The Association of Health Care Journalists offers a wide range of resources – many of which are available exclusively to members.
AHCJ publications include our newsletter, HealthBeat, as well as several guides to covering specific aspects of health and health care.
Members share ideas and ask questions of fellow members on the AHCJ electronic mailing list. Tip sheets are prepared for our conferences and workshops, often offering sources and information about covering specific stories.
Contest entries are from the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, recognizing the best health reporting in print, broadcast and online media. We have links to past winners and information culled from questionnaires submitted with the entries about how each story was researched and written.
We include links to some recent reports and studies of interest to our membership, as well as links to Web sites relevant to health care.
Members and other journalists write articles specifically for AHCJ about how they have reported a story, issues that our members are likely to cover and other important topics.
- AHCJ Articles
- Tip Sheets
- Health Data
- Covering Health blog
- Global Health Coverage
- AHCJ Reporting Guides
- AHCJ Publications
- Electronic Discussion List
- Contest Entries
- Latest Reports/Studies
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- Journalists Doubt Obama Administration’s Dedication to Transparency (pogoblog.typepad.com)
- Charles Ornstein: Six Questions About HealthCare.gov’s Future (guernicamag.com)
- There Once was a Responsible Journalist (find links at the bottom) (scottbest.wordpress.com)
- Donor Dilemma receives national recognition (andrewcconte.wordpress.com)
The link below was recovered from the Purdue Libraries website. This Best Medicine: Health Information from the Federal Government page is a great resource for investigative consumers and the health conscious.
- Centers for Disease Control, and Prevention
- ClinicalTrials.govGUIDES TO FINDING AND EVALUATING HEALTH INFORMATION ON THE WEB
- Good Resource Tools for Medical and Health Information (sciencepowerx.wordpress.com)
[Reblog] A field guide to The Diagnosis Difference (with a request from the the blogger, Ms. Fox for responses)
The Pew Research Center released a report today on people living with chronic conditions: The Diagnosis Difference.
Policy makers, patient advocates, entrepreneurs, investors, clinicians — all health care stakeholders — can use the data to map the current landscape. There are still barren patches, where people remain offline and cut off from the resources and tools. But there are lush valleys, too, where engagement and change is happening.
I see e-patients as the guides to those valleys since unless you are living with chronic conditions — or love someone who is — you don’t see that side of the internet. So here’s my request: provide your evidence. Show what you have learned.
First, a quick summary of the report:
1. 45% of U.S. adults have a chronic condition (For some, that’s a revelation and there is still a considerable distance to go before that reality is widely known. For you, that’s not the news. That’s just proof that we have a sample that matches the CDC’s estimate and you can therefore trust the data.)
2. 72% of adults with chronic conditions have internet access, compared with 89% of U.S. adults who report no conditions. There are digital divide implications to this because having a chronic disease is an independent factor in predicting if someone has access — apart from things like age, income, and educational attainment.
4. Self-tracking is a massive activity, particularly for people living with 2 or more chronic conditions, and this group is more likely to use formal means, not just tracking in their heads as many “well” trackers do. For example, 41% of health trackers who report having one or more chronic conditions use pencil and paper and 14% of this group uses a medical device such as a glucometer.
5. Living with a chronic condition has an independent, significant effect on behaviors that are often described as signs of consumer health engagement, like reading up on drug safety, medical treatments, or delivery-of-care reviews. Internet users living with chronic conditions are more likely than others to read or watch someone else’s commentary or personal experience about health or medical issues online.
I want to stop a moment and give some examples of what that might look like.
- Someone living with cancer might follow Lisa Bonchek Adams’s blog, learning abouthow to prepare for having a port placed.
- Someone living with diabetes might check out Diabetes Mine to learn how other PWDs (people with diabetes) rank tech tools and quality of life measures.
- Someone living with a heart condition might read Carolyn Thomas’s blog to gain reassurance that their post-diagnosis PTSD is not in their head.
- Someone living with a lung condition might learn from Propeller Health about why they, in particular, should get a flu shot.
- Someone living with high blood pressure might search Inspire.com for insights on how to keep it under control.
And now we come to the category that personally means the most to me since I’ve spent time in rare disease communities: the 16% of U.S. adults who are living with “other conditions,” like rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, or fibromyalgia (to name a very few of thousands). They are hardly ever in the mainstream spotlight. They may have awareness days or weeks or months that their communities honor, but you won’t see the National Football League wearing their colors.
The internet is their spotlight. A blog, a hashtag, a YouTube channel, or a Facebook group can be their lifeline. Yes, they consult clinicians like everyone else, but those who are online know that the path to health — for them — is often found in the advice shared by someone like them or the person they are caring for. The feeding tip that will help their baby get the nutrients she needs to grow. The heating-pad tip that will ease their painsomnia.
As I wrote at the top, unless you are living with chronic conditions — or love someone who is — you don’t see that side of the internet. So let’s open up the landscape.
Please post in the comments what you have learned online from a fellow spoonie, from a fellow caregiver, from a fellow traveler along the path to health. What would you tell someone just diagnosed with your condition to do, especially in tapping into the resources available online? When someone asks you, maybe over Thanksgiving, about why you spend time online, what will you say?
Post it here [at Samantha Fox's blog] . Links to blogs, videos, tweets — all are welcome.
I was at a cocktail party, struggling to describe in just a few sentences what I do for a living, when my friend Paul Tarini broke in and said, “You’re an internet geologist. You study the rocks, you don’t judge them.” Exactly. I study patterns in the online landscape and provide data so people can make better decisions about the social impact of the internet.
My other favorite description of the kind of research I do is “nowist” (meaning: instead of being a futurist, understand what people are doing now and be alert to changes).
“Health care gadfly” describes my role outside the fray, as an observer, hopefully contributing to the public conversation in a useful way.
Ted Eytan coined the phrase “community colleague” for people who collaborate by default. That’s me. My work is enriched by the health geek tribe. I can’t imagine doing the work I do without the help of my community.
- How US adults with chronic health conditions share health information online? (gadgetrends.ro)
- Pew Report: Chronic Health Conditions Impact 45% Of American Adults, Contribute To 75% Of Health Care Costs (medicaldaily.com)
- The Diagnosis Difference: Those with Chronic Conditions Have Different Online Habits (drhiphop85.com)
- Increased frailty associated with childhood cancer survivorship (2minutemedicine.com)
- Chronic Conditions and Medical Complexity (rehabcare.com)
- What we see and what we cannot see. What we share and do not share. And why. (snideeffects.com)
- Ill workers ‘feared losing jobs’ (standard.co.uk)
Behavioral Health United States 2012
SAMHSA’s newly-released publication, Behavioral Health, United States, 2012, the latest in a series of publications issued by SAMHSA biannually since 1980, provides in-depth information regarding the current status of the mental health and substance abuse field. It includes behavioral health statistics at the national and State levels from 40 different data sources. The report includes three analytic chapters:
- Behavioral Health Disorders across the Life Span
- Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Impairment in Functioning
- Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Treatment Landscape
The volume also includes 172 tables, which are organized into four sections:
- Behavioral Health of the Population: the mental health status of the U.S. population and prevalence of mental illness;
- Behavioral Health Service Utilization: providers and settings for behavioral health services; types of behavioral health services provided; and rates of utilization;
- Behavioral Health Treatment Capacity: number of facilities providing mental health and substance abuse services; numbers of qualified specialty mental health and substance abuse providers; and
- Payer and Payment Mechanisms: expenditures and sources of funding for behavioral health services.
No other HHS publication provides this type of comprehensive information regarding behavioral health services delivery in the U.S. This publication is the only available comprehensive source of national-level statistical information on trends in both private and public sector behavioral health services, costs, and clients. Drawing on 40 different data sources, this publication also includes State-level data, and information on behavioral health treatment for special populations such as children, military personnel, nursing home residents, and incarcerated individuals.
- Two behavioral health nonprofits agree to repay $4.2 million (abqjournal.com)
- Mental health providers to pay NM for overbilling (kansascity.com)
- Innovation in behavioral health (whyy.org)
- A public health approach for mental health (jsonline.com)
- Judges and Psychiatrists Discuss Mental Health Treatment in the Judicial System (namisouthbay.com)
- Reports possible soon on some mental health fraud (miamiherald.com)
- NH schools awarded behavioral health grants (mysanantonio.com)
This page is geared towards health care providers, but it may be of interest to others.
FDA’s Bad Ad program is an outreach program designed to educate healthcare providers about the role they can play in helping the agency make sure that prescription drug advertising and promotion is truthful and not misleading.
The Bad Ad Program is administered by the agency’s Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The program’s goal is to help raise awareness among healthcare providers about misleading prescription drug promotion and provide them with an easy way to report this activity to the agency: e-mail BadAd@fda.gov or call 855-RX-BADAD.
Continuing Medical Education Video itself is free for anyone to view (http://www.sigmatech.com/BadAd/courses/index.htm)It covers what is legal/illegal for pharmaceutical companies and their representatives when advertising their products at different venues
Prescription drug advertising must:
- Be accurate
- Balance the risk and benefit information
- Be consistent with the prescribing information approved by FDA
- Only include information that is supported by strong evidence
What types of promotion does OPDP regulate?
- TV and radio advertisements
- All written or printed prescription drug promotional materials
- Speaker program presentations
- Sales representative presentations
OPDP does not regulate promotion of:
- Over-the-Counter Drugs
- Dietary Supplements
- Medical Devices
- Omitting or downplaying of risk
- Overstating the effectiveness
- Promoting Uses Not Addressed in Approved Labeling
- Misleading drug comparisons
Examples of Violations
Example of Omission of Risk
You attend a speaker program which features a slide show that presents efficacy information about Drug X, but no risk information.
This presentation would be misleading because it fails to include a fair balance of benefit and risk information for Drug X.
Example of Uses Not Addressed in Approved Labeling
You are in a commercial exhibit hall and a company representative tells you that a drug is effective for a use that is not in the FDA-approved product labeling.
This presentation would be illegal because it promotes an unapproved use.
Example of Overstating the Effectiveness
“Doctor Smith, Drug X delivers rapid results in as little as 3 days.”
This presentation is misleading because the majority of patients studied in the clinical trials for Drug X showed results at 12 weeks, with only very few showing results in 3 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I report anonymously?
Yes, anonymous complaints often alert FDA to potential problems. However, complaints accompanied by names and contact information are helpful in cases for which FDA needs to follow-up for more information.
2. Will OPDP be able to stop the misleading promotion?
In many cases, yes, especially if the appropriate evidence is provided. Evidence can include the actual promotional materials or documentation of oral statements made by company representatives.
3. What will happen to my complaint once I have contacted OPDP?
The information you provide will be sent to the Regulatory Review Officer in OPDP responsible for this class of drugs. The reviewer will evaluate it and determine if it may serve as the basis for a potential enforcement action or as valuable information for our ongoing surveillance activities.
4. How do I learn more?
To learn more about OPDP in-service training for large medical group/hospitals call 301-796-1200.
- FDA providing education on bad drug ads (medicationhealthnews.wordpress.com)
- FDA “Bad Ads” – Now for CME Credit… (cooleyhealthbeat.com)
Below is a map of illicit drug use by state, with the highest rates found in the West, Northeast, and Colorado. Vermont is the druggiest state, with 15.29% saying they have used illicit drugs in the past month compared to only 4.29% in Utah.
Marijuana use follows a similar pattern. Vermont takes the lead again with 13.12% using in the past month.
- More Americans are using marijuana (usatoday.com)
Listen to the voice of NPIC! Our new PestiBytes PODcasts feature NPIC specialists discussing common pesticide questions from people like you. PestiBytes are short (1-2 minute) interviews with NPIC pesticide specialists on each of the topics. Watch for more to come!
Available PestiByte PODcasts:
My yard is being sprayed; can my kids go out and play? Episode 22 – A specialist discusses ways to minimize exposure to children after lawn treatments. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:17 min., 1.4MB Don’t let pesticides make your bed bug problem worse! Episode 21 – A specialist discusses some do’s and dont’s about getting rid of bed bugs. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:26 min., 1.4MB Slug Baits with Iron Phosphate Episode 20 – A veterinarian gives pet owners some important information about slug & snail products containing iron phosphate. Download and Listen, View Transcript -2:11 min., 0.96MB Fasten the Lid. Protect Your Kids! Episode 19 – A specialist discusses how to store pesticides during and after use to keep kids from being exposed. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:26 min., 1.67MB The Crop Was Just Sprayed. Can I Work There Today? Episode 18 – A specialist provides information on reentering fields after pesticides have been applied. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:27 min., 1.69MB My Home is Being Sprayed. Should I Go or Stay? Episode 17 – A specialist discusses steps you can take to minimize your risk when your home is going to be treated with pesticides. Download and Listen,View Transcript - 2:05 min., 1.43MB Precautions for Using Spot-on Flea and Tick Products Episode 16 – A veterinarian gives pet owners some important pointers about using flea and tick spot-on treatments. Download and Listen, View Transcript -2:38 min., 4.95MB Can Bug Bombs Really Explode? Episode 15 – A specialist warns about the fire hazards of insecticide foggers and lists safety steps to take before setting off bug bombs. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:02 min., 3.73MB Don’t Distress Over Uninvited Guests (Roaches)! Episode 14 – A pesticide specialist discusses common problems with cockroaches in the home and simple ways to prevent infestations. Download and Listen,View Transcript - 2:06 min., 3.85MB Cover the Holes When Baiting for Moles (or Gophers)! Episode 13 – A specialist answers questions about the risks of gopher bait for dogs, and how to keep them from snacking on the bait. Download and Listen,View Transcript - 2:03 min., 3.85MB Pesticides and Food Containers Just Don’t Mix Episode 12 – A specialist points out the dangers of storing pesticides in any container other than the original container. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:06 min., 3.94MB Would I Hurt the Fish by Weeding and Feeding the Lawn? Episode 11 – A specialist explains ways to keep weed killers from harming fish.Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:50 min., 3.36MB Get Rid of the Mouse! With Kids In the House? Episode 10 – A specialist lists precautions to consider when thinking of using rat or mouse baits around pets and children. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:53 min., 3.45MB When to Plant After Using Weed Killer? Episode 9 – A specialist provides information about using weed killers to prepare a vegetable garden. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:44 min., 3.96MB With a Baby on the Way… Is It Okay to Spray? Episode 8 – A specialist discusses infant sensitivity to pesticides and lists some ideas for minimizing exposure. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:55 min., 4.41MB Could Snail Bait Hurt My Dog? Episode 7 – A specialist cautions dog owners about the risks of snail baits and provides ways to to protect their pets. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:56 min., 4.42MB Dirty Work Clothes: How Should I Wash Out Pesticides? Episode 6 – A specialist explains how to handle and launder clothes that are contaminated with pesticides. Download and Listen, View Transcript- 1:33 min., 3.57MB What Should I Do During Mosquito Spraying? Episode 5 – A specialist answers questions about why city health departments might spray for mosquitoes and ways people can avoid contact with the mosquito spray. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:39 min., 1.50MB Should Kids Use Bug Spray? Episode 4 – A specialist lists precautions a parent might take if they choose to use insect repellents on children.Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:07 min., 1.94MB A Mothball Mishap? Episode 3 – A specialist debunks mothball myths and describes how improper use of mothballs can lead to unpleasant or even unhealthy results. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:32 min., 1.41MB How Can I Wash Pesticides From Fruit and Veggies? Episode 2 – A specialist discusses how to best wash pesticide residues from produce, including potential risks of using household products to clean fruit and vegetables. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 1:41 min., 1.54MB About NPIC Episode 1 – Our director discusses how NPIC can assist people when making decisions about pesticides. Ways to contact NPIC are provided. Download and Listen, View Transcript - 2:07 min., 1.95MB
PestiBytes are brought to you by the National Pesticide Information Center, a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency and produced by OSU’s Environmental Health Sciences Center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 1-800-858-7378 (7:30am-3:30pm PST), or email at email@example.com.
Similar podcasts by the US NIH agency explore how environmental exposures affect our health. Each episode highlights ways researchers work in partnership with community groups to understand and address environmental health issues.
- High pesticide levels found on common fruits. (telegraph.co.uk)
- Pesticide Abuse: Protecting crops to harm humans (ecoagriculturist.wordpress.com)
- Pesticide Program Update: EPA Proposes Registration of Nanosilver Pesticide Product (commercialappraiser.typepad.com)
- Toxic UK: pesticide levels in our food are rising (acefoodnews.com)
- Why Are There Pesticides in the Air and Water? (civilbeat.com)
- EPA’s Bee Label Rough Draft Revealed! (b4uleap.org)
With tons of health blogs out there today, it can be overwhelming trying to find solid ones to follow that are a good fit for your topic of interest. At SurroundHealth, we look for bloggers that align with our goals of sharing resources and best practices in areas such as: health education/communication, professional development and health careers, health and education technology, and current health events.
We are getting a lot of inquiries about where to go for testing and treatment after exposure to toxic levels of Mycotoxins from damp and moldy environments.
Unfortunately few doctors are experienced in testing or treating patients that are suffering from Biotoxin Illness and other health issues that arise after living or working for long periods of time inside of a home/office/school with poor indoor air.
- MedlinePlus: Molds, including
- Molds (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration - OSHA)
- Legal Aspects of Mold Contamination (Clean Water Partners - Environmental Law Experts) For Renters,Landlords, Home Sellers, Home Buyers, Employers, Employees
- Mold - The "New" Hidden Pandemic Sweeping Across America (momsmoldresources.wordpress.com)
- Curious case of toxic mold pits Chamber of Commerce employees against City of Madison (al.com)
- Mold forces woman from home and into search for answers (al.com)
- Preventing mold from forming in your home (mysouthwestga.com)
- Understanding Mold (moldremoversnj.wordpress.com)
- The way crucial is actually Health in our life (meizitangstrongbuys.wordpress.com)
- Mycotoxins=diabetes? (larahentz.wordpress.com)
Not just for teachers!
Welcome to BioEd Online, the online educational resource for educators, students, and parents. BioEd Online utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you instant access to reliable, cutting-edge information and educational tools for biology and related subjects. Our goal is to provide useful, accurate, and current information and materials that build upon and enhance the skills and knowledge of science educators. Developed under the guidance of our expert Editorial Board, BioEd Online offers the following high-quality resources.
- Streaming Video Presentations - View timely presentations given by thought leaders on education in biology and related subjects, classroom management, science standards, and other issues in education. Presentation topics include content reviews for prospective biology teachers, content updates for experienced teachers, research lab technique demonstrations, inquiry science, and assessment. In addition, BioEd Online offers helpful presentations for teachers in training as they prepare for the classroom experience.
- Slide Library - Customize exciting and relevant lesson plans and activities from hundreds of searchable slides developed by our Editorial Board and contributors. The slide library is updated regularly. Each slide is complete with talking points and references and can be downloaded into your own PowerPoint program for personal educational use.
- Editors’ News Picks - Stay current with science news selected by our Editorial Board. Check back each week for new science stories and related discussion questions to complement your ongoing science activities, and to stimulate an exchange of ideas in your classroom. All Editors’ Picks are maintained in our archive for easy access whenever you need them.
BioEd Online is regularly updated with pertinent new slides in the slide library, presentations on breakthrough research, reviews, and virtual workshops on educational approaches and materials. Stay current with the latest research from top educators in the country by bookmarking BioEd Online for later use!
Other resources of note
- A variety of free, interactive courses designed for science educators and other life-long learners seeking to increase their knowledge of key scientific subjects. Course offerings range from cutting edge genetics to topical environmental health content and the fascinating science of water. Materials are sorted by topic, making it easy locate the content most appropriate for you.
- BioEd Online’s library contains student storybooks, magazines, supplemental materials and other items integrated with teacher’s guides and lessons found on this website. Some items may be used as stand-alone reading and language arts activities.
People with cancer want to do everything they can to combat the disease, manage its symptoms, and cope with the side effects of treatment. Many turn to complementary health approaches, including natural products, such as herbs (botanicals) and other dietary supplements, and mind and body practices, such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga.
This fact sheet was produced through a collaboration between the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). It provides an introductory overview of complementary health approaches that have been studied for cancer prevention, treatment of the disease, or symptom management, including what the science says about their effectiveness and any concerns that have been raised about their safety.
- Symptom management. A substantial amount of scientific evidence suggests that some complementary health approaches may help to manage some symptoms of cancer and side effects of treatment. For other complementary approaches, the evidence is more limited.
- Disease treatment. At present, there is no convincing evidence that any complementary health approach is effective in curing cancer or causing it to go into remission.
- Cancer prevention. A 2012 study indicated that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement may slightly reduce the risk of cancer in older men. No other complementary health approach has been shown to be helpful in preventing cancer.
Keep in Mind
- Unproven products or practices should not be used to replace or delay conventional medical treatment for cancer.
- Some complementary approaches can interfere with standard cancer treatments or have special risks for people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Before using any complementary health approach, people who have been diagnosed with cancer should talk with their health care providers to make sure that all aspects of their care work together.
- Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
Cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and the lymph system. Although cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, improvements in screening, detection, treatment, and care have increased the number of cancer survivors, and experts expect the number of survivors to continue to increase in the coming years. Detailed information on cancer is available from NCI at www.cancer.gov.
About Complementary Health Approaches
Complementary health approaches are a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products whose origins come from outside of mainstream medicine. They include such products and practices as herbal supplements, other dietary supplements, meditation, spinal manipulation, and acupuncture.
The same careful scientific evaluation that is used to assess conventional therapies should be used to evaluate complementary approaches. Some complementary approaches are beginning to find a place in cancer treatment—not as cures, but as additions to treatment plans that may help patients cope with disease symptoms and side effects of treatment and improve their quality of life.
Use of Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer
Many people who have been diagnosed with cancer use complementary health approaches.
- According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, 65 percent of respondents who had ever been diagnosed with cancer had used complementary approaches, as compared to 53 percent of other respondents. Those who had been diagnosed with cancer were more likely than others to have used complementary approaches for general wellness, immune enhancement, and pain management.
- Other surveys have also found that use of complementary health approaches is common among people who have been diagnosed with cancer, although estimates of use vary widely. Some data indicate that the likelihood of using complementary approaches varies with the type of cancer and with factors such as sex, age, and ethnicity. The results of surveys from 18 countries show that use of complementary approaches by people who had been diagnosed with cancer was more common in North America than in Australia/New Zealand or Europe and that use had increased since the 1970s and especially since 2000.
- Surveys have also shown that many people with cancer do not tell their health care providers about their use of complementary health approaches. In the NHIS, survey respondents who had been diagnosed with cancer told their health care providers about 15 percent of their herb use and 23 percent of their total use of complementary approaches. In other studies, between 32 and 69 percent of cancer patients and survivors who used dietary supplements or other complementary approaches reported that they discussed these approaches with their physicians. The differences in the reported percentages may reflect differences in the definitions of complementary approaches used in the studies, as well as differences in the communication practices of different groups of patients.
- Delaying conventional cancer treatment can decrease the chances of remission or cure. Do not use unproven products or practices to postpone or replace conventional medical treatment for cancer.
- Some complementary health approaches may interfere with cancer treatments or be unsafe for cancer patients. For example, the herb St. John’s wort, which is sometimes used for depression, can make some cancer drugs less effective.
- Other complementary approaches may be harmful if used inappropriately. For example, to make massage therapy safe for people with cancer, it may be necessary to avoid massaging places on the body that are directly affected by the disease or its treatment (for example, areas where the skin is sensitive following radiation therapy).
- People who have been diagnosed with cancer should consult the health care providers who are treating them for cancer before using any complementary health approach for any purpose—whether or not it is cancer-related.
What the Science Says
No complementary health product or practice has been proven to cure cancer. Some complementary approaches may help people manage cancer symptoms or treatment side effects and improve their quality of life.
Incorporating Complementary Health Approaches Into Cancer Care
In 2009, the Society for Integrative Oncology issued evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for health care providers to consider when incorporating complementary health approaches in the care of cancer patients. The guidelines point out that, when used in addition to conventional therapies, some of these approaches help to control symptoms and enhance patients’ well-being. The guidelines warn, however, that unproven methods should not be used in place of conventional treatment because delayed treatment of cancer reduces the likelihood of a remission or cure.
A comprehensive summary of research on complementary health approaches for cancer is beyond the scope of this fact sheet. The following sections provide an overview of the research status of some commonly used complementary approaches, highlighting results from a few reviews and studies focusing on preventing and treating the disease, as well as managing cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.
Talking With Your Health Care Providers About Complementary Approaches and Cancer
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has resources that can help you talk with your health care providers about complementary approaches and cancer.
- NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine has a workbook to help cancer patients and their health care providers talk about and keep track of complementary approaches that patients are using. You can download it here: cam.cancer.gov/talking_about_cam.html?cid=ARcam_camnews.
- NCCAM’s Time to Talk campaign has tips to help both patients and health care providers discuss complementary health approaches.
Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer Symptoms and Treatment Side Effects
Some complementary health approaches, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and yoga, may help people manage cancer symptoms or the side effects of treatment. However, some approaches may interfere with conventional cancer treatment or have other risks.People who have been diagnosed with cancer should consult their health care providers before using any complementary health approach.
- There is substantial evidence that acupuncture can help to manage treatment-related nausea and vomiting in cancer patients. There is not enough evidence to judge whether acupuncture is effective in relieving cancer pain or other symptoms such as treatment-related hot flashes. Complications from acupuncture are rare, as long as the acupuncturist uses sterile needles and proper procedures. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy weaken the body’s immune system, so it is especially important for acupuncturists to follow strict clean-needle procedures when treating cancer patients.
- Recent studies suggest that the herb ginger may help to control nausea related to cancer chemotherapy when used in addition to conventional anti-nausea medication.
- Studies suggest that massage therapy may help to relieve symptoms experienced by people with cancer, such as pain, nausea, anxiety, and depression. However, investigators have been unable to reach definite conclusions about the effects of massage therapy because of the limited amount of rigorous research in this field. People with cancer should consult their health care providers before having massage therapy to find out if any special precautions are needed. The massage therapist should not use deep or intense pressure without the health care providers’ approval and may need to avoid certain sites, such as areas directly over a tumor or those where the skin is sensitive following radiation therapy.
- There is evidence that mindfulness-based stress reduction, a type of meditation training, can help cancer patients relieve anxiety, stress, fatigue, and general mood and sleep disturbances, thus improving their quality of life. Most participants in mindfulness studies have been patients with early-stage cancer, primarily breast cancer, so the evidence favoring mindfulness training is strongest for this group of patients.
- Preliminary evidence indicates that yoga may help to improve anxiety, depression, distress, and stress in people with cancer. It also may help to lessen fatigue in breast cancer patients and survivors. However, only a small number of yoga studies in cancer patients have been completed, and some of the research has not been of the highest quality. Because yoga involves physical activities, it is important for people with cancer to talk with their health care providers in advance to find out whether any aspects of yoga might be unsafe for them.
- Various studies suggest possible benefits of hypnosis, relaxation therapies, and biofeedback to help patients manage cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.
- A 2008 review of the research literature on herbal supplements and cancer concluded that although several herbs have shown promise for managing side effects and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, pain, fatigue, and insomnia, the scientific evidence is limited, and many clinical trials have not been well designed. Use of herbs for managing symptoms also raises concerns about potential negative interactions with conventional cancer treatments.
Coping With Cancer
People who have cancer, or who have been treated for cancer, may have physical or emotional difficulties as a result of the disease or its treatment. Many conventional approaches can help people cope with these problems. For example, counseling may help people who are distressed about being diagnosed with cancer, medicines can control nausea related to chemotherapy, and exercise may help decrease treatment-related fatigue. Some people find that complementary approaches also help them cope with cancer and improve their quality of life. In addition, using complementary approaches can help people feel they are playing an active part in their own care. If you have cancer or if you have been treated for cancer, be sure to tell your health care providers about all approaches—both conventional and complementary—that you are using. Your health care providers need this information so they can make sure that all aspects of your care work well together. Additional information on coping with cancer is available from NCI at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping.
Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer Treatment
This section discusses complementary health approaches to directly treat cancer (that is, to try to cure the disease or cause a remission).
No complementary approach has been shown to cure cancer or cause it to go into remission. Some products or practices that have been advocated for cancer treatment may interfere with conventional cancer treatments or have other risks. People who have been diagnosed with cancer should consult their health care providers before using any complementary health approach.
- Studies on whether herbal supplements or substances derived from them might be of value in cancer treatment are in their early stages, and scientific evidence is limited. Herbal supplements may have side effects, and some may interact in harmful ways with drugs, including drugs used in cancer treatment.
- The effects of taking vitamin and mineral supplements, including antioxidant supplements,during cancer treatment are uncertain. NCI advises cancer patients to talk to their health care providers before taking any supplements.
- A 2010 NCCAM-supported trial of a standardized shark cartilage extract, taken in addition to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, showed no benefit in patients with advanced lung cancer. An earlier, smaller study in patients with advanced breast or colorectal cancers also showed no benefit from the addition of shark cartilage to conventional treatment.
- A 2011 systematic review of research on laetrile found no evidence that it is effective as a cancer treatment. Laetrile can be toxic, especially if taken orally, because it contains cyanide.
Beware of Cancer Treatment Frauds
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have warned the public to be aware of fraudulent cancer treatments. Cancer treatment frauds are not new, but in recent years it has become easier for the people who market them to reach the public using the Internet.
Some fraudulent cancer treatments are harmful by themselves, and others can be indirectly harmful because people may delay seeking medical care while they try them, or because the fraudulent product interferes with the effectiveness of proven cancer treatments.
The people who sell fraudulent cancer treatments often market them with claims such as “scientific breakthrough,” “miraculous cure,” “secret ingredient,” “ancient remedy,” “treats all forms of cancer,” or “shrinks malignant tumors.” The advertisements may include personal stories from people who have taken the product, but such stories—whether or not they’re real—aren’t reliable evidence that a product is effective. Also, a money-back guarantee is not proof that a product works.
If you’re considering using any anticancer product that you’ve seen in an advertisement, talk to your health care provider first. Additional information on cancer-related health frauds is available from the FDA and from the FTC.
Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer Prevention
A large 2012 clinical trial has shown that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement may slightly reduce the risk of cancer in older men. No other complementary health approach has been shown to be helpful in preventing cancer, and some have been linked with increased health risks.
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements. The results of a study of older men completed in 2012 indicate that taking a multivitamin/mineral supplement slightly reduces the risk of cancer. In this study, which was part of the Physicians’ Health Study II (a complex trial that tested several types of supplements), more than 14,000 male U.S. physicians were randomly assigned to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement or a placebo (an identical-appearing product that did not contain vitamins and minerals) for 11 years. Those who took the supplement had 8 percent fewer total cancers than those who took the placebo.
Other studies of vitamins and minerals—most of which evaluated supplements containing only one or a few nutrients—have not found protective effects against cancer. Some of these studies identified possible risks of supplementing with high doses of certain vitamins or related substances. Examples of research results include the following:
- In another part of the Physicians’ Health Study II (not the part described above), supplementing with relatively high doses of either vitamin E or vitamin C did not reduce the risks of prostate cancer or total cancer in men aged 50 or older. Men taking vitamin E had an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke (a type of stroke caused by bleeding in the brain).
- A 2010 meta-analysis of 22 clinical trials found no evidence that antioxidant supplements (vitamins A, C, and E; beta-carotene; and selenium) help to prevent cancer.
- Two large-scale studies found evidence that supplements containing beta-carotene increased the risk of lung cancer among smokers.
- The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT), funded by NCI, NCCAM, and other agencies at NIH, showed that selenium and vitamin E supplements, taken either alone or together, did not prevent prostate cancer. It also showed that vitamin E supplements, taken alone, significantlyincreased the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men. There was no increase in prostate cancer risk when vitamin E and selenium were taken together. The doses of selenium and vitamin E used in this study were substantially higher than those typically included in multivitamin/mineral supplements.
- Although substantial evidence suggests that calcium may help protect against colorectal cancer, the evidence of potential benefit from calcium in supplement form is limited and inconsistent. Therefore, NCI does not recommend the use of calcium supplements to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
Other Natural Products. A 2009 systematic review of 51 studies with more than 1.6 million participants found “insufficient and conflicting” evidence regarding an association between consuming green tea and cancer prevention. Several other natural products, including Ginkgo biloba, isoflavones, noni, pomegranate, and grape seed extract, have been investigated for possible cancer-preventive effects, but the evidence on these substances is too limited for any conclusions to be reached.
Do You Want To Learn More About Cancer Prevention?
People can reduce their risk of cancer in many ways. They include avoiding exposure to agents that cause cancer (such as cigarette smoke), having tests (such as colonoscopies) that find precancerous conditions early, and, for some people who are at high risk, taking medicines to reduce cancer risk (chemoprevention). Additional information on cancer prevention is available from NCI.
NIH Research on Complementary Health Approaches for Cancer
Both NCI and NCCAM fund many laboratory studies and clinical trials related to cancer. Some ongoing studies are investigating:
- The effects of genetic factors and intakes of calcium and magnesium on the risk of developing precancerous colorectal polyps
- Mechanisms of action of natural products that may be of value in cancer prevention or treatment, such as bamboo extract, grape seed extract, white tea, red ginseng, and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
- The use of acupuncture for difficulty in swallowing after treatment for head and neck cancer
- Mind and body practices to improve sleep in cancer patients.
If You Have Been Diagnosed With Cancer and Are Considering a Complementary Health Approach
- Cancer patients need to make informed decisions about using complementary health approaches. NCCAM and NCI have written a brochure that can help: Thinking About Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Guide for People With Cancer.
- Gather information about the complementary health product or practice that interests you, and then discuss it with your health care providers. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is especially important to talk with your health care providers before you start using any new complementary health approach. If you are already using a complementary approach, tell your health care providers about it, even if your reason for using it has nothing to do with cancer. Some approaches may interfere with standard cancer treatment or may be harmful when used along with standard treatment. Examples of questions to ask include:
- What is known about the benefits and risks of this product or practice? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?
- What are the potential side effects?
- Will this approach interfere with conventional treatment?
- Can you refer me to a practitioner?
- Do not use any health product or practice that has not been proven safe and effective to replace conventional cancer care or as a reason to postpone seeing your health care provider about any health problem.
- Tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care. For tips about talking with your health care providers about complementary health approaches, seeNCCAM’s Time to Talk campaign.
- Boehm K, Borrelli F, Ernst E, et al. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009;(3):CD005004. Accessed at http://www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 14, 2013.
- Cramer H, Lange S, Klose P, et al. Can yoga improve fatigue in breast cancer patients? A systematic review. Acta Oncologica. 2012;51(4):559–560.
- Deng GE, Frenkel M, Cohen L, et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: complementary therapies and botanicals. Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology. 2009;7(3):85–120.
- Elkins G, Fisher W, Johnson A. Mind-body therapies in integrative oncology. Current Treatment Options in Oncology. 2010;11(3–4):128–140.
- Ernst E. Massage therapy for cancer palliation and supportive care: a systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2009;17(4):333–337.
- Ernst E, Lee MS. Acupuncture for palliative and supportive cancer care: a systematic review of systematic reviews. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2010;40(1):e3–5.
- Gaziano JM, Glynn RJ, Christen WG, et al. Vitamins E and C in the prevention of prostate and total cancer in men: the Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2009;301(1):52–62.
- Gaziano JM, Sesso HD, Christen WG, et al. Multivitamins in the prevention of cancer in men: the Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012;308(18):E1–E10.
- Klein EA, Thompson IM Jr, Tangen CM, et al. Vitamin E and the risk of prostate cancer: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). JAMA. 2011;306(14):1549–1556.
- Ledesma D, Kumano H. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and cancer: a meta-analysis. Psycho-Oncology. 2009;18(6):571–579.
- Lin K-Y, Hu Y-T, Chang K-J, et al. Effects of yoga on psychological health, quality of life, and physical health of patients with cancer: a meta-analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011;2011:659876.
- Lippman SM, Klein EA, Goodman PJ, et al. Effect of selenium and vitamin E on risk of prostate cancer and other cancers: the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT).JAMA. 2009;301(1):39–51.
- Lu C, Lee JJ, Komaki R, et al. Chemoradiotherapy with or without AE-941 in stage III non-small cell lung cancer: a randomized phase III trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2010;102(12):859–865.
- Manksy PJ, Wallerstedt DB. Complementary medicine in palliative care and cancer symptom management. Cancer Journal. 2006;12(5):425–431.
- Mao JJ, Palmer CS, Healy KE, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine use among cancer survivors: a population-based study. Journal of Cancer Survivorship. 2011;5(1):8–17.
- Milazzo S, Ernst E, Lejeune S, et al. Laetrile treatment for cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011;(11):CD005476. Accessed at http://www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 14, 2013.
- Miller S, Stagl J, Wallerstedt DB, et al. Botanicals used in complementary and alternative medicine treatment of cancer: clinical science and future perspectives. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. 2008;17(9):1353–1364.
- Myung S-K, Kim Y, Ju W, et al. Effects of antioxidant supplements on cancer prevention: meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of Oncology. 2010;21(1):166–179.
- Paley CA, Johnson MI, Tashani OA, et al. Acupuncture for cancer pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2011;(1):CD007753. Accessed at http://www.thecochranelibrary.com on February 14, 2013.
- Pillai AK, Sharma KK, Gupta YK, et al. Anti-emetic effect of ginger powder versus placebo as an add-on therapy in children and young adults receiving high emetogenic chemotherapy. Pediatric Blood & Cancer. 2011;56(2):234–238.
- Ryan JL, Heckler CE, Roscoe JA, et al. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces acute chemotherapy-induced nausea: a URCC CCOP study of 576 patients. Supportive Care in Cancer. 2012;20(7):1479–1489.
- Wilkinson S, Barnes K, Storey L. Massage for symptom relief in patients with cancer: systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2008;63(5):430–439.
For More Information
The NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information on NCCAM and complementary health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.
National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute is the Federal Government’s lead agency for cancer research. The National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine coordinates and enhances the National Cancer Institute’s activities in CAM research.
NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine coordinates and enhances NCI’s activities in complementary and alternative medicine research.
Information on complementary and alternative medicine in cancer treatment:www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cam-cancer-treatment/patient/page3/AllPages
A service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals.
NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a Web site, NIH Clinical Research Trials and You, to help people learn about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. The site includes questions and answers about clinical trials, guidance on how to find clinical trials through ClinicalTrials.gov and other resources, and stories about the personal experiences of clinical trial participants. Clinical trials are necessary to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases.
NCCAM thanks Cornelia Ulrich, Ph.D., German Cancer Research Center; Susan Folkman, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco; Jun James Mao, M.D., University of Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Austin, M.S., Robin Baldwin, B.S.N., Barbara McMakin, M.S., and Jeffrey White, M.D., National Cancer Institute; and Carol Pontzer, Ph.D., and John (Jack) Killen, Jr., M.D., NCCAM, for their contributions to the 2013 update of this publication.
This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.
- Living with the long-term consequences of cancer treatment (guardian.co.uk)
- iKnife: Knife that sniffs out cancer cells could be ‘game-changer’ (metro.co.uk)
- Two Thirds Of Female Childhood Cancer Survivors Get Pregnant (hngn.com)
- Cancer cure just got closer: scientists harness our natural-born killers – the T cells – to target malign tumours (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Comfort During Cancer – Tips For Oral Health While Undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation – Lots To Live For Cancer Side Effect Solutions (breastcanceryogablog.com)
- Boosting immune therapy for cancer with nanoparticles (phys.org)
- Largest cancer gene database made public (news.yahoo.com)
- NCCAM- Herbs at a Glance (kitchendove.wordpress.com)
- Chiropractics, Acupuncture and Massage (exploringcomplementaryandalternativemedicine.wordpress.com)
- Is CAM a sham? – Learn About Complementary and Alternative Medicine! (happydelusion.wordpress.com)
Consumer health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
According to the National Adult Assessment of Literacy (2003), 14% of American cannot comprehend basic health information. The study indicates that health illiteracy is especially prevalent among:
- Adults who did not complete high school, with 49% having below basic health literacy…
- How Concerned Should You Be About Health Literacy? (engagingthepatient.com)
- Nutritionists Say Proposed Law Would Put Them Out of Business (njspotlight.com)
- Are America's Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food? (articles.mercola.com)
- Why I Am an Advocate for Health Literacy and What We Can Do To Help (footscribe.wordpress.com)
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Junk Food Industry (edibleprogress.com)
- PHYSICAL LITERACY - Essential for Life (bcathletics.wordpress.com)
In this landmark study, researchers examined NPD restaurant servings and traffic data, and Nation’s Restaurant News sales trends, to analyze whether or not growing sales of lower-calorie menu items in 21 national restaurant chains, accounting for half of the top 100 chain sales, resulted in superior business performance.
The study concluded that quick-service and sit-down restaurant chains that grew their lower-calorie servings delivered better business results. In short, sound strategic planning with a commitment to growing lower-calorie items is just good business.
The findings of this study clearly demonstrate that between 2006 and 2011 lower-calorie foods and beverages were the key growth engine for the restaurants studied. Restaurant chains growing their servings of lower-calorie foods and beverages demonstrated superior:
• Same-store sales (SSS) growth
• Increases in restaurant customer traffic • Gains in overall restaurant servings
Increasing lower-calorie menu portfolios can help quick-service and sit-down restaurant chains improve the key performance metrics demanded by their shareholders and Wall Street, while at the same time providing lower-calorie foods and beverages for families and children.
- Study: Change menu calorie counts (wwlp.com)
- Join the conversation: Calorie counts in restaurants (globalnews.ca)
- Did They Lie? Consumer Reports on Restaurant Calorie Counts (friendseat.com)
- Restaurant Chains Still Not Meeting Nutritional Expectations (medicaldaily.com)
- Nevada Assembly Oks Restaurant Menu Calorie Bill (tomdarby.me)
- 97% of Restaurant Kids’ Meals Are Unhealthy, Consumer Group Says (livescience.com)
- Most kids’ meals at chain restaurants offer poor nutrition, as fried chicken fingers, burgers, fries, and soda reign (boomersurvive-thriveguide.typepad.com)
- Measuring meals by exercise, not calories helps consumers eat healthy: study (globalnews.ca)
- Exercise Time and not Calorie Count may Reduce Your Calorie Intake: New Study (medindia.net)
- Toronto would consider enacting bylaw requiring restaurants to post calories on menus if province fails to act (news.nationalpost.com)
Free Library Puts Resources About Minority Health Within Arm’s Reach – National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities
From the 9 April 2013 article at the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities
The Office of Minority Health Knowledge Center supports National Minority Health Month by highlighting many information resources available to the public. The Knowledge Center focuses its collection on consumer health and many other health equity issues, and builds on this year’s theme ofAdvance Health Equity Now: Uniting Our Communities to Bring Health Care Coverage to All.
Created in 1987, the Knowledge Center indexed and tracked the concept of health disparities in the available literature long before it appeared in the forefront of public health concerns. Today, the library offers both a historical and present day picture of the health status of minority populations and holds a collection of 10,000 reports, books, journals and media, and over 35,000 articles, which makes it the largest repository of minority health information in the nation.
Equal access to health care has long been a factor in health equity, and the Knowledge Center library catalog reflects those concerns. By searching our catalog, you will find many reports, books and fact sheets which explain disparities in access to health insurance and health care.
And the Knowledge Center is more than a library. We also contribute to the outreach and educational activities of the Office of Minority Health and reach out to other libraries to support their consumer health education initiatives. For example, a recent presentation and exhibit at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color highlighted our services and resources for public and academic libraries.
Other libraries have found ways to advance health equity, in keeping with objectives set by our National Partnership for Action (NPA). As an NPA partner, the University of Maryland Health Sciences and Human Services Library developed a health advocates program for local high school students (read more about the program.)
With 35 languages represented in our collection, the Knowledge Center is open to the public for research about a variety of diseases and health topics and you can search the database right from your desktop.
We invite you to take a look at our online catalog and conduct a search. Enter the search terms “Affordable Care Act” and discover what OMHRC has to offer you.
For questions or search assistance, please contact us at KnowledgeCenter@minorityhealth.hhs.gov.
From the blog item
The gut mucosa is the largest and most dynamic immunological environment of the body. It hosts the body’s largest population of immune cells. It is often the first point of pathogen exposure and many microbes use it as a beachhead into the rest of the body.
The gut immune system therefore needs to be ready to respond to pathogens but at the same time it is constantly exposed to innocuous environmental antigens, food particles and commensal microflora which need to be tolerated.
Misdirected immune responses to harmless antigens are the underlying cause of food allergies and debilitating conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease. This animation introduces the key cells and molecular players involved in gut immunohomeostasis and disease.
Nature Immunology in collaboration with Arkitek Studios have produced an animation unraveling the complexities of mucosal immunology in health and disease:
T helper cells (click to enlarge the image).
Comments from Twitter:
FoodAllergySupport @FASupport: More fun than Magic School Bus!
From the Web site
The WomanStats Project is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world. The Project facilitates understanding the linkage between the situation of women and the security of nation-states. We comb the extant literature and conduct expert interviews to find qualitative and quantitative information on over 310 indicators of women’s status in 174 countries. Our Databaseexpands daily, and access to it is free of charge.
The Project began in 2001, and today includes six principal investigators at five universities, as well as a team of up to twenty graduate and undergraduate data extractors. Please learn more by clicking First Time Users and watching our Video Tutorials. Or visit our Blog, where we discuss what we are finding, view our Maps, or read our Researchreports.
First Time Users
Welcome to the WomanStats Database, the world’s most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women.
The best way to acquaint yourself with the database and how to use it is to watch our Video Tutorials for beginners. The first video tutorial explains how to create a free account. The second teaches how to use the codebook and retrieve data from the View screen. The third covers reports, downloads, and maps. The fourth introduces you to other aspects of our web presence, such as our blog and social media.
Do you want to be a disease detective? the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a new app, Solve the Outbreak.
New outbreaks happen every day and CDC’s disease detectives are on the front lines, working 24/7 to save lives and protect people. When a new outbreak happens, disease detectives are sent in to figure out how outbreaks are started, before they can spread.
- CDC iPad App Lets You Solve Disease Outbreaks (mashable.com)
- New CDC App Turns You into a Disease Outbreak Detective (forbes.com)
- CDC app lets you solve disease outbreaks at home (onlineathens.com)
- Play Disease Detective With New CDC App (medicalnewstoday.com)
- CDC Launches Free App 'Solve the Outbreak' (counselheal.com)
- CDC app turns iPad users into disease detectives (bizjournals.com)
I would love to get your feedback on a project I just came across on Wikipedia, the WikiProject Medicine/Evidence based content for medical articles on Wikipedia. The organizer of the project is the same as in Cochrane Students' Journal Club. Please sign up if you are interested in helping us out.
Wikipedia has been accepted world wide as a source of information by both lay people and experts.
- Evidence based content for medical articles on Wikipedia? (scienceroll.com)
- What's best care - now available to all (bangordailynews.com)
- Data driven Personalized Medicine Metamed when you cannot afford misdiagnosis (nextbigfuture.com)
- Anecdotes are never evidence...unless they're your own. (skeptoid.com)
- Searching for Evidence Based Information (hslnews.wordpress.com)
- Costs of implementation of evidence-based therapies for stroke in Ireland (handtutorblog.wordpress.com)
New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports New Database Reveals Thousands of Hospital Violation Reports
Hospitals make mistakes, sometimes deadly mistakes. A patient may get the wrong medication or even undergo surgery intended for another person. When errors like these are reported, state and federal officials inspect the hospital in question and file a detailed report.
Now, for the first time, this vital information on the quality and safety of the nation’s hospitals has been made available to the public online.
A new website, www.hospitalinspections.org, includes detailed reports of hospital violations dating back to January 2011, searchable by city, state, name of the hospital and key word. Previously, these reports were filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and released only through a Freedom of Information Act request, an arduous, time-consuming process. Even then, the reports were provided in paper format only, making them cumbersome to analyze.
Release of this critical electronic information by CMS is the result of years of advocacy by the Association of Health Care Journalists, with funding from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The new database makes full inspection reports for acute care hospitals and rural critical access hospitals instantly available to journalists and consumers interested in the quality of their local hospitals.
The database also reveals national trends in hospital errors. For example, key word searches yield the incidence of certain violations across all hospitals. A search on the word “abuse,” for example, yields 862 violations at 204 hospitals since 2011. …
- Series on N.C. hospitals wins national award (charlotteobserver.com)
- Medical execs dispute hospital study (krqe.com)
- Govt. To Publish Data On What Drug & Device Makers Pay To Individual Doctors & Hospitals (consumerist.com)
- Time Magazine Study Reveals Hospitals Hiking up Medical Bills (counselheal.com)
Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) has released A Healthier America 2013: Strategies to Move from Sick Care to Health Care in Four Years – which provides high-impact recommendations to prioritize prevention and improve the health of Americans.
The Healthier America report outlines top policy approaches to respond to studies that show 1) more than half of Americans are living with one or more serious, chronic diseases, a majority of which could have been prevented, and 2) that today’s children could be on track to be the first in U.S. history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.
“America’s health faces two possible futures,” said Gail Christopher, DN, President of the Board of TFAH and Vice President – Program Strategy of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We can continue on the current path, resigning millions of Americans to health problems that could have been avoided or we invest in giving all Americans the opportunity to be healthier while saving billions in health care costs. We owe it to our children to take the smarter way.”
The Healthier America report stresses the importance of taking innovative approaches and building partnerships with a wide range of sectors in order to be effective. Some recommendations include:
- Advance the nation’s public health system by adopting a set of foundational capabilities, restructuring federal public health programs and ensuring sufficient, sustained funding to meet these defined foundational capabilities;
- Ensure insurance providers reimburse for effective prevention approaches both inside and outside the doctor’s office;
- Integrate community-based strategies into new health care models, such as by expanding Accountable Care Organizations into Accountable Care Communities;
- Work with nonprofit hospitals to identify the most effective ways they can expand support for prevention through community benefit programs;
- Maintain the Prevention and Public Health Fund and expand the Community Transformation Grant program so all Americans can benefit;
- Implement all of the recommendations for each of the 17 federal agency partners in the National Prevention Strategy; and
- Encourage all employers, including federal, state and local governments, to provide effective, evidence-based workplace wellness programs…..
- New Report from HSC and Trust for America’s Health Calls for Federal Action to Close Achievement Gap by Addressing School Health (healthyschoolscampaign.typepad.com)
- Prevention urged to avoid a national health catastrophe (bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com)
- Comment: Take prevention seriously, make it a priority (timescolonist.com)
- Today’s children to live shorter lives (upi.com)
The first set of national prevalence data on intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking victimization by sexual orientation was released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals; with sexual orientation based on respondents’ identification at the time of the survey.
The survey also found that bisexual women (61.1 percent) report a higher prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner compared to both lesbian (43.8 percent) and heterosexual women (35 percent). Of the bisexual women who experienced IPV, approximately 90 percent reported having only male perpetrators, while two -thirds of lesbians reported having only female perpetrators of IPV.
The data presented in this report do not indicate whether violence occurs more often in same-sex or opposite sex couples. Rather, the data show the prevalence of lifetime victimization of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. …
Other key findings include:
- The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
- Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.
CDC will work to create resources to bring attention to these issues within lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.
For more information about NISVS, including study details, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html.
To watch webinars that discuss the NISVS 2010 Summary findings, please visit PreventConnect, a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.
- CDC Releases First National Study On Rape And Domestic Violence Based On Sexual Orientation (queerty.com)
- Bisexual Women at Especially High Risk of Sexual Violence, CDC Says (nlm.nih.gov)
- LGB People Experience Domestic Violence at Same Rate as Heterosexuals (advocate.com)
- Domestic violence, rape an issue for gays (vitals.nbcnews.com)
- Bisexual Women Twice As Likely To Be Abused And/Or Raped, Study Says (thoughtcatalog.com)
The TRI National Analysis is an annual report that provides EPA’s analysis and interpretation of the most recent TRI data. It includes information about toxic chemical releases to the environment from facilities that report to the TRI Program. It also includes information about how toxic chemicals are managed through recycling, treatment and energy recovery, and how facilities are working to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals generated and released.
WASHINGTON – Total toxic air releases in 2011 declined 8 percent from 2010, mostly because of decreases in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions, even while total releases of toxic chemicals increased for the second year in a row, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report published today.
The annual TRI provides citizens with vital information about their communities. The TRI program collects information on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country. TRI data are submitted annually to EPA, states and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste facilities.
What’s new in the National Analysis this year?
- An investigation into declining air releases;
- More information about pollution prevention activities conducted at TRI facilities;
- Updated risk information;
- Enhanced Indian Country and Alaska Native Villages (ANVs) analysis.
What tools are available to help me conduct my own analysis?
A variety of online tools are available to help you access and analyze TRI data. When using TRI data, you may also want to explore the other data sources and information listed on the TRI Data and Tools webpage.
Where can I get downloadable files containing the data used in the 2011 National Analysis?
- Basic Data Files : Each file contains the most commonly requested data fields submitted by facilities on the TRI Reporting Form R or the Form A Certification Statement.
- Basic Plus Data Files : These files collectively contain all the data fields submitted by facilities on the TRI Reporting Form R or the Form A Certification Statement.
- Dioxin, Dioxin-Like Compounds and TEQ Data Files : These files include the individually reported mass quantity data for dioxin and dioxin-like compounds reported on the TRI Reporting Form R Schedule 1, along with the associated TEQ data.
- EPA’s 2011 Toxics Release Inventory: Total toxic chemicals increase as result of mining (yubanet.com)
- EPA Toxic Release Inventory: Due to metal mining Alaska had the highest TRI releases in the nation (yubanet.com)
- EPA Issues Annual Report on Chemicals Released Into (suzirow.wordpress.com)
- EPA Annual Report Shows Increase of Toxic Chemicals to the Environment (ecowatch.org)
- Airborne Toxins Down, But Overall Pollutant Levels Rising: EPA (nlm.nih.gov)
(And no, I am not advertising these books, or endorsing the contents of these books, only pointing to a trend!)
Today, more and more books are being written by patients — well-educated, informed patients who manage their illness successfully and have experience, practical knowledge and insights to share with other patients.
As the new year incites a rush to become a “new, better and healthier you,” we often do so learning from our peers. When it comes to illness-warranted behavior changes, as like seeks like, it’s often easier to make changes learned from fellow patients with whom you share the experience of a disease. Like support groups and mentor programs, this is fertile soil for positive behavior change. So, I applaud the rise of patient-authors.
Patient-authors also narrate the experience of illness. That is why I hope health care professionals (HCPs) are also reading books written by patients. A book like No-Sugar Added Poetry, for example, can give HCPs immediate access to some of the emotional landscape of living with diabetes.
There is, in my mind, no easier or quicker way to tap into the experience of illness — what patients grapple with, how they feel, and the practical things that must be managed every day — than by reading a patient-written book.
When clinicians do, I believe they will become more mindful and compassionate and the relationship with their patients more trusting. And that can lead to better outcomes for both….
Read the entire article here
Found this while “surfing” the Institute of Medicine Web page (the primary source for an article in one of my RSS feeds).
I think I share a concern with gun violence with many of you dear readers.There has to be a better way to prevent gun violence than simply arming more folks. For example, a school system to the west of my hometown of Toledo, OH believes arming its janitors will curb violence. (Montpelier schools OKs armed janitors***). My gut reaction? If I had children in the school I would pull them out. Homeschool them if there were no other ways to educate them. And if the teachers were armed? Same reaction.
Meanwhile I’m going to be participating in a [local] Community Committee Against Gun Violence (MoveOn.org). For the past several years I’ve been very concerned about gun violence. Time to start to do something…hopefully not too late.
Yes, this webcast might be viewed as just another talking heads exercise. I am hoping some good will come out of it. If nothing else, keep a conversation alive on how to address prevention of violence through nonviolence.
Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World-A Workshop
- When: January 23, 2013 – January 24, 2013 (8:00 AM Eastern)
- Where: Keck Center (Keck 100) • 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 Map
- Topics: Global Health, Children, Youth and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Public Health
- Activity: Forum on Global Violence Prevention
- Boards: Board on Global Health, Board on Children, Youth, and Families
[My note...registration is now closed for in-person attendance, they've reached seating capacity]
Evidence shows that violence is not inevitable, and that it can be prevented. Successful violence prevention programs exist around the world, but a comprehensive approach is needed to systematically apply such programs to this problem. As the global community recognizes the connection between violence and failure to achieve health and development goals, such an approach could more effectively inform policies and funding priorities locally, nationally, and globally.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) will convene a 2-day workshop to explore the evidentiary basis for violence prevention across the lifespan and around the world. The public workshop will be organized and conducted by an ad hoc committee to examine: 1) What is the need for an evidence-based approach to violence prevention across the world? 2) What are the conceptual and evidentiary bases for establishing what works in violence prevention? 3) What violence prevention interventions have been proven to reduce different types of violence (e.g., child and elder abuse, intimate partner and sexual violence, youth and collective violence, and self-directed violence)? 4) What are common approaches most lacking in evidentiary support? and 5) How can demonstrably effective interventions be adapted, adopted, linked, and scaled up in different cultural contexts around the world?
The committee will develop the workshop agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. Experts will be drawn from the public and private sectors as well as from academic organizations to allow for multi-lateral discussions. Following the conclusion of the workshop, an individually-authored summary of the event will be prepared by a designated rapporteur.
- Comprehensive public health approach urged to curb gun violence in U.S. (mwoods228.wordpress.com)
- Harvard Researchers: Tackle Gun Violence Like Smoking, Car Deaths (wbur.org)
- Biden: Executive action can be taken on guns (politico.com)
- Vice President Biden Meets with Groups to Discuss Violence Prevention (salem-news.com)
- Analyst: No “Single Solution” to Gun Violence (voicerussia.com)
- Comprehensive Public Health Approach Urged to Curb Gun Violence in U.S. (emberbranch.wordpress.com)
- Violence plays role in shorter US life expectancy (newsobserver.com)
- Giffords launches anti-gun violence site (cnn.com)
- Montpelier OKs armed school janitors (toledoblade.com)
*** I did respond to the newspaper article. The response is online. I am expecting some rather strong responses, perhaps about how naive I am (sigh).
“Now I know, more than ever, that I have to get more involved in addressing violence through nonviolent means. For starters, am going to get better prepared for a nonviolent workshop our Pax Christi USA section is sponsoring next month. Also am going to do my best to follow through with a local Community Committee Against Gun Violence (http://civic.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?rc=homepage&action_id=302). Guess it’s time to be part of the solution…these two events are steps that are challenging, don’t solve things overnight, but in my heart of hearts…I feel called to participate in actions like these….(am thanking teachers here, esp those at St. Catherine’s(1960-1969) and Central Catholic (1969-1973).”
[Reblog] Curēus, an open-access medical journal with crowdsourcing December 23, 2012
Posted by Dr. Bertalan Meskó in Medicine, Web 2.0, Medical journalism,Medicine 2.0, e-Science.
trackbackJohn Adler who is a neurosurgeon at Stanford just launched Curēus, an open-source medical journal that leverages crowdsourcing to make scientific research more readily available to the general public. What do you think?
Based in Palo Alto, California, Curēus is the medical journal for a new generation of both doctors AND patients. Leveraging the power of an online, crowd-sourced community platform, Curēus promotes medical research by offering tools that better serve and highlight the people who create it, resulting in better research, faster publication and easier access for everyone.
We make it easier and faster to publish your work – it’s always free and you retain the copyright. What’s more, the Curēus platform is designed to provide a place for physicians to build their digital CV anchored with their posters and papers.
- A supportive care collection
- Google map for who is posting (couldn’t get the map to “work” for me..)
- “Instructions for Authors”
Currently, a relatively few number of papers online. The concept is good, here’s hoping this is not a flash in the pan, but the wave of the future.
- Curēus Continues a Trend of Crowdsourcing Medical Journals (medgadget.com)
- Curēus, an open-access medical journal with crowdsourcing (scienceroll.com)
- Curēus, New Open-Source Medical Journal Created by Stanford Neurosurgeon John Adler,Scientific Research More Readily Available, Peer To Peer Reviews (ducknetweb.blogspot.com)
- A new open-source medical journal has been launched (skeptical-science.com)
- Crowdsourcing Medical Journals (fastcompany.com)
- Medical Journal Gets Social With Crowdsourcing Platform (iphonesavior.com)
A report by The New England Center for Investigative Reporting - published by the Washington Post – is headlined, “Many health apps are based on flimsy science at best, and they often do not work.”
“When the iTunes store began offering apps that used cellphone light to cure acne, federal investigators knew that hucksters had found a new spot in cyberspace.
“We realized this could be a medium for mischief,” said James Prunty, a Federal Trade Commission attorney who helped pursue the government’s only cases against health-app developers last year, shutting down two acne apps.
Since then, the Food and Drug Administration has been mired in a debate over how to oversee these high-tech products, and government officials have not pursued any other app developers for making medically dubious claims. Now, both the iTunes store and the Google Play store are riddled with health apps that experts say do not work and in some cases could even endanger people.
These apps offer quick fixes for everything from flabby abs to alcoholism, and they promise relief from pain, stress, stuttering and even ringing in the ears. Many of these apps do not follow established medical guidelines, and few have been tested through the sort of clinical research that is standard for less new-fangled treatments sold by other means, a probe by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found.”
- There’s an app for anything that ails you, even if it doesn’t work (wcvb.com)
- Medical apps may actually hurt health instead of helping (reporternews.com)
- Calling shenanigans on mobile health apps that make false claims (medcitynews.com)
- FTC finds popular kids apps collect data without telling parents (mercurynews.com)
11/30/12 | 9:00:00 AM
Labels: knowledge graph
We get a lot of queries for medicine on Google. So to make it quick and easy for you to learn about medications, we’ll start showing key facts — side effects, related medications, links to in-depth resources, and more — right on the search results page.
This data comes from the U.S. FDA, the National Library of Medicine, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, among others. It’s part of the Knowledge Graph – our project to map out billions of real-world things, from famous artists to roller coasters to planets (and now medications). We hope you find this useful, but remember that these results do not act as medical advice.
Posted by Aaron Brown, Senior Product Manager, Search
Related Resources (because there are other reputable resources besides the one’s Google mines! with additional drug info)
Once a medication is identified, Pillbox provides links to drug information and drug labels.
- CenterWatch/Clinical Trials Listing Service
This useful resource lists newly approved drugs, drugs in current clinical research, weekly trial results, as well as a link to the PDR Family Medical Guide for Prescription Drugs.
- Longwood Herbal Task Force
This site has in-depth monographs about herbal products and supplements written by health professionals and students. It provides clinical information summaries, patient fact sheets, and information about toxicity and interactions as well as relevant links. The task force is a cooperative effort of the staff and students from Children’s Hospital, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
- FDA Recalls provides information gathered from press releases and other public notices about certain recalls of FDA-regulated products
- Herbal and Dietary Supplements Can Adversely Affect Prescribed Drugs, Says Extensive Review (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Natural Does Not Mean Safe (slate.com)
- Warning out on supplements (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Drug industry’s free speech helps doctors (cnn.com)
- Supplements not on an FDA approved list could disappear (prn.fm)
- Look up medications more quickly and easily on Google (insidesearch.blogspot.com)
- Google Adds Key Facts About Medicines To Its Knowledge Graph Results (techcrunch.com)
- Google: This is your Knowledge Graph on drugs (news.cnet.com)
I’ve written several posts about eye medical care (post on cataracts - posts on detached retinas). Sometime soon I will share a bit more about my experience with cataract surgery — mine occurred several weeks ago.
Recently I discovered a terrific eye education resource. If you are trying to make sense of the medical health of your eyes or the eyes of an aging parent, get started by educating yourself about the structure of an eye. Check out this wonderful Eye Anatomy Tour, posted over at the Cleveland Clinic website.
Because most of my doctors offer explanations during fairly short appointments, I am not always able to absorb everything. My physicians usually explain things clearly and mostly in an unrushed manner, but I cannot always remember everything that I need (or want) to know.
The nice thing about this animated eye tour is that it can be run over and over — always a useful feature but especially so if an adult child is explaining an eye condition to an aging parent. When you watch the tour you can also use the Dictionary of Eye Terms, linked from the same web page.
- Understanding Eyes as We Age (asourparentsage.net)
- Medicine Today: Cataract surgery benefits more than eyes (chronicle.augusta.com)
- Secondary cataracts or clouding of lens (purpleborough.wordpress.com)
- How are your (previously cataracted) lens replacements? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Seeing Is Believing With Cataract Surgery (sacbee.com)
- Laser used for surgery on cataracts (nzherald.co.nz)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin (videos, interactive graphics, audio slideshows, and more!)
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a remarkable institution that stands at the forefront of research in a wide range of medical fields. This site provides access to the HHMI Bulletin via the iPad in a format that is most visually stimulating. On this site, visitors can browse screen shots of this most wondrous compendium, complete with exclusive videos, interactive graphics, and audio slideshows. Visitors with iPads who download the app can learn about the latest cancer research, along with fun primers of the basic work of the HHMI and updates about long-term projects. Those without iPads are still strongly encouraged to check out the H HMI Bulletin, available here: http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/. [KMG]
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute Makes Move into Science Documentary Arena (sfluxe.com)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute launches documentary unit (variety.com)
Those of you who follow my blog notice that from time to time I highlight multilingual health information Web sites as Healthy Roads Media.
Recently (via a US govt listserv- PHPartners) I ‘ve come across a wonderful list of general health information resources in multiple languages. This resource list is a subset of the larger Multi-Cultural Resources for Health Information. Multi-Cultural Resources includes links in the following areas
- Cultural Competency
- Dictionaries, Glossaries, and Online Translation Tools
- Health Literacy
- Health Resources in Multiple Languages
- Interpreting in Health Care
- Law, Policy, and Standards
- Limited English Proficiency
- Multicultural Research
- Organizations and Portals
- Refugee Health Portals
Oh, I haven’t forgotten. Here is the list of Health Resources in Multiple Languages.
- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Documents in Other Languages
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Consumer Health Information in Many Languages
Multilingual online health resources, organized by specific
languages, including glossaries
National Network of Libraries of Medicine, National Library of Medicine
- EurasiaHealth Knowledge Network
Clearinghouse of free resources on Central & Eastern Europe and
the New Independent States
American International Health Alliance
United States Agency for International Development
- Facts for Families
In English, Spanish, German, Malaysian, Polish, and Icelandic
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
- Health Access Project
Translated Hospital Instructions
- Health Information Translations
Information for limited English proficiency patients translated into various languages
The Ohio State University Medical Center, Mount Carmel Health System
- Health on the Net Select
Searchable database of medical and health queries
Available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese
- Health Translations Directory
From Australia. Contains links to online multi-lingual resources
Department of Human Services
State Government of Victoria, Australia
- Healthy Roads Media
Site contains free health education materials in a number of languages
and a variety of formats
Healthy Roads Media
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Material available in English and French. French link found at bottom of page
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
- Multilingual Health and Safety Resource Guide
Labor Occupational Health Program, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health
University of California at Berkeley
- Multilingual Health Information
Stanford Health Library, Stanford University
- Free Publications for Women
Easy-to-read pamphlets, available multiple languages
Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
- Patient Information Brochures for Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgery
Material available in English, French, Polish, Spanish, and Vietnamese
The Society of Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons
- Resources by Language
Health topics in 50 languages
NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service
New South Wales, Australia
- Translated British Columbia Health Files
Fact sheets translated into Chinese, French, Punjabi, Spanish, and Vietnamese
Ministry of Health, British Columbia, Canada
- Urban Health Partners
Spotlight on Arabic language health materials and Arab American health.
Additional materials on Culturally Responsive Health Care
Vera P. Shiffman Medical Library, Wayne State University
- Vaccine Information in Other Languages
Vaccine information in over 30 languages
Immunization Action Coalition
- West Nile Virus Multilingual Fact Sheets
Patient education materials about West Nile Virus in 22 languages
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Government of Ontario, Canada
- 5 tips for engaging with multilingual audiences on social media (prdaily.com)
- More Resources On Different Cultures (larryferlazzo.edublogs.org)
- Web Resources for African Languages (metaglossia.wordpress.com)
- “I Read It on the Internet, So It Must Be True”: The Importance of Media Literacy (healthed.typepad.com)
- Digital Health Literacy: Separating Fact From Fiction (healthed.typepad.com)
- Internet Health Information: Be a Savvy Consumer! (julia5150.com)
- More Consumers Get Health Info On Mobile Devices (informationweek.com)
Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov
Regards to all our listeners!
I’m Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
A comprehensive plan to reduce the number and impact of suicides in the U.S. recently was announced by the U.S. Surgeon General…
The Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention is available at surgeongeneral.gov.
Meanwhile, a helpful introduction to suicide symptoms is provided by the American Society of Suicidology in the ‘overviews’ section ofMedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page. A helpful guide about what to do if someone is suicidal is provided by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Research and Education in the ‘prevention/screening’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page.
The Mayo Foundation for Medical Research and Education also provides a helpful website, ‘Considering suicide? How to Stay Safe and Find Treatment’ in the ‘coping’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page contains links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. Links to related clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the ‘clinical trials’ section. From the suicide health topic page, you can sign up to receive email updates with links to new information as it becomes available on MedlinePlus.
To find MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page, type ‘suicide’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page, then, click on ‘Suicide (National Library of Medicine).’ Links to health topic pages devoted to depression, mental health and behavior, as well as social/family issues are accessible within ‘related topics’ on the right side of MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page.
As the Surgeon General’s report notes, improving prevention to offset a sobering rate of suicide is gaining new momentum in medicine and public health. We wish the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention every success.
Before I go, this reminder… MedlinePlus.gov is authoritative. It’s free. We do not accept advertising …and is written to help you.
Ask a Scientist connects you to some of the top scientists in the country, and each of them is connected to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. If you’ve got a question about medicine, human biology, animals, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, or evolution, then please, Ask A Scientist
Some edits made, and new items added, late the same evening.
I’ve recently learned of some well-intentioned medical research that disturbs me so deeply that I think it’s time to get formal about teaching e-patients and their partners how to detect research that misses its target, even if it’s well intentioned.
Doing this responsibly requires a deep understanding of the purpose of research and its methods. So this is the start of a series in which I’ll lay out what I’ve learned so far, describe the problems and challenges and opportunities that I see, and invite dialog on where I’m wrong and your own experiences as patient or clinician or researcher.
If this succeeds we’ll have a new basis for considering questions of what to do and how to prioritize it, in this era of change in medicine – not just in research but in all of medicine, as we work on reducing our spend. My goal in the series will be to be as clear in my writing as I can, while being as verifiably accurate as I can, given that I’m no PhD or Pulitzer laureate. Critique and correction are welcome.
This first post is an introduction, with background reading.
Context: Patient Engagement
The context for this series is patient engagement: patients shifting from being “compliant” cars in a medical car wash to being responsible and engaged.
Empowered, engaged patients take responsibility for their health and their care. One aspect is being responsible for understanding, as best we can, the evidence that a recommended treatment is right for us. Sometimes it’s pretty simple, sometimes not; but the higher the stakes get, the more important it is.
With respect to research, there’s a big challenge: sometimes the published evidence sucks – even though it got through the peer review process and was approved by a big-name journal.
Of course not all evidence sucks. But if you’re considering whether to be cut open or eat chemicals (meds), you have a choice: trust blindly (“whatever you say, doc”) or take responsibility for understanding as much as you can.
As we’ll discuss, one big reason blind trust fails is that the evidence your doctor gets isn’t necessarily great, and most clinicians aren’t rigorously trained in how to scrutinize it. (They too are largely trained to trust the journal process.) So this is for them too.
- Patients and caregivers – the people on the receiving end of the treatment; the ones who make the decision to accept treatment.
- Clinicians, for two reasons:
- In a participatory relationship, the patient and clinician need to be on the same page regarding the basis for decisions, or one will think the other’s crazy
- As I said, in my experience most clinicians haven’t been rigorously schooled in the weakness of the info they were taught to trust. (This isn’t an insult; see homework below.)
- Health policy people (government and non-profits), because they need to be firmly grounded in reality, or they can’t possibly make policies that work in reality (eh?)
- Insurance companies (commonly euphemized as “care plans” or just “the plans”), who decide what will get paid for. (I know some insurance companies don’t mind paying for stuff that doesn’t work; they basically get a commission on all spending. But others do care what works and what doesn’t – some even have staff who help patients understand the options! They need to be well informed too.)
- Others, I’m sure.
This will make some people unhappy.
It’s the unhappiness that comes from realizing the world isn’t what you thought it was. And the unhappiness that comes from realizing you have to adjust.
But ladies and germs, disconnects like that are what keep a dysfunction in place and make problems intractable. So, comfortable or not, let’s get on with it. The unhappiness I anticipate:
- Some clinicians don’t welcome questions from their patients. (Others do.) In my personal experience most of the ones who object don’t realize how weak the evidence is.
- I hope they’ll remember what I learned in school: all science must be open to new information. (As SPM co-founder and ACOR founder Gilles Frydman said in 2010, “All knowledge is in constant beta.”)
- I know clinicians have many pressures including short appointments. This doesn’t have to be done by an MD; in my view of the future, every “medical home” will have coaches who can help assess published material.
- Some patients really don’t want to hear that the science they depend on – which has indeed produced miracles – has also produced crap sometimes. They especially don’t want to hear that clinicians – their clinicians, who they know are good people – aren’t perfect.
- In general, everyone wants certainty – doctors and patients alike – so it’s unsettling to know you can’t have it. (Even the best science has a chance of errors, and all science is subject to correction.)
Important: This is not a “we reject science” series.
- I love science. I personally am alive because of great medical research that created a harsh treatment delivered brilliantly by great clinicians at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston. I love the training and clinical experience that made them able to save my life!
- It included great laparoscopic surgery and orthopedic surgery developed by great skilled scientists and delivered by skilled, adroit surgeons & teams. Hooray for science!
- But in the end, science knows that there is no certainty. They’re doing the best they can amid uncertainty. Heck, I myself live in uncertainty:
- The best evidence (which is not great) says there’s a 50% chance my cancer will return, which would likely kill me
- At diagnosis the evidence said I had 24 week median survival
- On the flip side, the treatment that did cure me usually doesn’t work.
Bottom line: There Is No Certainty.
The art of designing, conducting and reporting research includes dealing accurately with this issue.Whatever you read, there’s always a chance it’s wrong.
In my view, the ultimate responsible patient understands this, accepts the uncertainty (as best a human can), and responds by saying “Okay, what are the options? And what are the chances they’ll work?”
If you fully understand that much research is shaky and deserves questioning, you can skip to the end and wait for round 2. If not, read these past posts, because if you don’t realize there’s weakness, you have no reason to learn what comes next.
Here’s your homework.
Past posts establishing the need to be responsible for our decisions
These posts are from e-patients.net………
Click here for the rest of the post
- Is there hope for clinicians in the digital age? (guardian.co.uk)
- Martine Ehrenclou and “The Take-Charge Patient” (digitaldoorway.blogspot.com)
- Regular patient/clinician interaction can help increase follow-up cancer screening (medicalxpress.com)
- Helping Patients Communicate More Effectively About their Health (thielst.typepad.com)
..a useful resource for students and teachers in grades 9 – 12 to learn genetics.
GeneEd allows students and teachers to explore topics such as Cell Biology, DNA, Genes, Chromosomes, Heredity/Inheritance Patterns, Epigenetics/Inheritance and the Environment, Genetic Conditions, Evolution, Biostatistics, Biotechnology, DNA Forensics, and Top Issues in Genetics.
Teachers can use the site to introduce topics, supplement existing materials, and provide as a reliable source to students conducting research.The site links to categories such as research articles, animation, games, videos, interactive tutorials, and labs and experiments. 3D images, illustrations and text from NHRGI help to enrich the user experience by providing vivid imagery to reinforce genetic concepts.
Text varies from easy-to-read to advanced reading levels, which makes this a versatile tool both in and out of the classroom.
Specialty pages including Teacher Resources and Labs and Experiments highlight those tools that teachers may find particularly helpful.
Other specialty pages such as Careers in Genetics and Highlights allow students to see what is new and noteworthy in the field of Genetics along with links to different careers related to the science of Genetics.
- GeneEd (New Genetics Education Resource from the National Library of Medicine) (bluesyemre.com)
- Ancient human genome completed (stuff.co.nz)
- Arm Yourselves for the Upcoming (Genetics) Revolution (science.kqed.org)
- How much modern genetics should be learnt in school? (wellcometrust.wordpress.com)
- Personal genomics: where science fiction meets reality (csironewsblog.com)
I learned a lot just by looking at the powerpoint slides and the overview.
Equips prevention professionals, healthcare providers, and educators with information on current health issues among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations. Includes an overview of terms related to gender identity and sexual expression.
Table of contents
Helpful Terms for Prevention Specialists and Healthcare Providers A-1
A Discussion about Gender Identity B-1
Top Health Issues for Lesbians C-1
Top Health Issues for Gay Men D-1
Top Health Issues for Bisexual Men and Women E-1
Top Health Issues for Transgender People F-1
Selected Web-based Resources G-1
PowerPoint Slides: Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations H-1
- STUDY: 40 Percent Of Homeless Youth Are LGBT, Family Rejection Is Leading Cause (thinkprogress.org)
- National LGBT Cancer Network adds 300 facilities and ‘transgender-friendly designation’ (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Public Education Campaign on Acceptance of LGBT Members in Latino Families is Launched (hispanicallyspeakingnews.com)
- The true north LGBT: New poll reveals landscape of gay Canada (news.nationalpost.com)
- LGBT Foster Care Bill Headed to Senate Committee (newamericamedia.org)
- First Gay Pride Held in Laos (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- New LGBT Cancer Survivor Support Group Starts in Baton Rouge Louisina (prweb.com)
- Cyndi Lauper Launches National Program for Homeless LGBT Youth (towleroad.com)
- LGBT Seniors, Invisible No More (thepurplejacket.com)
Now one can get summary and detailed drug information on the go from reputable resources
From a recent email rec’d from the US National Library of Medicine
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Drug Information Portal is now available for mobile devices.http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov/m.drugportal
This mobile optimized web site covers over 32,000 drugs and provides descriptions, drug names, pharmaceutical categories, and structural diagrams. Each record also features information links to 19 other resources including NLM PubMed, NLM LactMed, and Drugs@FDA. The mobile version of a resource is used when available.
Smart Phones accessing the main Drug Portal site will be taken the mobile site.
The Drug Information Portal (http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov) is a free Web resource from the NLM that provides an informative, user friendly entry-way to current drug information for over 32,000 drugs. Links to sources span the breadth of the NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies. Current information regarding consumer health, clinical trials, AIDS–related drug information, MeSH pharmacological actions, PubMed biomedical literature, and physical properties and structure is easily retrieved by searching on a drug name. A varied selection of focused topics in medicine and drug–related information is also available from displayed subject headings.
For a full list of available apps and mobile websites, visit our NLM Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mobile/
- 5 Recent Changes to the PubMed Interface (intellogist.wordpress.com)
- Haz-Map (occupational health database) redesigned for web and mobile versions (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Correction: NLM Does Not Charge for PubMed Data (scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org)
- [Infographic] Making Patient Experience a Priority & Link to Other Infogaphics by the Author (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
Can’t make the training? Guided help at the Web site (Look for the “Get Started Now” Box
The Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health has developed an important online tool: Quick Health Data Online. Quick Health Data Online contains extensive health data for the years 1998-2004 for the entire United States, and it will be updated on a yearly basis. National, regional, state, and county data are available and the data can be stratified by gender, race/ethnicity, and age concurrently.
The database includes statistics on:
- Access to care
- Infections and chronic disease
- Reproductive health
- Maternal health
- Mental health
- Violence and abuse
Quick Health Data Online 101
QHDO 101 will provide an overview on health indicators available, preparing custom queries, and generating tables, graphs, and basic maps.
- Monday, April 16: 3-4 p.m. (EST)
- Monday, May 14: 2-3 p.m. (EST)
- Tuesday, June 12: 1-2 p.m. (EST)
Quick Health Data Online 201
QHDO 201 will detail the comprehensive mapping features.
- Wednesday, April 18: 1-2 p.m. (EST)
- Wednesday, May 16: 2-3 p.m. (EST)
- Thursday, June 14: 3-4 p.m. (EST
Register today! (for the training) The toll-free conference call number and other details are provided at the registration site. You need to be at a computer with Internet access and a telephone.
From a recent email from NLM (US National Library of Medicine)
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) has released redesigned web and mobile versions of Haz-Map (http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/ ). The new design adapts to web browsers on desktop computers, laptops, and tablets, as well as mobile browsers on smart phones, such as iPhones, Android and Blackberry phones.
Haz-Map is an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and for consumers seeking information about the health effects of exposure to chemicals and biologicals at work. Haz-Map links jobs and hazardous tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms. It currently covers over 5997 chemical and biological agents and 235 occupational diseases.
More information can be found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/hazmap.html
- OSHA Introduces Seven New Hazardous Material Icons (smartsign.com)
- i can haz wi-fi? (niiteiko.wordpress.com)
- Recognizing chemical hazards (C&ENtral Science) (cenblog.org)
- HazMasterG3 Only CBRNE/HME System Compatible With Army’s First SmartPhone (prweb.com)
- Update 11:20am Everett Fire Calling in Extra Crews Due to Haz Mat Incident at Everett, WA Boeing plant (myeverettnews.com)
Wale Based “Do Lectures” Presented by People Who Do so the Rest of us can be Inspired Inspire Others
The idea is a simple one— that people who Do things can inspire the rest of us to go and Do things, too. So each year we invite a set of people down here to come and tell us what they Do. They can be small Do’s or big Do’s or just extraordinary Do’s. But when you listen to their stories, they light a fire in your belly to go and Do your thing, your passion, the thing that sits in the back of your head each day, just waiting, and waiting for you to follow your heart.
- Do Lectures 2010 | Inspiration & Energy, Wales (visitwales.co.uk)
- The DO Lectures and Tim Smit’s nine principles of management (sashadichter.wordpress.com)
As I’ve stated in previous postings here, choose your alternative/traditional/complementary medicines and therapies wisely.
Also, include herbs, supplements and traditional medicines in “medications” lists you share with your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or any healthcare professional you are consulting. Many of these non-prescription items can interfere with any prescription medicine you are taking.
The Related Resources section below has links to trusted resources. However, they are not meant to replace advice from you health care provider.
Australian border officials seized 15 TCMs (traditional Chinese medicines), which researchers from the Murdoch University analyzed to reveal the animal and plant composition by using new DNA sequencing technology. The results, published in PLoS Genetics, showed that some of the analyzed TCM samples contained potentially toxic plant ingredients, allergens, as well as traces of endangered animals.Leading researcher, Dr. Bunce, and a Murdoch University Australian Research Council Future Fellow commented:
“TCMs have a long cultural history, but today consumers need to be aware of the legal and health safety issues before adopting them as a treatment option.”
- Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information (from a MedlinePlus page)
Prescription and over-the-counter medication information contains answers to many general questions including topics as what a drug is used for, precautions, side effects, dietary instructions, and overdoses. From the American Society of Health System Pharmacists
an interactive, electronic herbal database – provides hyperlinked access to the scientific data underlying the use of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource provided by the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc. This public site provides access to 20 of the most popular herbs.
- Herbs at a Glance (US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
a series of fact sheets that provides basic information about specific herbs or botanicals—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information.
- Herbal Linksa compilation of sites that the researchers at the University of Iowa Drug Information Service consider to be the highest quality and most useful to pharmacists for finding information concerning herbal medicines.
- Longwood Herbal Task Force
This site has in-depth monographs about herbal products and supplements written by health professionals and students. It provides clinical information summaries, patient fact sheets, and information about toxicity and interactions as well as relevant links. The task force is a cooperative effort of the staff and students from Children’s Hospital, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
- Drug Information Portal (US National Library of Medicine)
Search by drug. Information includes some basic resources (as that at MedlinePlus) plus some more technical ones (as Toxilogical Data and Literature)
- Dietary Supplements Labels Database Information about label ingredients in more than 6,000 selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to compare label ingredients in different brands. Information is also provided on the “structure/function” claims made by manufacturers.These claims by manufacturers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Companies may not market as dietary supplements any products that are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
- NCCAM Director’s Page – It’s Time to Talk (March 13, 2012)
- Time to Talk is a recently launched NCAAM series which encourages folks to discuss complementary health practices with their health care providersThe director notes the following
- We know that nearly 40 percent of Americans use some kind of complementary health practice. But we also know that most patients do not proactively disclose use of complementary health practices to their health care providers. Likewise, most providers don’t initiate the discussion with their patients. As a physician, I strongly believe that patients and their health care providers need to talk openly about all of their health care practices to ensure safe, coordinated care. Talking not only allows fully integrated care, but it also minimizes risks of interactions with a patient’s conventional treatments.
- This month’s Time to Talk includes these tips
- List the complementary health practices you use on your patient history form. When completing the patient history form, be sure to include everything you use—from acupuncture to zinc. It’s important to give health care providers a full picture of what you do to manage your health.
- At each visit, be sure to tell your providers about what complementary health approaches you are using. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as dietary and herbal supplements. Make a list in advance, or download and print this wallet card and take it with you. Some complementary health approaches can have an effect on conventional medicine, so your provider needs to know.
- If you are considering a new complementary health practice, ask questions. Ask your health care providers about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with medications (both prescription and nonprescription).
- Chinese herbal medicines contained toxic mix (cbc.ca)
- Chinese herbal medicines contained toxic mix – CBC.ca (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
- Traditional Chinese Medicines Linked to Cancer [Medicine] (io9.com)
- Chinese medicines contain traces of endangered animals (telegraph.co.uk)
- Breaking down traditional Chinese medicine. (green.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Dangers of Chinese Medicine Brought to Light by DNA Studies (news.sciencemag.org)
- Dangers of Chinese Medicine Brought to Light by DNA Studies (news.sciencemag.org)
The Geological Society of America has recently published an eight page document explaining in some detail the five steps of the scientific method and an overview of what science is capable of.
While it seems to be a discussion aid in the evolution/intelligent design debate, it is a useful tool for any branch of science including medicine. The talking point section is a great summary.
The document entitled The Nature of Science and the Scientific Method may be found here.
- Scientific Method at Jeopardy? (orlisays.wordpress.com)
- Scientific Method (creationscience4kids.com)
Hmm… interesting “point” “counterpoint” items on finding health information on the Web
- Google knows more about certain diseases than physicians ever will
- Don’t rely on Dr Google for health information on the wild, wild web
Overall, I think Google and other search engines are doing a better job of locating health information.
However, it is good to keep in mind that search engines rank items, they do not evaluate them!
So, search safely, knowing that search engines do not index 100% of what is available on the World Wide Web.
If you do decide to find health information on the Web, please evaluate content carefully!
Health Information is best used in consultation with a professional health care provider (or 2!)
A few good guides on evaluating health information may be found at
- Evaluating Health Information(MedlinePlus)
- Understanding Medical Research (patientInform)
- Toolkit - a number of tipsheets, primers, links and other resources to help journalists and consumers do a better job of evaluating claims about health care interventions. (HealthNewsReview.org)
- [from] Evaluating Health Information on the Internet (Penn State University)
Unlike information found in medical textbooks, which has been evaluated and edited by professionals, the information on the Internet is unfiltered. It is up to the user to evaluate and judge how good the information really is. When looking for health information it is particularly important to think about the information critically and examine the Web site carefully. Listed below are some questions and tips to think about when searching for good health information on the Internet.
What type of site is it? Is it a government site, educational or commercial? Look at the web address for the extension. The most common are .gov for government, .edu for educational, .com for commercial and .org for organizational.
Who is sponsoring the site? A good Web site will make sponsorship information clear. There should also be an address (besides an e-mail address) or a phone number to contact for more information.
What are the credentials of the sponsor or author of the material on site? If it is an organization or association, is it nationally recognized or is it a local group? Also, are the author’s qualifications relevant to the topic being discussed? For example, someone with a Ph.D. in psychology should not necessarily be accepted as an expert on nutrition.
What is the purpose of the site? Is it a public service or is it trying to sell something? If there is advertising on a page, something that is more and more common even with non-commercial sites, it should be clearly separated from the informational content. Also, it is easy to disguise promotional material as “patient education” on web sites. If a product or treatment is given a good review on one site, try to find other sites that also approve of it.
How current is the information? A good site will list when a page was first established and when it was last up-dated. If there are links to other sites, are they up-to-date?
How accurate is the information? This can be hard to determine if you’re not familiar with a topic but there are some things to look for. For example, is the information free of spelling errors and typos? Mistakes of these kind can indicate a lack of quality control. Are the sources of factual information listed? For instance, if a document states, “recent studies indicate…”, are the sources for the study listed so they can be verified? If a topic is controversial, is the information presented in a balanced way? There are many controversies in regard to treatment options; however, a good site will present the pros and cons of a particular option. Be cautious with sites that claim “miracle cures” or make conspiracy claims.
Evaluate each site separately. Links can often lead from a good site to ones of lesser quality.
Look for awards or certificates that a site has received. For example, the HON Code logo is displayed by sites that have agreed to abide by eight principals set by the Health on the Net Foundation. These principles set standards for accuracy, bias, sponsorship and confidentiality. When using a directory or search engine that rates sites, read the page that discusses what criteria are used to determine a site’s rating.
The Internet is a wonderful source of information and, when used carefully, can be very helpful in answering health-related questions. But the information found on the Internet should never be used as a substitute for consulting with a health professional. And, whenever using the Internet, keep in mind the caveat, “It is so easy to post information on the Internet that almost any idiot can do it, and almost every idiot has.”
- Misleading information on health social sites (and tips on how to evaluate health/medical information) (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Search Engine Optimization And The Best Tips Available Today (ronmedlin.com)
- Basics of SEO (primeempire.com)
- What is the best health information on the internet? The ‘I have’ project (stwem.com)
- The Secret Lives of Healthcare Information Seekers (marketingvox.com)
- Don’t just Google: Try Google Scholar (onlinecollege.org)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the US governments primary way to communicate information on diseases, conditions, and safety. Information may be found in areas as ….
Familydoctor.org includes health information for the whole family
Healthfinder.gov is a US government Web site with information and tools that can help you stay healthy. Resources on a wide range of health topics carefully selected from over 1,600 government and non-profit organizations. Social media options to connect you with people and organizations that can help you on your journey to living a healthier life.
KidsHealth provides information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years. Material is written by doctors in understandable language at three levels: parents, kids, and teens
KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens.
Just in time for Valentine’s day.
ScienceOxford not only engages in innovation but also in educating students as well as the public at large. It’s Web presence encourages life long learning through Webcasts (above) as well as exhibitions at its center in Oxford, England.
Science Oxford Live has a YouTube channel with videos ranging from Parkinson’s Disease to health care innovations to microbes to consciousness. Other science topics outside of health/medicine are also represented.
The Watch Us page also links to
- Streaming video (remember, this is London, England time!)
- Subscription options (email updates, RSS, iTunes)
- Science Oxford Online
Here one can search content as well as filter by subjects (biology, chemistry, genetics, sex, space, nature, etc)
This morning I stumbled upon LiveScience.com while perusing January’s Internet Reviews at College and Research Library News.
Live Science provide news in the areas of science, health, and technology for a general academic audience, especially undergraduates.It is a commercial site that is part of the TechMedia Network (which also includes TechNews Daily and Business News Daily). LiveScience content is often featured at partner sites including Yahoo and MSNBC.com. Most of the professional journalists on the editorial staff hold advanced degrees in technology or the sciences.
The site can be a big overwhelming at first with its images and video links, but there is wealth of information for the patient!
The features include:
- 11 subject areas in the bar at the top of the page – “Space,” “Animals,” “Health,” “Environment,” “Technology,” “History,” “Culture,” “Video,” Strange News,” “Images,” and “Topics.”
- “Top Stories” section typically presents five current news items along with a variety of rotating images.
- Images (containing considerable archives) with links to albums, infographics, and wallpapers
From the 6 January 2012 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Stem cell therapies offer the potential to treat diseases or conditions for which few treatments exist.
Stem cells, sometimes called the body’s “master cells,” are the precursor cells that develop into blood, brain, bones and all of your organs. Their promise in medical treatments is that they have the potential to repair, restore, replace and regenerate cells that could then be used to treat many medical conditions and diseases.
But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned that the hope that patients have for cures not yet available may leave them vulnerable to unscrupulous providers of stem cell treatments that are illegal and potentially harmful.
FDA cautions consumers to make sure that any stem cell treatment they are considering has been approved by FDA or is being studied under a clinical investigation that has been submitted to and allowed to proceed by FDA.
FDA has approved only one stem cell product [Flahiff's emphasis], Hemacord, a cord blood-derived product manufactured by the New York Blood Center and used for specified indications in patients with disorders affecting the body’s blood-forming system.
Regulation of Stem Cells
FDA regulates stem cells in the U.S. to ensure that they are safe and effective for their intended use.
“Stem cells can come from many different sources and under the right conditions can give rise to many different cell types,” says Stephanie Simek, Ph.D., deputy director of FDA’s Office of Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies.
Stem cells that come from bone marrow or blood are routinely used in transplant procedures to treat patients with cancer and other disorders of the blood and immune system.
Umbilical cord blood is collected from a placenta with the birth mother’s consent. Cord blood cells are then isolated, processed, and frozen and stored in a cord blood bank for future use. Cord blood is regulated by FDA and cord blood banks must follow regulatory requirements.
But there are many other stem cell products, including other cord blood-derived products, that have been reviewed by FDA for use in investigational studies, says Simek. Investigational products undergo a thorough review process as the sponsor prepares to study the safety and effectiveness of the product in adequate and well-controlled human studies (clinical trials).
As part of this review, the sponsor must show how the product will be manufactured so that FDA can make certain that appropriate steps are being taken to help assure the product’s safety, purity and potency. FDA also requires that there be sufficient data generated from animal studies to aid in evaluating any potential risks associated with the use of these products.
Consumers need to be aware that at present–other than cord blood for certain specified indications–there are no approved stem cell products.
Advice for Consumers
- If you are considering stem cell treatment in the U.S., ask your physician if the necessary FDA approval has been obtained or if you will be part of an FDA-regulated clinical study. This also applies if the stem cells are your own. Even if the cells are yours, there are safety risks, including risks introduced when the cells are manipulated after removal.There is a potential safety risk when you put cells in an area where they are not performing the same biological function as they were when in their original location in the body,” says Simek. Cells in a different environment may multiply, form tumors, or may leave the site you put them in and migrate somewhere else.
- If you are considering having stem cell treatment in another country, learn all you can about regulations covering the products in that country. Exercise caution before undergoing treatment with a stem cell-based product in a country that—unlike the U.S.—may not require clinical studies designed to demonstrate that the product is safe and effective. FDA does not regulate stem cell treatments used in solely in countries other than the United States and typically has little information about foreign establishments or their stem cell products.
Thwarting a Stem Cell Scheme
In December, 2011, three men were arrested in the United States and charged with 15 counts of criminal activity related to manufacturing, selling and using stem cells without FDA sanction or approval.
According to the criminal indictment, one of the accused, a licensed midwife who operated a maternity care clinic in Texas, obtained umbilical cord blood from birth mothers, telling them it was for “research” purposes. Instead, the midwife sold the cord blood to a laboratory in Arizona which, in turn, sent the blood to a paid consultant at a university in South Carolina. The owner of the laboratory in Arizona was convicted in August 2011 of unlawfully introducing stem cells into interstate commerce. She faces up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The consultant, an assistant professor, used university facilities to manufacture stem cell products. He then sent the products back to the lab, which sold them to a man representing himself as a physician licensed in the U.S. The man then traveled to Mexico to perform unapproved stem cell procedures on people suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
The three defendants allegedly received more than $1.5 million from patients seeking treatment for incurable diseases.
“Scammers like these offer false hope to people with incurable diseases in order to line their own pockets with money,” says Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI), Kansas City Field Office. “FDA will continue to aggressively pursue perpetrators who expose the American public to the dangers of unapproved stem cells and ensure that they are punished to the full extent of the law.”
FDA’s OCI worked the case with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division.
This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
- Stem Cells (Medline Plus) has links to overviews, news items, specific conditions, research (including clinical trials and research news from reputable organizations), directories and organizations
- Stem Cell Information(US National Institutes for Health) includes links to
- FDA Warns About Stem Cell Claims – Information You Should Know (regcompliance.wordpress.com)
- Stem Cells: Worldwide Markets for Transplantation, Cord Blood Banking and Drug Development (prnewswire.com)
- American scientist arrested in stem-cell clinic sting (blogs.nature.com)
- FBI crackdown on unproven stem cell therapies (newscientist.com)
- FBI crackdown on unproven stem cell therapies (newscientist.com)
- 3 Arrested for Peddling Miracle Stem Cell Cure (foxnews.com)
- Stem Cell Fraud: A 60 Minutes investigation (cbsnews.com)
- Legislator says stem cells helped ” Times Record News (wingright.org)
- Flexible Adult Stem Cells, Right There In Your Eye (medicalnewstoday.com)
- What Is Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation? (everydayhealth.com)
- Video: Preview: Stem Cell Fraud (cbsnews.com)
- FDA Approves Cord Blood For Stem Cell Transplant (medicalnewstoday.com)
- The FDA, Politics and Journalistic Fraud: The Stem Cell Battle in America (erasetheneed.wordpress.com)
- Texas prepares to fight for stem cells (nature.com)