National Research News

Children and Youth Learning English Require Better Support for Academic Success; New Report Calls for Improvements to Instruction and Training for Their Care and Education Providers

Despite their potential, many English learners (ELs) -- who account for more than 9 percent of K-12 enrollment in the U.S. -- lag behind their English-speaking monolingual peers in educational achievement, in part because schools do not provide adequate instruction and social-emotional support to acquire English proficiency or access to academic subjects at the appropriate grade level, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Moreover, early care and education providers, educational administrators, and teachers are not given appropriate training to foster desired educational outcomes for children and youth learning English. Read More 

Assessment of VA's Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry

Inherent features of registries that rely on voluntary participation and self-reported information make them fundamentally unsuitable for determining whether emissions from military burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations caused health problems in service members who were exposed to them, says a new congressionally mandated National Academies report. While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry provides a forum for collecting and recording information on those who choose to participate, a more rigorous and appropriate approach is needed, such as a well-designed epidemiologic study. The report also says data from the burn pit registry could be repurposed, including to alert health care providers about participants' concerns. Read More

Examining Undergraduate Research Experiences for STEM Students

The call for expanding undergraduates' access to research experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) raises questions about their use and potential to increase students' interest and persistence in these disciplines. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examines the evidence on undergraduate research experiences (UREs) and recommends more well-designed research to gain a deeper understanding of how these experiences affect different students and to examine the aspects of UREs that are most beneficial. Read More

New Report Details Accomplishments of U.S. Global Change Research Program

The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has made significant accomplishments to advance the science of global environmental change and improve the understanding of its impact on society through activities such as developing Earth-observing systems, improving Earth-system modeling capabilities, and advancing understanding of carbon-cycle processes, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Going forward, the program should continue to build its knowledge base for informing decision makers and the public about rising global challenges, the report recommends.

New Report Examines Role of Engineering Technology, Calls for Increased Awareness of Field of Study and Employment

While workers in the engineering technology (ET) field play an important role in supporting U.S. technical infrastructure and the country's capacity for innovation, there is little awareness of ET as a field of study or category of employment in the U.S., says a new report from the National Academy of Engineering. There are numerous similarities between traditional engineering and engineering technology. Though, in comparison, if engineers are viewed as being responsible for designing the nation's technological systems, engineering technicians and technologists are those who help build and keep those systems running. In 2014, there were nearly 94,000 four-year engineering degrees, nearly 18,000 four-year ET degrees, and more than 34,000 two-year ET degrees awarded in the U.S. Read More

With Stringent Oversight, Heritable Germline Editing Clinical Trials Could One Day Be Permitted for Serious Conditions; Non-Heritable Clinical Trials Should Be Limited to Treating or Preventing Disease or Disability at This Time

Clinical trials for genome editing of the human germline – adding, removing, or replacing DNA base pairs in gametes or early embryos – could be permitted in the future, but only for serious conditions under stringent oversight, says a new report from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine. The report outlines several criteria that should be met before allowing germline editing clinical trials to go forward. Genome editing has already entered clinical trials for non-heritable applications, but should be allowed only for treating or preventing diseases or disabilities at this time. Read More

NAE Elects 84 Members and 22 Foreign Members

The National Academy of Engineering has elected 84 new members and 22 foreign members, announced NAE President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr. today. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,283 and the number of foreign members to 249.Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. A list of the newly elected members and foreign members is available, with their primary affiliations at the time of election and a brief statement of their principal engineering accomplishments.

New Report Proposes Three New Steps in Selection Process for Dietary Guidelines of Americans Committee

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans underpin all federal nutrition policies and programs and have been in use for the past 30 years. Every five years a federal advisory committee suggests revisions to the guidelines. A new National Academies report recommends three new steps in the selection process for the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, including employing a third party to review nominations for qualified candidates, selecting a provisional committee, and posting the provisional committee for public comment and reviewing biases and conflicts of interest on the committee. This is the first of two reports that reviews the processes used to develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Applying Science, Technology, and Innovation to Development Challenges

The U.S. Agency for International Development should speed its transformation into a global leader and catalyst in applying science, technology, and innovation to the challenges facing developing countries, says a new National Academies report. In doing so, it should draw on resources from across U.S. government agencies, developing countries, the public and private research enterprise, research universities in the U.S. and abroad, and other development agencies. Among USAID's top priorities should be scaling up successful interventions, strengthening host countries' capacity to apply science and technology to their own development, and expanding investments in science, technology, and innovation that engage and empower women. Read More

Honoring Outstanding Achievement in Science

Since 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding scientific achievement through its awards program. NAS will announce this month the 2017 winners of various awards. A schedule follows. Monday, Jan. 30: Public Welfare Medal Thursday, Jan. 26: Earth and Space Science Award Winners Wednesday, Jan. 25: Neuroscience, Psychology, and Criminology Award Winners Tuesday, Jan. 24: Physical Science and Engineering Award Winners Monday, Jan. 23: Biological, Medical, and Agricultural Sciences Award Winners

Honoring Outstanding Achievement in Science

Since 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding scientific achievement through its awards program. NAS will announce this month the 2017 winners of various awards. A schedule follows.Monday, Jan. 23: Biological, Medical, and Agricultural Sciences Award Winners Tuesday, Jan. 24: Physical Science and Engineering AwardsWednesday, Jan. 25: Neuroscience, Psychology, and Criminology AwardsThursday, Jan. 26: Earth and Space Science Awards

New Report Identifies Root Causes of Health Inequity in the U.S., Outlines Solutions for Communities to Advance Health Equity

The burdens of poor health and the benefits of good health and well-being are inequitably distributed in the U.S. due to factors that range from poverty and inadequate housing to structural racism and discrimination, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Community-driven interventions targeting these factors hold the greatest promise for promoting health equity -- the state in which everyone has the opportunity to attain full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or any other socially defined circumstance. Read More 

Report Recommends New Framework for Estimating the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide

To estimate the social cost of carbon dioxide for use in regulatory impact analyses, the federal government should use a new framework that would strengthen the scientific basis, provide greater transparency, and improve characterization of the uncertainties of the estimates, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report also identifies a number of near- and longer-term improvements that should be made for calculating the social cost of carbon. Read More 

Nearly 100 Conclusions on the Health Effects of Marijuana and Cannabis-Derived Products Presented in New Report

A new report from the National Academies offers one of the most comprehensive studies of recent research on the health impacts of cannabis and cannabis-derived products – such as marijuana and active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids – ranging from their therapeutic effects to their risks for causing certain cancers, diseases, mental health disorders, and injuries. The committee also proposed ways to expand and improve the quality of cannabis research efforts, enhance data collection efforts to support the advancement of research, and address the current barriers to cannabis research. Read more

New Report Examines Challenges Faced by the Federal Statistical System

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine examines the challenges faced by the federal statistical system, discusses the opportunities and risks of using government and private sector data sources, and outlines steps needed to lay the foundation for a new paradigm that would combine diverse data sources in a secure manner to enhance the collection and use of federal statistics.

Accounting for Social Risk Factors in Medicare Payment

The National Academies released the fifth and final report in a series examining social risk factors that affect the health outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and how to account for these factors in Medicare value-based payment programs. The report says that accounting for social risk factors in quality measurement and payment in combination with complementary approaches may achieve the policy goals of reducing disparities in access, quality, and outcomes, as well as quality improvement and efficient care delivery for all patients – thereby promoting health equity.

New Report Finds Significant Improvements in Methods to Collect Data on Recreational Fishing

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine says the Marine Recreational Information Program – a national survey program – has made significant improvements in gathering information on recreational fishing through redesigned surveys, strengthening the quality of data. Although many of the major recommendations from a previous Academies report have been addressed, some challenges remain, such as incorporating technological advances for data collection and enhancing communication with anglers and some other stakeholders. Read More

World's Largest Gathering of Transportation Professionals

More than 13,000 people from about 70 countries -- including policymakers, administrators, practitioners, and researchers from government, industry, and academia -- will gather Jan. 8-12 for the Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be among the featured speakers.

New Report Reviews Eight NASA Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks

NASA asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to review more than 30 publicly available evidence reports on human health risks for long-duration and exploration space flight. A new letter report -- the fourth in the series of five -- examines eight NASA evidence reports on topics including astronauts' risk of developing cardiovascular disease from radiation exposure; cancer from radiation exposure; radiation syndromes from intense exposure to high doses of radiation over short time periods; central nervous system effects from radiation exposure; adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions and psychiatric disorders; and performance decrements and adverse health outcomes from sleep loss, circadian desynchronization, and work overload. The NASA evidence reports are available to download here.

New Report Calls for Revisions to WIC Program

A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine proposes updated revisions to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to better align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, promote and support breast-feeding, and improve flexibility for cultural preferences. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report recommended cost-neutral changes that include adding fish; increasing the amount of whole grains; and increasing vegetables and fruits as a trade-off for decreasing juice, milk, legumes, peanut butter, infant vegetables and fruits, and infant meats. It also recommended allowing women to receive the quantity of formula needed to support any level of breast-feeding. The proposed changes will save approximately $220 million programwide from 2018 to 2022. Read More

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