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NIH Record  
Vol. LXV, No. 14
  July 5, 2013
 Features
Take a Hike Day Promotes Exercise, Camaraderie
NIH Mission Statement Is Amended
Sen. Reid Visits Clinical Center
NIH Called ‘Best’ for Workers Over 50
Conference Points to Many Pathways Forward
Local High School Lends Ears to Noisy Planet’s Sound Advice
 Departments
Briefs
Milestones
Seen
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Cutback Undercuts Global Edge
ACD Hears About Sequester’s Consequences on Biomedical Research

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (c) presides over the June 13 session of the advisory committee to the NIH director.

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (c) presides over the June 13 session of the advisory committee to the NIH director.

When the Heads of International Research Organizations get together for their bi-annual meetings, they go around the table, as usual, reporting on their country’s biomedical research budget trajectory: China’s going up about 22 percent. India’s increase will be in the teens. Germany’s hiking its investment up 6 or 7 percent. The European Union—even with all of its financial health concerns—also plans an uptick in its funding for science. HIRO includes close to 20 organizations, representing about 95 percent of the world’s public support of biomedical research.

“Then they come to me,” recalls NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, new HIRO chair, “and I say, ‘Well, we just went down 5 percent and we might go down more.’ People are just stunned by this. Their motivation for building biomedical research in their country was because they read our playbook. They looked at the success of this enterprise since World War II…They’re trying to become us. We seem to have forgotten how to be us. It is very disheartening to see the contrast. I think the world is really shaking its head and wondering, ‘What has happened to our leader in science and technology, the United States, that these kinds of decisions could be happening?’”
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UVa.’s Johnson Offers New Concept of Alcoholism, Therapy

UVa.’s Dr. Bankole Johnson

UVa.’s Dr. Bankole Johnson

“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito.” With that African proverb, Dr. Bankole Johnson began the 5th annual Jack Mendelson Honorary Lecture in a way he said honored Mendelson’s reputed love of jokes, particularly bad ones. Johnson, as able a raconteur as ever graced a barroom, declared that chatting, especially with colleagues in the field, has been the main distillery for a fresh and evolving conception of alcoholism: “Most of my scientific work has been chats,” he said.

“Everyone in the world is an alcoholism expert,” he joked, “and can explain what works or doesn’t work. The problem is, most advice is old or wrong.”
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