Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

UNFPA Launches New Online Database, Country Profiles to Track Progress in Maternal and Reproductive Health

From the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) news item

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has recently launched MDG 5b+ Info, an online database system designed to track global progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other related indicators of maternal health at the country level. Adapted from the UN-endorsed DevInfo database system, MDG 5b+ Info compiles the latest relevant household survey data with international data and allows for easy generation of tables, graphs and maps for inclusion in presentations, reports and advocacy materials.

The MDG 5b+ Info database contains data on sexual and reproductive health indicators drawn from national Demographic and Health Surveys and other MDG indicators at the global, national and sub-national levels, where available. The MDG 5b+ Info database is published online by UNFPA at,  providing worldwide access to this important dataset. Policy makers and planners are encouraged to access the data to support evidence-based decision making on issues related to maternal and reproductive health.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health News Items, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NLM® Catalog and Journals Databases Merge

From the November 19, 2010 NLM Technical Bulletin issue
[Please go to to view the entire article, including the accompanying screenshots]

The National Library of Medicine® (NLM) Catalog will soon be redesigned to provide users with a streamlined interface and enhanced search and display of the 1.4 million bibliographic records in the NLM database. The NLM Catalog will contain detailed MEDLINE indexing information about the journals in PubMed® and other National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) databases. The Journals Database will be retired.

What is new in the NLM Catalog

    Additional searchable fields
    Enhancements to the Limits page
    New Journal display option and expanded Full display
    Additional filters
    Searching for Journals
    Launching PubMed searches from the NLM Catalog
    Effect on EUtilities

Additional searchable fields
New search tags will be added to limit searches to a specific field. Some of the new search tags are: Broad Subject Term(s), Current Format Status, Current Indexing Status, Version Indexed, ISSN, and PubMed Central® Holdings. See the full list of Search Field Descriptions and Tags in the NLM Catalog Help

Enhancements to the Limits page
A new category of Limits will be added called Journal Subsets. Users are able to limit searches to journals referenced in the NCBI databases, only PubMed journals, journals currently (or previously) indexed for MEDLINE®, PubMed Central journals, and PubMed Central forthcoming journals. Users can also limit searches to journals published in electronic-only format.

A new Images Material Type (images from the History of Medicine database) and three new Publication Types, Portraits, Postcards, and Posters, will also be added.

New Journal format display option and expanded Full display
A Journal display will be added to the Display Options in the NLM Catalog. This display includes fields of interest to those searching for information about journals, including MEDLINE indexing information. The Full display will also be expanded to include all available fields where applicable.

Additional filters
The following new filters have been created: Journals in the NCBI databases, Journals Currently Indexed in MEDLINE, and PubMed Only Journals. Users can view all available filters by browsing the index on the Advanced Search page. For more information about changing My NCBI filter preferences, please see the My NCBI Help.

Searching for Journals

The NLM Catalog will contain detailed MEDLINE indexing information about the journals in PubMed and other NCBI databases. Users can limit NLM Catalog searches to journals in the NCBI databases by using the Journals in NCBI Databases link on the NLM Catalog homepage or the Limits page (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: NLM Catalog homepage
Enter a topic, journal title or abbreviation, or ISSN into the search box and click Search. Automatic suggestions will display as you type your search terms (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Journals referenced in the NCBI Databases
On the Summary display, click the journal title or select Journal or Full from the Display Settings menu to view additional information. Note that the limit is activated and can be changed or removed by clicking the appropriate links (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Summary Display with Limits Activated
Users can also visit the Limits page to limit a search to various journal subsets. The NLM Catalog will apply an AND Boolean operator when the Journals referenced in the NCBI databases limit is selected with a Journal Subset limit. A notice appears at the top of your search results indicating that limits have been activated.

Launching PubMed searches from the NLM Catalog
To build a PubMed search for journals from the NLM Catalog, run a search using Limits and use the check boxes to select journals. Click “Add to search builder” in the PubMed search builder porlet, and the journal title abbreviation(s) will be sent to the search builder box (see Figure 4). If a book or a non-PubMed journal is sent to the PubMed search builder, an error message will warn the user that the PubMed search builder only retrieves citations for PubMed journals. Continue searching the NLM Catalog and adding journals to the PubMed search builder using the Add to search builder button. The search builder will apply an OR Boolean operator if multiple journals are added to the search box. When you are finished, click Search PubMed to view the citations from the selected journal(s) in PubMed.

Figure 4: Using PubMed search builder
Effect on EUtilities
ESearch URLs for db=journals will automatically map to db=nlmcatalog. ESummary and EFetch will retrieve NLM Catalog XML.

By Sarah Torre
National Center for Biotechnology Information

Torre S. NLM® Catalog and Journals Databases Merge. NLM Tech Bull. 2010 Nov-Dec;(377):e7.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

(With Video!) Invention helps students learn surgical techniques before operating on patients

From a November 19, 2010 Eureka news alert

FORT COLLINS – In the last 50 years, modern medicine has made astounding advances in surgery, yet many of today’s veterinary and human medicine students still hone basic surgical and suturing skills on carpet pads and pig’s feet before transitioning to a live patient. An invention by Colorado State University veterinarians provides students with artificial body parts that look, feel, behave, and even bleed just like real skin, muscles and vessels.

The artificial replicas of sections of human and animal bodies — such as an abdominal wall — give students a realistic learning environment that will bridge the gap between classroom lectures and procedures such as surgical cuts and sutures on real human or animal patients.

“It is a significant, stressful leap for medical and veterinary students from the classroom to the surgery suite,” said Dr. Dean Hendrickson, a veterinarian and director of CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital and one of the inventors. “Industry standards for training sometimes actually teach incorrect techniques, or skills that don’t translate into real-world situations, so students don’t have the ability to realistically prepare for surgery before a live patient. These artificial simulations help students master their technique, dexterity and confidence before they operate for the first time on a person or someone’s pet.”

The artificial tissues consist of layers of silicone that closely simulate skin, connective tissue and muscle. Built into the silicone are realistically placed and sized “blood vessels” that are connected to an artificial blood source that supplies the tissue with realistic bleeding. For example, students practicing sutures will experience blood coming into a wound or incision from both sides of the tissue at realistic locations and rates.

Some models are colored realistically, such as a brown-skinned abdominal wall of a horse, with white layers and red layers representing muscles and tissues. However, students also may use simulated tissue in translucent material so they can better view and understand, for example, suture patterns from a three-dimensional perspective while learning correct stitches.

“Our hope is that, with this model, we can begin to help students build better skills that will make for better outcomes,” said Dr. Fausto Bellezzo, a co-creator of the technology with Hendrickson. Bellezzo is also a veterinarian and researcher at CSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

The creators are working with CSU Ventures to identify investors and partners to advance development of the model for teaching animal and human medicine. CSU Ventures is a subsidiary corporation of the Colorado State University Research Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation that helps the university move technologies from the university into the commercial sector. The foundation has filed a provisional patent for the technology.

Colorado State University’s Animal Teaching Hospital is part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

A video illustrating this model is available on CSU’s YouTube channel at

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items, Professional Health Care Resources | , , | Leave a comment

CDC Learning Connection: A gateway to public health learning products

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently established the CDC Learning Connection.

These free public health learning products include podcasts, e-learning, electronic publications, and live events.

The Learning Connection home page allows one to search/browse by topic, media (as podcasts), and title.

A sampling of current products

Help a Hurting Heart (A Minute of Health with CDC) [podcast]

STD Self Study Model – Gonorrhea

Immunizations and Vaccines (textbooks, flyers, manuals, posters, stickers, buttons and many more publication types)

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Noisy toys: A danger to small children (check those decibel levels!)

Before you buy that cute musical toy or any toy with sound effects, please consider its effect on a child’s hearing organs!!

From a Web page of the Center for Hearing and Communication

Some toys are not as much fun as they look. Many toys designed to stimulate children can be dangerously loud. For the infant or child whose arms are shorter than those of an adult and most typically listens to these toys close to the small, sensitive ear, the risk is even greater.

Current Safety Regulations
Many of today’s noisy toys indicate on the packaging that they Conform to the Safety Requirements of ASTM F963 (American Society for Testing and Materials). The Safety Requirements states, “Toys shall not produce impulsive noises with an instantaneous sound pressure level exceeding 138dB when measured at any position 25cm from the surface of the toy. (This is louder than a jet taking off or the sound of a jack-hammer). The Consumer Product Safety Commission indicates that they do not currently have regulations which address the loudness of toys.

How Loud is Too Loud?
To know if a sound is loud enough to cause damage to your ears, it is important to know both the level of intensity (measured in decibels, dBA) and the length of exposure to the sound. In general, the louder the sound, the less time required before hearing will be affected. Standards set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) indicate that continued exposure to noise over 85 dBA will eventually harm your hearing. To avoid noise-induced hearing loss, OSHA recommends that hearing protection be worn in the workplace when loudness levels and exposure time exceed the allowable standards. For example, 15 minutes exposure at 115 dBA is considered dangerous to hearing and even an exposure of less than 2 minutes at 130 dBA may be hazardous to hearing. Although OSHA protects a person in the workplace, the same protection is not available for children.

Some Examples of Noisy Toys

Certain rattles and squeaky toys are measured at sound levels as high as 110 dBA.
Musical toys, such as electric guitars, drums and horns, emit sounds as loud as 120 dBA.
Toy phones for small children are measured between 123 and 129 dBA.
Toys which are designed to amplify the voice are measured at up to 135 dBA.
Toys producing firearm sounds emit volumes as loud as 150 dBA one foot away from the noise source.
Consumer Responsibility
Protect your children. Be aware that noise can and does cause hearing loss. Listen to a toy before buying it. If it sounds loud, hurts your ears or causes ringing, do not buy it.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment