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Council gets its turn to comment on budget

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ROCKVILLE – Last week the County Council heard from the residents. Now it has its chance to craft a budget.

After County Executive Ike Leggett released his $5.4 billion proposed budget in March, the Council took comments from the community in a series of public hearings before it deliberates during the next month or so to craft a budget.

Unlike last year in Leggett’s proposed budget, this fiscal year’s does not contain any considerable tax increase, and Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) said a tax increase over the County charter limit is not on the table this year.

Many of the people who showed up last week to testify asked the County to fund their particular interests, whether they are Montgomery College or one of the County’s nonprofit partners such as Manna Food Center.

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NIH faces massive cuts under Trump budget

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BETHESDA -- Under President Trump’s recent budget proposal, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is set to receive a major cut to its annual budget.

The proposal reduces the $31.7 billion NIH budget by approximately 18 percent. It also calls for the reorganization and streamlining of the various institutes to reduce overhead costs and the elimination of the Fogarty International Center.

“It’s definitely a distressing proposal, these are devastating cuts and a blow to the country," said Jamie Raskin (D), who represents Maryland's 8th Congressional District, which includes NIH as well as other federal research agencies including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Science is an overall social project, and when you knock out the basic pillars, it devastates the entire enterprise,” he added.

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NIH studies alcoholism in young Native Americans

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BETHESDA – A study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found effective ways to reduce alcohol use among American Indian and rural youth.

Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, studied high school students in northeastern Oklahoma and found that two previously designed intervention programs showed a decline in alcohol use.

“This important study underscores our commitment to finding evidence-based solutions for alcohol problems in American Indian and other underserved populations,” said Dr. George F. Koob, Director of NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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Study strengthens link between diet and heart disease

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BETHESDA – The National Institutes of Heath, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and researchers at Tufts University have finally identified the number of Americans who die from heart illnesses linked to what they eat.

The joint study attributed about half of all deaths in the United States to heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.

Of all the 702,308 adult deaths attributed to heart disease, 45 percent were linked to diet.

“This study established the number of deaths among Americans that could be attributed to an unhealthy diet,” said Dr. David Goff, director of Cardiovascular Sciences at NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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NIH studies cancer in African Americans

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BETHESDA – The National Institutes of Health has launched a study to examine incidence rates among African-American cancer survivors.

“What we saw was that African-Americans were experiencing higher cancer incidents than any other racial/ethnic group,” said Dr. Joanne Elena, a program director overseeing the study at NIH’s National Cancer Institute.

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NIH begins trials on blanket vaccine for mosquito-borne diseases

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BETHESDA -- Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have begun human trials to test a vaccine that is designed to protect against mosquito-borne diseases.

“A single vaccine capable of protecting against the scourge of mosquito-borne diseases is a novel concept that, if proven successful, would be a monumental public health advance,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

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Educators, industry leaders and parents talk science

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SILVER SPRING – Montgomery County’s educators, industry leaders, and parents gathered Sunday to discuss expanding science engagement in and outside the public education system.

“People who are involved in their companies, we created an opportunity to meet one another, I think that was the prime motivator for most people who would be here today,” said County Council member Hans Riemer (D-At-Large) who was the organizer of the event.

The first ever Montgomery County STEM Summit took place at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Speakers included representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the Universities at Shady Grove, Montgomery County Public Libraries, and numerous locally-based science or tech industry businesses and non-profits.

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NIH study could lead to reversing dementia

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ST LOUIS, MO - A study funded by the National Institutes of Health has found a potential method that could prevent and reverse dementia.

The study examined tau proteins, a substance produced in brain cells, and determined that an altered form of DNA can be used to stop the production of the protein. When tau proteins production exceeds a certain level, it causes damage to brain cells that can cause dementia and Alzheimer’s.

“One of the things we found was, when we lowered the amounts of tau in the mouse study, we were able to prevent some of the problems that developed in the animal model,” said Dr. Timothy Miller, a Professor of Neurology at the Washington University of St. Louis.

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NIH finds adults suffer hearing loss

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BETHESDA -- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) have found that approximately a quarter of adults within a certain age range suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.

Results indicate that 24 percent of adults aged 20 to 69 experience hearing loss at high frequencies, in what the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communications Disorders (NIDCD) terms as a noise notch.

“Of the 24 percent of adults with an audiometric notch suggestive of noise-induced hearing loss, 6 percent had a notch in both ears, and 18 percent had a notch in only one ear,” said Howard Hoffman, a coauthor on the study and director of the NIDCD’s Epidemiology and Statistics Program.

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Study shows obese couples have lower fertility rates

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BETHESDA – A study at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that obese couples may take longer to achieve pregnancy.

“Obesity is a growing epidemic in United States and other countries. While it is common sense that it takes two to get pregnant, recent research has indicated that the male’s contribution has been overlooked,” Rajeshwari Sundaram, a senior investigator at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, wrote in an email.

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