NIAMS Update October 2008

NIAMS - National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Update - An online resource for the NIAMS Coalition, Council, and Colleague
October 7, 2008
The NIAMS Update is a monthly digest published for those interested in the latest scientific news and resources on diseases of the bones, muscles, joints, and skin. We encourage further dissemination of this resource.

Melanie M. Martinez, M.P.A. Public Liaison Officer

Trish Reynolds, R.N., M.S. Media Liaison

Janet S. Austin, Ph.D. Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison

From the Director
Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D. Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.

As Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), I am delighted to present the newly designed and graphically enhanced NIAMS Update. The NIAMS Update brings you the latest information and research advances regarding diseases of bones, muscles, joints, and skin. It is our goal that by redesigning the NIAMS Update we can provide you with a more engaging, user-friendly resource that will include news from across the Federal Government. We hope that you will find this a valuable resource in your own efforts to educate our various communities. We look forward to continuing to work with you to improve the quality of life of the many Americans affected by chronic, costly, and often disabling diseases.

Elias A. Zerhouni to End Tenure as Director of NIH
Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health, announced his plans to step down at the end of October 2008 to pursue writing projects and explore other professional opportunities.
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Request for Comments on the NIAMS Long-Range Plan for FY 2010–2014
NIAMS is developing a new Long-Range Plan for fiscal years 2010–2014 to provide a broad outline of scientific opportunities and needs, and to guide the Institute's priority-setting process. To assist in this effort, this Request for Comments (RFC) seeks input from members of the scientific community, professional societies, patient advocacy organizations, the broader patient community, and other members of the public with an interest in diseases or conditions within the NIAMS mission. We encourage your participation in this effort as we continue to strive to improve the quality of life for individuals affected by chronic, costly, and often disabling diseases of bones, muscles, joints, and skin.
View the current NIAMS Long-Range Plan for FY 2006–2009.
Deadline: Comments should be submitted on or before November 7, 2008.
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NIH Extends Its Commitment to Transformative Research with $138 Million for Director's Pioneer and New Innovator Awards in 2008
NIH announced that it has increased its support of high-impact research with the 2008 NIH Director's Pioneer and New Innovator Awards to 47 scientists, many of whom are in the early stages of their careers. The grants, estimated to be up to $138 million over 5 years, enable recipients to pursue exceptionally innovative approaches that could transform biomedical and behavioral science.
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NIH Announces New Transformative R01 Funding Program
NIH intends to invest more than $250 million over the next 5 years to foster bold and creative investigator-initiated research through a new transformative R01 (T-R01) program. Although R01 grants support the bulk of mainstream NIH investigator-initiated efforts, the structure and review of R01 proposals can discourage submission of the most bold, creative, and risky research proposals. In response to these challenges, NIH has created the T-R01 program.
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The NIH Reform Act of 2006: Progress, Challenges, and Next Steps: Statement of Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
NIH has fully implemented the Reform Act. In some cases, such as with the Research, Condition, and Disease Categorization (RCDC) system and the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB), it will be several more years before we know the full impact of implementation. But in most areas addressed by the Act, we have already seen the benefits. Trans-NIH research, in particular, is already producing research awards and results that will lift all medical research, regardless of the nature of disease or disability being studied. The Act has helped to facilitate greater collaboration across all Institutes and Centers while giving NIH new tools to be more strategic and adaptive. Consequently, the integration and convergence of life sciences research will occur at faster rates, as will discoveries, and we will further diminish the burden of disease here and around the globe.
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NIH Nominates Scientific Management Review Board Members
NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., has nominated individuals to serve as members of the Scientific Management Review Board (SMRB). The SMRB will examine organizational structure and balance of NIH and will provide recommendations for enhancing the Agency’s mission through greater Agency flexibility and responsiveness.
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Wilder Named OPASI Division Director: Dr. Elizabeth L. Wilder Appointed Director of OPASI’s Division of Strategic Coordination
Elizabeth L. Wilder, Ph.D., has been appointed director of the Division of Strategic Coordination in the Office of Portfolio Analysis and Strategic Initiatives (OPASI). Dr. Wilder served as division director in an acting capacity for the last year and a half and officially assumed the post in August.
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NIH Supports Research Careers by Repaying Student Loan Debt: Programs Help Increase the Pipeline of Scientists Addressing the Diseases and Disorders Affecting the Nation
NIH is now accepting applications for its extramural Loan Repayment Programs, and is letting applicants know through it awareness-raising campaign slogan: “You do the research. NIH will repay your student loans.”
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NIH Awards First EUREKA Grants for Exceptionally Innovative Research
NIH has awarded $42.2 million to fund 38 exceptionally innovative research projects that could have an extraordinarily significant impact on many areas of science. The grants, the first issued through a new program called EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration), help investigators test novel, often unconventional hypotheses or tackle major methodological or technical challenges.
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NIH Funds Nine Centers to Speed Application of Powerful New Research Approach: Roadmap Network Will Produce Chemical Probes to Explore New Targets for Therapies
NIH announced the funding of a network of nine centers across the country that will use high-tech screening methods to identify small molecules for use as probes to investigate the diverse functions of cells. The network—funded at approximately $70 million annually over the 4-year production phase—is designed to increase the pace of development and use of chemical (small molecule) probes, which have become invaluable tools for exploring biologic processes and for developing new therapies for disease.
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NIH Public Bulletin
Read about the latest public events, activities, and health information resources from NIH in the current issue of the NIH Public Bulletin.
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NIH Public Bulletin: Fibromyalgia and Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Research shows that about 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia use some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has developed a fact sheet for consumers, CAM and Fibromyalgia: At a Glance, which provides basic information on fibromyalgia and “what the science says” about the effectiveness of CAM practices used by people with fibromyalgia.

The September 2008 "Shorttakes" has been posted to the NIAMS Web site.
Published three times a year, “Shorttakes” is a compilation of news from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Scan the “shorttakes” for information on what’s happening at NIAMS.
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Other Federal News
AHRQ: Hospitalizations Soar for Children with Skin Infections
Children age 4 and younger were hospitalized with skin infections more than 34,000 times in 2006, a 150-percent increase from 2000, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The data are included in a new AHRQ analysis of hospitalization trends among children age 17 and younger. It shows skin infections ranked as the 8th most common reason for child hospitalizations in 2006, up from 17th in 2000. The legs, face, and buttocks were the most common sites for infections among hospitalized children in 2006. Reasons for the rise in hospitalizations are unclear but may be linked in part to increasing resistance to antibiotics.
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AHRQ: Growth Hormone Builds Muscle in Athletes, but May Not Help Sports Performance
The use of human growth hormone (HGH) by athletes as a performance enhancer has grown in recent years, despite the fact it is illegal in the United States. The hormone, approved to treat children and adults who suffer from growth hormone deficiency, increases lean body mass and reduces fat mass. However, serious side effects (diabetes, hepatitis, and acute renal failure) have been observed in athletes taking high-dose growth hormone. Although HGH builds muscle in athletes, it does not seem to enhance sports performance, a new study reveals.
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AHRQ: Men with Certain Risk Factors for Osteoporosis Should be Screened for the Condition
Although osteoporosis (low bone mass density, BMD) is considered primarily a problem for older women, a 60-year-old white man has a 25-percent lifetime risk of suffering a bone fracture due to osteoporosis. The condition, which is typically without symptoms, is substantially underdiagnosed and undertreated among men in the United States. However, a new study reveals certain risk factors for osteoporosis among asymptomatic men that can be used to identify those who should be screened for the problem.
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AHRQ: Hospitalizations for Osteoarthritis Rising Sharply
Hospitalizations for osteoarthritis soared from about 322,000 in 1993 to 735,000 in 2006, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Osteoarthritis is a painful disease resulting from deteriorating cartilage and bones rubbing together.
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REMINDER: NIH Director’s Council of Public Representatives Meeting
Friday, October 31, 2008, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Building 31, C Wing, 6th Floor,
Conference Room 6C06, NIH Campus
Bethesda, MD
Agenda information will be available
2 weeks prior to the meeting.
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Six New Esenciales Publications Available
Six new Esenciales publications are now available from NIAMS. Esenciales is a series of easy-to-read fact sheets in Spanish that describe different diseases of the bones, muscles, joints, and skin along with their causes and treatment options. The fact sheets also provide information on current research. The new fact sheets, along with more Esenciales titles and other NIAMS Spanish-language materials, are available on the NIAMS Web site.

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Funding Announcements
NIH Roadmap Initiative Announcements

Roadmap Transformative R01 Program (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: December 29, 2008
Application Receipt Date: January 29, 2009
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Studies of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Human Microbiome Research (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: November 3, 2008
Application Receipt Date: December 3, 2008
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Other Research Announcements

Ancillary Studies in Immunomodulation Clinical Trials (R01)
Letters of Intent Receipt Date: 30 days prior to application receipt date
Application Receipt Date/Initial Due Date: November 9, 2008.  Applications will then be accepted monthly on the 9th of each month.
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