November 21, 2013


Letter from Dr. Stephen I. Katz:  Looking Back on a Challenging Year

 Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear Colleagues:

Last August, I wrote about the effects of sequestration on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the NIAMS, but much has happened since then. So, in this month's letter, I'd like to discuss the government shutdown that occurred in October and how it affected the NIH, and emphasize the NIAMS' ongoing commitment to funding the best research possible in our mission areas in this challenging budget climate.

Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D. 
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 
National Institutes of Health

Read more.

Image: Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D.


NIAMS Continues To Seek Comments on Long-Range Plan (Fiscal Years 2015–2019)

The NIAMS is updating its Long-Range Plan to help guide the research it supports over the next five years. Gathering public input on the topics included in the plan and suggestions regarding how to enhance the NIAMS research portfolio is a critical initial step in this effort. NIAMS leadership and staff will review and consider the comments. The deadline to submit comments is January 15, 2014.

NIAMS To Host Upcoming Twitter Chat on PROMIS®

Please join the NIAMS (@NIH_NIAMS) for our first Twitter Chat on December 10, 2013, from 3-4 p.m. ET. Using the hashtag #PROMISchat, we will discuss the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), an initiative supported by the NIAMS and other NIH Institutes through the NIH Common Fund. PROMIS® experts will be on hand to answer your questions. PROMIS® is a system of highly reliable, precise measures of patient-reported health statuses for physical, mental and social well-being. PROMIS® tools can accurately measure what patients are able to do and how they feel when asking questions.

Multicultural Banner

Coming in December: New NIAMS 2014 Health Planners

The NIAMS is creating a series of multicultural health planners for 2014, titled A Year of Health: A Guide to a Healthy 2014 for You and Your Family. These planners, tailored for four multicultural communities (African Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinos), provide research-based health tips and information about staying healthy and managing conditions of the bones, joints, muscles and skin. In addition, the NIAMS created an electronic toolkit with resources to help you and your organization reach out to multicultural communities and distribute the planners effectively. To order A Year of Health planners free of charge, please contact the NIAMS Information Clearinghouse toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966) or email

Common Laundry Detergent Ingredient May Help Preserve Muscle Tissue After Severe Injury

A compound commonly found in household laundry detergents may help preserve muscle tissue after a severe injury, according to research conducted in rats and funded in part by the NIAMS. The findings, although preliminary, could have implications for saving limbs and preventing tissue death even after blood flow has been disrupted. The study recently was published in PLOS ONE

Women’s Health Initiative Reaffirms Use of Short-Term Hormone Replacement Therapy for Younger Women: Latest Results Provide New Details on Risks and Benefits of Therapy Across Age Groups and Time

Investigators from the Women’s Health Initiative Hormone Trials are reaffirming conclusions that hormone therapy is not recommended for the prevention of chronic disease, but may remain a reasonable option for the short-term management of menopausal symptoms for younger women. Investigators reached this conclusion after reviewing data from the trial and the extended post-trial follow-up period.

Gene Variants Found Associated With Human Immune System, Autoimmune Disease: NIH Researchers Work With International Colleagues To Identify Genes

Numerous studies have reported that certain diseases are inherited. But genetics also plays a role in immune response, affecting our ability to stave off disease, according to a team of international researchers. The new findings, from the SardiNIA Study of Aging, supported in part by the NIH's National Institute on Aging (NIA), are published in the September 26, 2013 issue of Cell.

Doctors at work

NIH Announces 15 Clinical and Translational Science Awards To Help Translate Scientific Discoveries to Improved Health: Support Expands the Consortium’s Reach to New Hampshire

Translating basic discoveries into new treatments that tangibly improve human health requires innovative collaborations and resources, as well as a diverse, highly trained workforce. To help meet these needs, the NIH announced more than $79 million in fiscal year 2013 funding to support 15 Institutional Clinical and Translational Science Awards.

Ankle Interface Device.

NIH Funds Development of Novel Robots To Assist People With Disabilities, Aid Doctors

Three projects have been awarded NIH funding to develop innovative robots that work cooperatively with people and adapt to changing environments to improve human capabilities and enhance medical procedures. Funding for these projects totals approximately $2.4 million over the next five years, subject to the availability of funds.

Image courtesy of Steven Collins, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University

NIH Announces 2013 High-Risk, High-Reward Research Awards: NIH Commits to 78 Awards To Support Exceptional Innovation in Biomedical Research

Seventy-eight grants are being awarded to scientists proposing highly innovative approaches to major contemporary challenges in biomedical research, under the High-Risk, High-Reward program supported by the NIH Common Fund.

Other Federal News

FDA Awards 15 Grants To Stimulate Drug, Device Development for Rare Diseases

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has awarded 15 grants totaling more than $14 million to boost the development of products for patients with rare diseases. The Orphan Drug Act was passed in 1983 to stimulate the development of products to treat rare diseases and conditions. For drugs, a disease or condition is considered rare if it affects less than 200,000 people in the United States. For medical devices, a disease or condition is considered rare when it occurs so infrequently in the United States that there is no reasonable expectation that a medical device for such disease or condition will be developed without assistance. There are about 6,800 rare diseases and conditions, according to the NIH. In total, nearly 30 million Americans suffer from at least one rare disease.

Doctor using a Palm Pilot

FDA Proposes Health “App” Guidelines

The FDA has proposed guidelines that outline the small number of mobile apps the agency plans to oversee—medical apps that could present a risk to patients if the apps don't work as intended. The proposed guidelineshave been posted on the Federal Register website. Additional information can be found on the FDA’s Mobile Medical Applications web page.

CDC Reports Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation for 2010-2012

Arthritis is the most common cause of disability among U.S. adults and is particularly common among persons with multiple chronic conditions. In 2003, arthritis in the United States resulted in an estimated $128 billion in medical care costs and lost earnings. To update previous U.S. estimates of the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation (AAAL), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed 2010–2012 data from the National Health Interview Survey. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which found that 52.5 million (22.7 percent) of adults aged 18 years or older had self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, and 22.7 million (9.8 percent or 43.2 percent of those with arthritis) reported AAAL, matching and exceeding previous projected increases, respectively.


Seniors being active

NIH Senior Health Website Celebrates 10th Anniversary, the NIH health and wellness website for older adults, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The site features a Bones and Jointssection, which contains topics such as Falls and Older AdultsGoutKnee ReplacementRheumatoid ArthritisOsteoarthritis; and Osteoporosis.

NIH Research Matters

NIH Research Matters is a review of NIH research from the Office of Communications and Public Liaison, Office of the Director, NIH.

Women walking on beach

More Guidance for Hormone Replacement Therapy 

Hormone therapy may be a reasonable option for younger women to manage menopausal symptoms for a limited period of time, according to a new analysis. However, the therapy isn’t recommended for chronic disease prevention.

NIH News in Health

Read practical health information in NIH News in Health, which is reviewed by the NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by the NIH’s own scientists or by its grantees at universities and medical schools around the country.


FDA Public Meeting on Fibromyalgia Patient-Focused Drug Development

December 10, 2013
1–5 p.m.
FDA White Oak Campus
The Great Room (Room 1503A), Building 31
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20903

FDA Public Workshop: Complex Issues in Developing Drug and Biological Products for Rare Diseases
January 6–7, 2014
8 a.m.–5 p.m., both days
FDA White Oak Campus
The Great Room (Room 1503A), Building 31
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20903

Registration: To attend this workshop, you must register by submitting a written request to before 5 p.m. EST on December 20, 2013.

NIH Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series

The NIH’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series offers weekly lectures every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Masur Auditorium, Building 10, NIH Campus. Renowned scientists from around the globe present research on a variety of topics. The lectures are Continuing Medical Education-certified, open to the public and available live via webcast.

Upcoming Lecture:

December 18, 2013
Clyde Yancy, M.D., Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine 
“Patient-Centered Outcomes Research: New Directions, Major Challenges, Transformative Potential”

NIH Science Lectures and Events Available via Internet

The NIH hosts a number of science seminars and events that are available online through real-time streaming video. You can watch an event at your convenience as an on-demand video or a downloadable podcast. Most events are available to all; a few are broadcast for the NIH or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and are marked as such. See additional details on events.

The NIAMS Exhibit

NIAMS Exhibit Schedule

The NIAMS exhibit is traveling to several events. See the schedule of health fairs and exhibits.

Image: The NIAMS Exhibit


NIAMS Announcements

Analysis of Genome-Wide Gene-Environment (G x E) Interactions (R21)
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: January 14, 2014
Application Receipt Date: February 14, 2014

Other Funding Announcements

Center for Evaluation and Coordination of Training and Research (CECTR) in Tobacco Regulatory Science (U54)
Application Receipt Date: December 10, 2013

NIH Domestic Awards to Transition to Payment Management System Subaccounts in FY 2014 and FY 2015

NIH Reminds Applicants to Use Updated Electronic Application Forms (FORMS-C) for Due Dates on or after September 25, 2013

Notice of Correction to NOT-OD-13-118 “Request for Information: Draft Office of Disease Prevention Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2014–2018”

Expiration of PAR-11-136 “Limited Competition: National Primate Research Centers (P51)”

Notice of Extension of the Response Date for NOT-OD-13-076 “Request for Information (RFI): Inviting Comments and Suggestions on the Health and Health Research Needs, Specific Health Issues and Concerns for LGBTI Populations”

NIH Operates Under a Continuing Resolution

Amendment to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Contract Solicitation (PHS 2014-1) 

Extramural Activities To Resume After the 2013 Government Shutdown
The NIH announced that most review meetings originally scheduled during October 2013 will be quickly re-scheduled to enable applications to be considered at January Councils. An October 22 Guide notice has additional details.

Additional Clarification on Resumption of NIH Extramural Activities Following the Recent Lapse in Appropriations

Notice to Change Application Due Date for RFA-FD-13-001 Following the Recent Lapse in Appropriations

Notice of Change in Due Date for RFA-TW-13-001 “Limited Competition: International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (U19)”

Application Due Date Adjustments Based On Scheduled Downtime December 6-9, 2013

If you would like to review information about funding opportunities more frequently than our monthly updates allow, see the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide.
Last Reviewed: 11/21/2013