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The Irony, Really

An investigation by The Chronicle of Higher Education has found that Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, helped former Emory University researcher Charles Nemeroff get a job at the University of Miami after Emory dropped him for not disclosing decades of corporate payments. Insel's involvement took place as he was leading the NIH effort to revise and tighten its rules concerning financial conflicts of interest, the Chronicle's Paul Basken adds. Insel even encouraged Nemeroff to apply for new NIH grants, after Emory had agreed to restrict him from NIH availability for two years. To make matters worse, Basken says, "The NIH also allowed Dr. Nemeroff uninterrupted eligibility to serve on NIH advisory panels that help decide who receives NIH grant money." Nemeroff was found to have given speeches or written articles praising drugs made by companies that had paid him, Basken says, rewards which he didn't tell Emory anything about. After he left Emory, a US Senate investigation found Nemeroff was paid $2.8 million by several different drug companies between 2000 and 2007, and failed to disclose at least $1.2 million, Basken adds. When others at NIH expressed concern about Nemeroff's ability to serve on NIH advisory panels, Insel apparently went to bat for him, providing informal recommendations, the Chronicle says.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.