Science Policy For All

Because science policy affects everyone.

Science Policy Around the Web – April 28, 2013

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photo credit: Ethan T. Allen via photopin cc

By: Katherine Donigan

Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.

Senators, Representatives Express Opposition to Disproportionate Cuts to NASA Science Budget – Federal budget cuts resulting from sequestration continue to affect many areas of research.  Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, along with Representatives Adam Schiff and John Culberson have signed a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden to express opposition to budget reductions to the Planetary Science program.  This program focuses on solar system exploration through data collection; from flyby images of distant planets to roving missions on planet surfaces. Proposed budget cuts would likely eliminate a planned mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, that is known to have an ice-covered ocean that may harbor living organisms.  Current missions, such as the Cassini spacecraft that orbits Saturn, may be cut short.  As the effects of sequestration and budget cuts on scientific research start to become more defined, we can expect to see more opposition arise to specific cuts, but how best to navigate science budgets in these fiscal times is far from clear. (Richard M. Jones)

Drug Policy Reform In Action: A 21st Century Approach – The White House has released a plan for drug policy reform that is based on scientific study regarding the nature of addiction. Despite all the effort put into fighting the “war on drugs,” drug-induced overdose deaths are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States.  Past policies were focused on enforcing criminal penalties and incarceration.  This new approach accounts for the mountains of scientific data indicating that addiction has a physiological basis, and should be treated as a public health issue with a focus on prevention, treatment and recovery.  These studies show us why the drug war has been such a difficult one to fight, and points toward a new direction for policy reform.(R. Gil Kerlikowske)

Despite safety and effectiveness, parent HPV vaccine concerns persist – A recent study published in Pediatrics has found that the numbers of parents who are not getting their daughters vaccinated against HPV is on the rise.  The vaccine protects against strains of HPV that cause cancer and strains that cause genital warts, and has not been shown to have any side effects beyond the typical ones seen for vaccines.  Despite the data supporting the safety of this vaccine, more parents are citing safety concerns as reason to not get their daughters vaccinated.  The primary reason cited for not vaccinating, however, was that parents didn’t see the need to vaccinate a young child against a sexually transmitted virus.  Maximum effectiveness is seen when girls are vaccinated early, before they have had a chance to be exposed to HPV.  In fact, recent data on genital wart prevention indicate that the vaccine is 93% effective in girls vaccinated before age 14.  These recent studies highlight the need for increased public awareness about HPV vaccine effectiveness, especially when given at a young age. (Tara Haelle)

Have an interesting science policy link?  Share it in the comments!

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Written by sciencepolicyforall

April 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Posted in Linkposts

Tagged with , ,

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