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This NoVA student is being honored in a prestigious STEM competition

Westlake Legal Group Victoria-Graf This NoVA student is being honored in a prestigious STEM competition Students student stem scientific research Science Research prestigious award honor High School Seniors high school Education educate classroom class Celebration award alexandria
Photo courtesy of Society for Science & The Public

Victoria Graf, a 17-year-old student at Alexandria’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is among 40 finalists from across the globe in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. And now, she has the chance to win up to $250,000 as part of one of the nation’s most prestigious science and math competitions. 

The Regeneron Science Talent Search—hosted by 99-year-old nonprofit Society for Science & The Public and biotech company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.—celebrates the next generation of brilliant minds through a science competition, challenging students to present original research projects in the STEM field.  

This year, 1,993 high schoolers in the United States applied for the award, and 40 were awarded as finalists at the end of January for their original research. Among the projects, topics span a wide range of STEM-related subjects, including targeting cancer via signaling pathways and identifying an improved method for trace level arsenic quantification in water. 

Graf’s project, titled “Determining Stimulus Selection Parameters for Treatment of Neurological Disorders Using Statistical Analysis of EEG Signal Entropy,” investigates music’s effect on a neurological response.

In addition to excelling in the scientific field, Graf is a classical pianist who has performed in New York and London, and she is also a black belt in karate. 

From March 5 through March 11, Graf and the 39 other talented students spanning 21 states will make their way to the District for the final portion of the competition. The top 10 projects will be awarded at a black gala ceremony at the National Building Museum. 

Throughout the six-day process, students will undergo a rigorous judging process and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. Plus, they will have the chance to meet with leading scientists, members of Congress and display their research to the public. In the past, finalists of the Regeneron Science Talent Search have gone on to earn a variety of esteemed academic honors, including the National Medal of Science, the Nobel Prize and even an Academy Award. 

For more information on Graf, the other finalists or the upcoming ceremony, click here.

Want to receive education-focused news straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletters today.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

This NoVA student is being honored in a prestigious STEM competition

Westlake Legal Group Victoria-Graf This NoVA student is being honored in a prestigious STEM competition Students student stem scientific research Science Research prestigious award honor High School Seniors high school Education educate classroom class Celebration award alexandria
Photo courtesy of Society for Science & The Public

Victoria Graf, a 17-year-old student at Alexandria’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is among 40 finalists from across the globe in the Regeneron Science Talent Search. And now, she has the chance to win up to $250,000 as part of one of the nation’s most prestigious science and math competitions. 

The Regeneron Science Talent Search—hosted by 99-year-old nonprofit Society for Science & The Public and biotech company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.—celebrates the next generation of brilliant minds through a science competition, challenging students to present original research projects in the STEM field.  

This year, 1,993 high schoolers in the United States applied for the award, and 40 were awarded as finalists at the end of January for their original research. Among the projects, topics span a wide range of STEM-related subjects, including targeting cancer via signaling pathways and identifying an improved method for trace level arsenic quantification in water. 

Graf’s project, titled “Determining Stimulus Selection Parameters for Treatment of Neurological Disorders Using Statistical Analysis of EEG Signal Entropy,” investigates music’s effect on a neurological response.

In addition to excelling in the scientific field, Graf is a classical pianist who has performed in New York and London, and she is also a black belt in karate. 

From March 5 through March 11, Graf and the 39 other talented students spanning 21 states will make their way to the District for the final portion of the competition. The top 10 projects will be awarded at a black gala ceremony at the National Building Museum. 

Throughout the six-day process, students will undergo a rigorous judging process and compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. Plus, they will have the chance to meet with leading scientists, members of Congress and display their research to the public. In the past, finalists of the Regeneron Science Talent Search have gone on to earn a variety of esteemed academic honors, including the National Medal of Science, the Nobel Prize and even an Academy Award. 

For more information on Graf, the other finalists or the upcoming ceremony, click here.

Want to receive education-focused news straight to your inbox? Subscribe to our newsletters today.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Why the Coronavirus Seems to Hit Men Harder Than Women

Westlake Legal Group 19VIRUS-MEN-facebookJumbo Why the Coronavirus Seems to Hit Men Harder Than Women your-feed-science Yale University Wuhan (China) Women and Girls Viruses Vaccination and Immunization University of Iowa testosterone Smoking and Tobacco SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Research Reproduction (Biological) Paris (France) national institutes of health Middle East Mice MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) Men and Boys Medicine and Health Immune System Hong Kong Harvard University Estrogen Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Clayton, Janine Austin Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Blood Pressure Annals of Internal Medicine

The coronavirus that originated in China has spread fear and anxiety around the world. But while the novel virus has largely spared one vulnerable group — children — it appears to pose a particular threat to middle-aged and older adults, particularly men.

This week, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published the largest analysis of coronavirus cases to date. Although men and women have been infected in roughly equal numbers, researchers found, the death rate among men was 2.8 percent, compared with 1.7 percent among women.

Men also were disproportionately affected during the SARS and MERS outbreaks, which were caused by coronaviruses. More women than men were infected by SARS in Hong Kong in 2003, but the death rate among men was 50 percent higher, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Some 32 percent of men infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome died, compared with 25.8 percent of women. Young adult men also died at higher rates than female peers during the influenza epidemic of 1918.

A number of factors may be working against men in the current epidemic, scientists say, including some that are biological, and some that are rooted in lifestyle.

When it comes to mounting an immune response against infections, men are the weaker sex.

“This is a pattern we’ve seen with many viral infections of the respiratory tract — men can have worse outcomes,” said Sabra Klein, a scientist who studies sex differences in viral infections and vaccination responses at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“We’ve seen this with other viruses. Women fight them off better,” she added.

Women also produce stronger immune responses after vaccinations, and have enhanced memory immune responses, which protect adults from pathogens they were exposed to as children.

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

“There’s something about the immune system in females that is more exuberant,” said Dr. Janine Clayton, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.

But there’s a high price, she added: Women are far more susceptible to autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, in which the immune system shifts into overdrive and attacks the body’s own organs and tissues.

Nearly 80 percent of those with autoimmune diseases are women, Dr. Clayton noted.

The reasons women have stronger immune responses aren’t entirely clear, and the research is still at an early stage, experts caution.

One hypothesis is that women’s stronger immune systems confer a survival advantage to their offspring, who imbibe antibodies from mothers’ breast milk that help ward off disease while the infants’ immune systems are still developing.

A stew of biological factors may be responsible, including the female sex hormone estrogen, which appears to play a role in immunity, and the fact that women carry two X chromosomes, which contain immune-related genes. Men, of course, carry only one.

Experiments in which mice were exposed to the SARS coronavirus found that the males were more susceptible to infection than the females, a disparity that increased with age.

The male mice developed SARS at lower viral exposures, had a lower immune response and were slower to clear the virus from their bodies. They suffered more lung damage, and died at higher rates, said Dr. Stanley Perlman, a professor of microbiology at the University of Iowa who was the senior author of the study.

When researchers blocked estrogen in the infected females or removed their ovaries, they were more likely to die, but blocking testosterone in male mice made no difference, indicating that estrogen may play a protective role.

“It’s an exaggerated model of what happens in humans,” Dr. Perlman said. “The differences between men and women are subtle — in mice, it’s not so subtle.”

Health behaviors that differ by sex in some societies may also play a role in disparate responses to infections.

China has the largest population of smokers in the world — 316 million people — accounting for nearly one-third of the world’s smokers and 40 percent of tobacco consumption worldwide. But just over 2 percent of Chinese women smoke, compared with more than half of all men.

Chinese men also have higher rates of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure than women, both of which increase the risk of complications following infection with the coronavirus. Rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are almost twice as high among Chinese men as among women.

In the United States, women are more proactive about seeking health care than men, and some small studies have found the generalization applies to Chinese students at universities in the United States, as well.

In unpublished studies, Chinese researchers have emphasized that patients whose diagnoses were delayed, or who had severe pneumonia when they were first diagnosed, were at greatest risk of dying.

One study of 4,021 patients with the coronavirus emphasized the importance of early detection, particularly in older men. And men have been turning up in hospitals with more advanced disease.

But in areas of China outside Hubei Province, the disease’s epicenter and where the majority of those affected are concentrated, the patterns are different: The disease appears to have dramatically lower mortality rates, and men are being infected at much higher rates than women, according to the Chinese C.D.C. analysis.

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

Men may have a “false sense of security” when it comes to the coronavirus, said Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunology at Yale University who studies why some viruses affect women more severely.

Gathering and analyzing data about the new virus by sex is important both for the scientists studying it and for the general public, experts said.

Since the start of the outbreak, for example, public health officials have emphasized the importance of washing hands well and often, to prevent infection. But several studies have found that men — even health care workers — are less likely to wash their hands or to use soap than women, Dr. Klein said.

“We make these broad sweeping assumptions that men and women are the same behaviorally, in terms of comorbidities, biology and our immune system, and we just are not,” Dr. Klein said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Silicon Valley Heads to Europe, Nervous About New Rules

Westlake Legal Group 00europe-ai1-facebookJumbo Silicon Valley Heads to Europe, Nervous About New Rules Vestager, Margrethe Research Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Google Inc Facebook Inc European Union European Commission Computers and the Internet Brussels (Belgium) Artificial Intelligence Apple Inc

LONDON — First came Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Then Apple’s senior vice president for artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, showed up.

And on Monday, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, is joining in with his own trip to Brussels to meet with officials like Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice president of the European Commission.

The main reason so many Silicon Valley executives are paying court in the European Union’s capital: E.U. lawmakers are debating a new digital policy, including first-of-its-kind rules on the ways that artificial intelligence can be used by companies. That has far-reaching implications for many industries — but especially for tech behemoths like Google, Facebook and Apple that have bet big on artificial intelligence.

“While A.I. promises enormous benefits for Europe and the world, there are real concerns about the potential negative consequences,” Mr. Pichai said in a speech last month when he visited Brussels. He said regulation of artificial intelligence was needed to ensure proper human oversight, but added “there is a balance to be had” to ensure that rules do not stifle innovation.

Silicon Valley executives are taking action as Europe has increasingly set the standard on tech policy and regulation. In recent years, the E.U. has passed laws on digital privacy and penalized Google and others on antitrust matters, which has inspired tougher action elsewhere in the world. The new artificial intelligence policy is also likely to be a template that others will adopt.

Artificial intelligence — where machines are being trained to learn how to perform jobs on their own — is seen by technologists, business leaders and government officials as one of the world’s most transformative technologies. Yet it presents new risks to individual privacy and livelihoods — including the possibility that the tech will replace people in their jobs.

A first draft of the artificial intelligence policy, which is being coordinated by Ms. Vestager, will be released on Wednesday, along with broader recommendations outlining the bloc’s digital strategy for the coming years. The debate over the policies, including how to expand Europe’s homegrown tech industry, is expected to last through 2020.

The artificial intelligence proposal is expected to outline riskier uses of the technology — such as in health care and transportation like self-driving cars — and how those will come under tougher government scrutiny.

In an interview, Ms. Vestager said artificial intelligence was one of the world’s most promising technologies, but it presents many dangers because it requires trusting complex algorithms to make decisions based on vast amounts of data. She said there must be privacy protections, rules to prevent the technology from causing discrimination, and requirements that ensure companies using the systems can explain how they work, she said.

She raised particular concerns about the expanding use of facial recognition technology and said new restrictions might be needed before it was “everywhere.”

Ms. Vestager said she was looking forward to Mr. Zuckerberg’s visit. While she was curious to hear his ideas about artificial intelligence and digital policy, she said, Europe was not going to wait to act.

“We will do our best to avoid unintended consequences,” she said. “But, obviously, there will be intended consequences.”

Facebook declined to comment.

Europe is working on the artificial intelligence policy at the direction of Ursula von der Leyen, the new head of the European Commission, which is the executive branch for the 27-nation bloc. Ms. von der Leyen, who took office in November, immediately gave Ms. Vestager a 100-day deadline to release an initial proposal about artificial intelligence.

The tight time frame has raised concerns that the rules are being rushed. Artificial intelligence is not monolithic and its use varies depending on the field where it is being applied. Its effectiveness largely relies on data pulled from different sources. Overly broad regulations could stand in the way of the benefits, such as diagnosing disease, building self-driving vehicles or creating more efficient energy grids, some in the tech industry warned.

“There is an opportunity for leadership, but it cannot just be regulatory work,” said Ian Hogarth, a London-based angel investor who focuses on artificial intelligence. “Just looking at this through the lens of regulations makes it hard to push the frontiers of what’s possible.”

Europe’s A.I. debate is part of a broader move away from an American-led view of technology. For years, American lawmakers and regulators largely left Silicon Valley companies alone, allowing the firms to grow unimpeded and with little scrutiny of problems such as the spread of disinformation on social networks.

Policymakers in Europe and elsewhere stepped in with a more hands-on approach, setting boundaries on privacy, antitrust and harmful internet content. Last week, Britain unveiled plans to create a new government regulator to oversee internet content.

“Technology is fragmenting along geopolitical lines,” said Prof. Wendy Hall, a computer scientist at Southampton University, who has been an adviser to the British government on artificial intelligence.

In the interview, Ms. Vestager compared Europe’s more assertive stance in tech regulation to its regulations of agriculture. Many pesticides and chemicals that are allowed in the United States are banned in Europe.

“It is quite the European approach to say if things are risky, then we as a society want to regulate this,” she said. “The main thing is for us to create societies where people feel that they can trust what is going on.”

European policymakers have no shortage of ideas to wade through in drafting the artificial intelligence policy. Since 2018, 44 reports with recommendations for “ethical artificial intelligence” have been published by various organizations, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

In the United States, the government has focused on providing research funding for artificial intelligence rather than drafting new regulations. This month, the latest White House budget proposal earmarked roughly $1.1 billion for such research.

Ms. Vestager said her policy would include a boost to research funding, but also a framework for safeguarding areas where artificial intelligence can cause the most harm. She said she was not worried about how artificial intelligence is used to recommend a song on Spotify or a movie on Netflix, but was focused on algorithms that determined who gets a loan or what diseases are diagnosed.

Many details will likely be fought over, such as how Europe intends to meet its goal of maximizing the benefits of artificial intelligence. Civil society groups, banks, carmakers and health providers are expected to weigh in.

The rules will have important consequences for Apple, Facebook and Google. The tech giants have invested heavily in artificial intelligence in recent years and have battled to hire the world’s top engineers. Artificial intelligence is now in Apple products such as Siri and Face ID, helps power Google’s search engine and self-driving cars, and Facebook’s advertising business.

Apple declined to comment. A Google spokesman referred back to the comments made by Mr. Pichai.

During Mr. Pichai’s visit to Brussels last month, he was asked what the region’s artificial intelligence rules should look like. He warned there would be lasting economic consequences if Europe did too much.

“The ability of European industry to adopt and adapt A.I. for its needs is going to be very critical for the continent’s future,” he said. “It’s important to keep that in mind.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China Begins Testing an Antiviral Drug in Coronavirus Patients

Westlake Legal Group 06VIRUS-TREATMENTS-facebookJumbo China Begins Testing an Antiviral Drug in Coronavirus Patients your-feed-healthcare Research remsdesivir New England Journal of Medicine Inventions and Patents Gilead Sciences Inc Epidemics Drugs (Pharmaceuticals) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Clinical Trials China

China is forging ahead in the search for treatments for people sickened by the new coronavirus that has infected more than 28,000 people in a countrywide epidemic, killed more than 500 and seeded smaller outbreaks in 24 other nations.

The need is urgent: There are no approved treatments for illnesses caused by coronaviruses.

On Thursday, China began enrolling patients in a clinical trial of remdesivir, an antiviral medicine made by Gilead, the American pharmaceutical giant.

The drug has to be given intravenously, is experimental and not yet approved for any use, and has not been studied in patients with any coronavirus disease. But studies of infected mice and monkeys have suggested that remdesivir can fight coronaviruses.

And it appears to be safe. It was tested without ill effects in Ebola patients, although it did not work well against that virus, which is in a different family from coronaviruses.

Doctors in Washington State gave remdesivir to the first coronavirus patient in the United States last week after his condition worsened and pneumonia developed when he’d been in the hospital for a week. His symptoms improved the next day.

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 5, 2020

    • Where has the virus spread?
      You can track its movement with this map.
    • How is the United States being affected?
      There have been at least a dozen cases. American citizens and permanent residents who fly to the United States from China are now subject to a two-week quarantine.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      Several countries, including the United States, have discouraged travel to China, and several airlines have canceled flights. Many travelers have been left in limbo while looking to change or cancel bookings.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do.

A single case cannot determine whether a drug works, but a report on the Washington patient, in The New England Journal of Medicine, has nonetheless sparked excitement about the drug.

Another report published on Tuesday by scientists in China added to the enthusiasm, showing that remdesivir blocked the new coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV, from infecting cells grown in the lab.

“It is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental medicine that has only been used in a small number of patients with 2019-nCoV to date, so we do not have an appropriately robust understanding of the effect of this drug to warrant broad use at this time,” Ryan McKeel, a Gilead spokesman, said in an email.

Two clinical trials will take place in Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak; 500 patients will receive the drug, and comparison groups will get a placebo, Mr. McKeel said.

One trial, which began enrolling patients on Thursday, includes people who are severely ill with symptoms such as needing oxygen. The other trial will involve patients who are hospitalized but not as sick.

The patients will be given the drug intravenously for 10 days, and then assessed 28 days after the treatment to see how they fared compared to the placebo groups.

If the drug works, will Gilead be able to provide enough for everyone who needs it?

“There are currently limited available clinical supplies of remdesivir, but we are working to increase our available supply as rapidly as possible,” Mr. McKeel said.

Gilead had stockpiled the drug, as well as the materials used to make it, for use against Ebola. The company is now using that stockpile for the trials in China and for individual patients like the one in Washington State, whose doctors sought special permission from the Food and Drug Administration for “compassionate use” so that they could give him an unapproved drug.

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

The company plans to speed production and is looking for “manufacturing partners in multiple geographies,” Mr. McKeel said, adding that Gilead was going ahead with these preparations without knowing yet whether the drug works against the new coronavirus.

In the meantime, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has applied for a patent in China to use remdesivir to treat the coronavirus, according to a statement on the institute’s website.

Gilead already has patents for the drug in China and other parts of the world, and in 2016 filed additional patent applications to use it against coronaviruses. But the company’s application for coronavirus use is still pending, Mr. McKeel said.

“Gilead has no influence over whether a patent office issues a patent to the Chinese researchers,” he added.

In its statement, the virology institute said it would not exercise its patent rights “if relevant foreign companies intend to contribute to the prevention and control of China’s epidemic.”

The report from China published on Tuesday about remdesivir also found that chloroquine, a cheap drug used for decades to treat malaria, could also fight the new coronavirus. Researchers are recommending that it also be studied, along with various antiviral medications, including some of the ones used to treat H.I.V.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China Begins Testing an Antiviral Drug in Coronavirus Patients

Westlake Legal Group 06VIRUS-TREATMENTS-facebookJumbo China Begins Testing an Antiviral Drug in Coronavirus Patients your-feed-healthcare Research remsdesivir New England Journal of Medicine Inventions and Patents Gilead Sciences Inc Epidemics Drugs (Pharmaceuticals) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Clinical Trials China

China is forging ahead in the search for treatments for people sickened by the new coronavirus that has infected more than 28,000 people in a countrywide epidemic, killed more than 500 and seeded smaller outbreaks in 24 other nations.

The need is urgent: There are no approved treatments for illnesses caused by coronaviruses.

On Thursday, China began enrolling patients in a clinical trial of remdesivir, an antiviral medicine made by Gilead, the American pharmaceutical giant.

The drug has to be given intravenously, is experimental and not yet approved for any use, and has not been studied in patients with any coronavirus disease. But studies of infected mice and monkeys have suggested that remdesivir can fight coronaviruses.

And it appears to be safe. It was tested without ill effects in Ebola patients, although it did not work well against that virus, which is in a different family from coronaviruses.

Doctors in Washington State gave remdesivir to the first coronavirus patient in the United States last week after his condition worsened and pneumonia developed when he’d been in the hospital for a week. His symptoms improved the next day.

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 5, 2020

    • Where has the virus spread?
      You can track its movement with this map.
    • How is the United States being affected?
      There have been at least a dozen cases. American citizens and permanent residents who fly to the United States from China are now subject to a two-week quarantine.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      Several countries, including the United States, have discouraged travel to China, and several airlines have canceled flights. Many travelers have been left in limbo while looking to change or cancel bookings.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do.

A single case cannot determine whether a drug works, but a report on the Washington patient, in The New England Journal of Medicine, has nonetheless sparked excitement about the drug.

Another report published on Tuesday by scientists in China added to the enthusiasm, showing that remdesivir blocked the new coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV, from infecting cells grown in the lab.

“It is important to keep in mind that this is an experimental medicine that has only been used in a small number of patients with 2019-nCoV to date, so we do not have an appropriately robust understanding of the effect of this drug to warrant broad use at this time,” Ryan McKeel, a Gilead spokesman, said in an email.

Two clinical trials will take place in Wuhan, China, the center of the outbreak; 500 patients will receive the drug, and comparison groups will get a placebo, Mr. McKeel said.

One trial, which began enrolling patients on Thursday, includes people who are severely ill with symptoms such as needing oxygen. The other trial will involve patients who are hospitalized but not as sick.

The patients will be given the drug intravenously for 10 days, and then assessed 28 days after the treatment to see how they fared compared to the placebo groups.

If the drug works, will Gilead be able to provide enough for everyone who needs it?

“There are currently limited available clinical supplies of remdesivir, but we are working to increase our available supply as rapidly as possible,” Mr. McKeel said.

Gilead had stockpiled the drug, as well as the materials used to make it, for use against Ebola. The company is now using that stockpile for the trials in China and for individual patients like the one in Washington State, whose doctors sought special permission from the Food and Drug Administration for “compassionate use” so that they could give him an unapproved drug.

[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]

The company plans to speed production and is looking for “manufacturing partners in multiple geographies,” Mr. McKeel said, adding that Gilead was going ahead with these preparations without knowing yet whether the drug works against the new coronavirus.

In the meantime, the Wuhan Institute of Virology has applied for a patent in China to use remdesivir to treat the coronavirus, according to a statement on the institute’s website.

Gilead already has patents for the drug in China and other parts of the world, and in 2016 filed additional patent applications to use it against coronaviruses. But the company’s application for coronavirus use is still pending, Mr. McKeel said.

“Gilead has no influence over whether a patent office issues a patent to the Chinese researchers,” he added.

In its statement, the virology institute said it would not exercise its patent rights “if relevant foreign companies intend to contribute to the prevention and control of China’s epidemic.”

The report from China published on Tuesday about remdesivir also found that chloroquine, a cheap drug used for decades to treat malaria, could also fight the new coronavirus. Researchers are recommending that it also be studied, along with various antiviral medications, including some of the ones used to treat H.I.V.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t

Westlake Legal Group 17screentime1-facebookJumbo Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t Social Media Smartphones Research Mental Health and Disorders Children and Childhood

SAN FRANCISCO — It has become common wisdom that too much time spent on smartphones and social media is responsible for a recent spike in anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, especially among teenagers.

But a growing number of academic researchers have produced studies that suggest the common wisdom is wrong.

The latest research, published on Friday by two psychology professors, combs through about 40 studies that have examined the link between social media use and both depression and anxiety among adolescents. That link, according to the professors, is small and inconsistent.

“There doesn’t seem to be an evidence base that would explain the level of panic and consternation around these issues,” said Candice L. Odgers, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the lead author of the paper, which was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The debate over the harm we — and especially our children — are doing to ourselves by staring into phones is generally predicated on the assumption that the machines we carry in our pockets pose a significant risk to our mental health.

Worries about smartphones have led Congress to pass legislation to examine the impact of heavy smartphone use and pushed investors to pressure big tech companies to change the way they approach young customers.

The World Health Organization said last year that infants under a year old should not be exposed to electronic screens and that children between the ages of 2 and 4 should not have more than an hour of “sedentary screen time” each day.

Even in Silicon Valley, technology executives have made a point of keeping the devices and the software they develop away from their own children.

But some researchers question whether those fears are justified. They are not arguing that intensive use of phones does not matter. Children who are on their phones too much can miss out on other valuable activities, like exercise. And research has shown that excessive phone use can exacerbate the problems of certain vulnerable groups, like children with mental health issues.

They are, however, challenging the widespread belief that screens are responsible for broad societal problems like the rising rates of anxiety and sleep deprivation among teenagers. In most cases, they say, the phone is just a mirror that reveals the problems a child would have even without the phone.

The researchers worry that the focus on keeping children away from screens is making it hard to have more productive conversations about topics like how to make phones more useful for low-income people, who tend to use them more, or how to protect the privacy of teenagers who share their lives online.

“Many of the people who are terrifying kids about screens, they have hit a vein of attention from society and they are going to ride that. But that is super bad for society,” said Andrew Przybylski, the director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, who has published several studies on the topic.

The new article by Ms. Odgers and Michaeline R. Jensen of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro comes just a few weeks after the publication of an analysis by Amy Orben, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, and shortly before the planned publication of similar work from Jeff Hancock, the founder of the Stanford Social Media Lab. Both reached similar conclusions.

“The current dominant discourse around phones and well-being is a lot of hype and a lot of fear,” Mr. Hancock said. “But if you compare the effects of your phone to eating properly or sleeping or smoking, it’s not even close.”

Mr. Hancock’s analysis of about 226 studies on the well-being of phone users concluded that “when you look at all these different kinds of well-being, the net effect size is essentially zero.”

The debate about screen time and mental health goes back to the early days of the iPhone. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a widely cited paper that warned doctors about “Facebook depression.”

But by 2016, as more research came out, the academy revised that statement, deleting any mention of Facebook depression and emphasizing the conflicting evidence and the potential positive benefits of using social media.

Megan Moreno, one of the lead authors of the revised statement, said the original statement had been a problem “because it created panic without a strong basis of evidence.”

Dr. Moreno, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin, said that in her own medical practice, she tends to be struck by the number of children with mental health problems who are helped by social media because of the resources and connections it provides.

Concern about the connection between smartphones and mental health has also been fed by high-profile works like a 2017 article in The Atlantic — and a related book — by the psychologist Jean Twenge, who argued that a recent rise in suicide and depression among teenagers was linked to the arrival of smartphones.

In her article, “Have Smartphones Ruined a Generation?,” Ms. Twenge attributed the sudden rise in reports of anxiety, depression and suicide from teens after 2012 to the spread of smartphones and social media.

Ms. Twenge’s critics argue that her work found a correlation between the appearance of smartphones and a real rise in reports of mental health issues, but that it did not establish that phones were the cause.

It could, researchers argue, just as easily be that the rise in depression led teenagers to excessive phone use at a time when there were many other potential explanations for depression and anxiety. What’s more, anxiety and suicide rates appear not to have risen in large parts of Europe, where phones have also become more prevalent.

“Why else might American kids be anxious other than telephones?” Mr. Hancock said. “How about climate change? How about income inequality? How about more student debt? There are so many big giant structural issues that have a huge impact on us but are invisible and that we aren’t looking at.”

Ms. Twenge remains committed to her position, and she points to several more recent studies by other academics who have found a specific link between social media use and poor mental health. One paper found that when a group of college students gave up social media for three weeks, their sense of loneliness and depression declined.

Ms. Odgers, Mr. Hancock and Mr. Przybylski said they had not taken any funding from the tech industry, and all have been outspoken critics of the industry on issues other than mental health, such as privacy and the companies’ lack of transparency.

Ms. Odgers added that she was not surprised that people had a hard time accepting her findings. Her own mother questioned her research after one of her grandsons stopped talking to her during the long drives she used to enjoy. But children tuning out their elders when they become teenagers is hardly a new trend, she said.

She also reminded her mother that their conversation was taking place during a video chat with Ms. Odgers’s son — the kind of intergenerational connection that was impossible before smartphones.

Ms. Odgers acknowledged that she was reluctant to give her two children more time on their iPads. But she recently tried playing the video game Fortnite with her son and found it an unexpectedly positive experience.

“It’s hard work because it’s not the environment we were raised in,” she said. “It can be a little scary at times. I have those moments, too.”

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Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t

Westlake Legal Group 17screentime1-facebookJumbo Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t Social Media Smartphones Research Mental Health and Disorders Children and Childhood

SAN FRANCISCO — It has become common wisdom that too much time spent on smartphones and social media is responsible for a recent spike in anxiety, depression and other mental health problems, especially among teenagers.

But a growing number of academic researchers have produced studies that suggest the common wisdom is wrong.

The latest research, published on Friday by two psychology professors, combs through about 40 studies that have examined the link between social media use and both depression and anxiety among adolescents. That link, according to the professors, is small and inconsistent.

“There doesn’t seem to be an evidence base that would explain the level of panic and consternation around these issues,” said Candice L. Odgers, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the lead author of the paper, which was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

The debate over the harm we — and especially our children — are doing to ourselves by staring into phones is generally predicated on the assumption that the machines we carry in our pockets pose a significant risk to our mental health.

Worries about smartphones have led Congress to pass legislation to examine the impact of heavy smartphone use and pushed investors to pressure big tech companies to change the way they approach young customers.

The World Health Organization said last year that infants under a year old should not be exposed to electronic screens and that children between the ages of 2 and 4 should not have more than an hour of “sedentary screen time” each day.

Even in Silicon Valley, technology executives have made a point of keeping the devices and the software they develop away from their own children.

But some researchers question whether those fears are justified. They are not arguing that intensive use of phones does not matter. Children who are on their phones too much can miss out on other valuable activities, like exercise. And research has shown that excessive phone use can exacerbate the problems of certain vulnerable groups, like children with mental health issues.

They are, however, challenging the widespread belief that screens are responsible for broad societal problems like the rising rates of anxiety and sleep deprivation among teenagers. In most cases, they say, the phone is just a mirror that reveals the problems a child would have even without the phone.

The researchers worry that the focus on keeping children away from screens is making it hard to have more productive conversations about topics like how to make phones more useful for low-income people, who tend to use them more, or how to protect the privacy of teenagers who share their lives online.

“Many of the people who are terrifying kids about screens, they have hit a vein of attention from society and they are going to ride that. But that is super bad for society,” said Andrew Przybylski, the director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, who has published several studies on the topic.

The new article by Ms. Odgers and Michaeline R. Jensen of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro comes just a few weeks after the publication of an analysis by Amy Orben, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, and shortly before the planned publication of similar work from Jeff Hancock, the founder of the Stanford Social Media Lab. Both reached similar conclusions.

“The current dominant discourse around phones and well-being is a lot of hype and a lot of fear,” Mr. Hancock said. “But if you compare the effects of your phone to eating properly or sleeping or smoking, it’s not even close.”

Mr. Hancock’s analysis of about 226 studies on the well-being of phone users concluded that “when you look at all these different kinds of well-being, the net effect size is essentially zero.”

The debate about screen time and mental health goes back to the early days of the iPhone. In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics published a widely cited paper that warned doctors about “Facebook depression.”

But by 2016, as more research came out, the academy revised that statement, deleting any mention of Facebook depression and emphasizing the conflicting evidence and the potential positive benefits of using social media.

Megan Moreno, one of the lead authors of the revised statement, said the original statement had been a problem “because it created panic without a strong basis of evidence.”

Dr. Moreno, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin, said that in her own medical practice, she tends to be struck by the number of children with mental health problems who are helped by social media because of the resources and connections it provides.

Concern about the connection between smartphones and mental health has also been fed by high-profile works like a 2017 article in The Atlantic — and a related book — by the psychologist Jean Twenge, who argued that a recent rise in suicide and depression among teenagers was linked to the arrival of smartphones.

In her article, “Have Smartphones Ruined a Generation?,” Ms. Twenge attributed the sudden rise in reports of anxiety, depression and suicide from teens after 2012 to the spread of smartphones and social media.

Ms. Twenge’s critics argue that her work found a correlation between the appearance of smartphones and a real rise in reports of mental health issues, but that it did not establish that phones were the cause.

It could, researchers argue, just as easily be that the rise in depression led teenagers to excessive phone use at a time when there were many other potential explanations for depression and anxiety. What’s more, anxiety and suicide rates appear not to have risen in large parts of Europe, where phones have also become more prevalent.

“Why else might American kids be anxious other than telephones?” Mr. Hancock said. “How about climate change? How about income inequality? How about more student debt? There are so many big giant structural issues that have a huge impact on us but are invisible and that we aren’t looking at.”

Ms. Twenge remains committed to her position, and she points to several more recent studies by other academics who have found a specific link between social media use and poor mental health. One paper found that when a group of college students gave up social media for three weeks, their sense of loneliness and depression declined.

Ms. Odgers, Mr. Hancock and Mr. Przybylski said they had not taken any funding from the tech industry, and all have been outspoken critics of the industry on issues other than mental health, such as privacy and the companies’ lack of transparency.

Ms. Odgers added that she was not surprised that people had a hard time accepting her findings. Her own mother questioned her research after one of her grandsons stopped talking to her during the long drives she used to enjoy. But children tuning out their elders when they become teenagers is hardly a new trend, she said.

She also reminded her mother that their conversation was taking place during a video chat with Ms. Odgers’s son — the kind of intergenerational connection that was impossible before smartphones.

Ms. Odgers acknowledged that she was reluctant to give her two children more time on their iPads. But she recently tried playing the video game Fortnite with her son and found it an unexpectedly positive experience.

“It’s hard work because it’s not the environment we were raised in,” she said. “It can be a little scary at times. I have those moments, too.”

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Science Under Attack: How Trump Is Sidelining Researchers and Their Work

WASHINGTON — In just three years, the Trump administration has diminished the role of science in federal policymaking while halting or disrupting research projects nationwide, marking a transformation of the federal government whose effects, experts say, could reverberate for years.

Political appointees have shut down government studies, reduced the influence of scientists over regulatory decisions and in some cases pressured researchers not to speak publicly. The administration has particularly challenged scientific findings related to the environment and public health opposed by industries such as oil drilling and coal mining. It has also impeded research around human-caused climate change, which President Trump has dismissed despite a global scientific consensus.

But the erosion of science reaches well beyond the environment and climate: In San Francisco, a study of the effects of chemicals on pregnant women has stalled after federal funding abruptly ended. In Washington, D.C., a scientific committee that provided expertise in defending against invasive insects has been disbanded. In Kansas City, Mo., the hasty relocation of two agricultural agencies that fund crop science and study the economics of farming has led to an exodus of employees and delayed hundreds of millions of dollars in research.

“The disregard for expertise in the federal government is worse than it’s ever been,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, which has tracked more than 200 reports of Trump administration efforts to restrict or misuse science since 2017. “It’s pervasive.”

Hundreds of scientists, many of whom say they are dismayed at seeing their work undone, are departing.

Among them is Matthew Davis, a biologist whose research on the health risks of mercury to children underpinned the first rules cutting mercury emissions from coal power plants. But last year, with a new baby of his own, he was asked to help support a rollback of those same rules. “I am now part of defending this darker, dirtier future,” he said.

This year, after a decade at the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Davis left.

“Regulations come and go, but the thinning out of scientific capacity in the government will take a long time to get back,” said Joel Clement, a former top climate-policy expert at the Interior Department who quit in 2017 after being reassigned to a job collecting oil and gas royalties. He is now at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group.

Mr. Trump has consistently said that government regulations have stifled businesses and thwarted some of the administration’s core goals, such as increasing fossil-fuel production. Many of the starkest confrontations with federal scientists have involved issues like environmental oversight and energy extraction — areas where industry groups have argued that regulators have gone too far in the past.

“Businesses are finally being freed of Washington’s overreach, and the American economy is flourishing as a result,” a White House statement said last year. Asked about the role of science in policymaking, officials from the White House declined to comment on the record.

The administration’s efforts to cut certain research projects also reflect a longstanding conservative position that some scientific work can be performed cost-effectively by the private sector, and taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to foot the bill. “Eliminating wasteful spending, some of which has nothing to do with studying the science at all, is smart management, not an attack on science,” two analysts at the conservative Heritage Foundation wrote in 2017 of the administration’s proposals to eliminate various climate change and clean energy programs.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 00CLI-SCIENCE-dorian-articleLarge Science Under Attack: How Trump Is Sidelining Researchers and Their Work United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Science and Technology Research Regulation and Deregulation of Industry national institutes of health National Academies of the United States Justice Department Interior Department Greenhouse Gas Emissions Government Employees Global Warming Food and Drug Administration Environmental Protection Agency environment Commerce Department

The president’s desk.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Industry groups have expressed support for some of the moves, including a contentious E.P.A. proposal to put new constraints on the use of scientific studies in the name of transparency. The American Chemistry Council, a chemical trade group, praised the proposal by saying, “The goal of providing more transparency in government and using the best available science in the regulatory process should be ideals we all embrace.”

In some cases, the administration’s efforts to roll back government science have been thwarted. Each year, Mr. Trump has proposed sweeping budget cuts at a variety of federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. But Congress has the final say over budget levels and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have rejected the cuts.

For instance, in supporting funding for the Department of Energy’s national laboratories, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, recently said, “it allows us to take advantage of the United States’ secret weapon, our extraordinary capacity for basic research.”

As a result, many science programs continue to thrive, including space exploration at NASA and medical research at the National Institutes of Health, where the budget has increased more than 12 percent since Mr. Trump took office and where researchers continue to make advances in areas like molecular biology and genetics.

Nevertheless, in other areas, the administration has managed to chip away at federal science.

At the E.P.A., for instance, staffing has fallen to its lowest levels in at least a decade. More than two-thirds of respondents to a survey of federal scientists across 16 agencies said that hiring freezes and departures made it harder to conduct scientific work. And in June, the White House ordered agencies to cut by one-third the number of federal advisory boards that provide technical advice.

The White House said it aimed to eliminate committees that were no longer necessary. Panels cut so far had focused on issues including invasive species and electric grid innovation.

At a time when the United States is pulling back from world leadership in other areas like human rights or diplomatic accords, experts warn that the retreat from science is no less significant. Many of the achievements of the past century that helped make the United States an envied global power, including gains in life expectancy, lowered air pollution and increased farm productivity are the result of the kinds of government research now under pressure.

“When we decapitate the government’s ability to use science in a professional way, that increases the risk that we start making bad decisions, that we start missing new public health risks,” said Wendy E. Wagner, a professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin who studies the use of science by policymakers.

Skirmishes over the use of science in making policy occur in all administrations: Industries routinely push back against health studies that could justify stricter pollution rules, for example. And scientists often gripe about inadequate budgets for their work. But many experts say that current efforts to challenge research findings go well beyond what has been done previously.

In an article published in the journal Science last year, Ms. Wagner wrote that some of the Trump administration’s moves, like a policy to restrict certain academics from the E.P.A.’s Science Advisory Board or the proposal to limit the types of research that can be considered by environmental regulators, “mark a sharp departure with the past.” Rather than isolated battles between political officials and career experts, she said, these moves are an attempt to legally constrain how federal agencies use science in the first place.

Some clashes with scientists have sparked public backlash, as when Trump officials pressured the nation’s weather forecasting agency to support the president’s erroneous assertion this year that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama.

But others have garnered little notice despite their significance.

This year, for instance, the National Park Service’s principle climate change scientist, Patrick Gonzalez, received a “cease and desist” letter from supervisors after testifying to Congress about the risks that global warming posed to national parks.

“I saw it as attempted intimidation,” said Dr. Gonzalez, who added that he was speaking in his capacity as an associate adjunct professor at the University California, Berkeley, a position he also holds. “It’s interference with science and hinders our work.”

Even though Congress hasn’t gone along with Mr. Trump’s proposals for budget cuts at scientific agencies, the administration has still found ways to advance its goals.

One strategy: eliminate individual research projects not explicitly protected by Congress.

For example, just months after Mr. Trump’s election, the Commerce Department disbanded a 15-person scientific committee that had explored how to make National Climate Assessments, the congressionally mandated studies of the risks of climate change, more useful to local officials. It also closed its Office of the Chief Economist, which for decades had conducted wide-ranging research on topics like the economic effects of natural disasters. Similarly, the Interior Department has withdrawn funding for its Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, 22 regional research centers that tackled issues like habitat loss and wildfire management. While California and Alaska used state money to keep their centers open, 16 of 22 remain in limbo.

A Commerce Department official said the climate committee it discontinued had not produced a report, and highlighted other efforts to promote science, such as a major upgrade of the nation’s weather models.

An Interior Department official said the agency’s decisions “are solely based on the facts and grounded in the law,” and that the agency would continue to pursue other partnerships to advance conservation science.

Research that potentially posed an obstacle to Mr. Trump’s promise to expand fossil-fuel production was halted, too. In 2017, Interior officials canceled a $1 million study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the health risks of “mountaintop removal” coal mining in places like West Virginia.

Mountaintop removal is as dramatic as it sounds — a hillside is blasted with explosives and the remains are excavated — but the health consequences still aren’t fully understood. The process can kick up coal dust and send heavy metals into waterways, and a number of studies have suggested links to health problems like kidney disease and birth defects.

“The industry was pushing back on these studies,” said Joseph Pizarchik, an Obama-era mining regulator who commissioned the now-defunct study. “We didn’t know what the answer would be,” he said, “but we needed to know: Was the government permitting coal mining that was poisoning people, or not?”

While coal mining has declined in recent years, satellite data shows that at least 60 square miles in Appalachia have been newly mined since 2016. “The study is still as important today as it was five years ago,” Mr. Pizarchik said.

The cuts can add up to significant research setbacks.

For years, the E.P.A. and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences had jointly funded 13 children’s health centers nationwide that studied, among other things, the effects of pollution on children’s development. This year, the E.P.A. ended its funding.

At the University of California, San Francisco, one such center has been studying how industrial chemicals such as flame retardants in furniture could affect placenta and fetal development. Key aspects of the research have now stopped.

“The longer we go without funding, the harder it is to start that research back up,” said Tracey Woodruff, who directs the center.

In a statement, the E.P.A. said it anticipated future opportunities to fund children’s health research.

At the Department of Agriculture, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced in June he would relocate two key research agencies to Kansas City from Washington: The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a scientific agency that funds university research on topics like how to breed cattle and corn that can better tolerate drought conditions, and the Economic Research Service, whose economists produce studies for policymakers on farming trends, trade and rural America.

Nearly 600 employees had less than four months to decide whether to uproot and move. Most couldn’t or wouldn’t, and two-thirds of those facing transfer left their jobs.

In August, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, appeared to celebrate the departures.

“It’s nearly impossible to fire a federal worker,” he said in videotaped remarks at a Republican Party gala in South Carolina. “But by simply saying to people, ‘You know what, we’re going to take you outside the bubble, outside the Beltway, outside this liberal haven of Washington, D.C., and move you out in the real part of the country,’ and they quit. What a wonderful way to sort of streamline government and do what we haven’t been able to do for a long time.”

The White House declined to comment on Mr. Mulvaney’s speech.

The exodus has led to upheaval.

At the Economic Research Service, dozens of planned studies into topics like dairy industry consolidation and pesticide use have been delayed or disrupted. “You can name any topic in agriculture and we’ve lost an expert,” said Laura Dodson, an economist and acting vice president of the union representing agency employees.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture manages $1.7 billion in grants that fund research on issues like food safety or techniques that help farmers improve their productivity. The staff loss, employees say, has held up hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, such as planned research into pests and diseases afflicting grapes, sweet potatoes and fruit trees.

Former employees say they remain skeptical that the agencies could be repaired quickly. “It will take 5 to 10 years to rebuild,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, who until 2018 directed the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Mr. Perdue said the moves would save money and put the offices closer to farmers. “We did not undertake these relocations lightly,” he said in a statement. A Department of Agriculture official added that both agencies were pushing to continue their work, but acknowledged that some grants could be delayed by months.

In addition to shutting down some programs, there have been notable instances where the administration has challenged established scientific research. Early on, as it started rolling back regulations on industry, administration officials began questioning research findings underpinning those regulations.

In 2017, aides to Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator at the time, told the agency’s economists to redo an analysis of wetlands protections that had been used to help defend an Obama-era clean-water rule. Instead of concluding that the protections would provide more than $500 million in economic benefits, they were told to list the benefits as unquantifiable, according to Elizabeth Southerland, who retired in 2017 from a 30-year career at the E.P.A., finishing as a senior official in its water office.

“It’s not unusual for a new administration to come in and change policy direction,” Dr. Southerland said. “But typically you would look for new studies and carefully redo the analysis. Instead they were sending a message that all the economists, scientists, career staff in the agency were irrelevant.”

Internal documents show that political officials at the E.P.A. have overruled the agency’s career experts on several occasions, including in a move to regulate asbestos more lightly, in a decision not to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos and in a determination that parts of Wisconsin were in compliance with smog standards. The Interior Department sidelined its own legal and environmental analyses in advancing a proposal to raise the Shasta Dam in California.

Michael Abboud, an E.P.A. spokesman, disputed Dr. Southerland’s account in an emailed response, saying “It is not true.”

The E.P.A. is now finalizing a narrower version of the Obama-era water rule, which in its earlier form had prompted outrage from thousands of farmers and ranchers across the country who saw it as overly restrictive.

“E.P.A. under President Trump has worked to put forward the strongest regulations to protect human health and the environment,” Mr. Abboud said, noting that several Obama administration rules had been held up in court and needed revision. “As required by law E.P.A. has always and will continue to use the best available science when developing rules, regardless of the claims of a few federal employees.”

Past administrations have, to varying degrees, disregarded scientific findings that conflicted with their priorities. In 2011, President Obama’s top health official overruled experts at the Food and Drug Administration who had concluded that over-the-counter emergency contraceptives were safe for minors.

But in the Trump administration, the scope is wider. Many top government positions, including at the E.P.A. and the Interior Department, are now occupied by former lobbyists connected to the industries that those agencies oversee.

Scientists and health experts have singled out two moves they find particularly concerning. Since 2017, the E.P.A. has moved to restrict certain academics from sitting on its Science Advisory Board, which provides scrutiny of agency science, and has instead increased the number of appointees connected with industry.

And, in a potentially far-reaching move, the E.P.A. has proposed a rule to limit regulators from using scientific research unless the underlying raw data can be made public. Industry groups like the Chamber of Commerce have argued that some agency rules are based on science that can’t be fully scrutinized by outsiders. But dozens of scientific organizations have warned that the proposal in its current form could prevent the E.P.A. from considering a vast array of research on issues like the dangers of air pollution if, for instance, they are based on confidential health data.

“The problem is that rather than allowing agency scientists to use their judgment and weigh the best available evidence, this could put political constraints on how science enters the decision-making process in the first place,” said Ms. Wagner, the University of Texas law professor.

The E.P.A. says its proposed rule is intended to make the science that underpins potentially costly regulations more transparent. “By requiring transparency,” said Mr. Abboud, the agency spokesman, “scientists will be required to publish hypothesis and experimental data for other scientists to review and discuss, requiring the science to withstand skepticism and peer review.”

“In the past, when we had an administration that was not very pro-environment, we could still just lay low and do our work,” said Betsy Smith, a climate scientist with more than 20 years of experience at the E.P.A. who in 2017 saw her long-running study of the effects of climate change on major ports get canceled.

“Now we feel like the E.P.A. is being run by the fossil fuel industry,” she said. “It feels like a wholesale attack.”

After her project was killed, Dr. Smith resigned.

The loss of experienced scientists can erase years or decades of “institutional memory,” said Robert J. Kavlock, a toxicologist who retired in October 2017 after working at the E.P.A. for 40 years, most recently as acting assistant administrator for the agency’s Office of Research and Development.

His former office, which researches topics like air pollution and chemical testing, has lost 250 scientists and technical staff members since Mr. Trump came to office, while hiring 124. Those who have remained in the office of roughly 1,500 people continue to do their work, Dr. Kavlock said, but are not going out of their way to promote findings on lightning-rod topics like climate change.

“You can see that they’re trying not to ruffle any feathers,” Dr. Kavlock said.

The same can’t be said of Patrick Gonzalez, the National Park Service’s principle climate change scientist, whose work involves helping national parks protect against damages from rising temperatures.

In February, Dr. Gonzalez testified before Congress about the risks of global warming, saying he was speaking in his capacity as an associate adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also using his Berkeley affiliation to participate as a co-author on a coming report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that synthesizes climate science for world leaders.

But in March, shortly after testifying, Dr. Gonzalez’s supervisor at the National Park Service sent the cease-and-desist letter warning him that his Berkeley affiliation was not separate from his government work and that his actions were violating agency policy. Dr. Gonzalez said he viewed the letter as an attempt to deter him from speaking out.

The Interior Department, asked to comment, said the letter did not indicate an intent to sanction Dr. Gonzalez and that he was free to speak as a private citizen.

Dr. Gonzalez, with the support of Berkeley, continues to warn about the dangers of climate change and work with the United Nations climate change panel using his vacation time, and he spoke again to Congress in June. “I’d like to provide a positive example for other scientists,” he said.

Still, he noted that not everyone may be in a position to be similarly outspoken. “How many others are not speaking up?” Dr. Gonzalez said.

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A Few Cities Have Cornered Innovation Jobs. Can That Be Changed?

There are about a dozen industries at the frontier of innovation. They include software and pharmaceuticals, semiconductors and data processing. Most of their workers have science or tech degrees. They invest heavily in research and development. While they account for only 3 percent of all jobs, they account for 6 percent of the country’s economic output.

And if you don’t live in one of a handful of urban areas along the coasts, you are unlikely to get a job in one of them.

Boston, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco and Silicon Valley captured nine out of 10 jobs created in these industries from 2005 to 2017, according to a report released on Monday. By 2017, these five metropolitan regions had accumulated almost a quarter of these jobs, up from under 18 percent a dozen years earlier. On the other end, about half of America’s 382 metro areas — including big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia — lost such jobs.

And the concentration of prosperity does not appear to be slowing down.

America’s deepening inequality has become a cause for alarm. The picture of a country cloven between a small set of prosperous urban “haves” and a large collection of “have-nots” has come sharply into focus as an opioid epidemic has overtaken vast swaths of the country. It gained the attention of the political class in 2016, when voters across the industrial heartland embraced Donald J. Trump’s populist message.

The search for ideas that could improve the economic conditions of deprived areas, long derided by economists as a fool’s errand — why spend money on improving the lot of places rather than people, many experts argued — is now at the top of policymakers’ lists.

The report is by Mark Muro and Jacob Whiton from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, and Rob Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a research group that gets funding from tech and telecom companies. They identified 13 “innovation industries” — which include aerospace, communications equipment production and chemical manufacturing — where at least 45 percent of the work force has degrees in science, tech, engineering or math, and where investments in research and development amount to at least $20,000 per worker.

The authors argue that a broad federal push is needed to spread the business of invention beyond the 20 cities that dominate it. “Hoping for economic convergence to reassert itself would not be a good strategy,” Mr. Muro said.

Westlake Legal Group innovation_maps-335 A Few Cities Have Cornered Innovation Jobs. Can That Be Changed? Urban Areas Research Productivity Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution Labor and Jobs Innovation Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Income Inequality

Metro areas that have

gained innovation jobs . . .

Gained the most

In thousands

Raleigh, N.C.

San Francisco

Madison, Wis.

Silicon Valley

Salt Lake City

Charleston, S.C.

. . . and those that

have lost them.

Lost the most

In thousands

Wichita, Kan.

Oxnard, Calif.

Los Angeles

Albuquerque

Colorado Springs

Durham, N.C.

Philadelphia

Washington

Westlake Legal Group innovation_maps-600 A Few Cities Have Cornered Innovation Jobs. Can That Be Changed? Urban Areas Research Productivity Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution Labor and Jobs Innovation Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Income Inequality

Metro areas that have gained

innovation jobs . . .

Gained the most

In thousands

Lost the most

In thousands

Wichita, Kan.

Oxnard, Calif.

San Francisco

Raleigh, N.C.

Los Angeles

Albuquerque

Madison, Wis.

Colorado Springs

Silicon Valley

Durham, N.C.

Philadelphia

Salt Lake City

Washington

Charleston, S.C.

. . . and those that

have lost them.

Westlake Legal Group innovation_maps-1050 A Few Cities Have Cornered Innovation Jobs. Can That Be Changed? Urban Areas Research Productivity Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution Labor and Jobs Innovation Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Income Inequality

Metro areas that have gained

innovation jobs . . .

. . . and those that

have lost them.

In thousands

Gained the most

Lost the most

In thousands

Wichita, Kan.

Oxnard, Calif.

San Francisco

Raleigh, N.C.

Los Angeles

Albuquerque

Madison, Wis.

Colorado Springs

Silicon Valley

Durham, N.C.

Philadelphia

Salt Lake City

Washington

Charleston, S.C.

Data are the change in jobs from 2005 to 2017 in 13 industries including scientific research and development services, Aerospace product and parts manufacturing and Software publishers.

Source: Brookings Institution analysis of Emsi data

By Karl Russell

Expanding the knowledge economy across all of America might indeed be a fool’s errand. As Mr. Atkinson noted, Erie, Pa., and Flint, Mich., might never attract the Googles or Apples of the world. But midsize cities like St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, could feasibly transform into hubs of technological entrepreneurship.

The report’s authors propose identifying eight to 10 cities, far from the coasts, that already have a research university and a critical mass of people with advanced degrees. The government would then spend about $700 million a year for research and development in each of them for a decade. Lawmakers could give high-tech businesses that set up shop in these cities tax and regulatory breaks. Mr. Atkinson suggested a limited break from antitrust law to allow businesses to coordinate location decisions.

Battling the forces driving concentration will be tough. Unlike the manufacturing industries of the 20th century, which competed largely on cost, the tech businesses compete on having the next best thing. Cheap labor, which can help attract manufacturers to depressed areas, doesn’t work as an incentive. Instead, innovation industries cluster in cities where there are lots of highly educated workers, sophisticated suppliers and research institutions.

Unlike businesses in, say, retail or health care, innovation businesses experience a sharp rise in the productivity of their workers if they are in places with lots of other such workers, according to research by Enrico Moretti, who is an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and others.

Other industries and workers are also better off if they have the good fortune of being near leading-edge companies. The report points out that the average output per worker in the 20 cities with the most employment in the 13 high-tech industries is $109,443, one-third more than in the other 363 metros across the country.

The cycle is hard to break: Young educated workers will flock to cities with large knowledge industries because that’s where they will find the best opportunities to earn and learn and have fun. And start-ups will go there to seek them out.

Even skyrocketing housing costs have not stopped the concentration of talent in a few superstar cities. High-tech companies that seek cheaper places to set up beyond their hubs often go to Bangalore, India, rather than Birmingham, Ala.

“They keep the core team in Silicon Valley or Seattle but put the other stuff in Shenzhen or Vancouver or Bangalore,” Mr. Atkinson said. Shenzhen, China, may not be much cheaper than Indianapolis, he added, but Shenzhen is already a tech hub in its own right.

Westlake Legal Group innovation-productivity-335 A Few Cities Have Cornered Innovation Jobs. Can That Be Changed? Urban Areas Research Productivity Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution Labor and Jobs Innovation Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Income Inequality

Annual output

per worker

Health care

Basic manufacturing

Innovation industries

Innovation jobs in the most

concentrated metro areas

are the most productive.

For metro areas in the bottom 75%

of employment in each sector.

Westlake Legal Group innovation-productivity-600 A Few Cities Have Cornered Innovation Jobs. Can That Be Changed? Urban Areas Research Productivity Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution Labor and Jobs Innovation Information Technology and Innovation Foundation Income Inequality

Annual output per worker

Innovation

industries

Basic

manufacturing

Health care

Innovation jobs in the most

concentrated metro areas

are the most productive.

For metro areas in the bottom 75% of employment in each sector.

Source: Brookings Institution and Information Technology and Innovation Foundation analysis of Emsi data

By Karl Russell

It is uncertain whether government support could pull innovation out of the clutches of superstar cities. The proposal by Brookings and the Information Technology Foundation will not come cheap: They estimate a $100 billion price tag over 10 years.

The payoff, however, would extend beyond the new technology hubs. Jon Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, noted that in a world where Cincinnati becomes a hub of entrepreneurship, “we don’t need to fix opioid country” in Appalachia. That’s because many of those areas are within commuting distance of Cincinnati.

What’s more, not trying also entails risks. In his book “Jump-Starting America,” Mr. Gruber and his co-writer, M.I.T.’s Simon Johnson, argue for a sustained national effort to seed new technology clusters widely. Without federal government support, Mr. Gruber said, the United States is unlikely to produce many new high-tech hubs.

The risk, he said, is not only that much of America will be left to founder as superstar cities become more congested and less affordable. Political support for publicly funded research will crumble unless more of the country enjoys the benefits from innovation.

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