ScienceScope

Science  04 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5710, pp. 655
  1. Florida Rejects Chiropractic Program

    1. Yudhijit Bhattacharjee

    Florida's Board of Governors has killed a proposal to set up a chiropractic school at Florida State University (FSU). The board's 10-3 vote last week against the proposal, developed by FSU after the state legislature endorsed a $9-million-a-year spending plan, caps months of protests by faculty members who viewed the school as a threat to the university's scientific reputation (Science, 14 January, p. 194).

    “There's no way that the program can now be resurrected,” says FSU Provost Lawrence Abele. “I'm glad we don't have to drag the faculty through a long and protracted discussion” over the scientific merits of chiropractics, he says. Before voting, board members said they expected that a new private college near Daytona Beach would produce more chiropractors than Florida needs.

    The board's decision comes as a “big relief,” says Raymond Bellamy, director for surgery at FSU's Tallahassee campus, who helped organize faculty opposition. Besides hurting FSU's standing as a research university, he says, the proposed school “would have been a horrible waste of taxpayer money.”

  2. Europe, U.S. Differ on Mercury

    1. Erik Stokstad

    The European Commission is proposing an international initiative to phase out mercury production and prevent surpluses from flooding the world market. The new strategy, released this week, would permanently shutter a major mine in Spain and ban all exports by the European Union, the world's largest supplier of mercury, starting in 2011. The proposal will be discussed later this month at a meeting of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya.

    In contrast, the United States is mulling the idea of countries forming voluntary partnerships to assess the problem of mercury. But environmentalists say that approach won't reduce either demand or supply.

  3. Italy Pulls Out of Global Fund

    1. Marta Paterlini

    Italy has decided to withhold a promised contribution of $130 million this year to the Global Fund, a partnership of private and public agencies devoted to fighting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The cut is part of a $325 million reduction in government assistance to nonprofits this year due to a tight economic climate. Mariangela Bavicchi, a spokesperson for the fund, calls the decision an example of “regrettable behavior at the international level.”

  4. NIH Bans Industry Consulting

    1. Jocelyn Kaiser

    Responding to an uproar last year over industry consulting by staff, the National Institutes of Health this week announced a ban on all such interactions by NIH intramural scientists. Many staffers will also have to sell their stock in biotech and drug companies.

    NIH took a hard look at its consulting policies, which were loosened in 1995, after a December 2003 report in the Los Angeles Times suggested improprieties and Congress investigated. Last year, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni proposed new limits, including a 1-year ban on all consulting. This week he followed through by releasing an interim regulation that will implement the ban until further notice. The policy does not restrict NIH employees from receiving some payments for teaching, writing, or editing.

    Meanwhile, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services is investigating the conduct of Trey Sunderland, an Alzheimer's disease researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health. Sunderland is said to have received more than $500,000 from Pfizer since 1999 without first asking for approval or reporting the income.

    Sunderland has accepted a job at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City but has not left NIH yet. His lawyer, Robert Muse of Washington, D.C., declined to comment, but he has told NIH that its “indifference” was why Sutherland failed to file the necessary paperwork.

  5. Call for Global Biodiversity Agency

    1. Martin Enserink

    PARIS—Researchers from around the world have endorsed a call by French President Jacques Chirac for a new international organization for biodiversity research—akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—that would sift through the science and identify priorities for nations. An IPCC-like agency could provide the field with a stronger, unified voice, says Michael Loreau of Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, who chaired the scientific committee of a UNESCO meeting held here last week.

    The 1500 scientists and politicians attending the meeting had little to celebrate. The loss of species continues apace, and a 2002 goal of achieving a “significant reduction” in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010 appears doomed. Besides more science, “we also need action—now,” says Loreau.