Artist’s conception of a brain cell from an Alzheimer’s disease patient.
Image courtesy of the National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health
By: Science Policy for All contributors
Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
Confusion reigns in Tennessee – Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has declined to veto HR 368, a new bill that protects teachers from being prevented “from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.” The bill was a response to perceived pressure on teachers to not allow debate on “controversial” topics such as evolution. HR 368 was opposed by scientific societies such as the AAAS, which stated that “implying that there are significant scientific controversies about the overall nature of these concepts when there are not will only confuse students” and that the bill is unnecessary because “[critical] thinking is already inherent in the way science is taught”. (by Jeffrey Mervis via Science Insider)
Caution needed when curbing overuse of healthcare resources – When, exactly, does healthcare turn into “overuse”? Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have published a study illustrating why simply cutting back in high-use areas is not an efficient solution. Researchers found that regions with high or low rates of inappropriate imaging also had high or low rates of APPROPRIATE imaging, respectively. “The investigators dubbed this finding the “Thermostat Model,” and concluded that imaging use appears to be determined strongly by regional practice patterns and affinity for imaging, rather than solely by medical indication.” (via the NYU Langone Medical Center)
FDA Approves Possible Alzheimer’s Test – On the medical front, after clearing several regulatory hurdles, the US FDA has approved a new test that will allow doctors to rule out Alzheimer’s disease as a cause of patient cognitive problems. The test reagent, a radioactive dye that binds to the amyloid plaques that often accompany Alzheimer’s disease, allows doctors to see whether such amyloid plaques are present in the brain or not. The FDA required the test’s owner, Eli Lilly, to prove that trained doctors could consistently read the test and thus that it was reliable and useful. (by Greg Miller via Science Insider)
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