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NIH Record  
Vol. LXI, No. 2
January 23, 2009
NIMH Lecturer Ariely Looks at Difficult Decision-Making
Varmus Calls for Doubling Global Health Spending
Management Intern Program 2009 Recruits Applicants
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Attacks Never Cease
Computer Security Is a Constant Challenge at NIH
  Daniel Sands, chief information security officer for NIH
  Daniel Sands, chief information security officer for NIH

The NIH computer network is like a human immune system, constantly struggling to ward off dangerous new and re-emerging pathogens. These days, you don’t even have to leave your desktop to come under siege. That’s what keeps Daniel Sands, a former NCI nurse who has risen over the years to become NIH’s chief information security officer, awake at night. “We’re under constant attack—they’re knocking at the door every single moment,” he said. “It’s massive and it never lets up.”

Sands and his security colleagues are a little like the soldiers defending the Alamo: outnumbered, outgunned but manning the fort nonetheless. That effort was rewarded last year when 200-plus members of the NIH-wide security team were honored with the NIH Director’s Award. No one would begrudge these defenders the honor if they knew the stakes.

The ‘Dogtor’ Is In
STEP Forum Touts Benefits of Pets

Do companion animals affect human health? A recent Staff Training in Extramural Programs (STEP) forum gathered in Natcher Bldg. to explore “Understanding the Human-Animal Bond: What Has Your Pet Done for You Lately?”

Pets have been an integral part of western culture over the last 10,000 years, said the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. James Serpell in an overview. As of 2005, almost two-thirds of U.S. households had a pet. While the largest pet population is fish, followed by cats, the highest number of pet-owning households goes to the dogs.

Serpell noted that social support systems, which protect us against cardiovascular disease, depression and other illnesses, have become increasingly fragmented over the last 40 years. Our pets cost us billions annually but they offer social support.