential applications of biotechnology and what developing countries might consider as they contemplate adopting biotechnology. Presenters at the workshop described applications of biotechnology that are already proving their utility in both developing and developed countries.
In 2004, the NRC released a workshop report about the future direction of the U.S. civil space program. At the same time, the Administration announced the Vision for Space Exploration, and in June 2004, it issued a report that articulated a balanced space program for human and robotic exploration and science. Subsequent NRC reports, however, have noted that NASA has not been given the resources to carry out this broad-based program. This challenge, along with others faced by the U.S. civil space program, stimulated the NRC to form an ad hoc committee to organize a second workshop, held in November 2007, to address the space program’s future directions. The workshop’s goal was to air a range of views and perspectives so as to inform discussions of these questions by policymakers and the public. This book presents a summary of the workshop.
Planning for an influenza pandemic, whether it occurs in the near or distant future, will need to take into account many constantly evolving factors. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Implementation of Antiviral Medication Strategies for an Influenza Pandemic was asked by the Department of Health and Human Services, (DHHS) to consider best practices and policies for providing antiviral treatment and prophylaxis during a pandemic event. The committee’s report, entitled Antivirals for Pandemic Influenza: Guidance on Developing a Distribution and Dispensing Program, calls for a national and public process of creating an ethical framework for antiviral use within the context of uncertainty and scarcity. It is unclear whether antivirals will work against a pandemic strain as well as they work against seasonal influenza. Also, government stockpiles may not be sufficient for all possible uses in part because antivirals are costly and public health agencies must invest in other important activities, including other medical resources for pandemic influenza. Furthermore, the report identifies the lack of a science-based advisory body to guide decision making during the pandemic, including guidance on all dimensions of antiviral dispensing (for example, prioritization, drug safety, and antiviral resistance). The report also acknowledges the need for diverse methods and sites of dispensing, and discusses their advantages and disadvantages.
Review of the Federal Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Researchby National Research Council of the National Academies
This new book from the National Research Council finds serious weaknesses in the government's plan for research on the potential health and environmental risks posed by nanomaterials, which are increasingly being used in consumer goods and industry. An effective national plan for identifying and managing potential risks is essential to the successful development and public acceptance of nanotechnology-enabled products. The book recommends a robust national strategic plan for addressing nanotechnology-related EHS risks, which will need to focus on promoting research that can assist all stakeholders, including federal agencies, in planning, controlling, and optimizing the use of engineered nanomaterials while minimizing EHS effects of concern to society. Such a plan will ensure the timely development of engineered nanoscale materials that will bring about great improvements in the nation's health, its environmental quality, its economy, and its security.
ITAR, which controls defense trade, includes the U.S. Munitions List (USML) which specifies categories of defense articles and services covered by the regulations. In 1999, space satellites were added to the USML. In 2002 ITAR was amended to exclude U.S. universities from having to obtain ITAR licenses when performing fundamental research involving foreign countries and/or persons. Despite this provision, there remains considerable uncertainty among university researchers about whether the regulations apply to their research leading to a rather conservative interpretation of the regulations and the imposition of burdens that might not be necessary. To explore this concern, NASA asked the NRC to organize a workshop of all stakeholders on the implications of ITAR for space science. This book presents a summary of the workshop discussions including those on perspectives on recent developments and implementation of ITAR; overarching issues; problems arising from ITAR's implementation; and opportunities for near-term actions and improvements.
An individual's healthspan can be defined as the length of time an individual is able to maintain good health. In 2007, over one hundred experts and researchers from public and private institutions across the nation convened to find new ways of addressing the human healthspan and the elusive nature of aging. Experts in public health, bioengineering, neuroscience and gerontology discussed how stress and lifestyle influence the decline of health at older ages. Other discussions focused on the integration of technology in the quality of life, gerontology, regenerative medicine and life expectancy with regard to social and behavioral traits. Still, other groups explored topics such as the cellular and molecular mechanisms of biological aging, the effects of exercise on the human healthspan, and changes in social context to enhance functional status of the elderly. Most importantly, experts agreed that it was imperative to ensure that the elderly have access to medical services by establishing relationships with health care and insurance providers.
THE RICHARD & HINDA ROSENTHAL LECTURE 2007: Transforming Today's Health Care Workforce to Meet Tomorrow's Demandsby Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
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.
A biological warfare agent (BWA) is a microorganism, or a toxin derived from a living organism, that causes disease in humans, plants, or animals or that causes the deterioration of material. The effectiveness of a BWA is greatly reduced if the attack is detected in time for the target population to take appropriate defensive measures. Therefore, the ability to detect a BWA, in particular to detect it before the target population is exposed, will be a valuable asset to defense against biological attacks. The ideal detection system will have quick response and be able to detect a threat plume at a distance from the target population. The development of reliable biological standoff detection systems, therefore, is a key goal. However, testing biological standoff detection systems is difficult because open-air field tests with BWAs are not permitted under international conventions and because the wide variety of environments in which detectors might be used may affect their performance. This book explores the question of how to determine whether or not a biological standoff detection system fulfills its mission reliably if we cannot conduct open-air field tests with live BWAs.
Based on the outcomes of a workshop convened by the U.S. National Committee for Psychological Science and informed by a survey of social scientists who have led cross-national projects, this National Science Foundation-funded report addresses the multiple benefits of research extending across national boundaries and describes factors common among successful collaborations. Workshop participants identified the obstacles frequently encountered and suggested ways of dealing with these challenges to enhance international collaborative research in the behavioral and social sciences. Several dimensions of collaborative processes, such as research planning, methodological issues, organizational concerns, varied training approaches, and funding needs receive critical attention in this book.
In response to a request from the U.S. Army, a committee convened by the National Research Council (NRC) conducted the first in a sequence of studies evaluating the combined health effects of low-level exposure to two chemicals Army personnel are likely to be exposed to in firing tank weapons. The Army sought information on whether the two chemicals, hydrogen cyanide and carbon monoxide, result in similar health impacts and should be assessed together when establishing exposure limits. Based on a review of the scientific literature, the report finds that the biochemical health impacts of the chemicals are similar and that the Army's proposed approach to setting exposure limits is appropriate. Because previous research has focused on high exposures, this initial NRC report recommends that futher neurological studies at low concentrations of exposure to the chemicals be conducted.
There is currently heightened interest in optimizing health care through the generation of new knowledge on the effectiveness of health care services. The United States must substantially strengthen its capacity for assessing evidence on what is known and not known about "what works" in health care. Even the most sophisticated clinicians and consumers struggle to learn which care is appropriate and under what circumstances. Knowing What Works in Health Care looks at the three fundamental health care issues in the United States--setting priorities for evidence assessment, assessing evidence (systematic review), and developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines--and how each of these contributes to the end goal of effective, practical health care systems. This book provides an overall vision and roadmap for improving how the nation uses scientific evidence to identify the most effective clinical services. Knowing What Works in Health Care gives private and public sector firms, consumers, health care professionals, benefit administrators, and others the authoritative, independent information required for making essential informed health care decisions.
Understanding Interventions That Encourage Minorities To Pursue Research Careers: Summary Of A Workshopby National Research Council of the National Academies
Minority groups are severely underrepresented in the scientific workforce. To encourage minorities to pursue careers in research, a variety of "intervention programs" have been created at the pre-college, college, and graduate school levels. While there is a belief that these programs often achieve their goals, there is relatively little understanding of the factors that contribute to that success. The Division of Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health has established a grant program to support research to better understand the factors that contribute to the success of intervention programs. The MORE Division asked the National Academies to organize a workshop focusing on issues addressed by the grant program. This workshop summary presents examples of previous research on intervention programs, describes ways to formulate effective research questions and conduct research to identify the key elements that lead to successful intervention programs, and outlines ways to foster a community of researchers in this area.
This study recommends a definition of “decision support” that emphasizes communication rather than translation and a strategy by which the small NOAA Sectoral Applications Research program can advance decision support. The book emphasizes that seasonal climate forecasts provide fundamentally new kinds of information and that integrating this information into real-world decisions will require social innovations that are not easily accomplished. It recommends that the program invest in (a) research to identify and foster the innovations needed to make information about climate variability and change more usable in specific sectors, including research on the processes that influence success or failure in the creation of knowledge-action networks for making climate information; (b) workshops to identify, catalyze, and assess the potential of knowledge-action networks in particular resource areas or decision domains; and (c) pilot projects to create or enhance these networks for supporting decisions in climate-affected sectors. It recommends that evaluation of the program be addressed with a monitoring approach.
SCIENCE AND SECURITY IN A POST 9/11 WORLD: A Report Based on Regional Discussions Between the Science and Security Communitiesby National Research Council of the National Academies
Based on a series of regional meetings on university campuses with officials from the national security community and academic research institutions, this report identifies specific actions that should be taken to maintain a thriving scientific research environment in an era of heightened security concerns. Actions include maintaining the open exchange of scientific information, fostering a productive environment for international scholars in the U.S., reexamining federal definitions of sensitive but unclassified research, and reviewing policies on deemed export controls. The federal government should establish a standing entity, preferably a Science and Security Commission, that would review policies regarding the exchange of information and the participation of foreign-born scientists and students in research.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Information Technology Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007by National Research Council of the National Academies
The report on the ITL presents a general assessment of the laboratory including a look at its research strategies, opportunities, planning for growth, research culture, and computing infrastructure; and provides assessments of the laboratory’s six divisions. The report notes that the work of the ITL generally ranks at or near the top of the work being done by peer institutions.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Electronics And Electrical Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007by National Research Council of the National Academies
The report on the EEEL presents an assessment of the Lab’s four divisions. The assessment is based on four criteria: alignment with national priorities, motivation of its programs, technical merit, and technical program quality. The report also provides a look at three additional concerns: staffing and funding, international issues, and the planning process.
An Assessment Of The National Institute Of Standards And Technology Chemical Science And Technology Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007by National Research Council of the National Academies
The report on the CSTL presents an assessment of the Lab’s five divisions, covering—where appropriate—how well each division addresses national priorities, its impact and level of innovation, its technical merit, and its infrastructure. The report notes that the CSTL is meeting its obligations and its priorities are appropriate and aligned with national priorities.
Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers Potential Uses of Information Technology: REPORT OF A WORKSHOPby National Research Council of the National Academies
Teachers, like other professionals, need to stay informed about new knowledge and technologies. Yet many express dissatisfaction with the professional development opportunities made available to them in schools and insist that the most effective development programs they have experienced have been self-initiated. Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers explores how the provision of professional development through online media has had a significant influence on the professional lives of an increasing number of teachers. Growing numbers of educators contend that online teacher professional development (OTPD) has the potential to enhance and even transform teachers' effectiveness in their classrooms and over the course of their careers. They also acknowledge that it raises many challenging questions regarding costs, equity, access to technology, quality of materials, and other issues. Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers suggests that teachers be active participants in planning and implementation of any new technologies that enhance professional development. The book recommends that federal and state policy makers take on the responsibility of promoting equal access to technology while the federal government and foundations play an important role by supporting the development, evaluation, and revision of OTPD.
Cancer care today often provides state-of-the-science biomedical treatment, but fails to address the psychological and social (psychosocial) problems associated with the illness. This failure can compromise the effectiveness of health care and thereby adversely affect the health of cancer patients. Psychological and social problems created or exacerbated by cancer--including depression and other emotional problems; lack of information or skills needed to manage the illness; lack of transportation or other resources; and disruptions in work, school, and family life--cause additional suffering, weaken adherence to prescribed treatments, and threaten patients' return to health. Today, it is not possible to deliver high-quality cancer care without using existing approaches, tools, and resources to address patients' psychosocial health needs. All patients with cancer and their families should expect and receive cancer care that ensures the provision of appropriate psychosocial health services. Cancer Care for the Whole Patient recommends actions that oncology providers, health policy makers, educators, health insurers, health planners, researchers and research sponsors, and consumer advocates should undertake to ensure that this standard is met.
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