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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dzau V.J.,National Academy of Medicine
The Lancet | Year: 2016

National science and medical academies across the world serve a range of roles and functions. In particular, the benefits of an independent academy tasked with the provision of formal advice are compelling. For nearly half a century, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has served the USA and the world by providing independent, authoritative advice on issues related to health and medicine. Its influence reaches deep into the health and policy worlds. This paper provides insight into the principles, processes, and governance that confer unique credibility to IOM advice. The IOM can serve as a useful model for other academies to consider for strengthening their work or when other countries contemplate the creation of a new academy. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Saynisch P.A.,Harvard University | Dzau V.J.,National Academy of Medicine
The Lancet | Year: 2016

Infectious disease crises have substantial economic impact. Yet mainstream macroeconomic forecasting rarely takes account of the risk of potential pandemics. This oversight contributes to persistent underestimation of infectious disease risk and consequent underinvestment in preparedness and response to infectious disease crises. One reason why economists fail to include economic vulnerability to infectious disease threats in their assessments is the absence of readily available and digestible input data to inform such analysis. In this Viewpoint we suggest an approach by which the global health community can help to generate such inputs, and a framework to use these inputs to assess the economic vulnerability to infectious disease crises of individual countries and regions. We argue that incorporation of these risks in influential macroeconomic analyses such as the reports from the International Monetary Fund's Article IV consultations, rating agencies and risk consultancies would simultaneously improve the quality of economic risk forecasting and reinforce individual government and donor incentives to mitigate infectious disease risks. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Moncayo T.,National Academy of Medicine
Acta Tropica | Year: 2010

Carlos Chagas was born on 9 July 1878 in the farm " Bon Retiro" located close to the City of Oliveira in the interior of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. He started his medical studies in 1897 at the School of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro. In the late XIX century, the works by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch induced a change in the medical paradigm with emphasis in experimental demonstrations of the causal link between microbes and disease. During the same years in Germany appeared the pathological concept of disease, linking organic lesions with symptoms. All these innovations were adopted by the reforms of the medical schools in Brazil and influenced the scientific formation of Chagas.Chagas completed his medical studies between 1897 and 1903 and his examinations during these years were always ranked with high grades. Oswaldo Cruz accepted Chagas as a doctoral candidate and directed his thesis on " Hematological studies of Malaria" which was received with honors by the examiners. In 1903 the director appointed Chagas as research assistant at the Institute. In those years, the Institute of Manguinhos, under the direction of Oswaldo Cruz, initiated a process of institutional growth and gathered a distinguished group of Brazilian and foreign scientists. In 1907, he was requested to investigate and control a malaria outbreak in Lassance, Minas Gerais. In this moment Chagas could not have imagined that this field research was the beginning of one of the most notable medical discoveries. Chagas was, at the age of 28, a Research Assistant at the Institute of Manguinhos and was studying a new flagellate parasite isolated from triatomine insects captured in the State of Minas Gerais. Chagas made his discoveries in this order: first the causal agent, then the vector and finally the human cases. These notable discoveries were carried out by Chagas in twenty months. At the age of 33 Chagas had completed his discoveries and published the scientific articles that gave him world recognition and a deserved high place in medical history. After the publication of his classic article the world paid homage to Chagas who was elected member of the National Academy of Medicine of Brazil on 26 October 1910, and at the age of 31, of other National Academies of the continent. The Committee of Hygiene of the Society of Nations, precursor of the World Health Organization, was created in 1929. Chagas was elected member of this Committee from its inception until 1933. The example of Chagas' life can be summarized in his interest that medical research should be translated into concrete benefits for human beings because he was convinced that disease had not only biological but social determinants as well. Carlos Chagas was a laboratory researcher, a clinician and a health administrator. For all these accomplishments he deserves our respect and admiration. © 2009. Source


News Article
Site: http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue/

Clinical-trial death Five people were hospitalized and one has died after a French clinical trial went disastrously wrong. The phase I trial — designed to test the safety of new treatments in healthy people — involved a drug made by the company Bial near Porto, Portugal, and was conducted by a French contract-research organization, Biotrial, in Rennes. Neither the French authorities nor Biotrial has identified the drug, but Bial says that it was an inhibitor of the enzyme FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase). See page 263 for more. Ebola returns Health officials confirmed on 15 January that a 22-year-old woman in Sierra Leone had died of Ebola. The announcement comes two months after the World Health Organization declared that the disease had stopped spreading in Sierra Leone, and less than a day after it was announced that a similar resurgence of the virus in Liberia had ended. The source of the latest case is being investigated; other flare-ups have been traced to survivors who still harboured the virus in semen and other bodily fluids. Launch was a success, landing less so A joint US–European satellite that will track the surface height of the oceans was launched into orbit on 17 January. The oceanography mission Jason-3 will provide data for weather, climate and ocean researchers. But the Falcon 9 rocket that delivered the satellite into orbit had a less happy outcome. It was supposed to touch down on an ocean barge, but instead toppled over and was destroyed on landing. Turkish arrests Twenty-seven Turkish academics were arrested, and later released, on 15 January for signing a petition calling on their government to end violence in Turkey’s southeast, where government forces have been fighting Kurdish separatists. The researchers face prosecution for alleged defamation of the state and spreading of terrorist propaganda. Around 2,000 scientists from about 90 Turkish universities have signed the petition. Several of the universities have launched investigations into signatories in their faculty. See go.nature.com/gpcarv for more. Zika virus The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel alert over the ongoing transmission of Zika virus in 14 countries in the Caribbean and in Central and South America. The alert — issued on 15 January — recommends that pregnant women consider postponing travel to any areas where Zika infection is occurring. It comes after evidence emerged that, since October, around 3,530 babies have been born in Brazil with unusually small heads and brains — a disorder called microcephaly. That is ten times more than the country usually sees in a year, and cases are concentrated in regions with Zika outbreaks. NASA spaceplane Starting in 2019, NASA will gain a third commercial partner for flying cargo to and from the International Space Station. The space agency announced on 14 January that it will use a miniature spaceplane owned by the Sierra Nevada Corporation in Sparks, Nevada, for a minimum of six missions by 2024. The craft can transport both pressurized and unpressurized loads, and lands on a runway back on Earth, improving NASA’s options for delivering and returning fragile scientific equipment. NASA also uses spacecraft from Orbital ATK in Dulles, Virginia, which burn up on re-entry, and from SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, which splash down into the ocean. Vaccine deal Gavi, the international vaccine alliance, announced on 20 January that it has paid US$5 million to Merck, manufacturer of the first Ebola vaccine shown to protect against the virus in a human clinical trial. The deal marks the first time that the public-health organization has moved to purchase a vaccine before it has been licensed. In return for the payment, Merck promises that it will seek to have the vaccine approved by a regulatory agency by 2017. See go.nature.com/ujcirz for more. Taiwanese election An epidemiologist famed for his work on the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and for his studies on the health burden of arsenic and hepatitis is to become Taiwan’s vice-president. Chen Chien-Jen (pictured) assumes the role after Tsai Ing-Wen, his running mate, won the 16 January election. Chen is widely respected for his work as health minister in Taiwan during the SARS epidemic, and was vice-president of the nation’s premier research organization, the Academia Sinica. See go.nature.com/wwrrwn for more. Sentence upheld A former biomedical researcher at Iowa State University has failed to reduce his prison sentence for making false statements on successful funding applications to the US National Institutes of Health. On 11 January, a federal appeals court ruled against reducing the sentence of Dong Pyou Han, who pleaded guilty in 2015. At the time, Han was sentenced to 57 months in prison, but he appealed against the sentence two weeks later and argued that its length was unreasonable given his remorse and lawful past. The appeals court disagreed and upheld the sentence. Perpetrator named Nature and other sources confirmed last week that the faculty member suspended by the California Institute of Technology for harassing two female graduate students is theoretical astrophysicist Christian Ott. Caltech, in Pasadena, announced on 4 January that it had suspended an unnamed faculty member without pay for an academic year. Meanwhile, in a 12 January statement to the US House of Representatives, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (Democrat, California) highlighted sexual harassment in astronomy. She has called for universities to share information with each other on the outcome of harassment investigations. See go.nature.com/mnwdim for more. US coal pause The United States has halted any new coal mining on federal land as it begins a major review of the coal industry. Interior secretary Sally Jewell announced the review on 15 January and said it would ensure that the federal coal programme took into account the impact of the industry on climate change. Coal power is one of the most greenhouse-gas-intensive forms of electricity generation. The halt on new leases applies while the comprehensive review — which Jewell says is the first in 30 years — is under way. Iran sanctions The United States and the European Union lifted a broad array of sanctions against Iran on 16 January after it was confirmed that the country had taken steps to impair its ability to produce plutonium and enriched uranium, which are used in atomic bombs. The lifting of restrictions came within hours of confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran was in compliance with the deal it struck with six world powers in July over its nuclear programme. Sanctions have crippled Iran’s economy and contributed to the international isolation of its scientists. EU reprimand The ombudsman for the European Union (EU), Emily O’Reilly, has ruled that delays by the European Commission in dealing with 20 authorization applications for genetically modified (GM) foods and feedstuffs were a “systemic problem” and “constituted maladministration”. The ombudsman, who investigates complaints about EU bodies, said on 15 January that the commission had consistently failed to make decisions on the applications within the three-month deadline required by law. A review of EU decision-making on GM foods and feedstuffs is under way, and so O’Reilly did not make a recommendation related to the case. But she said that the commission should comply with current requirements until the review is complete. Reproducibility call A coalition representing more than 100,000 experimental biologists has released recommendations for enhancing the reproducibility of research. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, which includes 30 scientific groups, wants to see better characterization of antibodies, easier reporting of negative results, better training for graduate students and established scientists, and fuller descriptions of animal models. See page 256 for more. As the number of scientists and engineers in the United States jumped between 2003 and 2013, so too did the proportion of immigrants. A report from the US National Science Foundation (see go.nature.com/9hhf15) shows that immigrants made up just 15% of the 21.6-million-strong science workforce in 2003, rising to 18% of 29 million people in 2013. Asia remains the most likely region of birth for the immigrants; the number of Indian-born scientists nearly doubled, from 515,000 in 2003 to 960,000 in 2013. Annual amount needed to fight pandemics, says a group convened by the US National Academy of Medicine. Source: Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future


News Article
Site: http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue/

In the past quarter of a century, a wave of drugs has transformed the treatment of depression. But the advances have struggled to come to grips with symptoms that often linger long after people start to feel better: cognitive problems such as memory loss and trouble concentrating. On 3 February, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will convene a meeting of its scientific advisers to discuss whether such cognitive impairments are components of the disorder that drugs might be able to target — or just a result of depressed mood. The discussion will help the agency to decide whether two companies that sell the antidepressant vortioxetine should be allowed to label it as a treatment for the cognitive effects. A ‘yes’ could spur drug developers to invest in ways to test cognitive function during their antidepressant trials. Psychiatrists have long noted that some people with depression also struggle to concentrate and to make decisions. The question has been whether such difficulties are merely an offshoot of altered mood and would thus clear up without specific treatment, says Diego Pizzagalli, a neuroscientist at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School in Belmont, Massachusetts. But some patients who report improved mood after treatment still struggle with cognitive deficits — so psychiatrists sometimes prescribe concentration-enhancing drugs that are approved to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to people with depression. The scenario is a familiar one for those who treat schizophrenia: antipsychotic drugs may drive away hallucinations, but the cognitive deficits persist. And the deficits make it difficult for people with schizophrenia to keep jobs or to live independently, says Michael Green, a neuropsychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles. More than a decade ago, companies waged a campaign to encourage drug regulators to recognize cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. But the FDA refused to do so until drugmakers came up with uniform criteria to measure the impairments. As a result, the schizophrenia community built a consensus around a battery of tests for use in clinical trials. In the case of depression, tests would have to be especially sensitive because the cognitive impairments can be more subtle than those that accompany schizophrenia, says Richard Keefe of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences in Durham, North Carolina. Researchers and industry representatives discussed the problem of cognitive impairment in depression at a workshop held by the US Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) almost a year ago, but they did not set a course for establishing uniform assays. And even if tests acceptable to the FDA can be established, that is no guarantee that effective drugs will soon follow. Guidelines governing schizophrenia trials were established in 2005, but no cognitive-function drug has yet been approved in such cases. Furthest along is the company Forum Pharmaceuticals in Waltham, Massachusetts, which is conducting late-stage clinical trials of encenicline — a drug that targets the memory-related nicotinic protein acetylcholine receptor α7. Results are expected in the first half of this year. But interest in cognitive drugs for people with depression is building as more and more antidepressants become available in cheap, generic forms and pharmaceutical companies seek to carve out niches for their newer, more expensive offerings, says psychiatrist Eduard Vieta at Spain’s University of Barcelona. “Companies are changing strategies, and trying to find indications that are not the typical ones,” he says. “When you can speak about an indication that nobody else has — like cognition in the context of depression — it’s a huge advantage.” In making the case for vortioxetine, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company in Osaka, Japan, and H. Lundbeck in Valby, Denmark, cite clinical-trial data showing that the drug led to improvements in several cognitive tests, apart from its effect on mood. If the FDA does decide to recognize cognitive dysfunction as a treatable aspect of depression, the effects could also reach beyond the pharmaceutical industry, says Green. “It’s a matter of respecting an aspect of the illness that we’ve always thought wasn’t getting enough attention,” he says. “The more visibility there is on these deficits, the better.”

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