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Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging: Workshop Summary (2014)

May 27, 2014 Comments off

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging: Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council

Being able to communicate is a cornerstone of healthy aging. People need to make themselves understood and to understand others to remain cognitively and socially engaged with families, friends, and other individuals. When they are unable to communicate, people with hearing impairments can become socially isolated, and social isolation can be an important driver of morbidity and mortality in older adults. Despite the critical importance of communication, many older adults have hearing loss that interferes with their social interactions and enjoyment of life. People may turn up the volume on their televisions or stereos, miss words in a conversation, go to fewer public places where it is difficult to hear, or worry about missing an alarm or notification. In other cases, hearing loss is much more severe, and people may retreat into a hard-to-reach shell. Yet fewer than one in seven older Americans with hearing loss use hearing aids, despite rapidly advancing technologies and innovative approaches to hearing health care. In addition, there may not be an adequate number of professionals trained to address the growing need for hearing health care for older adults. Further, Medicare does not cover routine hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids, which can be prohibitively expensive for many older adults.

Hearing Loss and Healthy Aging is the summary of a workshop convened by the Forum on Aging, Disability, and Independence in January 2014 on age-related hearing loss. Researchers, advocates, policy makers, entrepreneurs, regulators, and others discussed this pressing social and public health issue. This report examines the ways in which age-related hearing loss affects healthy aging, and how the spectrum of public and private stakeholders can work together to address hearing loss in older adults as a public health issue.

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At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues

May 20, 2014 Comments off

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy: Some Basic Concepts and Issues
Source: National Research Council

We depend on information and information technology (IT) to make many of our day-to-day tasks easier and more convenient. Computers play key roles in transportation, health care, banking, and energy. Businesses use IT for payroll and accounting, inventory and sales, and research and development. Modern military forces use weapons that are increasingly coordinated through computer-based networks. Cybersecurity is vital to protecting all of these functions. Cyberspace is vulnerable to a broad spectrum of hackers, criminals, terrorists, and state actors. Working in cyberspace, these malevolent actors can steal money, intellectual property, or classified information; impersonate law-abiding parties for their own purposes; damage important data; or deny the availability of normally accessible services. Cybersecurity issues arise because of three factors taken together – the presence of malevolent actors in cyberspace, societal reliance on IT for many important functions, and the presence of vulnerabilities in IT systems. What steps can policy makers take to protect our government, businesses, and the public from those would take advantage of system vulnerabilities?

At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy offers a wealth of information on practical measures, technical and nontechnical challenges, and potential policy responses. According to this report, cybersecurity is a never-ending battle; threats will evolve as adversaries adopt new tools and techniques to compromise security. Cybersecurity is therefore an ongoing process that needs to evolve as new threats are identified. At the Nexus of Cybersecurity and Public Policy is a call for action to make cybersecurity a public safety priority. For a number of years, the cybersecurity issue has received increasing public attention; however, most policy focus has been on the short-term costs of improving systems. In its explanation of the fundamentals of cybersecurity and the discussion of potential policy responses, this book will be a resource for policy makers, cybersecurity and IT professionals, and anyone who wants to understand threats to cyberspace.

U.S. Should Significantly Reduce Rate of Incarceration; Unprecedented Rise in Prison Population ‘Not Serving the Country Well,’ Says New Report

May 2, 2014 Comments off

U.S. Should Significantly Reduce Rate of Incarceration; Unprecedented Rise in Prison Population ‘Not Serving the Country Well,’ Says New Report
Source: National Research Council

Given the minimal impact of long prison sentences on crime prevention and the negative social consequences and burdensome financial costs of U.S. incarceration rates, which have more than quadrupled in the last four decades, the nation should revise current criminal justice policies to significantly reduce imprisonment rates, says a new report from the National Research Council.

A comprehensive review of data led the committee that wrote the report to conclude that the costs of the current rate of incarceration outweigh the benefits. The committee recommended that federal and state policymakers re-examine policies requiring mandatory and long sentences, as well as take steps to improve prison conditions and to reduce unnecessary harm to the families and communities of those incarcerated. In addition, it recommended a reconsideration of drug crime policy, given the apparently low effectiveness of a heightened enforcement strategy that resulted in a tenfold increase in the incarceration rate for drug offenses from 1980 to 2010 — twice the rate for other crimes.

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research (2014)

April 24, 2014 Comments off

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Like most areas of scholarship, mathematics is a cumulative discipline: new research is reliant on well-organized and well-curated literature. Because of the precise definitions and structures within mathematics, today’s information technologies and machine learning tools provide an opportunity to further organize and enhance discoverability of the mathematics literature in new ways, with the potential to significantly facilitate mathematics research and learning. Opportunities exist to enhance discoverability directly via new technologies and also by using technology to capture important interactions between mathematicians and the literature for later sharing and reuse.

Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics Research discusses how information about what the mathematical literature contains can be formalized and made easier to express, encode, and explore. Many of the tools necessary to make this information system a reality will require much more than indexing and will instead depend on community input paired with machine learning, where mathematicians’ expertise can fill the gaps of automatization. This report proposes the establishment of an organization; the development of a set of platforms, tools, and services; the deployment of an ongoing applied research program to complement the development work; and the mobilization and coordination of the mathematical community to take the first steps toward these capabilities. The report recommends building on the extensive work done by many dedicated individuals under the rubric of the World Digital Mathematical Library, as well as many other community initiatives. Developing a 21st Century Global Library for Mathematics envisions a combination of machine learning methods and community-based editorial effort that makes a significantly greater portion of the information and knowledge in the global mathematical corpus available to researchers as linked open data through a central organizational entity-referred to in the report as the Digital Mathematics Library. This report describes how such a library might operate – discussing development and research needs, role in facilitating discover and interaction, and establishing partnerships with publishers.

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research (2014)

April 16, 2014 Comments off

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Each year, child protective services receive reports of child abuse and neglect involving six million children, and many more go unreported. The long-term human and fiscal consequences of child abuse and neglect are not relegated to the victims themselves — they also impact their families, future relationships, and society. In 1993, the National Research Council (NRC) issued the report, Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect, which provided an overview of the research on child abuse and neglect. New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research updates the 1993 report and provides new recommendations to respond to this public health challenge. According to this report, while there has been great progress in child abuse and neglect research, a coordinated, national research infrastructure with high-level federal support needs to be established and implemented immediately.

New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research recommends an actionable framework to guide and support future child abuse and neglect research. This report calls for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to child abuse and neglect research that examines factors related to both children and adults across physical, mental, and behavioral health domains–including those in child welfare, economic support, criminal justice, education, and health care systems–and assesses the needs of a variety of subpopulations. It should also clarify the causal pathways related to child abuse and neglect and, more importantly, assess efforts to interrupt these pathways. New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research identifies four areas to look to in developing a coordinated research enterprise: a national strategic plan, a national surveillance system, a new generation of researchers, and changes in the federal and state programmatic and policy response.

Linkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather Patterns: Summary of a Workshop (2014)

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Linkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather Patterns: Summary of a Workshop (2014)
Source: National Research Council

The Arctic has been undergoing significant changes in recent years. Average temperatures are rising twice as fast as they are elsewhere in the world. The extent and thickness of sea ice is rapidly declining. Such changes may have an impact on atmospheric conditions outside the region. Several hypotheses for how Arctic warming may be influencing mid-latitude weather patterns have been proposed recently. For example, Arctic warming could lead to a weakened jet stream resulting in more persistent weather patterns in the mid-latitudes. Or Arctic sea ice loss could lead to an increase of snow on high-latitude land, which in turn impacts the jet stream resulting in cold Eurasian and North American winters. These and other potential connections between a warming Arctic and mid-latitude weather are the subject of active research.

Linkages Between Arctic Warming and Mid-Latitude Weather Patterns is the summary of a workshop convened in September 2013 by the National Research Council to review our current understanding and to discuss research needed to better understand proposed linkages. A diverse array of experts examined linkages between a warming Arctic and mid-latitude weather patterns. The workshop included presentations from leading researchers representing a range of views on this topic. The workshop was organized to allow participants to take a global perspective and consider the influence of the Arctic in the context of forcing from other components of the climate system, such as changes in the tropics, ocean circulation, and mid-latitude sea surface temperature. This report discusses our current understanding of the mechanisms that link declines in Arctic sea ice cover, loss of high-latitude snow cover, changes in Arctic-region energy fluxes, atmospheric circulation patterns, and the occurrence of extreme weather events; possible implications of more severe loss of summer Arctic sea ice upon weather patterns at lower latitudes; major gaps in our understanding, and observational and/or modeling efforts that are needed to fill those gaps; and current opportunities and limitations for using Arctic sea ice predictions to assess the risk of temperature/precipitation anomalies and extreme weather events over northern continents.

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (2014)

April 11, 2014 Comments off

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences examines how to update human subjects protections regulations so that they effectively respond to current research contexts and methods. With a specific focus on social and behavioral sciences, this consensus report aims to address the dramatic alterations in the research landscapes that institutional review boards (IRBs) have come to inhabit during the past 40 years. The report aims to balance respect for the individual persons whose consent to participate makes research possible and respect for the social benefits that productive research communities make possible.

The ethics of human subjects research has captured scientific and regulatory attention for half a century. To keep abreast of the universe of changes that factor into the ethical conduct of research today, the Department of Health and Human Services published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in July 2011. Recognizing that widespread technological and societal transformations have occurred in the contexts for and conduct of human research since the passage of the National Research Act of 1974, the ANPRM revisits the regulations mandated by the Act in a correspondingly comprehensive manner. Its proposals aim to modernize the Common Rule and to improve the efficiency of the work conducted under its auspices. Proposed Revisions to the Common Rule for the Protection of Human Subjects in the Behavioral and Social Sciences identifies issues raised in the ANPRM that are critical and feasible for the federal government to address for the protection of participants and for the advancement of the social and behavioral sciences. For each identified issue, this report provides guidance for IRBs on techniques to address it, with specific examples and best practice models to illustrate how the techniques would be applied to different behavioral and social sciences research procedures.

Connecting Individual K-12 STEM Subjects Has Potential Advantages, Poses Challenges

March 13, 2014 Comments off

Connecting Individual K-12 STEM Subjects Has Potential Advantages, Poses Challenges
Source: National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council

A new report from the National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council examines current efforts to connect the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in K-12 education, both in formal classroom settings and informal learning environments, and suggests research to help determine the conditions most likely to lead to positive outcomes such as greater student retention and achievement, improved college-readiness skills, and increased interest in pursuing a STEM-related career. A short video illustrating today’s STEM education landscape and the potential benefits and challenges of integrated approaches also was released in conjunction with the report. The report and video note that the recently published Next Generation Science Standards, which encourage integration between science concepts and engineering practices, provide an impetus for considering integration.

The Science of Science Communication II: Summary of a Colloquium (2014)

February 14, 2014 Comments off

The Science of Science Communication II: Summary of a Colloquium (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Successful scientists must be effective communicators within their professions. Without those skills, they could not write papers and funding proposals, give talks and field questions, or teach classes and mentor students. However, communicating with audiences outside their profession – people who may not share scientists’ interests, technical background, cultural assumptions, and modes of expression – presents different challenges and requires additional skills. Communication about science in political or social settings differs from discourse within a scientific discipline. Not only are scientists just one of many stakeholders vying for access to the public agenda, but the political debates surrounding science and its applications may sometimes confront scientists with unfamiliar and uncomfortable discussions involving religious values, partisan interests, and even the trustworthiness of science.

The Science of Science Communication II is the summary of a Sackler Colloquium convened in September 2013 At this event, leading social, behavioral, and decision scientists, other scientists, and communication practitioners shared current research that can improve the communication of science to lay audiences. In the Sackler Colloquia tradition, the meeting also allowed social and natural scientists to identify new opportunities to collaborate and advance their own research, while improving public engagement with science. Speakers provided evidence-based guidance on how to listen to others so as to identify their information needs, ways of thinking about the world, and the cultural stereotypes regarding scientists. They delved deeply into the incentive systems that shape what scientists study and how they report their work, the subtle changes in framing that can influence how messages are interpreted, the complex channels that determine how messages flow, and the potential politicization of scientific evidence.

Technological Challenges in Antibiotic Discovery and Development: A Workshop Summary (2014)

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Technological Challenges in Antibiotic Discovery and Development: A Workshop Summary (2014)
Source: National Research Council

Technological Challenges in Antibiotic Discovery and Development is the summary of a workshop convened by the Chemical Sciences Roundtable in September 2013 to explore the current state of antibiotic discovery and examine the technology available to facilitate development. Through formal presentations and panel discussions, participants from academia, industry, federal research agencies discussed the technical challenges present and the incentives and disincentives industry faces in antibiotic development, and identified novel approaches to antibiotic discovery.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing problem in modern medicine and it is emerging as a pre-eminent public health threat. Each year in the United States alone, at least two million acquire serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die annually as a direct result of these antibiotic-resistant infections. In addition to the toll on human life, antibiotic-resistant infections add considerable and avoidable costs to the already overburdened U.S. health care system. This report explores the challenges in overcoming antibiotic resistance, screening for new antibiotics, and delivering them to the sites of infection in the body. The report also discusses a path forward to develop the next generation of potent antimicrobial compounds capable of once again tilting the battle against microbial pathogens in favor of humans. Technological Challenges in Antibiotic Discovery and Development gives a broad view of the landscape of antibiotic development and the technological challenges and barriers to be overcome.

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

January 31, 2014 Comments off

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
Source: National Research Council

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and patterns of rainfall will change. But the future is also partly uncertain — there is considerable uncertainty about how we will arrive at that different climate. Will the changes be gradual, allowing natural systems and societal infrastructure to adjust in a timely fashion? Or will some of the changes be more abrupt, crossing some threshold or “tipping point” to change so fast that the time between when a problem is recognized and when action is required shrinks to the point where orderly adaptation is not possible?

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change is an updated look at the issue of abrupt climate change and its potential impacts. This study differs from previous treatments of abrupt changes by focusing on abrupt climate changes and also abrupt climate impacts that have the potential to severely affect the physical climate system, natural systems, or human systems, often affecting multiple interconnected areas of concern. The primary timescale of concern is years to decades. A key characteristic of these changes is that they can come faster than expected, planned, or budgeted for, forcing more reactive, rather than proactive, modes of behavior.

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change summarizes the state of our knowledge about potential abrupt changes and abrupt climate impacts and categorizes changes that are already occurring, have a high probability of occurrence, or are unlikely to occur. Because of the substantial risks to society and nature posed by abrupt changes, this report recommends the development of an Abrupt Change Early Warning System that would allow for the prediction and possible mitigation of such changes before their societal impacts are severe. Identifying key vulnerabilities can help guide efforts to increase resiliency and avoid large damages from abrupt change in the climate system, or in abrupt impacts of gradual changes in the climate system, and facilitate more informed decisions on the proper balance between mitigation and adaptation. Although there is still much to learn about abrupt climate change and abrupt climate impacts, to willfully ignore the threat of abrupt change could lead to more costs, loss of life, suffering, and environmental degradation. Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change makes the case that the time is here to be serious about the threat of tipping points so as to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for the inevitable surprises.

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises

December 11, 2013 Comments off

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises
Source: National Research Council

Climate is changing, forced out of the range of the past million years by levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases not seen in the Earth’s atmosphere for a very, very long time. Lacking action by the world’s nations, it is clear that the planet will be warmer, sea level will rise, and patterns of rainfall will change. But the future is also partly uncertain — there is considerable uncertainty about how we will arrive at that different climate. Will the changes be gradual, allowing natural systems and societal infrastructure to adjust in a timely fashion? Or will some of the changes be more abrupt, crossing some threshold or “tipping point” to change so fast that the time between when a problem is recognized and when action is required shrinks to the point where orderly adaptation is not possible?

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change is an updated look at the issue of abrupt climate change and its potential impacts. This study differs from previous treatments of abrupt changes by focusing on abrupt climate changes and also abrupt climate impacts that have the potential to severely affect the physical climate system, natural systems, or human systems, often affecting multiple interconnected areas of concern. The primary timescale of concern is years to decades. A key characteristic of these changes is that they can come faster than expected, planned, or budgeted for, forcing more reactive, rather than proactive, modes of behavior.

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change summarizes the state of our knowledge about potential abrupt changes and abrupt climate impacts and categorizes changes that are already occurring, have a high probability of occurrence, or are unlikely to occur. Because of the substantial risks to society and nature posed by abrupt changes, this report recommends the development of an Abrupt Change Early Warning System that would allow for the prediction and possible mitigation of such changes before their societal impacts are severe. Identifying key vulnerabilities can help guide efforts to increase resiliency and avoid large damages from abrupt change in the climate system, or in abrupt impacts of gradual changes in the climate system, and facilitate more informed decisions on the proper balance between mitigation and adaptation. Although there is still much to learn about abrupt climate change and abrupt climate impacts, to willfully ignore the threat of abrupt change could lead to more costs, loss of life, suffering, and environmental degradation. Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change makes the case that the time is here to be serious about the threat of tipping points so as to better anticipate and prepare ourselves for the inevitable surprises.

Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault

December 9, 2013 Comments off

Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault
Source: National Research Council

The Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) measures the rates at which Americans are victims of crimes, including rape and sexual assault, but there is concern that rape and sexual assault are undercounted on this survey. BJS asked the National Research Council to investigate this issue and recommend best practices for measuring rape and sexual assault on their household surveys. Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault concludes that it is likely that the NCVS is undercounting rape and sexual assault. The most accurate counts of rape and sexual assault cannot be achieved without measuring them separately from other victimizations, the report says. It recommends that BJS develop a separate survey for measuring rape and sexual assault. The new survey should more precisely define ambiguous words such as “rape,” give more privacy to respondents, and take other steps that would improve the accuracy of responses. Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault takes a fresh look at the problem of measuring incidents of rape and sexual assault from the criminal justice perspective. This report examines issues such as the legal definitions in use by the states for these crimes, best methods for representing the definitions in survey instruments so that their meaning is clear to respondents, and best methods for obtaining as complete reporting as possible of these crimes in surveys, including methods whereby respondents may report anonymously.

Rape and sexual assault are among the most injurious crimes a person can inflict on another. The effects are devastating, extending beyond the initial victimization to consequences such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, sleep and eating disorders, and other emotional and physical problems. Understanding the frequency and context under which rape and sexual assault are committed is vital in directing resources for law enforcement and support for victims. These data can influence public health and mental health policies and help identify interventions that will reduce the risk of future attacks. Sadly, accurate information about the extent of sexual assault and rape is difficult to obtain because most of these crimes go unreported to police. Estimating the Incidence of Rape and Sexual Assault focuses on methodology and vehicles used to measure rape and sexual assaults, reviews potential sources of error within the NCVS survey, and assesses the training and monitoring of interviewers in an effort to improve reporting of these crimes.

Data on People’s Self-Reported ‘Experienced’ Well-Being Could Help Inform Policies

December 5, 2013 Comments off

Data on People’s Self-Reported ‘Experienced’ Well-Being Could Help Inform Policies
Source: National Research Council

Gathering survey data on “experienced” well-being – the self-reported levels of contentment, joy, stress, frustration, and other feelings people experience throughout the day and while engaged in various activities — would be valuable to inform policies, says a new report from the National Research Council. In particular, data on specific actions intended to improve the living and working conditions of different population groups, including children or older adults, show promise in developing policies and practices in such areas as end of life care, commuting, child custody laws, and city planning, to name a few.

Extensive Study on Concussions in Youth Sports Finds ‘Culture of Resistance’ for Self-Reporting Injury; Not Enough Evidence to Support Claim That Helmets Reduce Concussion Risk

November 1, 2013 Comments off

Extensive Study on Concussions in Youth Sports Finds ‘Culture of Resistance’ for Self-Reporting Injury; Not Enough Evidence to Support Claim That Helmets Reduce Concussion Risk
Source: Institute of Medicine and National Research Council

Young athletes in the U.S. face a “culture of resistance” to reporting when they might have a concussion and to complying with treatment plans, which could endanger their well-being, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. The report provides a broad examination of concussions in a variety of youth sports with athletes aged 5 to 21. Overall, reported concussions rates are more frequent among high school athletes than college athletes in some sports — including football, men’s lacrosse and soccer, and baseball; higher for competition than practice (except for cheerleading); and highest in football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling, soccer, and women’s basketball. Concussion rates also appear higher for youths with a history of prior concussions and among female athletes.

Although the committee that wrote the report examined useful scientific information to inform its study, it discovered that research about youth concussions is limited. To address these gaps in knowledge, the committee identified several areas for further research, including establishing a national surveillance system to accurately determine the number of sports-related concussions, identifying changes in the brain following concussions in youth, conducting studies to assess the consequences and effects of concussions over a life span, and evaluating the effectiveness of sports rules and playing practices in reducing concussions.

The Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World: Workshop Summary (2013)

October 31, 2013 Comments off

The Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World: Workshop Summary (2013)
Source: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council

The Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World is the summary of a workshop convened in January 2013 by the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention to explore value and application of the evidence for violence prevention across the lifespan and around the world. As part of the Forum’s mandate is to engage in multisectoral, multidirectional dialogue that explores crosscutting approaches to violence prevention, this workshop examined how existing evidence for violence prevention can continue to be expanded, disseminated, and implemented in ways that further the ultimate aims of improved individual well-being and safer communities. This report examines violence prevention interventions that have been proven to reduce different types of violence (e.g., child and elder abuse, intimate partner and sexual violence, youth and collective violence, and self-directed violence), identifies the common approaches most lacking in evidentiary support, and discusses ways that proven effective interventions can be integrated or otherwise linked with other prevention programs.

Patent Challenges for Standard-Setting in the Global Economy: Lessons from Information and Communication Technology (2013)

October 30, 2013 Comments off

Patent Challenges for Standard-Setting in the Global Economy: Lessons from Information and Communication Technology (2013)
Source: National Research Council

Patent Challenges for Standard-Setting in the Global Economy: Lessons from Information and Communication Technology examines how leading national and multinational standard-setting organizations (SSOs) address patent disclosures, licensing terms, transfers of patent ownership, and other issues that arise in connection with developing technical standards for consumer and other microelectronic products, associated software and components, and communications networks including the Internet. Attempting to balance the interests of patent holders, other participants in standard-setting, standards implementers, and consumers, the report calls on SSOs to develop more explicit policies to avoid patent holdup and royalty-stacking, ensure that licensing commitments carry over to new owners of the patents incorporated in standards, and limit injunctions for infringement of patents with those licensing commitments. The report recommends government measures to increase the transparency of patent ownership and use of standards information to improve patent quality and to reduce conflicts of laws across countries.

Elder Abuse and Its Prevention: Workshop Summary (2013)

October 24, 2013 Comments off

Elder Abuse and Its Prevention: Workshop Summary (2013)
Source: Institute of Medicine/National Research Council

Elder Abuse and Its Prevention is the summary of a workshop convened in April 2013 by the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Global Violence Prevention. Using an ecological framework, this workshop explored the burden of elder abuse around the world, focusing on its impacts on individuals, families, communities, and societies. Additionally, the workshop addressed occurrences and co-occurrences of different types of abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial, as well as neglect. The ultimate objective was to illuminate promising global and multisectoral evidence-based approaches to the prevention of elder maltreatment. While the workshop covered scope and prevalence and unique characteristics of abuse, the intention was to move beyond what is known about elder abuse to foster discussions about how to improve prevention, intervention, and mitigation of the victims’ needs, particularly through collaborative efforts. The workshop discussions included innovative intervention models and opportunities for prevention across sectors and settings.

Violence and related forms of abuse against elders is a global public health and human rights problem with far-reaching consequences, resulting in increased death, disability, and exploitation with collateral effects on well-being. Data suggest that at least 10 percent of elders in the United States are victims of elder maltreatment every year. In low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of violence is the greatest, the figure is likely even higher. In addition, elders experiencing risk factors such as diminishing cognitive function, caregiver dependence, and social isolation are more vulnerable to maltreatment and underreporting. As the world population of adults aged 65 and older continues to grow, the implications of elder maltreatment for health care, social welfare, justice, and financial systems are great. However, despite the magnitude of global elder maltreatment, it has been an underappreciated public health problem. Elder Abuse and Its Prevention discusses the prevalence and characteristics of elder abuse around the world, risk factors for abuse and potential adverse health outcomes, and contextually specific factors, such as culture and the role of the community.

Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine

October 23, 2013 Comments off

Workforce Needs in Veterinary Medicine
Source: National Research Council

The U.S. veterinary medical profession contributes to society in diverse ways, from developing drugs and protecting the food supply to treating companion animals and investigating animal diseases in the wild. In a study of the issues related to the veterinary medical workforce, including demographics, workforce supply, trends affecting job availability, and capacity of the educational system to fill future demands, a National Research Council committee found that the profession faces important challenges in maintaining the economic sustainability of veterinary practice and education, building its scholarly foundations, and evolving veterinary service to meet changing societal needs.

Many concerns about the profession came into focus following the outbreak of West Nile fever in 1999, and the subsequent outbreaks of SARS, monkeypox, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, highly pathogenic avian influenza, H1N1 influenza, and a variety of food safety and environmental issues heightened public concerns. They also raised further questions about the directions of veterinary medicine and the capacity of public health service the profession provides both in the United States and abroad.

To address some of the problems facing the veterinary profession, greater public and private support for education and research in veterinary medicine is needed. The public, policymakers, and even medical professionals are frequently unaware of how veterinary medicine fundamentally supports both animal and human health and well-being. This report seeks to broaden the public’s understanding and attempts to anticipate some of the needs and measures that are essential for the profession to fulfill given its changing roles in the 21st century.

New Report: Avoid Premature or Overly Broad Professionalization of Rapidly Evolving Cybersecurity Field

October 9, 2013 Comments off

New Report: Avoid Premature or Overly Broad Professionalization of Rapidly Evolving Cybersecurity Field
Source: National Research Council

The nation’s cybersecurity work force is too broad and diverse to be treated as a single occupation or profession, and decisions about whether and how to professionalize the field will vary according to role and context, says a new report from the National Research Council. Defined as the social process by which an occupation evolves into a profession, such as law or medicine, professionalization might involve prolonged training and formal education, knowledge and performance testing, or other activities that establish quality standards for the workforce.

The report suggests that professionalization measures in the field of cybersecurity should only be undertaken for specific occupations that have well-defined and stable characteristics, when there are observable work force deficiencies that professionalization could resolve, and if the benefits of professionalization outweigh the costs.

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