By: Jennifer Plank
Our biweekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
Elephant Poaching Pushes Species To Brink Of Extinction – A recent publication in PLOS ONE states that the total number of elephants has decreased 62 percent from 2002-2011. A ban on ivory poaching in 1989 initially reduced the amount of the trade; however, over the past decade as many as 25,000 elephants have been killed yearly. The largest contributor to this crisis is increased trade within China. (Christopher Joyce)
Legislator Grills NIH Over Tobacco Grant – NIH director, Francis Collins, recently attended a hearing regarding how different Health and Human Services agencies are dealing with reduced budgets. While at the meeting, Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) questioned Collins about a grant to investigate tobacco control funded by the NCI. The PI on the grant, Stanton Glantz, was investigating the influence of “third parties” funded by the tobacco industry. The study, published in Tobacco Control, uncovered a link between the tobacco industry and formation of the Tea Party. Harris, a member of the Tea Party, opposes this finding and would prefer that money from tax payers does not cover such research. Collins was also alarmed by the finding and hopes to strike a balance between not funding an “unfortunate outcome” and not micromanaging all NIH-funded research. (Jocelyn Kaiser)
We Have A Limited Window of Opportunity: CDC Warns of Resistance Nightmare – On Tuesday, Dr. Thomas Frieden of the CDC released new statistics regarding infections by the highly drug resistant bacteria carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (or CRE). To date, 42 states have reported at least one incidence of CRE infection, the occurrence of CRE has increased 4-fold over 10 years, and 4.6 percent of hospitals and 17.8 percent of long term care facilities have diagnosed CRE in the first 6 months of 2012. Together, these factors suggest that the situation is dire. Increasing the severity of these findings are the facts that CRE is resistant to nearly all antibiotics and results in fatality in nearly half of patients who contract the infection. The CDC has published a list of recommendations to limit the number of CRE infections; however, none of the recommendations are required or funded. (Maryn McKenna)
Have an interesting science policy link? Share it in the comments!