Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Video and Tutorial Help Data Users Prepare for Launch of Census Bureau’s New American FactFinder

[Editor Flahiff’s note:
Many health/medical topics and issues have socioeconomic dimensions.
The US Census Bureau, including products as American Fact Finder, are great sources of demographic and economic statistics]

From an October 28 US Census Bureau press release

In January 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to launch a revamped version of its data delivery tool, American FactFinder. The new American FactFinder offers a new look, new tools and easier access to Census Bureau information. In order to prepare users for this change, the Census Bureau has prepared an online video, the American FactFinder Virtual Tour, and a tutorial to demonstrate the enhanced features and functions of the new and improved FactFinder.

First results from Census 2010 will be available on the NEW American FactFinderin February 2011.

It is important for users to become familiar with accessing data from the new FactFinder in time for the release of 2010 Census data starting next year. The American FactFinder will be the primary tool used to access all 2010 Census data.[Editor Flahiff’s emphasis] It will also give users access to other key data sets such as the American Community Survey, economic census and other programs.

In addition to the video, a tutorial, “American FactFinder Quick Start,” specifically demonstrates how to conduct a basic text search, view search results and select a data product to view. Additional tutorials on other new FactFinder functions, such as creating a map, transposing rows and columns, and performing topic searches, will be available in the near future.

To access the video and tutorial, visit American FactFinder at http://factfinder.census.gov/home/saff/aff2.html>.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

NIH introduces Images, a database of images in biomedical literature

An October 28, 2010 National Institutes of Health (NIH) press release

More than 2.5 million images and figures from medical and life sciences journals are now available through Images, a new resource for finding images in biomedical literature. The database was developed and will be maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health. Images is available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/images.

Images is expected to have a wide range of uses for a variety of user groups. These include the clinician looking for the visual representation of a disease or condition, the researcher searching for studies with certain types of analyses, the student seeking diagrams that elucidate complex processes such as DNA replication, the professional or educator looking for an image for a presentation, and the patient wanting to better understand his disease.

“Rapid and easy access to images in the biomedical literature should help scientists and others more quickly identify content of interest,” said NCBI Director David Lipman, M.D. “We believe that the new database will be useful for the discovery process, as well as for educational and professional purposes.”

The initial content of Images reflects images and figures contained in NCBI’s PubMed Central full-text digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature, located at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc. Images content may be expanded in the future to include other NCBI full-text resources, such as NCBI’s Bookshelf database of biomedical books and reports, at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books.

The Images database enables users to search images based on keywords and a variety of other parameters, such as author and publication date. Images and data can be easily saved to users’ collections and shared with others through the use of My NCBI, a feature that allows users of NCBI resources to customize their search and display preferences, save and share searches, build bibliographies, and perform a variety of other functions.

NCBI creates public databases in molecular biology, conducts research in computational biology, develops software tools for analyzing molecular and genomic data, and disseminates biomedical information, all for the better understanding of processes affecting human health and disease. NCBI (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) is a division of the National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov), the world’s largest library of the health sciences.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation’s Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visitwww.nih.gov.

 

An Images link is available through the Search drop-down menu at the top of both the PubMed and NCBI home pages.

 

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brain’s Error-Detection System Demystified

 

 

Researchers identify two autonomous feedback loops in ‘typo’ study

An October 28 Health News Day item

THURSDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) — A new study provides insight into the brain’s ability to detect and correct errors, such as typos, even when someone is working on “autopilot.”

Researchers had three groups of 24 skilled typists use a computer keyboard. Without the typists’ knowledge, the researchers either inserted typographical errors or removed them from the typed text on the screen.

They discovered that the typists’ brains realized they’d made typos even if the screen suggested otherwise and they didn’t consciously realize the errors weren’t theirs, even accepting responsibility for them.

“Your fingers notice that they make an error and they slow down, whether we corrected the error or not,” said study lead author Gordon D. Logan, a professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.

The idea of the study is to understand how the brain and body interact with the environment and break down the process of automatic behavior. “If I want to pick up my coffee cup, I have a goal in mind that leads me to look at it, leads my arm to reach toward it and drink it,” he said. “This involves a kind of feedback loop. We want to look at more complex actions than that.”

In particular, Logan and colleagues wondered about complex things that we do on autopilot without much conscious thought. “If I decide I want to go to the mailroom, my feet carry me down the hall and up the steps. I don’t have to think very much about doing it. But if you look at what my feet are doing, they’re doing a complex series of actions every second,” Logan explained.

Enter the typists. “Think about what’s involved in typing: They use eight fingers and probably a thumb,” Logan said. “They’re going at this rate for protracted periods of time. It’s a complex act of coordination to carry out typing like this, but we do it without thinking about it.”

The researchers report their findings in the Oct. 29 issue of the journal Science.

The research suggests that “the motor system is taking care of the keystrokes, but it’s being driven by this higher-level system that thinks in terms of words and tells your hands which words to type,” Logan said.

Two autonomous feedback loops are involved in this error-detection and correction process, the researchers said.

What’s next? “By understanding how typists are so good at typing, it will help us train people in other kinds of skills, developing this autopilot controlled by a pilot [typist],” he said.

Gregory Hickok, director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of California at Irvine, said such research can indeed lead to advances.

Simply reaching for a cup is a fairly complicated process, said Hickok, who’s familiar with the study findings. “Despite all that is going on, our movements are usually effortless, rapid, and fluid even in the face of unexpected changes,” he said.

“If we can understand how humans can achieve this, we might be able to build robots to do all sorts of things, or develop new therapies or build prosthetic devices for people who have lost their motor abilities due to disease or injury,” he said.

SOURCES: Gordon D. Logan, Ph.D., professor, psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.; Gregory Hickok, Ph.D., director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of California at Irvine; Oct. 29, 2010, Science

 

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , | Leave a comment

   

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