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How NASA's Next Big Telescope Could Take Pictures of Another Earth - Scientific American, May 2, 2016

Paris sets the stage for a clean energy revolution - Boston Globe, April 22, 2016

Ridding U.S. of Hepatitis B, C as 'Public Health Problem' Possible: Experts - HealthDay, April 11, 2015

A New Divide in American Death - Washington Post, April 10, 2016

Even before they start breathing, babies can be harmed by air pollution, scientists say - Washington Post, March 29, 2016

Efforts to link climate change to severe weather gain ground - Science, March 18, 2016

February Had the Most Above-Average Temperatures on Record - Time, March 17, 2016

National Academy of Sciences report links extreme weather to climate change - USA Today, March 11, 2016

Scientists Are Making Stronger Links Between Climate Change and Extreme Weather - Time, March 11, 2016

'Ban' on most hazardous virus experiments could be lifted this week - The Guardian, March 9, 2016

Crippled Fukushima Reactors Are Still a Danger, 5 Years after the Accident - Scientific American, March 8, 2016

Evolving Approaches in Research and Care for Ovarian Cancers - The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 2, 2016

New Report May Help Doctors Catch Ovarian Cancer Sooner - CBS News New York, March 2, 2016

McNutt Breaks Barriers as Incoming Science Academy President - Earth & Space Science News, March 1, 2016

What makes elite academics move? - Science, Feb. 25, 2016

Should you edit your children’s genes? - Nature, Feb. 23, 2016

Patients Unsure about the Value of Cutting-Edge Gene-Editing Technology - Scientific American, Feb. 12, 2016

Op-Ed: Zika outbreak bears an eerie resemblance to the spread of Ebola - Los Angeles Times, Feb. 8, 2016

U.S Panel Deems "Three Parent Babies" Ethical to Test - Smithsonian Magazine, Feb. 8, 2016

Testing Genetically Modified Mitochondrial DNA Permitted - U.S. News & World Report, Feb. 4, 2016

IOM: Mitochondrial Replacement “Ethically Permissible” - The Scientist, Feb. 4, 2015

Three-parent DNA treatment for rare defect raises debate - PBS, Feb. 3, 2016
 

May 3, 2016

Simons Foundation to Provide $10 Million Challenge Grant for the new Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions


Simons Foundation to Provide $10 Million Challenge GrantAt its 153rd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences announced the creation of the Ralph J. and Carol M. Cicerone Endowment for NAS Missions, named in honor of the Academy's president from 2005 to 2016 and his wife. A $10 million challenge grant from the Simons Foundation will launch a special campaign to raise matching funds for the endowment, which will strengthen the Academy and be used to develop and support NAS programs and policy studies on newly emerging topics before they are widely recognized as major challenges to the nation. Read More


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May 3, 2016

Academy Elects New Members, Foreign Associates


New MembersThe National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the Academy is widely regarded as one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Read More


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May 2, 2016

Remote Real-Time Monitoring of Offshore Oil and Gas Operations


Over the last 25 years, deep-water oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico has increased significantly. With the move into greater water depths and with deeper wells being drilled, operations can experience higher pressures, increased temperatures, and greater uncertainty. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends how the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) of the U.S. Department of the Interior could apply remote real-time monitoring (RRTM) to improve the safety and reduce the environmental risks of offshore oil and gas operations.

While no standard RRTM practice exists, the committee that conducted the study and wrote the report concluded that mandating a standard approach is not likely to work or be needed for every drilling company or well. Therefore, BSEE should pursue a performance-based regulatory framework that allows industry to determine relevant uses of RRTM based on assessed levels of risk and complexity.


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May 2, 2016

NAS Honors Award Winners


NAS Honors New Members and Award WinnersDuring a ceremony at its 153rd annual meeting, the National Academy of Sciences presented the 2016 Public Welfare Medal to Alan Alda for his "extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public." NAS also honored 16 other individuals with awards for their outstanding scientific achievements.


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April 29, 2016

NAS Annual Meeting Begins


NAS Annual Meeting 2016The National Academy of Sciences will hold its 153rd annual meeting April 30 to May 3. During the meeting, the Academy will elect new members, induct members elected in 2015, and present its 2016 awards recognizing excellence in research or public service. Selected presentations and ceremonies will be video webcast. Follow the annual meeting activities on Twitter @theNASciences and join the annual meeting conversation #NAS153.


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April 29, 2016

New Publication Summarizes Academies' Second Symposium on Gain-of-Function Research


MERS coronavirus, NIAID photoIn 2014, the U.S. government began a process to create oversight mechanisms for gain-of function research involving avian influenza, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), or severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). As part of the assessment process, the government instituted a pause on funding certain new experiments and undertook a formal examination of the risks and benefits of gain-of-function research. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine were also asked to convene two symposia on the issues.

A new publication summarizes proceedings of the Academies’ second symposium on gain-of-function research, which was held March 10-11 in Washington D.C. At the symposium, invited experts discussed draft recommendations proposed by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity -- an official federal advisory body for providing advice on research that poses potential security and safety risks. Although no consensus recommendations were developed at the symposium, discussions will help inform the NSABB's final recommendations and government policy regarding GOF research.


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April 20, 2016

New Report Calls for Coordinated, Multidecade National Effort to Reduce Negative Attitudes and Behavior Toward People With Mental and Substance Use Disorders


Reducing the Stigma of Mental and Substance Use DisordersThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should lead efforts among federal partners and stakeholders to design, implement, and evaluate a multipronged, evidence-based national strategy to reduce stigma toward people with mental and substance use disorders, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Many private and public organizations in the U.S. -- including eight federal agencies -- are already engaged in anti-stigma and mental health promotion efforts, but these efforts are largely uncoordinated and poorly evaluated. Read More


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April 19, 2016

'G-Science' Academies Issue Statements


The science academies of the G-7 nations and seven additional science academies issued three joint statements to their respective governments to inform discussions during the G-7 summit to be held in May in Japan, as well as ongoing policymaking. The three statements -- on brain science, disaster resilience, and nurturing future scientists -- were drawn up by the academies under the aegis of the Science Council of Japan. Read More


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April 11, 2016

Hepatitis B and C Could Be Eliminated as Public Health Problems in U.S.


©RapidEye/iStock/Getty ImagesIt is possible to end the transmission of hepatitis B and C and prevent further sickness and deaths from the diseases in the U.S., but time, considerable resources, and attention to various barriers will be required, says a new Academies report. However, controlling the diseases by reducing the number of new and overall cases in the U.S. is more feasible in the short term. This is the first report of a two-phase study; the second report will outline a strategy for meeting the goals discussed in this report. Read More


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April 7, 2016

Six Practices to Improve Health Care for Disadvantaged Populations


©Ryan McVay/Photodisc/ThinkstockA new Academies report identifies six practices to improve health care for individuals with social risk factors for poor health care outcomes, such as people who are in low socio-economic positions, reside in disadvantaged neighborhoods, or possess limited health literacy. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report said with adequate resources, health care providers can feasibly respond to incentives to deliver high-quality and good-value care to socially at-risk populations. This is the second report in a series of five that addresses social risk factors that affect the health care outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and ways to account for these factors in Medicare payment programs.


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March 31, 2016

Eric J. Grant Appointed Assistant Chief of Research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan


Eric J. Grant The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have appointed Eric J. Grant to serve as assistant chief of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) in Hiroshima, Japan.

RERF is a bi-national foundation supported by the governments of Japan and the United States, the latter represented by the U.S. Department of Energy, and is a global leader in the study of long-term effects of radiation exposure on human health and its interactions with genes, lifestyle, and environment. The Academies have a long-standing cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy to recruit and employ U.S. scientists at RERF. Read More


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March 29, 2016

Longer-Term Weather and Environmental Forecasts Will Provide Enormous Benefit


©ponsuwan/iStock/ThinkstockWeather and environmental forecasts made several weeks to months in advance can someday be as widely used and essential as current predictions of tomorrow's weather are, but first more research and sustained investment are needed, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report developed a research agenda, outlining strategies to address the scientific and capability gaps that currently limit the accuracy and usefulness of long-term weather and ocean predictions. Read More


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March 11, 2016

New Report Provides a Guide to Effectively Communicate Chemistry


New Report Provides a Guide to Effectively Communicate ChemistryA new Academies report looks at how chemistry is communicated to the public outside of the classroom. The report includes a guide to assist chemists with their communication and outreach efforts.  Learn More


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March 11, 2016

Attributing Extreme Events to Climate Change


©Kheng ho Toh/Hemera/ThinkstockIt is now possible to estimate the influence of climate change on some types of extreme events, such as heat waves, drought, and heavy precipitation, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The relatively new science of extreme event attribution has advanced rapidly in the past decade owing to improvements in the understanding of climate and weather mechanisms and the analytical methods used to study specific events, but more research is required to increase its reliability, ensure that results are presented clearly, and better understand smaller scale and shorter duration weather extremes such as hurricanes and thunderstorms. Read More | Watch the report release briefing


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March 10, 2016

Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange


Vietnam Veterans and Agent OrangeThe latest and final in a series of congressionally mandated, biennial reviews by the Academies of the evidence of health problems that may be linked to exposure to Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War changed the categorization of health outcomes for bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and spina bifida and clarified the breadth of the previous finding for Parkinson's disease. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report reviewed scientific literature published between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2014. Read More


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March 10, 2016

New Report Recommends Research to Improve Understanding of Relationship Between Fatigue and Crash Risk for Truck and Bus Drivers


©Milos-Muller/iStock/ThinkstockInsufficient sleep can decrease a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver's level of alertness, which may increase the risk of a crash, yet little is known about effective ways to minimize that risk, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Current research on the connection among hours of service, fatigue, and accident frequency for CMV operators is complicated by the difficulty of measuring driver fatigue objectively, invasive nature of capturing measures of the amount and quality of drivers' sleep, and many factors contributing to crashes that are unrelated to lack of sleep. Read More


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March 9, 2016

Informing Social Security's Process for Financial Capability Determination


©GetUpStudio/iStock/ThinkstockThe best indicator of whether a disabled adult who receives Social Security benefits is capable of managing his or her benefits is evidence of real-world performance of meeting his or her own basic needs, rather than an office-based assessment of financial competence, says a new Academies report. Read More


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March 4, 2016

Better Evidence, Oversight Needed to Improve Effectiveness and Availability of Biomarker Tests for Molecularly Targeted Therapies


©kentoh/iStock/ThinkstockPotentially useful biomarker tests for molecularly targeted therapies are not being adopted appropriately into clinical practice because of a lack of common evidentiary standards necessary for regulatory, reimbursement, and treatment decisions, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. To enhance patient care and clinical outcomes, the report calls for the creation of a "rapid learning system" that would integrate research on these tests and associated treatments with clinical practice. Appropriate regulatory oversight is also needed to ensure that biomarker tests and targeted therapies are accurate, reliable, and properly validated and implemented. Read More


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March 2, 2016

New Report Finds 'Surprising Gaps' in Knowledge of Ovarian Cancers


'Surprising Gaps' in Knowledge of Ovarian Cancers Ovarian cancer should not be categorized as a single disease, but rather as a constellation of different cancers involving the ovary, yet questions remain on how and where various ovarian cancers arise, says a new congressionally mandated report from the Academies. The report presents research opportunities that if addressed could have the greatest impact on reducing the number of women who are diagnosed with or die from ovarian cancers. Read More


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Feb. 16, 2016

Marcia McNutt Elected 22nd NAS President; New Treasurer, Council Members Chosen


Marcia McNutt Elected 22nd NAS PresidentMembers of the National Academy of Sciences have elected Marcia K. McNutt, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, as the next president of the Academy. William H. Press, Warren J. and Viola M. Raymer Professor in the departments of computer science and integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin, was elected treasurer, and four new members were elected to the Academy's governing Council:

  • Susan G. Amara, Scientific Director, Intramural Research Program, National Institute of Mental Health;
  • Fred H. Gage, Vi and John Adler Professor, Laboratory of Genetics, Salk Institute for Biological Studies;
  • Evelyn L. Hu, Tarr-Coyne Professor of Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University; and
  • Laura L. Kiessling, Steenbock Professor of Chemistry and Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
All terms begin July 1. Read More


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Feb. 11, 2016

New Guide to Conducting Scientific Research Responsibly


Doing Global Science report coverDoing Global Science: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise, a new publication from the InterAcademy Partnership – a global network of science and medical academies – offers guidance on conducting research responsibly in a research environment that is increasingly international and multidisciplinary.

The guide identifies responsible practices at each phase of the research process, from planning to reporting results, and practices that researchers should avoid. The publication also explores how to prevent misuse of science and technology, ways to align incentives with responsible science, and the benefits and challenges of international collaborations.


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Feb. 11, 2016

Gulf War Illness Major Health Effect Linked to Gulf War Military Service


U.S. Department of Defense photoAlthough more than $500 million in federally funded research on Persian Gulf War veterans has produced many findings, there has been little substantial progress in the overall understanding of health effects, particularly Gulf War illness, resulting from military service in the war, says a new Academies report. Aligning with conclusions in a 2010 report, the committee that carried out the latest study said veterans who were deployed to the Gulf War appear to have an increased risk for Gulf War illness, chronic fatigue syndrome, functional gastrointestinal conditions, and mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and substance abuse. There is some evidence that service during the conflict is linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), fibromyalgia, chronic widespread pain, and self-reported sexual difficulties, but the data are limited. Read More


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Feb. 8, 2016

NAE Elects 80 Members and 22 Foreign Members


NAE New Members 2016The National Academy of Engineering has elected 80 new members and 22 foreign members, announced NAE President C.D. (Dan) Mote Jr. today. This brings the total U.S. membership to 2,275 and the number of foreign members to 232.

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.


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Feb. 3, 2016

Clinical Investigations of Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques Are 'Ethically Permissible'


©vchal/iStock/ThinkstockConducting clinical investigations of mitochondrial replacement techniques (MRT) in humans is ethically permissible as long as significant conditions are met, says a new Academies report. One of those conditions, among many laid out in the report, is that initial MRT clinical investigations should be limited to women who are at risk of transmitting a severe mitochondrial genetic disease that could lead to a child's early death or substantial impairment. Read More


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Jan. 28, 2016

Reducing the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors


©bastetamn/iStock/ThinstockEfforts to convert civilian research reactors from weapon-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) fuels are taking significantly longer than anticipated, says a congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for the federal government to take immediate steps to convert civilian research reactors currently using weapon-grade HEU fuel to a lower-enriched HEU fuel while awaiting the qualification of new LEU fuel. Additionally, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy should develop a long-term strategy to evaluate future civilian needs for neutrons to meet U.S. science and technology objectives and how these could best be provided by research reactors and other sources. Read More


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Jan. 27, 2016

Alan Alda to Receive Public Welfare Medal, Academy's Most Prestigious Award


Alan Alda to Receive Public Welfare MedalThe National Academy of Sciences is presenting its 2016 Public Welfare Medal to actor, director, writer, and science communicator Alan Alda in recognition of his "extraordinary application of the skills honed as an actor to communicating science on television and stage, and by teaching scientists innovative techniques that allow them to tell their stories to the public." The medal is the Academy's most prestigious award, established in 1914 and presented annually to honor extraordinary use of science for the public good. Read More


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Jan. 26, 2016

Increase in the Number of Children Who Receive Federal Disability Benefits for Speech and Language Disorders Similar to Trends in the General Population


© MarkPiovesan/iStock/Getty ImagesThe increase in the number of children from low-income families who are receiving federal disability benefits for speech and language disorders over the past decade parallels the rise in the prevalence of these disorders among all U.S. children, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report's findings underscore the long-term and profound impact of severe speech and language disorders on children, as well as the degree to which children with such disorders can be expected to be a "significant presence" in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Read More


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Jan. 26, 2016

New Report Finds Near-Term Update to Social Cost of Carbon Unwarranted


©PinkBadger/iStock/ThinkstockThere would not be sufficient benefit to updating estimates of the social cost of carbon (SCC) within a year based only on the revision of a specific parameter in the existing framework used by the government's interagency group to measure the SCC, says a new interim report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee that is conducting the study and wrote the report considered whether a near-term change is warranted on the basis of updating the probability distribution for equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) -- a parameter that translates carbon dioxide emissions to global temperature change -- and that was updated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its most recent Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). Because ECS is only one input to the framework used to estimate the SCC, updating the ECS alone may not significantly improve the estimates.


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Jan. 21, 2016

Honoring Outstanding Achievement in Science


Honoring Outstanding Achievement in ScienceSince 1886, the National Academy of Sciences has honored outstanding scientific achievement through its awards program. NAS announced the 2016 winners of various awards this month. 


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Jan. 20, 2016

K-12 Science Teachers Need Sustained Professional Learning Opportunities to Teach New Science Standards, Report Says


©monkeybusinessimages/iStock/ThinkstockAs researchers' and teachers' understanding of how best to learn and teach science evolves and curricula are redesigned, many teachers are left without the experience needed to enhance the science and engineering courses they teach, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This issue is particularly pronounced in elementary schools and in schools that serve a high percentage of low-income students. The committee that conducted the study and wrote the report found a lack of coherent learning opportunities for science teachers across their careers and recommended changes to current systems for supporting teachers' professional development inside and outside the classroom. Read More


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Jan. 14, 2016

Examining Barriers and Opportunities for STEM Degrees


© Vyacheslav Shramko/Getty ImagesA new Academies report outlines the barriers faced by two- and four-year undergraduates who intend to major in STEM disciplines and opportunities for overcoming these barriers. The report provides research-based guidance to inform policies and programs that aim to attract and retain these students.


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Jan. 12, 2016

Socio-economic Status in Medicare Payment Programs


Recent health care payment reforms aim to better align Medicare payment strategies with the goal of improving the quality of care provided. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the Academies to identify social risk factors that affect the health outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries and how to account for these factors in Medicare payment programs. The Academies' study will be conducted in phases and produce five consensus reports. The first report in this series, issued today, defines socio-economic position and identifies social factors -- such as race, health literacy, and limited English proficiency -- that have been shown to influence the health outcomes of Medicare beneficiaries.


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Jan. 8, 2015

World's Largest Gathering of Transportation Professionals


Transportation Research Board's 95th annual meetingAt least 12,000 people from more than 70 countries -- including policymakers, administrators, practitioners, and researchers from government, industry, and academia -- are expected to attend the Transportation Research Board 95th Annual Meeting. The event is returning to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., from Jan. 10-14, and will involve more than 5,000 presentations at over 800 sessions and workshops covering all transportation modes. Approximately 75 sessions will address one or more of three hot topics: transformation technologies, resilience, and transportation and public health.


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Jan. 8, 2016

New Report Finds No Significant Increase in Health Risks for 1960s Project SHAD Veterans


No Significant Increase in Health Risks for Project SHAD VetsVeterans who participated in a series of tests during the 1960s known as Project SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) show no significant increase in adverse health outcomes, specific causes of death, or death rates compared with a similar group of veterans who were not involved in the tests, says a new report from a committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The congressionally mandated report builds on a 2007 Institute of Medicine report, which also found no consistent, specific patterns of poorer health among SHAD veterans. In addition, although the 2007 report suggested an increased risk of death from heart disease for SHAD veterans, the committee that wrote the new report found no such increased risk after analyzing cause-of-death data from seven additional years of follow-up. Read More


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