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Washington, DC
Biomedical and Science Policy Reporter, Nature Magazine
As seen in:  New Scientist, Slate

Biomedical research and policy reporter for @NatureNews covering brains, bugs, and @NIH. Recovering molecular biologist, nature lover, music snob. Opinions mine

Marijuana Gears Up for Production High in U.S. Labs

scientificamerican.com — Residents of 23 US states can buy medical marijuana to treat everything from cancer pain to anxiety, but US scientists must wade through onerous paperwork to score the drug for study. Their sole dealer is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which has a contract with the University of Mississippi in Oxford to produce marijuana for research purposes.

Head of National Cancer Institute Resigns

scientificamerican.com — Nobel laureate Harold Varmus led the National Cancer Institute since 2010, after heading up NIH from 1993 to 1999 Call it the end of an era. Harold Varmus, director of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) and former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced on March 4 that he will be stepping down from his post at the end of the month.

Placenta Research Attracts $41.5 Million in Federal Funding

scientificamerican.com — An NIH project seeks to develop technologies to help monitor the organ in real time The placenta that supports a fetus for nine months is thrown away after birth, but its influence on health lasts a lifetime. Now, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is launching a major effort to unlock the mysteries of this poorly understood organ.

Pain Cases May Usher Brain Scans into the Courtroom

scientificamerican.com — Annie is lying down when she answers the phone; she is trying to recover from a rare trip out of the house. Moving around for an extended period leaves the 56-year-old exhausted and with excruciating pain shooting up her back to her shoulders. "It's really awful," she says. "You never get comfortable."

Chronic-Fatigue Syndrome Gets Controversial Redefinition

scientificamerican.com — An HHS panel recommends changing the condition's name to "systemic exertion intolerance disease" The mysterious disease known as chronic-fatigue syndrome has long defied classification, as the millions of people who suffer from it show a wide variety of symptoms. Now a panel commissioned by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has produced what is sure to be an influential report on how the disease should be diagnosed.

Obama's Budget Seeks Big Boost for Science

scientificamerican.com — When US President Barack Obama released his budget proposal on February 2, he gave scientists and engineers a ray of hope-albeit one that is almost certain to be dimmed, if not extinguished. Obama's US$4-trillion plan for fiscal year 2016 includes $146 billion for scientific research and development, a healthy 6% increase for a portfolio split roughly evenly between defence and civilian programmes.

NIH Modifies but Still Defends Experiments on Monkeys

scientificamerican.com — Changes have been made to controversial experiments at a lab receiving NIH funding, but the agency says that the work causes only slight pain or distress The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has modified the way a controversial lab studies stress in monkeys in response to criticism by animal-rights activists and members of Congress who say that the research is inhumane.

Anthropologist Seeks the Roots of Terrorism

scientificamerican.com — In the wake of terrorist attacks last week on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Paris supermarket, the world has struggled to understand the combination of religion, European culture and influence from terrorist organizations that drove the gunmen.

Rave Drug "Special K" Holds Promise for Treating Depression Fast

scientificamerican.com — Ketamine, a psychoactive 'party drug' better known as Special K, has pharma­ceutical companies riding high. Used clinically as an anaesthetic in animals and humans, it has proved an extremely effective treatment for depression, bipolar disorder and suicidal behaviour. It also works incredibly fast.

US regulators move on thought-controlled prosthetics

nature.com — UPMC For the first time since accidents severed the neural connection between their brains and limbs, a small number of patients are reaching out and feeling the world with prosthetic devices wired directly to their brains.
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Mar 30, 2015

The ghost of a 2004 U Minnesota scandal haunts psychiatry dept: all clinical trial enrolment is suspended @NatureNews nature.com/news/researche…

Mar 30, 2015

@catBrahic Was just reading about CRISPR in humans and took that way too literally for a sec,

Mar 30, 2015

@chmweber @jamesurton I remember you, you did the alternative careers series (which I loved, obviously). Congrats and good luck at Stanford!

Mar 24, 2015

Independent report says safety lapses put CDC "on the way to losing credibility." I talked w/ the authors @NatureNews nature.com/news/us-health…



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