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Health and medicine/Diseases and disorders


Many of the important challenges facing science and society—from fighting disease to harnessing sustainable energy sources—require more than the efforts of researchers from a single discipline. Scientists from different disciplines need to collaborate and engage in interdisciplinary research to solve such complex issues.

Medical research and treatment increasingly depend on patient participation and new technologies—two critical aspects of modern health care that experts will discuss at a conference co-sponsored by AAAS.

The 6-7 June meeting, “Clinical Trials: New Challenges & Opportunities” will examine the future of scientific studies that work with human volunteers to find new ways to diagnose, screen, prevent, and treat disease. The event is co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine and the Friends of the National Library of Medicine.

Local networks of experts can show communities how to bring more women and minorities to science and technology careers, according to a new report released by AAAS’s Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity. It’s a strategy modeled after the well-known extension services approach pioneered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which link farmers to agricultural researchers.

Feeding the world as the climate continues to change will require a more diverse array of crops as well as global investment to help communities adapt to warmer temperatures, unexpected cold snaps, heavy rainfall, drought, and other extremes, experts reported 16 June on Capitol Hill.

At the AAAS-sponsored briefing, Paul Gepts, a geneticist and professor of agronomy at the University of California, Davis, warned that inadequate crop biodiversity in the United States could hamstring American farmers as climate change intensifies.

As the U.S. Congress considers wide-ranging legislation to tighten safeguards against biological threats, a new report from AAAS and partner organizations offers suggestions on how to minimize security risks while promoting education and cutting-edge research.

The report notes that scientists and security specialists share a common goal of preventing bioterrorism but continue to have differing perspectives on how best to assess risks, promote good research practices, and advance science.

Within the next two years, people will be able to get their entire genome sequenced for less than $1000, a feat that could accelerate customized medical treatments, experts said at a recent AAAS colloquium on personalized medicine.

It’s an impressive technical breakthrough, but physicians, policymakers and others at the event are already worried about a 21st century blitz of lawsuits, ethical quandaries, and logistical issues stemming from inexpensive genome screening.