Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

NLM released several exciting enhancements that improve users’ ability to share and consume MedlinePlus content:

NLM released several exciting enhancements that improve users’ ability to share and consume MedlinePlus content:

MedlinePlus Health Topic RSS Feeds

RSSMedlinePlus

MedlinePlus now offers a new way to stay up to date with the health issues that matter most to you. Starting today, you can subscribe to an RSS feed for any of the nearly 900 health topics on MedlinePlus and get our newest links delivered straight to your desktop or device.

Visit our RSS feeds page to see a complete list of topics, or click the orange RSS icon at the top of any health topic page to subscribe using your preferred RSS reader.

RSS feeds are now available for every health topic page on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español. This means that MedlinePlus now offers nearly 1,800 feeds for English and Spanish combined that are customizable to your specific interests. Whenever we add a new link to a MedlinePlus topic page, the item appears as a new entry on the corresponding health topic RSS feed. You can subscribe to the health topic RSS feeds using the RSS reader/aggregator of your choice. Links to the feeds are available on all health topic pages, the MedlinePlus RSS Feedspage, and via your browser’s RSS auto-detect feature.

In addition to the new health topic feeds, MedlinePlus now offers two new English RSS feeds allowing you to subscribe to all new links added to MedlinePlus and all new NIH links added to MedlinePlus. These new feeds are available on the RSS Feeds page under the heading “General Interest RSS Feeds.” For Spanish-language users, there is a new RSS feed that contains all new links added to MedlinePlus en español. This new feed is available from the Spanish RSS Feeds page.

NLM also unveiled enhancements to the print, email, and AddThis share icons on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español health topic pages. These icons are now located above the topic summary, and the Facebook and Twitter sharing options are more prominent, making it easier for you to share content in these very popular social networks.

Examples of the new RSS feeds and the improved sharing features can be seen on the health topic pages listed below:

·         Food Allergy (English): http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/foodallergy.html

·         Alergia a las comidas (Spanish): http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/spanish/foodallergy.html
If you have any questions about these enhancements, please use the “Contact Us” link that appears at the top of every MedlinePlus page.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Looking at Healthcare through Payer Lens

Looking at Healthcare through Payer Lens (so far Part I and Part II) gives great insight on how the healthcare industry can successfully work with with individuals and other stakeholders to deliver health insurance coverage.
These items (and realated others) may be found at Chilmark Research:Providing perspective on key IT trends in the healthcare sector

Part I outlines quick current summaries (snapshots) of Accountable Care Organizations, Consumer/Member Engagement, and Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX)

Part II outlines the necessary steps of establishing trust, engagement, and collaboration

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

The Need To Do “Something” & How to Be Happy

From the 1 May 2011 Medical News Today article 

People don’t really care what they’re doing – just as long as they are doing something. That’s one of the findings summarized in a new review article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
[Link is to abstract and full text (by paid subscription
For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here]

When psychologists think about why people do what they do, they tend to look for specific goals, attitudes, and motivations. But they may be missing something more general – people like to be doing something. These broader goals, to be active or inactive, may have a big impact on how they spend their time.

Author Dolores Albarracin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign says she started paying attention to people’s different levels of activity in various countries and saw how much busier people are in the US relative to other areas. “People have this inclination to do more, even if what they do is trivial,” she says. In recent years, she has been doing research on how people feel about activity, including how easily she could change the level of activity that people aimed for. In one set of experiments, for example, she found that getting people to think about physical activity made them more interested in political activity. Albarracin co-wrote the review article with Justin Hepler and Melanie Tannenbaum, also of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Experiments have shown that the desire for activity is quite strong; people will go to a lot of trouble to maintain their desired level of activity, which can include unhealthy behaviors. Many psychologists have “the idea that people have these highly specific goals,” Albarracin says. “But quite often some significant proportion of our time is engaged in this global level – we want to do something, but what we do ends up not mattering much. You could end up with productive behavior, like work, or impulsive behavior, like drug use.”

How to be happy: Tips for cultivating contentment
Are you tired of waiting around for happiness to find you? Stop waiting and start getting happy with these tips.
By Mayo Clinic staff

Do you know how to be happy? Or are you waiting for happiness to find you? Despite what the fairy tales depict, happiness doesn’t appear by magic. It’s not even something that happens to you. It’s something you can cultivate. So, what are you waiting for? Start discovering how to be happy.
How to be happy: What science tells us
Only 10 percent or so of the variation in people’s reports of happiness can be explained by differences in their circumstances. The bulk of what determines happiness is your personality and — more modifiable — your thoughts and behaviors. So, yes, you can learn how to be happy — or at least happier.

Although you may have thought, as many people do, that happiness comes from being born rich or beautiful or living a stress-free life, the reality is that those things don’t confer lasting happiness. Indeed, how to be happy can’t be boiled down to one thing. Happiness is the sum of your life choices. People who are happy seem to intuitively know this, and their lives are built on the following pillars:

  • Devoting time to family and friends
  • Appreciating what they have
  • Maintaining an optimistic outlook
  • Feeling a sense of purpose
  • Living in the moment

How to be happy: Practice, practice, practice
The good news is that your choices, thoughts and actions can influence your level of happiness. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, but you can turn up your happiness level. Here’s how to get started on the path to creating a happier you.
Invest in relationships
Surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.

Friends and family help you celebrate life’s successes and support you in difficult times. Although it’s easy to take friends and family for granted, these relationships need nurturing. Build up your emotional account with kind words and actions. Be careful and gracious with critique. Let people know that you appreciate what they do for you or even just that you’re glad they’re part of your life.
Express gratitude
Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It’s a sense of wonder, appreciation and, yes, thankfulness for life. It’s easy to go through life without recognizing your good fortune. Often, it takes a serious illness or other tragic event to jolt people into appreciating the good things in their lives. Don’t wait for something like that to happen to you.

Make a commitment to practice gratitude. Each day identify at least one thing that enriches your life. When you find yourself thinking an ungrateful thought, try substituting a grateful one. For example, replace “my sister forgot my birthday” with “my sister has always been there for me in tough times.” Let gratitude be the last thought before you go off to sleep. Let gratitude also be your first thought when you wake up in the morning.
Cultivate optimism
Develop the habit of seeing the positive side of things. You needn’t become a Pollyanna — after all, bad things do happen, and it would be silly to pretend otherwise. But you don’t have to let the negatives color your whole outlook on life. Remember that what is right about you almost always trumps what is wrong about you.

If you’re not an optimistic person by nature, it may take time for you to change your pessimistic thinking. Start by recognizing negative thoughts as you have them. Then take a step back and ask yourself these key questions:

  • Is the situation really as bad as I think?
  • Is there another way to look at the situation?
  • What can I learn from this experience that I can use in the future?

Find your purpose
People who strive to meet a goal or fulfill a mission — whether it’s growing a garden, caring for children or finding one’s spirituality — are happier than those who don’t have such aspirations. Having a goal provides a sense of purpose, bolsters self-esteem and brings people together. What your goal is doesn’t matter as much as whether the process of working toward it is meaningful to you. Try to align your daily activities with the long-term meaning and purpose of your life. Research studies suggest that relationships provide the strongest meaning and purpose to your life. So cultivate meaningful relationships.

Are you engaged in something you love? If not, ask yourself these questions to discover how you can find your purpose:

  • What excites and energizes me?
  • What are my proudest achievements?
  • How do I want others to remember me?

Live in the moment
Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful. That day may never come. Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life. Focus on the positives in the present moment. Don’t spend your time rehashing the past or worrying about the future. Take time to stop and smell the flowers.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , | 1 Comment

EPA Improves Access to Information on Hundreds of Chemicals

 


From the 15 June 2011 EPA Press Release

Searchable databases on chemical toxicity and exposure data now available

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making it easier to find data about chemicals. EPA is releasing two databases – the Toxicity Forecaster database (ToxCastDB) and a database of chemical exposure studies (ExpoCastDB) – that scientists and the public can use to access chemical toxicity and exposure data. Improved access supports EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities of protecting Americans’ health by assuring the safety of chemicals and expanding the conversation on environmentalism.

“Chemical safety is a major priority of EPA and its research,” said Dr. Paul Anastas, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “These databases provide the public access to chemical information, data and results that we can use to make better-informed and timelier decisions about chemicals to better protect people’s health.”

ToxCastDB users can search and download data from over 500 rapid chemical tests conducted on more than 300 environmental chemicals. ToxCast uses advanced scientific tools to predict the potential toxicity of chemicals and to provide a cost-effective approach to prioritizing which chemicals of the thousands in use require further testing. ToxCast is currently screening 700 additional chemicals, and the data will be available in 2012.

ExpoCastDB consolidates human exposure data from studies that have collected chemical measurements from homes and child care centers. Data include the amounts of chemicals found in food, drinking water, air, dust, indoor surfaces and urine. ExpoCastDB users can obtain summary statistics of exposure data and download datasets. EPA will continue to add internal and external chemical exposure data and advanced user interface features to ExpoCastDB.

The new databases link together two important pieces of chemical research – exposure and toxicity data – both of which are required when considering potential risks posed by chemicals. The databases are connected through EPA’s Aggregated Computational Toxicology Resource (ACToR), an online data warehouse that collects data on over 500,000 chemicals from over 500 public sources.

Users can now access 30 years worth of animal chemical toxicity studies that were previously only found in paper documents, data from rapid chemical testing, and various chemical exposure measurements through one online resource. The ability to link and compare these different types of data better informs EPA’s decisions about chemical safety.

More information about the databases:
ToxCastDB: http://actor.epa.gov/actor/faces/ToxCastDB/Home.jsp
ExpoCastDB: http://actor.epa.gov/actor/faces/ExpoCastDB/Home.jsp
ACToR: http://actor.epa.gov 

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K-12 Science and Health Education (Also, good ideas to keep kids busy this summer!)

K-12 Science and Health Education
Working with teachers and scientific experts to provide FREE reliable resources to help introduce, reinforce, and supplement education programs.

Two US Government Agencies (NLM-National Library of Medicine and HHS – Health and Human Services) have joined forces
to provide links in the areas of biology,  environmental health science/chemistry, general health, and forensics and medical terminology, and More!

Here is a sampling of Web sites especially geared to K-12 students…

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , | Leave a comment

Journal of Visualized Experiments

JoVE is

The Journal of Visualized Experiments is a peer reviewed, PubMed indexed journal devoted to the publication of biological, medical, chemical and physical research in a video format.

The editors believe that videos of techniques and procedures will greatly aid scientists in learning and keeping abreast of new advancements in scientific methods. They will be able to focus their time and thought more on other experimental aspects and thus speed up the process from hypothesis generating to publication.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing Knowledge: The Evolution of Research (A Unique Public Debate Site)

Growing Knowledge: The Evolution of Research (British Library)

[From the About Page] “Showcasing some never-seen-before research tools, thought-provoking content and futuristic design in as fully interactive research environment, Growing Knowledge aims to challenge our audiences on how research is changing and ask what they want to experience from the library of the future.”

All are welcome to be part of the conversations and  ongoing discussions through surveys, blogs, and Twitter.
Scholars, information science specialists, and other commentators are part of the conversations, a unique feature among online science discussions open to all.

Current Projects are library, scientist, and information science based, as the British Library Search Catalog,  Nature Network, and the Journal of Visualized Experiments.

 

 

“This website has engaging and thoughtful conversations about what research will be like in the coming years and decades, and that’s what won us over at the Scout Report. The conversations with scholars, information science specialists, and other commentators distinguish this site from others. Visitors are encouraged to chime in via the Twitter feed here and they can also follow posts by “Researcher in Residence” Aleks Krotoski. Also, don’t miss the “Explore the Projects” area where people can have management research updates sent right to their desktop.
How will research change and evolve in the 21st century? It’s a broad question, and the British Library has created this website to offer insight into the world of innovative research tools. First-time visitors will want to watch the video on the homepage that features commentary by various scholars and professionals on “The Modern Library”, “Information Overload”, and “Digital Research”. All of the offerings on the website complement an existing in situ exhibit that includes multimedia research stations and a “collaborative zone”. In the “Start Researching” area of the site, visitors can look at standout examples of recent collaborative digital projects that push the contemporary boundaries of research. Further along, visitors shouldn’t miss the “Tools” area which brings together high-quality online tools that can make the research process much easier and streamlined. Finally, the site is rounded out by a range of social media tools that users can use to stay on top of the latest posts and materials added to this site.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness

National Prevention Strategy: America’s Plan for Better Health and Wellness

From the press release:

The National Prevention Strategy includes actions that public and private partners can take to help Americans stay healthy and fit and improve our nation’s prosperity. The strategy outlines four strategic directions that, together, are fundamental to improving the nation’s health.  Those four strategic directions are:

  • Building Healthy and Safe Community Environments:  Prevention of disease starts in our communities and at home; not just in the doctor’s office.
  • Expanding Quality Preventive Services in Both Clinical and Community Settings: When people receive preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, they have better health and lower health care costs.
  • Empowering People to Make Healthy Choices:  When people have access to actionable and easy-to-understand information and resources, they are empowered to make healthier choices.
  • Eliminating Health Disparities: By eliminating disparities in achieving and maintaining health, we can help improve quality of life for all Americans.

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Informed Caring: A Resource for Health Care Professionals Which May Be Used By All

Informed Caring HomeInformed Caring Medical Accessories And Keyboard

Informed Caring is a portal to information resources for health professionals, created and maintained by the State of Wisconsin AHEC (Area Health Education Center) System.
It is designed for those working outside of hospitals where access to needed health care information may be problematic.
However, much of the information is freely available to all.Some materials are restricted to Wisconsin residents or University of Wisconsin residents. In these cases, check with your local public or academic library to see if the resource is available to you.

Most of the resources are selected for the health care professional in mind.

A listing of resources by topic may be found here and includes the following areas:

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

City Living and Stress

Greater Tokyo Area, the world's most populous ...

Ginza Area at dusk. View from Tokyo Tower.This image was created by Chris ***

From the 23 June 2011 Medical News Today article

Brain activity and biology behind mood disorders or urbanites

Being born and raised in a major urban area is associated with greater lifetime risk for anxiety and mood disorders. Until now, the biology for these associations had not been described. A new international study, which involved Douglas Mental Health University Institute researcher Jens Pruessner, is the first to show that two distinct brain regions that regulate emotion and stress are affected by city living. These findings, published in Nature may lead to strategies that improve the quality of life for city dwellers.

The above link only contains the abstract to a subscription based article.
Click here for suggestions on how to get the article for free or at low cost.

***http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ginza_area_at_dusk_from_Tokyo_Tower.jpg

June 23, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | 1 Comment

   

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