Singing star and former American Idol winner Ruben Studdard wrote the song,”I Am a Fighter,” which has become the official anthem for the Be Sickle Smart campaign.
Photo courtesy of Ruben Studdard
The feature includes a short interview with singer Ruben Studdard and the following links
- MedlinePlus:www.medlineplus.gov (Enter”sickle cell disease” in the Search box)
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Sca/SCA_WhatIs.html
- Clinical Trials and Patient Recruitment:http://patientrecruitment.nhlbi.nih.gov/sicklecell.aspxhttp://clinicaltrials.gov. (Enter”sickle cell disease” in the Search box)
NIH Medline Plus is a quarterly online magazine presenting up-to-date information including NIH sponsored research and interviews with people who have overcome health related challenges. Click here for information on how to subscribe to this free publication.
Preventing Bacterial Infections from Medical Devices – Research Study Results
This scanning electron micrograph shows a clump of Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria (green) in the extracellular matrix, which connects cells and tissue. Image courtesy of NIAID/Rocky Mountain Laboratories.
New research has identified a protein that helps bacteria break away from medical devices like catheters and spread throughout the body. The finding gives insight into how bacterial communities called biofilms cause disease and provides a potential target for future treatments.
Biofilms are complex, multi-layered microbial communities. They can form on biological surfaces like teeth, or on medical devices that are placed inside a patient, like catheters. Bacteria in biofilms are resistant to antimicrobial agents and difficult to treat. Biofilms made up of Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria are a major cause of infection in hospitals, and can lead to sepsis.
A research team led by Dr. Michael Otto of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) set out to determine how bacteria from biofilms detach and disperse. They looked at a protein released by S. epidermidis called phenol-soluble modulin beta, or PSMβ. They chose PSMβ because of its structure, which hinted that it might act like a type of molecule, called a surfactant, that can help bacteria spread.The scientists first confirmed that S. epidermidis in biofilms make PSMβ protein. Then, to test whether the protein promotes biofilm formation, they cultured mutant bacteria that can’t make their own PSMβ. They found that adding medium levels of PSMβ to the cultures led to more biofilm formation, but high levels led to less. This suggested that PSMβ may play a dual role, helping biofilms form while also helping bacteria detach from them.
To look at detachment more directly, the researchers genetically engineered bacteria to turn green upon making PSMβ. When examined under a microscope, the bacteria making PSMβ were seen mostly at the outer layers of the biofilm, or detached and floating in fluid. Moreover, a strong green signal usually appeared just before bacteria disappeared from that area. This suggested that bacteria made PSMβ immediately before leaving the biofilm.
To see if PSMβ could help bacteria spread in a living organism, the team put 2 catheters in mice. One catheter had normal S. epidermidis on it. The other had a mutant lacking PSMβ. Within a few days, the normal bacteria spread to the organs and body fluids, but the PSMβ-lacking bacteria barely migrated at all.
In an attempt to stop the bacteria from spreading, the team treated mice with antibodies against PSMβ. The antibodies prevented bacteria from spreading to all the organs except for the lymph nodes, where numbers were significantly reduced.
PSM proteins have also been found in other Staphylococcus species. Although this research is still in its early stages, it opens up new avenues for curbing biofilm-related infections. “This is very important particularly because it links this mechanism of biofilm detachment to spread of infection in vivo,” Otto says.
—by Allison Bierly, Ph.D.
NCI announces plans to reinvigorate clinical trials
Consolidation of cooperative group program is designed to bring enhanced efficiencies to oncological sciences
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has announced major changes to be made in the long-established Clinical Trials Cooperative Group Program that conducts many of the nationwide trials of new cancer therapies. In a major transformation, NCI intends to consolidate the nine groups that currently conduct trials in adult cancer patients into four state-of-the-art entities that will design and perform improved trials of cancer therapies. These changes are designed to provide greater benefits for cancer patients and more information for researchers. These moves come in response to an NCI-requested April 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM)**, which called for a series of changes to the cooperative groups program, including restructuring….
….The April IOM report noted that the current trials system is inefficient, cumbersome, underfunded, and overly complex. The report recommended consolidating existing adult cooperative groups into a smaller number of groups that could function in a more closely integrated manner….
…For the past several decades, clinical cancer trials have used one or a combination of drugs or other treatment modalities, such as surgery or radiation, in comparison to the prevailing standard of care to see if the new treatment was superior. Recently, some trials have begun to depend on the genetic profiling of tumors. For example, one ongoing NCI-sponsored breast cancer study, called TAILORx, is examining whether genes that are frequently associated with risk of recurrence for women with early-stage breast cancer can be used to assign patients to more appropriate and effective treatments.
These types of studies necessitate the screening of large numbers of patients in order to find subsets of patients with tumors that demonstrate changes in specific genetic pathways. These trials therefore require acquisition and distribution of many tumor specimens, DNA sequencing, and the matching of genetic information with treatment options. The increased complexity of these trials provides a rationale for modernization and simplification of the current cooperative group structure…..
..On Jan. 1, 2011, NCI will impose new deadlines, formulated by its Operational Efficiency Working Group, which will reduce by half the time to initiate new clinical studies and will terminate studies not begun within two years of concept approval….
**The IOM Web site has over 50 results with the search phrase clinical trials, including the most viewed Biomedical/Health Research report (as of Dec 27, 2010) - Transforming Clinical Research in the US: Workshop Summary
General Information about Clinical Trials (select Web sites)
- Clinical Trials (MedlinePlus) has overviews, related issues (as informed consent and ethics), directories, and more
- Understanding Clinical Trials (ClinicalTrials.gov) answers many basic questions relating to participation, safety, ethics, and types of clinical trials
- ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry and finding aid for clinical trials. It currently has 100,613 trials with locations in 174 countries. One can search by topic (as a particular drug or disease) or use the advanced search to use limiters as location, conditions, age groups, and sponsors. Results give contact information for individual clinical trials.The page How can I find the results of a clinical trial? provides places where they might be found, including the ClinicalTrials.gov Web site.
Herbs at a glance: a quick guide to herbal supplements is a 100 page indexed PDF document which gives the basics on the most common herbs in dietary supplements – historical uses, what they are used for now, scientific evidence on effectiveness, and potential side effects.
It is published by the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCAAM).
The NCAAM Web site includes links to information under titles as
- Health Topics A-Z with Evidence-based information on treatments and conditions
- Information for Consumers with numerous fact sheets to help you decide if complementary/alternative medicine is right for you. (Don’t forget to consult with your health care providers! These fact sheets can be great discussion starters)
- A good introductory page on What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine?
- News and Events
- Ways to get updates bv email, newsfeed (RSS), Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube
A few related Web sites
- Complementary and Alternative Medicine (MedlinePlus)has links to overviews, specific conditions, tutorials, videos, research, and more
- Herbal Medicine (MedlinePlus) has links to overviews, specific conditions, research, and more
- Complementary Medicine (NetWellness) has links to general information,treatment, and Ask-An-Expert answered questions. One can ask a question at this site, and receive a reply within a few days.
- Alternative Medicine (NIH) contains links to information at US government sites
- Drug Information Portal (NIH) provides a wealth of information for consumers and professionals.
- US Office of Dietary Supplements contains fact sheets, news items, decision making guidance, consumer protection information, nutrient recommendations, and more
and a related news item…
From the December 16, 2010 Health Day news item U.S. Spending Millions to See if Herbs Truly Work
THURSDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) — People have been using herbal supplements for centuries to cure all manner of ills and improve their health. But for all the folk wisdom promoting the use of such plants as St. John’s wort and black cohosh, much about their effect on human health remains unknown.
But the federal government is spending millions of dollars to support research dedicated to separating the wheat from the chaff when it comes to herbal supplements.
“A lot of these products are widely used by the consumer, and we don’t have evidence one way or the other whether they are safe and effective,” said Marguerite Klein, director of the Botanical Research Centers Program at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. “We have a long way to go. It’s a big job.”
In August, the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the Office of Dietary Supplements awarded about $37 million in grants to five interdisciplinary and collaborative dietary supplement centers across the nation. The grants were part of a decade-long initiative that so far has awarded more than $250 million toward research to look into the safety and efficacy of health products made from the stems, seeds, leaves, bark and flowers of plants.
Reliance on botanical supplements faded in the mid-20th century as doctors began to rely more and more on scientifically tested pharmaceutical drugs to treat their patients, said William Obermeyer, vice president of research for ConsumerLab.com, which tests supplement brands for quality.
But today, herbal remedies and supplements are coming back in a big way. People in the United States spent more than $5 billion on herbal and botanical dietary supplements in 2009, up 22 percent from a decade before, according to the American Botanical Council, a nonprofit research and education organization.
The increase has prompted some concern from doctors and health researchers. There are worries regarding the purity and consistency of supplements, which are not regulated as strictly as pharmaceutical drugs.
“One out of four of the dietary supplements we’ve quality-tested over the last 11 years failed,” Obermeyer said. The failure rate increases to 55 percent, he said, when considering botanical products alone.
Some products contain less than the promoted amount of the supplement in question — such as a 400-milligram capsule of echinacea containing just 250 milligrams of the herb. Other products are tainted by pesticides or heavy metals.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned supplement makers on Dec. 15 that any company marketing tainted products could face criminal prosecution. The agency was specifically targeting products to promote weight loss, enhance sexual prowess or aid in body building, which it said were “masquerading as dietary supplements” and in some cases were laced with the same active ingredients as approved drugs or were close copies of those drugs or contained synthetic synthetic steroids that don’t qualify as dietary ingredients.
But even when someone takes a valid herbal supplement, it may not be as effective when taken as a pill or capsule rather than used in the manner of a folk remedy. For example, an herb normally ground into paste as part of a ceremony might lose its effectiveness if prepared using modern manufacturing methods, Obermeyer said.
“You move away from the traditional use out of convenience, and you may not have the same effect,” he said.
Researchers also are concerned that there just isn’t a lot of evidence to support the health benefits said to be gained from herbal supplements. People may be misusing them, which can lead to poor health and potential interactions with prescription drugs.
“Consumers often are taking them without telling their doctor, or taking them in lieu of going to the doctor,” Klein said……
The Pollak Library California State University Fullerton has published a list of Free Databases from the US Government.
This item came via the Yahoo group NetGold, and was published by the owner Librarian David P. Dillard
Here are the the links to free Health and Medicine resources.
[Flahiff's note: MedlinePlus is a great starting point for consumer level health/medical information. It goes beyond news to give great starting points for information on diseases and conditions. It includes videos (as surgeries), links to directories (as hospital and physician directories), options for email alerts, Twitter, and much more.
Drugs @ FDA is a great source, however, the NLM Drug Information Portal is a more comprehensive resource. This portal includes both consumer level and professional level drug information resources, including Drugs@FDA, MedlinePlus resources, and references from scientific journals as well as toxicology resources.
PubMed is the largest indexer of health/medical articles written by scientists, physicians,and other health care related professionals. Not all of the articles are available for free online. Please click here for suggestions on how to get individual health/medical articles for free or low cost.]
- PLoS: Public Library of Science
Full text. PLoS publishes peer-reviewed, open access scientific and medical journals that include original research as well as timely feature articles. All PLoS articles are immediately freely accessible online, are deposited in the free public archive PubMed Central, and can be redistributed and reused according to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.
- Cancer Literature in PubMed
Search the Cancer subset in PubMed.
Search by drug name, active ingredient, application number, and more.
- PillBox Beta
Aids in the identification of unknown solid dosage pharmaceuticals using images to identify pills (color, shape, etc) as well as a separate advanced search (imprint, drug manufacture, ingredients, etc)
- Household Products Database
Health and safety information on householdproducts.
Health news on 800 topics on conditions, diseases, and wellness.
- National Academies Press
Full text books on behavioral and social sciences, biology, computers, earth sciences, education, energy, engineering, environmental issues, food and nutrition, health and medicine, industry and labor, math, chemistry, physics, space and aeronautics, transportation, and more.
- National Library of Medicine: Databases
Linds to databases and electronic resources from the NIH.
- NLM Gateway
From NIH. Accesses Medline, PubMed, Toxline, DART, ClinicalTrials.gov, and other government databases.
- NLM/NIH Resources
Links to NLM, NIH and other federal government resources.
- Nutrient Data Laboratory Database
The Nutrient Data Laboratory (NDL) has the responsibility to develop USDA’s National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, the foundation of most food and nutrition databases in the US, used in food policy, research and nutrition monitoring.
- Nutrient Data Laboratory [USDA]
Search by keywords to retrieve nutrient data.
More than 19 million citations to biomedical articles from MedLine and life science journals. Some links to full text.
- PubMed Central
Full text articles from PubMed, the free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literataure.
Today’s older Americans enjoy longer lives and better health than did previous generations. These and other trends are reported in Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being, a unique, comprehensive look at aging in the United States from the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.It is divided into five subject areas: population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. A link to a powerpoint slide of charts may be found here.
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a medically supervised program to help people who have
- A heart attack
- Angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting for coronary heart disease
- A heart valve repair or replacement
- A heart transplant or a lung transplant
- Heart failure
The goal is to help you return to an active life, and to reduce the risk of further heart problems. A team of specialists will create a plan for you that includes exercise training, education on heart healthy living, and counseling. You will learn how to reduce your risk factors. These may include disorders such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight or obesity, diabetes. Smoking, lack of physical activity, and depression are other risk factors.
- Cardiac Rehabilitation(American College of Cardiology)
- Cardiac Rehabilitation(Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation?(American Heart Association) - PDF
- Also available in Spanish
- Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)(National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Managing Your Medicines(American Heart Association)
- Return to top
- Communicating with Professionals(American Heart Association)
- How to Choose a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program(Cleveland Clinic Foundation)
- JAMA Patient Page: Acute Emotional Stress and the Heart(American Medical Association)
- Also available in Spanish
- JAMA Patient Page: Chronic Stress and the Heart(American Medical Association)
- Also available in Spanish
- MedlinePlus: High Blood Pressure(National Library of Medicine)
- MedlinePlus: Weight Control(National Library of Medicine)
- Also available in Spanish
MedlinePlus is a goldmine of health information from the National Institutes on Health.
It contains information and links on over 700 health topics, drugs and supplements, and a medical encyclopedia.
You may sign up for email updates on topics of your choosing, as well as their news service and magazine. Many topics include videos and “cool tools (as calculators, quizzes, and games). Mobile version option as well as Twitter.
This guide by the International Society for Stem Cell Research answers the following questions:
- What are stem cells?
- What is a stem cell therapy?
- For what diseases or conditions are stem cell treatments well established?
- What are some of the special considerations for stem cell therapies?
- What is the usual process for developing a new medical treatment?
- What are the differences between an approved clinical treatment and an experimental intervention?
- What is a clinical trial?
- What is an informed consent form or treatment consent form?
- How do I know if an approved stem cell therapy is safe?
- What should I look for if I am considering a stem cell therapy?
- What should I be cautious about if I am considering a stem cell therapy?
- What else should I ask?
- Should I get a second opinion?
- How can I find out about clinical trials that use stem cells?
A Few More Consumer Oriented Stem Cell Therapy Web sites
- A closer look at stem cell treatment (International Society for Stem Cell Treatment) includes Top 10 Things to Know About Stem Cell Treatment, How Science Becomes Medicine, and What to Ask.
- Stem cells (MedlinePlus) has links to overviews, specific conditions, related issues (as cord blood), research, organizations, and news items
- Stem cell information (NIH) has an online information center geared to the public, updates from the scientific community (research topics tab), federal policy summaries and announcements (news, events, and funding announcements) From the US National Institutes of Health
Here are some good starting points to locate NIH research news releases
- News releases are arranged by date, most current date is at the top. Items include research results, events, lecture series, and seminar series. Some items have accompanying audio, video, and/or images.
Want to subscribe to the news releases? There are RSS and email options.
- Editor’s Picks area is in the right hand column of the home page.
- The Multimedia area links to a page with NIH (24 hour) radio audio reports, podcasts, the NIH YouTube Channel
- News in Health Newsletter with options for print subscription and email alerts
- The search box in the upper right corner allows for both word and phrase searching.
The search help link gives tips on how to search, including the use of AND and OR as well as complex searches (through the example –> (stock OR market) AND NOT president)