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September 2009

By: Cynthia | September 25 2009 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community

Now here is something you don't see every day - the Director of the National Institutes of Health performing onstage with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry External Web Site Policy at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center yesterday. Dr. Francis Collins' performance at the event – Rock Stars of Science Briefing and Tribute External Web Site Policy – is part of a campaign to honor scientists, encourage science as a career choice, and call for further research funding.

Elected leaders, politicians, prominent scientists, and rock stars participating in the event share a common mission: to accelerate the science, from research bench to bedside, so that cures can be found for life-threatening diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Collins shared the stage with Perry and Harvard professor Rudy Tanzi External Web Site Policy who played the harmonica. The trio received a standing ovation when Collins led the vocals on a Bob Dylan tune, The Times They Are A-Changin’ . Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci gave a special presentation about the search for an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine and the announcement of some promising results from a trial in Thailand.

The event was sponsored by Geoffrey Beene Gives Back External Web Site Policy , Research!America External Web Site Policy , the Alzheimer’s Association External Web Site Policy , Wyeth Extern  al Web Site Policy , Elan External Web Site Policy , and GQ External Web Site Policy . The event was also conducted in cooperation with the Congressional Biomedical Research Caucus and the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. ABC News anchor Terry Moran External Web Site Policy emceed the event and moderated discussions.

Watch CNN’s video External Web Site Policy of Joe Perry at the briefing, talking about the need for more scientists and his early hopes of becoming a marine biologist.

By: Cindy | September 18 2009 | Category: Tidbits for Teachers

I think it’s safe to say that DeLeon Gray already knows more about the role of motivation in learning and in choosing a career in science than everyone else in the office combined! He’s in his third year of a Ph.D. program in Educational Psychology at The Ohio State University. He spent about eight weeks with us this summer studying and evaluating the ways OSE programs increase students’ interest in science and then suggesting how to make the programs even more effective.
When I asked DeLeon what his work has to say to middle and high school teachers, he had these research-based suggestions:

  • Stress mastery of the material rather than performance on tests. When students really want to master a subject, they’re more likely to persevere with challenging schoolwork, for example.
  • Offer students choices within certain guidelines rather than insisting on rigid adherence to one approach. For example, you might ask students to research a given topic and then give them the choice to report their results in a written report, on a homemade video, or through a poem or song. 
  • Help students feel something about the material as they’re learning it. They’ll learn it better that way. Humans recall events (and lessons) much better if they are tied to their emotions than if they aren’t.

For scholarly information on motivation research, check out:
For further reading, check out:

Classroom Motivation External Web Site Policy , a book recently written by Eric and Lynley Anderman (Educational Psychology Professors at The Ohio State University). This book is geared towards teachers (and those entering the teaching profession).
By: Paul | September 11 2009 | Category: Issues in Education

President Obama Video ImageIn a televised speech to the nation’s school children on Wednesday, President Barack Obama urged all students to meet their obligations to themselves and their country by doing their best and achieving their personal goals. The President touched on the competitiveness of the world economy when he told students that they will be competing not just with each other for jobs, but with skilled students from around the world. He emphasized the importance of staying in school when he said, “You can’t just drop out of school and drop into a good-paying job.” He made it clear that students will need a good education to get a good job.
The President encouraged his viewers first to have education goals, then to commit to them and achieve them. Students have to prepare themselves for their futures, he said, when they will be able to help out and bear some of the load for solving the world’s problems and needs--whether that’s discovering a new disease-curing medicine or inventing the next iPod technology.
In addressing students about their educational responsibility, the President was welcoming into the education discussion the group that stands most to benefit from the current public and legislative debate over education funding, priorities, standards, and laws. As educators, parents, and elected officials work to provide 21st-century educational opportunities for our students so that they can compete on a level field with their international peers, the President took time yesterday to impress upon students their own vital role and responsibility in the education process.
By: Gina | September 4 2009 | Category: Research & Technology

NASA Hyperbaric ChamberWhen we’re healthy, there’s plenty of oxygen in the air to keep us happy and active (unless, of course, we’re at the top of Mount Everest). But after some injuries, a boost of oxygen in our tissues can be very helpful. That’s where HBOT comes in.

HBOT, or hyperbaric oxygen therapy, is the delivery of oxygen under high pressure. In HBOT, patients are placed in a chamber where the pressure is a few times that found at sea level. They then breathe oxygen-enriched air that’s either in the chamber or supplied through a mask. HBOT therapy is coming back into vogue in large part because we have the technology to build better and much safer chambers.  (They used to have a tendency to explode.)  HBOT chambers are being used in clinics all over the country.

The first use of HBOT was to treat scuba divers with “the bends.” The bends happens when divers surface too quickly. The high pressure underwater allows more gas to dissolve in the blood and tissues than can on land.  As divers return to the surface from below, the gas comes out of solution. When divers surface slowly, the gas is released gradually, but if they come up too quickly, it’s released suddenly, sort of like what happens when we open a can of soda pop. Air bubbles form in tissues, which is painful and sometimes even deadly. So, divers with the bends are usually rushed to hyperbaric chambers, where their blood and tissues can reabsorb the gas temporarily. The pressure in the chamber is then decreased gradually, just like it is when divers surface slowly.

OK, but what does this have to do with healing? Well, many wounds — especially in people with diabetes and skin grafts — don’t have a good blood supply. That means the tissue lacks oxygen, and oxygen is needed for good healing. One way to increase tissue oxygen is to send patients scuba diving, but I’m not sure my grandmother with diabetes would be keen on that. Instead, doctors use HBOT. Patients hang out in an HBOT chamber for a few hours at a time to get extra oxygen into their tissues to help their wounds heal. 

There are numerous other clinical indications for HBOT therapy External Web Site Policy that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. A number of clinical trials looking at HBOT use for traumatic brain injury, diabetic ulcers, and burns are now underway.
By: Dave | September 2 2009 | Category: NIH Resources

Exploring Bioethics coverAfter months of anticipation, our latest curriculum supplement for high school is ready to ship. The only thing we need now is for YOU to request your FREE copy today.

Exploring Bioethics is a collaboration between NIH and EDCExternal Web Site Policy. These lessons present a new model for ethical inquiry in the biology classroom.

Online teacher support materials and alignments with state education standards are in the works and will be posted soon on the Exploring Bioethics summary page.

Order up!
By: Debbie | September 1 2009 | Category: Science and the Arts, Tidbits for Teachers LogoAn expert panel at has picked the finalists for its 2009 flu prevention public service announcement (PSA). Vote now to choose the winner!

Now through September 16th, you can vote for your favorite video and help decide which PSA is the most effective. The winner gets $2,500 and is featured on national television.
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