By: Kaitlyn Morabito
Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
U.S. Science Agencies get Some Relief in 2014 Budget – The 2014 budget agreement was released Monday, and includes increases for US Science Agencies. However, not all fields received equal increases. Agencies geared towards physical science, such as NOAA, NIST, Agricultural Research Services, and DOE’s Office of Science and Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, received budget expansions ranging from ~10%-23.8%. The biomedical science agency, the NIH, however, received only a 3.5% budget increase, beating only one agency, the U.S. Geological Survey. Agencies such as NASA, NSF and the Census bureau fell between these groups. (Jeffery Mervis)
This Week’s Forecast: What Flu Season May Look Like – Scientists at Columbia University have developed computer models to predict how the flu season will unfold in the US in real time. They have been testing these models since last year and continue to make improvements. They hope the flu forecast will eventually be part of the local weather report similar to pollution reports and pollen counts which already accompany this news. The group at Columbia University, lead by Dr. Jeffery Shaman, use Google search engine data, as well as other factors such as humidity, to predict the peak of flu in many US Cities. These predictions can help hospital staff and healthcare workers prepare for a potential influx of flu patients. (Carl Zimmer)
FDA: Acetaminophen doses over 325mg might lead to liver damage – In addition to containing opioid drugs, combination drugs such as Percocet, Vicodin and Tylenol with codeine, contain acetaminophen. Many people are unaware that acetaminophen is an ingredient in these drugs, and may take an additional dose of acetaminophen to help with pain management. This can lead to acetaminophen doses that exceed the 4,000mg daily maximum recommended by the FDA. Excessive doses of acetaminophen can lead to liver damage, serious skin conditions and even death. To help combat this problem, in 2011, the FDA set a limit on 325mg per capsule for combination drugs with a deadline of January 2014. Any manufacturers who have not followed these guidelines risk losing approval of their prescription drug. (Holly Yan)
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