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April 24, 2014

NAS Annual Meeting Begins

NAS Annual Meeting BeginsThe National Academy of Sciences will hold its 151st annual meeting from April 26 to 29. During the meeting, the Academy will induct members elected in 2013, present awards recognizing excellence in research or public service, and elect new members to the Academy. NAS will video webcast selected presentations, speeches, and ceremonies. Follow the annual meeting activities on Twitter @theNASciences and join the conversation #NAS151.

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April 23, 2014

Responding to Oil Spills in U.S. Arctic Waters

Russian tanker Renda carrying more than 1.3 million gallons of fuel in Bering Sea, en route to Nome, Alaska, Jan. 6, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photoU.S. Arctic waters are increasingly accessible to commercial activities such as shipping, oil and gas development, and tourism, which raises concern about the risk of oil spills. In addition, the Arctic is characterized by extreme weather and environmental settings, limited operations and communications infrastructure, a vast geographic area, and vulnerable species, ecosystems, and cultures, which pose challenges to oil spill response. A new report from the National Research Council says that the a full suite of proven oil spill response technologies is needed to respond to a potential spill in Arctic waters, but not all of them are readily available. Read More

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April 8, 2014

Peter O'Donnell Jr. Gives $500,000 to Charles M. Vest President's Opportunity Fund

Peter O'Donnell Jr.The National Academy of Engineering announced today that Peter O'Donnell Jr. -- a long-time supporter of engineering, science, and math education -- has made a gift of $500,000 to the Charles M. Vest President's Opportunity Fund. "Peter O'Donnell's generous gift in tribute to former president Charles M. Vest will support NAE projects that will advance engineering solutions to many of society's greatest challenges," said National Academy of Engineering President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr. Read More

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April 8, 2014

Social and Behavioral Domains in Electronic Health Records

©Jochen Sand/Getty ImagesElectronic health records hold the potential to serve as essential tools for improving quality, increasing efficiency, and expanding access of the U.S. health system. They also provide crucial information to providers treating individual patients, as well as to researchers about the determinants of health and the effectiveness of treatment. Evidence of the how social and behavioral factors contribute to health, in particular, has grown over the last few decades. A new report from the Institute of Medicine identifies 17 "candidate domains" and measures of social determinants of health -- including education, dietary patterns, nicotine use, and exposure to violence -- that should be considered for inclusion in all EHRs. The committee that wrote the report expects to further evaluate the "candidate domains" and winnow the list to a smaller number of core domains in Phase 2 of its study.

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April 3, 2014

NAS, NAE, IOM Partner With USAID on Global Development Lab

Photo by R Savage/USAIDThe National Academy of Sciences, together with the National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine, will be among the cornerstone partners in USAID's newly launched Global Development Lab, established to explore cost-efficient, high-impact solutions to help people worldwide lift themselves out of extreme poverty. Read More

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April 3, 2014

New Report Recommends Strategies for Reducing Fuel Consumption by Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

©Medioimages/Photodisc/ThinkstockExpanding the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel and regulations requiring the use of aerodynamic devices on trailers are two strategies for reducing fuel consumption by large trucks, buses, commercial vehicles, tractor-trailers, and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, says a new National Research Council report. Additional strategies that do not involve changes to the engine or vehicle may also affect fuel consumption, including changes to fleet operations and logistics, innovations in infrastructure, traffic management, and driver training and other behavioral initiatives. The report's findings and recommendations will inform the development of what is known as the "Phase II Rule," issued jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. Read More

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April 2, 2014

Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflights

International Space Station; ©Stocktrek Images/ThinkstockNASA should use an ethics framework when deciding whether, and under what conditions, spaceflights that venture outside low Earth orbit or extend beyond 30 days are acceptable if they do not meet current health standards, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine. Exceptions to existing health standards should be granted by NASA on a mission-by-mission basis, and any exceptions should be rare and occur only in extenuating circumstances. The report provides an ethics framework based on six principles and related responsibilities to guide NASA's decision making for such missions. Read More

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March 19, 2014

New Roundtable on Animal Science

©Imagemore/Getty ImagesThe National Research Council's Institute for Laboratory Animal Research has launched the Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use to stimulate dialogue and promote the responsible use of animals in science. The new roundtable will provide a forum to discuss topics ranging from laboratory animal care to experimental design to regulatory issues. Read more

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