Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Resources from the Association of Health Care Journalists

Screen Shot 2013-12-08 at 11.22.04 AM

From the Resource page

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.

 

 

 

 

December 8, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , | Leave a comment

EPA Web Tool Expands Access to Scientific, Regulatory Information on Chemicals

Environmental Protection Agency Seal

Environmental Protection Agency Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

 

From the 9 September 2013 EPA press release

 

Release Date: 09/09/2013
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn, Milbourn.cathy@epa.gov, 202-564-7849, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a web-based tool, called ChemView, to significantly improve access to chemical specific regulatory information developed by EPA and data submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

“This online tool will improve access to chemical health and safety information, increase public dialogue and awareness, and help viewers choose safer ingredients used in everyday products,” said James Jones, assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “The tool will make chemical information more readily available for chemical decision-makers and consumers.”

The ChemView web tool displays key health and safety data in an online format that allows comparison of chemicals by use and by health or environmental effects. The search tool combines available TSCA information and provides streamlined access to EPA assessments, hazard characterizations, and information on safer chemical ingredients. Additionally, the new web tool allows searches by chemical name or Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) number, use, hazard effect, or regulatory action. It has the flexibility to create tailored views of the information on individual chemicals or compare multiple chemicals sorted by use, hazard effect or other criteria. The new portal will also link to information on manufacturing, processing, use, and release data reported under the Chemical Data Reporting Rule, and the Toxics Release Inventory. 

In the months ahead, EPA will be continuously adding additional chemicals, functionality and links. When fully updated, the web tool will contain data for thousands of chemicals. EPA has incorporated stakeholder input into the design, and welcomes feedback on the current site.

By increasing health and safety information, as well as identifying safer chemical ingredients, manufacturers and retailers will have the information to better differentiate their products by using safer ingredients. 

In 2010, EPA began a concerted effort to increase the availability of information on chemicals as part of a commitment to strengthen the existing chemicals program and improve access and usefulness of chemical data and information. This included improving access to the TSCA inventory, issuing new policies for the review of confidential business information claims for health and safety studies, and launching the Chemical Data Access Tool. Today’s launch of the ChemView provides the public with a single access point for information that has been generated on certain chemicals regulated under TSCA.

View and search ChemView: http://www.epa.gov/chemview

 

 

 

October 15, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Tutorials/Finding aids, Workplace Health | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dietary Supplement Quality – Resources

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B sup...

Dietary supplements, such as the vitamin B supplement show above, are typically sold in pill form. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning I read a post about the health benefits of green tea.  It included a resource new to me – ConsumerLab.com. Their stated mission is to “identify the best quality health and nutritional products through independent testing”. To be honest, I was a bit wary. Testimonials always raise a red flag with me, I am not sure who the folks are and who initiated the testimonial. The section “Where to buy products” also concerned me, I was wondering if this was paid advertising…not that this alone would discredit the company. (Click here for tips on how to evaluate a Web site).

The Alliance for Natural Health has a decent review on Consumer Lab, outlining how Consumer Lab conducts business.
Consumer Lab  asks companies to pay for the tests. If the company does not wish to pay, Consumer Lab often conducts the test (through outsourcing to unidentified companies)  anyway without billing the company. And then publishes the results. Interesting… The

Dr. Sanford Levy, board certified in Integrative Holistic Medicine, has written a short informative article on the quality of Dietary Supplements. 

His professional judgements include the following

  • FDA (Food and Drug Adminstration) – Their final rules on dietary supplements tend to be reactive rather than proactive.
  • Consumerlab- He is rather neutral on how they operate, as opposed to The Alliance (above). He does note there is a $33 subscription fee to access the information at the site
  • Companies which certify manufacturers of supplements.
    (Beware though that even if a company is certified …this information is not necessarily included on the product label.)

    • uspcertificed.com -addresses bioavailability as well as chemical composition
    • Natural Products Association – addresses only chemical composition, not bioavailability
    • Emerson Ecologics- serves health care professionals as a distributor for multiple manufacturers. Emerson initiated a quality program in 2010, ranking manufacturers based on a number of criteria. Manufacturers who choose not to distribute through Emerson Ecologics will not be listed in any of the categories.

More detailed information on supplements by him at http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~shlevy/dietsuppqualitysafetyefficacy.htm
   His outline on supplement regulation is at
http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~shlevy/Regulation%20of%20Dietary%20Supplements.htm

He covers other topics at http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~shlevy/

August 26, 2013 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Nutrition, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Resources in Multiple Languages

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

Oh, I haven’t forgotten. Here is the list of Health Resources in Multiple Languages.

 

 

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , | Leave a comment

NIH launches free database of drugs associated with liver injury

 

From the 12 October 2012 news release

A free source of evidence-based information for health care professionals and for researchers studying liver injury associated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements is now available from the National Institutes of Health. Researchers and health care professionals can use the LiverTox database to identify basic and clinical research questions to be answered and to chart optimal ways to diagnose and control drug-induced liver injury.

Drug-induced liver injury is the leading cause of acute liver failure in the United States, accounting for at least half of cases. It occurs at all ages, in men and women, and in all races and ethnic groups. Drug-induced liver disease is more likely to occur among older adults because they tend to take more medications than younger people. Some drugs directly damage the liver, while others cause damage indirectly or by an allergic reaction. The most important element to managing drug-induced liver injury is to identify the drug that’s causing the problem and appropriate steps to eliminate or reduce damage to the liver.

“Because drug-induced liver disease is not a single, common disease, it is very difficult to diagnose, with each drug causing a somewhat different pattern of liver damage,” said Jay H. Hoofnagle, M.D., the major creator of LiverTox and director of the Liver Disease Research Branch at NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). “Doctors have to rule out all other causes of liver disease before saying that a patient has drug-induced injury liver.”

LiverTox has a searchable database of about 700 medications available in the United States by prescription or over the counter. Over the next few years, another 300 drugs will be added. The database offers these features:

  • An overview of drug-induced liver injury, including diagnostic criteria, the role of liver biopsy, descriptions of different clinical patterns and standard definitions.
  • A detailed report of each drug, including background, case study, product package insert, chemical makeup and structure, dose recommendations and references with links.
  • An interactive section, allowing users to report cases of drug-induced liver injury to the LiverTox website. Reports will be automatically forwarded to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch program. MedWatch allows the public and health care professionals to report adverse events, product defects, or product use errors. The FDA uses the information to monitor product safety.

“LiverTox is the result of a significant scientific collaboration between the national and international clinical and research communities, the NIDDK and the National Library of Medicine (NLM),” said Steven Phillips, M.D., co-sponsor of LiverTox and director of NLM’s Division of Specialized Information Services. “LiverTox demonstrates the importance of using informatics to provide easy access to evidenced-based information to clinicians and researchers that will improve the health and well-being of all and help prevent unnecessary morbidity and mortality, worldwide. I hope the dynamic LiverTox model can be used to create a new suite of databases that can identify drug-induced injury to other organs such as the heart, kidney, and lung. The National Library of Medicine is honored to be part of this significant scientific endeavor.”

 

October 15, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Many NIH-funded clinical trials go unpublished over two years after completion (with ClinicalTrials.gov link for many trial study results)

[Flahiff's note:  It is possible that  many of these unpublished clinical trial results would have made a positive difference in many people's lives. These unpublished results have the potential of aiding many researchers. They can prevent unnecessary duplicate trials, point to areas needing more research, and potentially provide groundwork for collaboration.

On another note, it is good to see that published research papers are now more accessible to all.  As of 2008, research papers based on NIH grants must be submitted to PubMed Central (PMC) when those papers are accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. PMC will then make the papers freely available to the public within 12 months of publication.

I look forward to the day when all research papers are freely available to the public.  There are a myriad of issues, as who pays for the publishing, the peer review process, and where the research papers should be "housed". However, I believe the more scientific research results are disseminated in easily accessible format, the more we can advance in technology applications and filling in knowledge gaps.]

Excerpt from the 3 January 2012 article By Karen N. Peart at Yale News

In a study that investigates the challenges of disseminating clinical research findings in peer-reviewed biomedical journals, Yale School of Medicine researchers have found that fewer than half of a sample of trials primarily or partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were published within 30 months of completing the clinical trial.

These findings appear in the January issue of the British Medical Journal, which focuses on the topic of unpublished evidence.

[As of 3 January 2012, the January issue of BMJ was not yet online..however many of the articles may be found at http://www.bmj.com/archive/sevendays]

“When research findings are not disseminated, the scientific process is disrupted and leads to redundant efforts and misconceptions about clinical evidence,” said Dr. Joseph Ross, first author of the study and a Yale assistant professor of medicine. “Such inaction undermines both the trial in question and the evidence available in peer-reviewed medical literature. This has far-reaching implications for policy decisions, and even institutional review board assessments of risks and benefits associated with future research studies.”…

Ross said that there may be many reasons for lack of publication, such as not getting accepted by a journal or not prioritizing the dissemination of research findings. Still, he said, there are alternative methods for providing timely public access to study results, including the results database at ClinicalTrials.gov** that was created in response to Federal law.

[From the About Page at Clinical Trials.gov
US Public Law 110-85 (Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 or FDAAA), Title VIII, Section 801 mandates that a "responsible party" (i.e., the study sponsor or designated principal investigator) register and report results of certain "applicable clinical trials" that were initiated or ongoing as of September 27, 2007...]

Related Resource

ClinicalTrials.gov

ClinicalTrials.gov  offers up-to-date information for locating federally and privately supported clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditions.

ClinicalTrials.gov currently contains 118,682 trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies, and private industry.

**Here is how one can check for study results
(remember, researchers are not mandated to submit study results to ClinicalTrials.gov, they are voluntary)

    • Go to ClinicalTrials.gov
    • Click on Search (upper right corner)
    • Click on Advanced Search
    • Go to Study Results, use drop down menu to select Studies with results
    • Fill out rest of form with as much specific information as you can
      especially search terms, conditions, and/or interventions

ClinicalTrials.gov records with published results listed via the PubMed medical literature search service.  

  •         Use the Advanced Search with the search phrase clinicaltrials.gov[si]

Use the Builder  limit results by topics (as a disease, medical device), year(s), name of researcher/invesitator)

  •         Need help searching? PubMed has tutorials , including a YouTube at the Advanced Search Page

        Ask for assistance from a reference librarian at your local public, academic, hospital, or medical library.
Many academic, hospital, and medical libraries offer at least basic search help to all. Call ahead and ask
about their services. You may be pleasantly surprised.

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Finding Aids/Directories, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Five Things the Census Revealed About America in 2011

 

The United States is growing more slowly

From the Brookings report, Five Things the Census Revealed About America in 2011

 

Nearly all these 5 (of many) findings from the Brookings  State of Metropolitan America analyses over the past year have major public health implications, especially

  • Americans are increasingly stuck at home
    “Americans move around more than their counterparts in other developed countries, but a lot less than they used to. Some fear that in the short run, homeowners are stuck in places with too few jobs, and not able or willing to move to places with healthier labor markets. Longer run, and perhaps more importantly, states and metro areas that relied too heavily on in-migration for growth must re-calibrate their economies to create better, more diverse job opportunities for current and future residents.”
  • Minorities are driving growth, replenishing America’s youth
    “Large metro areas, and increasingly their suburbs, stand at the forefront of America’s transformation into a multiethnic society. How they respond to and manage that shift, especially the social and economic opportunities they provide to a highly diverse population of families with children, will establish the course for our nation’s well-being over the coming decades. Rapid growth in the immigrant population in some parts of the country produced late-decade policy backlashes that could threaten these places’ longer-run economic well-being.”
  • Boomers continue to age, transforming America’s households
    “The older population is growing everywhere, and a host of public and private services will be adapted to an aging population in the decades to come. Areas that are also gaining younger populations may have a resource advantage in responding to those changes, compared to rapidly aging northern states and metro areas. Yet because the former areas have more racially and ethnically diverse young people, they too may face challenges in managing competition for scarce public resources between predominantly white seniors and minority families with children.”
  • America lost ground in income and poverty in the 2000’s
    “Census 2000 captured American households at a high-water mark economically, a far different situation than they faced in 2010. Economic growth strategies for the coming decade must place greater emphasis on achieving shared prosperity that lifts incomes for a broad segment of households. With unemployment projected to remain high for some time, many parts of the country will confront higher fiscal and social burdens associated with poverty, including concentrated poverty, for the foreseeable future. All metro areas, meanwhile, must continue to adapt a traditionally city-focused social services infrastructure for helping the poor to the reality of region-wide needs.”

 

Related Resources
                    Great places to start searching for statistics about
    • People and Households (age, children, community, health insurance, housing, income, school enrollement, and much more)
    • Data Access Tools -  links to interactive internet tools (as online mapping tools) and free downloadable software

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Public Health, statistics, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Roads adds “A Quick Look at Medicare” and other free patient education resources

Posted on December 19, 2011 at
Health Information Literacy – for health and well being

Reflections on the importance of health information literacy awareness and how it impacts the public health of our citizens. Low health literacy affects nearly 50% of the US population.

The following was posted to several listservs by Mary Alice Gillispie, M.D.; Healthy Roads Media.   “Healthy Roads Media has several new free patient education resources.  There is now a Spanish version of Advance Directives in multiple formats.  There is also an English version of A Quick Look at Medicare in multiple formats.  The link iswww.healthyroadsmedia.org/topics/personalhealth.htm   We hope to have materials on both Medicare and Medicaid in English, Spanish and Russian in the next couple of months.
If you work for one of the hundreds of organizations who uses Healthy Roads Media materials but have not provided any support, please consider making an end of the year tax deductible donation (www.healthyroadsmedia.org/donate.htm).  Keeping these materials free and adding new resources is an increasing challenge!

- Mary Alice Gillispie, M.D.

Related Resources

December 20, 2011 Posted by | Health Education (General Public), Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PubMed Health – A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.

From the November NLM Technical Bulletin article

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

PubMed® Health developed further as a resource for clinical effectiveness research with its August and September 2011 releases. Growing from around 200 items based on systematic reviews to over 5,000, PubMed Health has also begun a collection focused on helping people understand systematic reviews and their results. PubMed Health goals are: helping users find the evidence that could answer their questions about effects of health care and helping them understand what they find.

Making Systematic Reviews More Accessible
Systematic reviews that identify and interpret studies on the effects of health care form an essential research basis for informed decision-making. Systematic reviewing has been growing, especially with the advent of The Cochrane Collaboration and the increasing incorporation of this methodology in health technology assessment by public agencies and clinical practice guideline development.

Systematic reviews (including health technology assessments) are often lengthy and highly technical. Their evolution has been accompanied by a growth in knowledge translation activity. Along with traditional abstracts, various forms have been developed to help people use systematic reviews: executive and policymaker summaries, summaries or other forms for patients/consumers and summaries for clinicians.

However, these materials have been scattered widely on content providers’ Web sites without being collected centrally. Many of the systematic reviews undertaken by public health technology assessment agencies have also remained outside the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) system. The PubMed Health initiative is gathering them together within a single searchable resource.

PubMed Health Content
PubMed Health contains systematic reviews and summaries of systematic reviews undertaken or updated in roughly the last ten years. The time limit is applied to publication date of around eight years, to allow for the time lag from the date of the evidence search. The cut-off currently is 2003.

New content incorporated in these releases include summaries from The Cochrane Collaboration and the National Health Service (NHS) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme. There are also full text reviews from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Evidence-based Synthesis Program. From NHS Choices comes “Behind the Headlines”, its educational service on the science behind the news. These new content providers join PubMed Health original consumer clinical effectiveness content for consumers content provided by AHRQ and the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

The reviews and review summaries now in PubMed Health account for perhaps one-third of the good quality systematic reviews published by public agencies and journals worldwide. Most of the remainder can be found in PubMed “Clinical Queries” Systematic Reviews search which runs simultaneously with a PubMed Health search; those PubMed results are presented as links on the right-hand portion of the results page (see #3 in Figure 4).

Organization
The re-designed homepage (see Figure 1) includes four key sections:

  • Contents: a complete alphabetical listing of all titles, sorted by type of content.
  • Behind Headlines: the NHS guide to the science behind health stories in the news.
  • New & updated: content added in the last 60 days.
  • Featured reviews: high quality reviews on interesting topics are selected and featured here. “Previously featured reviews” are provided in an RSS feed to which people can subscribe.
  • Understanding clinical effectiveness: an explanation of clinical effectiveness research along with a section focusing on resources to help people understand systematic reviews and interpret the results.

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.
Figure 1: PubMed Health homepage.

A drop-down box under “Contents” (see Figure 2) shows the categories of information currently included in PubMed Health where these are available:

  • For consumers: includes consumer summaries of systematic reviews as well as consumer information based on systematic reviews.
  • Executive summaries: executive or policymaker summaries of systematic reviews.
  • Clinical guides: clinician summaries of systematic reviews as well as clinical practice guidelines that are based on a fully reported systematic review.
  • Full text reviews: systematic reviews with full texts, including PDF versions.
  • Medical encyclopedia: medical and drug information for consumers for supplementary background information.

PubMed Health includes content that is currently also cited in PubMed, and PubMed Health will systematically be building in links to these citations. However, there will be some time lag for many items between inclusion in PubMed Health and citation in PubMed. Consumer content from PubMed Health is currently not included in PubMed.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box.
Figure 2: Contents drop-down box.

At the top right-hand corner (see Figure 3), “About PubMed Health” explains the Web site and the National Center Biotechnology Information, NLM, with a full listing of content providers. “Help” includes explanation of basic functions, along with suggested citations for PubMed Health content.

Screen capture of About PubMed Health and Help features.
Figure 3: About PubMed Health and Help features.

Searching
The primary search (see #1 in Figure 4) returns clinical effectiveness content by relevance, with the option of viewing all (default) or only specified content types. Relevant medical encyclopedia results are shown at the right (see #2 inFigure 4), with the results of the “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed showing below those (see #3 in Figure 4). “Clinical Queries” returns results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results.
Figure 4: Search results.

Additional Features
With medical encyclopedia content, PubMed Health has enhanced the display of anatomical images and given this popular feature a more prominent position. There are links from the medical encyclopedia diseases and conditions pages to MedlinePlus® content.

PubMed Health now features “Add this” sharing for e-mail and social media. Coming in the fall, PubMed Health will begin a Twitter feed, announcing new content providers and features, as well as featured content.

PubMed Health full address: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/
Shortcut: http://www.pubmed.gov/health
Customer service contact: pmh-help@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology Information

 


November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, health care, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

 

Logo for PubMed, a service of the National Lib...

Image via Wikipedia

From the November NLM Technical Bulletin article

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

PubMed® Health developed further as a resource for clinical effectiveness research with its August and September 2011 releases. Growing from around 200 items based on systematic reviews to over 5,000, PubMed Health has also begun a collection focused on helping people understand systematic reviews and their results. PubMed Health goals are: helping users find the evidence that could answer their questions about effects of health care and helping them understand what they find.

Making Systematic Reviews More Accessible
Systematic reviews that identify and interpret studies on the effects of health care form an essential research basis for informed decision-making. Systematic reviewing has been growing, especially with the advent of The Cochrane Collaboration and the increasing incorporation of this methodology in health technology assessment by public agencies and clinical practice guideline development.

Systematic reviews (including health technology assessments) are often lengthy and highly technical. Their evolution has been accompanied by a growth in knowledge translation activity. Along with traditional abstracts, various forms have been developed to help people use systematic reviews: executive and policymaker summaries, summaries or other forms for patients/consumers and summaries for clinicians.

However, these materials have been scattered widely on content providers’ Web sites without being collected centrally. Many of the systematic reviews undertaken by public health technology assessment agencies have also remained outside the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) system. The PubMed Health initiative is gathering them together within a single searchable resource.

PubMed Health Content
PubMed Health contains systematic reviews and summaries of systematic reviews undertaken or updated in roughly the last ten years. The time limit is applied to publication date of around eight years, to allow for the time lag from the date of the evidence search. The cut-off currently is 2003.

New content incorporated in these releases include summaries from The Cochrane Collaboration and the National Health Service (NHS) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme. There are also full text reviews from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Evidence-based Synthesis Program. From NHS Choices comes “Behind the Headlines”, its educational service on the science behind the news. These new content providers join PubMed Health original consumer clinical effectiveness content for consumers content provided by AHRQ and the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

The reviews and review summaries now in PubMed Health account for perhaps one-third of the good quality systematic reviews published by public agencies and journals worldwide. Most of the remainder can be found in PubMed “Clinical Queries” Systematic Reviews search which runs simultaneously with a PubMed Health search; those PubMed results are presented as links on the right-hand portion of the results page (see #3 in Figure 4).

Organization
The re-designed homepage (see Figure 1) includes four key sections:

  • Contents: a complete alphabetical listing of all titles, sorted by type of content.
  • Behind Headlines: the NHS guide to the science behind health stories in the news.
  • New & updated: content added in the last 60 days.
  • Featured reviews: high quality reviews on interesting topics are selected and featured here. “Previously featured reviews” are provided in an RSS feed to which people can subscribe.
  • Understanding clinical effectiveness: an explanation of clinical effectiveness research along with a section focusing on resources to help people understand systematic reviews and interpret the results.

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.
Figure 1: PubMed Health homepage.

A drop-down box under “Contents” (see Figure 2) shows the categories of information currently included in PubMed Health where these are available:

  • For consumers: includes consumer summaries of systematic reviews as well as consumer information based on systematic reviews.
  • Executive summaries: executive or policymaker summaries of systematic reviews.
  • Clinical guides: clinician summaries of systematic reviews as well as clinical practice guidelines that are based on a fully reported systematic review.
  • Full text reviews: systematic reviews with full texts, including PDF versions.
  • Medical encyclopedia: medical and drug information for consumers for supplementary background information.

PubMed Health includes content that is currently also cited in PubMed, and PubMed Health will systematically be building in links to these citations. However, there will be some time lag for many items between inclusion in PubMed Health and citation in PubMed. Consumer content from PubMed Health is currently not included in PubMed.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box.
Figure 2: Contents drop-down box.

At the top right-hand corner (see Figure 3), “About PubMed Health” explains the Web site and the National Center Biotechnology Information, NLM, with a full listing of content providers. “Help” includes explanation of basic functions, along with suggested citations for PubMed Health content.

Screen capture of About PubMed Health and Help features.
Figure 3: About PubMed Health and Help features.

Searching
The primary search (see #1 in Figure 4) returns clinical effectiveness content by relevance, with the option of viewing all (default) or only specified content types. Relevant medical encyclopedia results are shown at the right (see #2 inFigure 4), with the results of the “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed showing below those (see #3 in Figure 4). “Clinical Queries” returns results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results.
Figure 4: Search results.

Additional Features
With medical encyclopedia content, PubMed Health has enhanced the display of anatomical images and given this popular feature a more prominent position. There are links from the medical encyclopedia diseases and conditions pages to MedlinePlus® content.

PubMed Health now features “Add this” sharing for e-mail and social media. Coming in the fall, PubMed Health will begin a Twitter feed, announcing new content providers and features, as well as featured content.

PubMed Health full address: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/
Shortcut: http://www.pubmed.gov/health
Customer service contact: pmh-help@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology Information

 

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mount Sinai researchers develop new gene therapy for heart failure & related general gene therapy Web sites and resources

DNA vaccine and Gene therapy techniques are si...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 28 June 2011 Eureka news alert

 

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found in a Phase II trial that a gene therapy developed at Mount Sinai stabilized or improved cardiac function in people with severe heart failure. Patients receiving a high dose of the therapy, called SERCA2a, experienced substantial clinical benefit and significantly reduced cardiovascular hospitalizations, addressing a critical unmet need in this population. The data are published online in the June 27 issue of the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

SERCA2a is delivered via an adeno-associated virus vector—an inactive virus that acts as a medication transporter—into cardiac cells. The therapy stimulates production of an enzyme within these cells that enables the heart to pump more effectively in people with advanced heart failure. After one year, patients who were administered a high dose SERCA2a demonstrated improvement or stabilization. Gene therapy with SERCA2a was also found to be safe in this sick patient population, with no increases in adverse events, disease-related events, laboratory abnormalities, or arrhythmias compared to placebo….

A sampling of general gene therapy resources

  • Genes and gene therapy (MedlinePlus) has links to overviews, latest news, specific conditions, organizations, directories, and more
  • Genetics home reference (US National Institutes of Health) with links to information on over 600 conditions/diseases, information on over 600 genes, a handbook with basic gene related information, a glossary, and links to additional resources
  • Genetics education center (University of Kansas) with links to education resources, Human Genome Project materials, activities, and more
  • Learn Gentics  (University of Utah) includes basic information and research related concepts. Extensive animations and videos.

 

June 29, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Medical and Health Research News, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , | Leave a comment

New Tutorials from HCUP (US Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project)

             Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project logo
HCUP On-line Tutorial Series

HCUP Online Tutorial Series provides HCUP data users with information about HCUP data and tools, and training on technical methods for conducting research with HCUP data.

From the AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) press release

HCUP Offers New Online Tutorial Series’ Modules

AHRQ is pleased to announce the release of a new module and an updated re-release of a favorite in the HCUP Online Tutorial Series.  These online trainings are designed to provide data users with information about HCUP data and tools, as well as training on technical methods for conducting research using HCUP datasets.

  • The all-new Calculating Standard Error tutorial is designed to help users determine the precision of the estimates they produce from the HCUP nationwide databases.  Users will learn two methods for calculating standard errors for estimates produced from the HCUP nationwide databases.
  • The newly revised HCUP Overview Course is a helpful introduction to HCUP for new users.  The original course has been updated to include the latest additions to the HCUP family of databases and tools, including the Nationwide emergency Department Sample.

 The HCUP Online Tutorial Series is available on the HCUP-US Web site.  For more information, contact HCUP User Support at hcup@ahrq.gov.

April 22, 2011 Posted by | Librarian Resources, Public Health, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My NCBI Redesign

My NCBI*** has been redesigned with an improved user interface. A video overview is available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks46w3mNAQE
                        (The NCBI You Tube Channel has tutorials, interviews, and news items. Subscription Option)

From the 20 April 2011 NLM Technical Bulletin Item

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is pleased to announce that an improved user interface will be released for My NCBI. The new interface will eliminate complexities and provide a streamlined interface, robust performance, and intuitive navigation. The most visually significant enhancement is that all functions are viewed directly from the My NCBI homepage, where they are made readily accessible for set up and customization.

The following are highlights of the new My NCBI interface. (Click here to see the highlights, complete with figures)

***MyNCBI is a personalized way to save searches and results from PubMed and other NCBI databases.

It also “features an option to automatically update and e-mail search results from your saved searches.

My NCBI users can save their citations (journal articles, books, meetings, patents and presentations) in My Bibliography and manage peer review article compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy.

My NCBI includes additional features for filtering search results, highlighting search terms, and setting LinkOut, Document Delivery Service and Outside Tool preferences.” [NCBI Help - What is NCBI?]

Related Resources

April 21, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , | Leave a comment

Environmental Health Articles from a Health Care Consulting Company

John Snow Inc. authors have made publicly available their published environmental health articles. ***
A listing of some of their recent articles (all freely available) includes topics as asthma, air toxics, and tailored programs in developing countries.

    General resources at John Snow Environmental Health include

**Environment and Health: Learn About the Environment Where You Live. Protect the Health of Your Family and Community (PDF, 931 KB)
This tutorial can act as a guide to locating pollution resources and addressing health risks

**JSI Health and Environment Contact Guides (PDF, 168 KB)
This guide provides starting points to investigate potential sources of environmental health problems

**Finding Information on Environment and Health (PPT, 5.41 MB)
This Powerpoint presentation highlights environmental health resources available through the National Library of Medicine

**Tox Town
An interactive guide about how the environment, chemicals and toxic substances affect human health.
Created for students and the general public.

**Household Products Database
Information on the health effects of common household products under your sink, in the garage, in the bathroom and on the laundry room shelf.
Created for students and the general public.

**HazMap – Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Agents
This database links jobs to hazardous job tasks which are linked to occupational diseases and their symptoms.
Very detailed with references to technical sources.

**Hazardous Substances Databank
Comprehensive, peer-reviewed toxicology data for about 5,000 chemicals.

**Environmental Health and Toxicology Information
A comprehensive directory to all information sources (as databases and tutorials) from the US National Library of Medicine. The “especially for” link sorts the information sources by audience (general public, students, health professionals, etc).

For additional resources and assistance, consult with a reference librarian at your public, academic, or medical library.
Most libraries (and all libraries receiving some state money) provide at least some services to the general public. Call ahead for a summary of their services, you will most likely not be disappointed!

**Peer-reviewed articles are often only available through paid subscription. They can often be obtained through a public library, although fees may apply.

September 20, 2010 Posted by | Tutorials/Finding aids | 1 Comment

   

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