NIH Puts ‘Money Where Mouth Is’ Concerning Sex Differences Policy

Guest post by science writer Kayt Sukel

Earlier this year, the National Institutes of Health called for a sweeping policy change demanding that sex differences be addressed in future research programs funded by the agency [see Dana story, NIH Calls for ‘Sea Change’ Regarding Sex Differences in Research]. Most applauded the move as a vital first step in transforming how sex differences are currently handled in biomedical studies. But some worried that without proper funding, scientists would have difficulty complying with the new mandates.

“Money is a critical component of all this,” said Jill Goldstein, director of research for the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology and Harvard Medical School. “There has to be funding to focus on sex differences or else it’s hard to see how it is really going to happen.”

Today, the National Institutes of Health announced it has awarded more than $10 million in supplemental funding to help grantees better investigate the effects of sex in their research.

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Stress and the Brain

Didn’t sleep well last night? Your immune system may be in overdrive today, starting or continuing a cascade of stressors that could spell ill for your body and brain.

kiecolt-glaser-OSU

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser

“If you didn’t sleep, if you had a tired night, your IL-6 levels are higher today,” said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser of Ohio State University. IL-6 (Interleukin 6) triggers inflammatory and auto-immune processes that protect the body, but too much response has been linked to such diseases as diabetes, atherosclerosis, lupus, arthritis, and anxiety and depression.

Kiecolt-Glaser stepped through several studies and reviews of research on immune reactions to stress during the forum “Stressing About Stress–What Our Minds and Bodies are Going Through and Ways to Cope” at the American Academy for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

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Keeping Our Eye on the Ball: NFL Concussion Crisis

CTE-February

Media coverage of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and other lesser known National Football League (NFL) players involved in domestic abuse cases have pushed the larger problem facing the game—chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)—to the back burner.

In a recent New York Times column, writer Michael Powell notes that barely anyone noticed “the John Abraham sideshow down in Phoenix.” Abraham, a 36-year-old veteran linebacker, suffered a concussion in the season’s first game. Afterward, ESPN reported that he had been struggling with memory loss for more than a year.

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Active in the Lab and in the Community

Dana Alliance member Beverley Greenwood-Van Meerveld, Ph.D., director of the Oklahoma Center for Neuroscience and Presbyterian Health Foundation Chair in BevNeurosciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, is as active in the community as she is in the lab, where she studies the connection between visceral pain—a dull, generalized pain emanating from internal organs—and anxiety. “I investigate how stress affects the gastrointestinal tract,” Greenwood-Van Meerveld says. “Drilling it down further, I’m asking the how early life stresses contribute to belly pain in adults.”

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Discounted Registration for Neuroethics Annual Meeting

There’s only a few days left INS Logoto register for the International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting at the discounted early-bird rate. After September 15, the price increases, so register by Monday!

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