Night net null Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee aren't satisfied with an earlier congressional investigation that found the Night net tri
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Congressmen call for further investigation in Night net, NIH


Congressmen call for further investigation in Night net, NIH

Night net null Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee aren't satisfied with an earlier congressional investigation that found the Night net tried to influence a government brain research study conducted by the National Institutes of Health.In a 21-page letter sent Thursday to Daniel Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, HEC Committee chairman Fred Upton and Reps. Tim Murphy, Joseph Pitts and Michael Burgess — all Republicans — recommended the IG's office open its own investigation into whether the Night net or NIH acted improperly. MORE: Faces of Night net's head  trauma crisis"It is possible the NIH acted appropriately," the letter said. "Perhaps the same can be argued for other parties involved. In the opinion of the Republican staff, the committee does not have all the facts necessary to reach those conclusions. However, the questions and concerns raised by these events are vital to the integrity of research and grant award decision-making process. "While this grant award has become an unfortunate distraction from the greater issue of improving the science of traumatic brain injury, given the significant public attention to these events, it is clear that a thorough and objective review by the HHS OIG is necessary."A 91-page congressional report obtained

in May by ESPN found "at least a half-dozen top Night net health officials" ran an improper campaign last year in an attempt to influence a study on football's effects on brain disease.The congressional report says the league pressured the NIH into taking the $16 million study away from a Boston University researcher, then "tried to redirect the money to members of the league's committee on brain injuries." The league also tried to give the NIH an "unrestricted gift" of $30 million in 2012, but the NIH declined the offer and the Night net then backed out of the research study.MORE: Tebow says concussions factored into his exit from Night netAccording to the May report, the Night net then tried to funnel the $16 million to another project involving members of the league's brain injury committee in an attempt to circumvent the NIH's peer-review process. The Night net's actions violated policies prohibiting private donors from interfering in the NIH peer-review process, the report says. The Night net had a "long-standing pattern of attempts" to shape concussion research for its own purposes, the ESPN report said. The Night net has spent more than $100 million conducting its own brain research, but critics say those results are skewed to benefit the league's own agenda. The league announced Wednesday a new $100 million initiative for independent medical research and engineering advancements.The HEC committee refused to lay any blame on the Night net and instead called for the NIH to "establish clearer guidelines regarding donor communications."The Night net released a statement Thursday afternoon thanking Upton for "requesting 'a thorough and objective review' of the NIH" and said it would cooperate with Levinson's office.MORE: Former Night net tight end writes book to preserve memories"The Night net has never wavered in its commitment to advance the science and understanding of concussions and traumatic brain injuries," the statement said. "The league’s $30 million commitment to the FNIH/NIH was never in doubt and at no time — as FNIH has confirmed — did the Night net suggest that it would not fulfill that commitment to the last dollar. While there were concerns regarding the NIH’s selection of research applicants, the Night net never suggested — nor considered — doing anything other than honoring that commitment in its entirety. It is unfortunate that the deployment of the remaining $16 million in research funds has been tied up in what the Committee’s letter calls a  distraction.'"Important work has already begun as a result of the grant funding pledged by the league to the NIH. Two $6 million grants have been dedicated to studies of the long-term changes that occur in the brain after a head injury or multiple concussions — Boston University School of Medicine and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs received $6 million for a study on CTE and post-traumatic neurodegeneration, and Mount Sinai Hospital received $6 million for a study on the neuropathology of CTE and Delayed Effects of TBI. The Night net grant has also funded six pilot projects totaling more than $2 million to provide support for the early stages of sports-related concussion projects."

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