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Collins offers views on future of biomedical research

Thumbnail image for Collins.jpgLast month Dr. Francis Collins, MD/PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) discussed the $29.9 billion budget being implemented within FY 2014, a billion more in funding than the previous fiscal cycle, including $4.9 billion for cancer research. Check out the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) interview.
~ASCO 2013 annual report

IRB implements changes

The UMN Institutional Review Board (IRB) announced changes that will affect UMN academic health researchers. Highlights include:

  • Significant revisions to the biomedical application
  • New, revised and retired appendices for drugs, devices, tissue use/storage, genetic testing
  • Changes to training requirements: Effective Feb. 1, 2014 all researchers and staff listed on new biomedical and social IRB applications will be required to undergo basic human subject's protection training
See the IRB website and read the UMN Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) blog post about these important changes.

University research could boost agriculture options

Lawmakers are considering $1.4M in funding for research to increase crop yields.
Minnesota Daily
April 7, 2014
by Roy Aker

Nestled under the snow, Kayla Altendorf's pennycress plants were green and nearly ready for harvest when she tended to them Saturday afternoon. University of Minnesota researchers like Altendorf, a graduate student in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, want to prove how plants like pennycress could thrive in the offseason, benefitting farmers and the state's economy. They've already identified ways to create a more profitable and efficient agricultural landscape, which includes using more perennial crops, and state legislators are perking up their ears. The Forever Green Agriculture Initiative outlines plans to increase crop yields and asks for nearly $1.4 million in state funding this session. Full article.

Studies raise questions about dietary fats and heart disease

March 19, 2014
by Susan Perry

Graph Machine_0.jpgTwo new studies raise yet more questions about current dietary guidelines for a healthy heart -- specifically the recommendations to eat less saturated fat and more polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. The studies found that both types of fat appear to have no effect -- neither bad nor good -- on the risk of heart disease.

Saturated fat is the kind found mainly in fatty meats and whole-milk dairy products. Polyunsaturated fats generally come from plant-based foods, primarily nuts, flaxseeds, avocados and certain vegetable oils, such as olive and canola. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of poloyunsaturated fat. One of its key sources is fish, especially salmon and sardines. Read on.

FY 2014 omnibus medical research package outlined

The Translational Science 2014 annual meeting takes place April 9-11 in Washington, DC, and several School of Nursing (SoN) faculty will present their research. In the meantime, the Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) has summarized the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which was passed in January, and reinstates medical research funding affected by sequestration cuts. Summary highlights include:

  • $621.1 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an increase of $33 billion over the FY 2013 post-sequestration level.
  • $29.93 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $783 million over the FY 2013 post-sequestration level.
  • $6.32 billion for the Heath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an increase of $407 million over the FY 2013 post-sequestration level.
  • $268.32 million for the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), an increase of $8 million over the FY 2013 post-sequestration level.
~FY 2015 proposed overall budget overview
~FY 2015 U.S. Health & Human Services proposed budget overview

Study suggests nurses may better educate patients

Medscape Nurses
March 7, 2014
by Megan Brooks

Nurses and physician assistants (PAs) are more likely than physicians to offer tips on healthy living to patients with chronic illnesses during office visits, a new study shows, although none of the 3 providers do it regularly. Health education provided to patients with asthma, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses can help them live a healthier life, but
who provides this information during office visits, and how often? Few studies have looked at this issue. Read the full article.pdf
~Feb. 16, 2014 article in The Lancet on a nurse staffing study among nine European countries pertaining to reduction in patient mortality

AHRQ posts FY-15 budget estimates

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) released its $334.1 million congressional budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2015, a decrease of $29.9 million or 8.2 percent below funding for FY 2014. This budget is the first submission from Dr. Richard Kronick, the new AHRQ director, who has reshaped the agency's mission and updated four of its research priorities:
• Improve healthcare quality
• Make healthcare safer
• Increase accessibility
• Improve healthcare affordability, efficiency and cost transparency

The four AHRQ research priorities fall under three portfolios of patient safety; health services research, data and dissemination; health information technology.

~AHRQ research funding priorities
~AHRQ current funding announcements

AHRQ sets salary limit and seeks input

On March 7, 2014 the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) published a notice outlining a $181,500 salary limit for grants, cooperative agreements and contracts. The Consolidated Appropriations Act restricts direct salary levels that can be paid from any of the 11 U.S. Health and Human Service (HHS) federal funding sources, including AHRQ. Learn more.

Also, AHRQ seeks input by April 30, 2014 on performance metrics used by major healthcare delivery systems, payers and regulators. The data will contribute to a knowledge base and to assess future research, development and funding needs. See the notice for details and NOT-HS-14-005 for background information.

Call for abstracts

The Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS) is accepting research abstracts until March 31 for the 2014 National State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research "Optimizing Health by Addressing Complexity" conference, Sept. 18-20, 2014 at the Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, DC. Cost to submit a proposal is $25. Call for awards deadline is April 13, 2014. See the website for details and requirements.

MN Daily: U patches research funding

Minnesota Daily
by Kristoffer Tigue
Feb. 26, 2014

In a time of decreased federal research funding, sometimes even cancer studies don't make the cut. University Vice President for Research Brian Herman, associate pharmacy professor Jatinder Lamba and associate physics professor Lucy Fortson comment. Learn more about intramural bridge funding that offsets federal award reductions.

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