Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

AMA Released Guidelines for Physicians and Social Media

From the  November 22,2010 AMA news item AMA meeting: Proceed with caution on social media tools

Doctors should be responsible in their communications and regularly track their online presence, the AMA advises.
By CAROLYNE KRUPA, amednews staff. Posted Nov. 22, 2010.

San Diego — Social networking websites and blogs can be an effective and efficient way to communicate, but the AMA is advising physicians and medical students to proceed with caution.

Physicians writing blogs or using Facebook, Twitter and other social media should be responsible in their communications, routinely monitor their online presence, use security settings to limit access to personal information and abide by patient privacy laws, according to a policy approved at the Interim Meeting.

“Using social media can help physicians create a professional presence online, express their personal views and foster relationships, but it can also create new challenges for the patient-physician relationship,” said AMA Board of Trustees Member Mary Anne McCaffree, MD.

A recent Google study found that 86% of U.S. physicians use the Internet in their professional careers to gather health and medical information. Most doctors also use the Internet for personal communications beyond the workplace.
It’s important to maintain appropriate doctor-patient boundaries and separate professional and personal content online, according to the policy. Physicians should be mindful that their online communications are searchable, long-lasting and available to millions of people, said Julia Halsey, student member of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

Though the Internet can foster a feeling of anonymity, doctors should not post anything that could have negative professional repercussions, delegates said. The policy advises professional self-regulation and reminds physicians to be cognizant of their obligations to patients and not do anything to jeopardize patient privacy or confidentiality.

On social networking websites, physicians should use privacy settings to block their information from public view, but they need to recognize that those settings may not completely or permanently prevent outside access, the policy says.

Careful communication
Physicians are cautioned against having nonclinical communications with patients, because doctors may see something about a patient online that could have implications for their medical care. In the report that led to the policy, CEJA members gave the example of a photo posted online of a patient smoking, when the patient had told the physician he or she was a nonsmoker.

Seeing the photo and knowing the patient may not have been truthful could affect how the physician interacts with the patient in subsequent visits.

It is part of a physician’s professional obligation to monitor the Internet for their own content, as well as content posted about them or colleagues, said Clifford Moy, MD, a psychiatrist from Austin, Texas, and a delegate for the Texas Medical Assn.

Some delegates expressed concern about a recommendation for physicians to approach colleagues they believe have posted unprofessional content online.

It shouldn’t be a doctor’s obligation to police the online activities of colleagues, said John Fagg, MD, a plastic surgeon from Winston-Salem, N.C., and a delegate of the North Carolina Medical Society.

But Kavita Shah, MD, a resident member of CEJA from Chicago, said physicians have the public’s trust and should take that responsibility seriously. The policy recommendation is no different from existing standards that physicians report colleagues for unprofessional behavior they witness, she said.

“Physicians must recognize that actions online and content posted may negatively affect their reputations among patients and colleagues, may have consequences for their medical careers [particularly for physicians-in-training and medical students], and can undermine public trust in the medical profession,” the CEJA report said.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Professional Health Care Resources | Leave a comment

American Medical News (including older issues) is now freely available online



From the American Medical News “Welcome to Our Archives” Web page

One of the revelations from this publication’s online presence is the enormous reader interest in articles from weeks, months and years past. Every year for which content is available draws visitors.

The practice management article that should have been clipped or the news story with the argument-settling fact were all but impossible for most readers to retrieve in a pre-Internet era. Now, our extensive online archive, paired with search and article collections by topic, puts thousands of stories at your fingertips. Add to that a growing collection of Web-only content, such as our interactive tool for tracking health-plan earnings and a “Vault” page that will take you directly to articles and multimedia on topics of enduring interest (

Most of that older content has been behind an access-control wall. By knocking down that barrier, we are making available 10 years of full content and several years more of selected earlier articles. All told, about 15,000 articles now can be searched and read.

We invite our readers to visit the archives and link to our articles from their own sites, blogs and posts.

While on the subject of what’s new, check out our latest mobile version ( We have just added full text, pinch and zoom, search and collections of content by topic. We offer mobile headlines by e-mail or RSS.

Presenting the latest news and useful information for physicians is what our readers expect from us. The opening of our archives adds an extra dimension to that, letting site visitors retrieve and read reporting that remains meaningful and helpful in navigating an ever-changing world of medicine.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

For your teeth, Thanksgiving dinner is a real food fight

Never mind conflict with the in-laws; it’s cake vs. cranberry, pie vs. wine

From the November 23, 2010 Eureka news alert

If you’re lucky, it will all be kisses and hugs around the Thanksgiving dinner table, with friends and family near and dear gathered about, and puppies gathered around your feet waiting for table scraps.

But peace won’t reign within the confines of the oral cavity, where Streptococcus mutans and other harmful bacteria will await their own holiday feast. Your meal will enable S. mutans to launch one of its biggest assaults of the year on your tooth enamel.

New work by dental researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center brings both good and bad news. While bacterial forces in your mouth will exploit your delectables in newly discovered ways, some foods common at the holiday dinner table – like the cranberry and even wine – offer new leads in the effort to stop tooth decay….


“On Thanksgiving Day, like any day, brush your teeth, avoid foods filled with sugars as best you can, and don’t snack often – and if you do, brush your teeth again,” said Koo. “Consider using a mouth rinse, get some fluoride in there – and be sure to see a dentist regularly.”




November 24, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

NIH adds first images to major research database

More than 72,000 clinical photographs illustrate age-related eye disease progression

From the November 23, 2010 Eureka News alert

The National Institutes of Health has expanded a genetic and clinical research database to give researchers access to the first digital study images. The National Eye Institute (NEI), in collaboration with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), has made available more than 72,000 lens photographs and fundus photographs of the back of the eye, collected from the participants of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS).

These images are now accessible to scientists through NCBI’s online database of Genotypes and Phenotypes, known as dbGaP, which archives data from studies that explore the relationship between genetic variations (genotype) and observable traits (phenotype). Though study descriptions and protocols are publicly accessible, researchers must apply for controlled access to de-identified information about study subjects, including the new images….

…Open-access AREDS data and a link to apply for controlled access to individual-level data, including the new images, can be found on the NEI-AREDS study page at



November 24, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Librarian Resources | , , , | Leave a comment

Plant-derived scavengers prowl the body for nerve toxins


Tsafrir Mor is a researcher at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University.

From the November 23, 2010 Eureka news alert


The brain is forever chattering to itself, via electrical impulses sent along its hard-wired neuronal “Ethernet.” These e-messages are translated into chemical transmissions, allowing communication across the narrow cleft separating one neuron from another or between neurons and their target cells. Of the many kinds of molecules involved in this lively chemical symposium, acetylcholine is among the most critical, performing a host of functions in the central and peripheral nervous system. This delicate cholinergic design however is highly vulnerable. It can fall victim to inadvertent or deliberate poisoning by a class of compounds known as organophosphates—chemicals found in a range of pesticides as well as weaponized nerve agents.

Now Tsafrir Mor, a biochemist in the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University has shown that human butyrylcholinesterase (BChE), a so-called bioscavenging molecule, can be produced synthetically—from plants. Further, Mor and his colleagues have demonstrated the effectiveness of plant-derived BChE in protecting against both pesticide and nerve agent organophosphate poisoning.

The group’s research, recently reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), shows promise not only for protecting the nervous system from the effects of organophosphates, but also for gaining a firmer understanding of acetylcholine-linked diseases such as Alzheimer’s Dementia and possibly for use against drug overdose and addiction, particularly cocaine. PNAS has selected the important paper as an Editor’s Choice…

Transgenic tobacco plant is used to produced human butyrylcholinesterase — a bioscavenger that helps clear acetylcholine from the nervous system.



This work was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health CounterACT Program through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke under a consortium grant awarded to US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense and contracted to Dr. Mor under a research cooperative agreement. It is a continuation of earlier work originally under support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

In addition to Dr. Mor’s appointment with the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University he is a professor in the School of Life Sciences.

*Geyer BC, *Kannan L, *Garnaud PE, Broomfield CA, Cadieux CL, *Cherni I, Hodgins SM, Kasten SA, *Kelley K, *Kilbourne J, Oliver ZP, Otto TC, *Puffenberger I, Reeves TE, *Robbins N, 2nd, *Woods RR, Soreq H, Lenz DE, Cerasoli DM, *Mor TS (2010) Plant-derived human butyrylcholinesterase, but not an organophosphorous-compound hydrolyzing variant thereof, protects rodents against nerve agents. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, in press (available online at .




November 24, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

World’s most advanced system to help Aussie researchers detect and analyze rare cells

From the November 23, 2010 Eureka news alert

New flow cytometer will help in fight against cancer, asthma, cardiovascular, autoimmune and infectious diseases

A world-first research system to be launched today at the Centenary Institute will give medical researchers in Australia a new weapon in the fight against cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The new BD LSR-9 Flow Cytometer with its nine lasers will be the first user-operated flow cytometer with unprecedented ability to detect and analyse rare cells.

The BD LSR9 Flow Cytometer will be housed at the Centenary Institute as part of the Advanced Cytometry Facility (ACF), which is a joint venture run by the Centenary Institute, the University of Sydney and the Bosch Institute.

Advanced Cytometry Facility Academic Director Professor Nick King said: “Currently, a researcher may have to run a sample of cells two or three times using complex labelling systems to analyse all the unique characteristics of a cell. This makes it very difficult to detect rare cell populations. It’s like a detective at a crime scene gathering two or three sets of partial fingerprints then having to cobble them together to get a complete fingerprint….

About Flow Cytometry

A flow cytometer allows researchers to rapidily analyse large populations of cells. Individual cells are examined and a wide variety of properties of each cell can be recorded. Researchers tag the cell populations with fluorescent dyes and then use the flow cytometer to a pass the cells through a beam of laser light one at a time. This laser light is scattered by the cells and provides a way to measure physical properties of the cell such as size. The laser also excites the different fluorescent dyes attached to cells. These dyes produce light of different colours and allow the researchers to count and analyse the cell types that are present. By examining the cells one by one, researchers can find minute characteristics of the cells to get an accurate profile of rare disease-causing cells.


About the Centenary Institute: The Centenary Institute is an independent medical research institute, affiliated with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the University of Sydney. Our unique blend of highly skilled staff and state-of-the art equipment and facilities has allowed us to become world leaders in three critical areas of medical research – cancer, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases. For further information about the Centenary Institute, visit

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Health News Items | , , , , , | Leave a comment

EPA- Registered Bed Bug Products

Bed Bug Image

From the EPA Web page – Registered Bed Bug Products

EPA has developed a search tool that can help you choose an EPA-registered bed bug product that meets your needs. You can search for a product by its:

  • Name
  • Company
  • EPA-registration number
  • Where you can use the pesticide
  • Pesticide type

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | | Leave a comment

5 Ways to Get Drivers to Stop Texting

From the Kid’s Health Web page – 5 Ways to Get Drivers to Stop Texting

More and more passengers are speaking up about texting and driving. If a texting driver is making you nervous but you’re not sure how to bring the topic up, here are some ideas:

  1. The direct approach. Say, “I’m sorry, but I get really nervous when people text and drive.” Wait to see how the person responds. Most people will admit it’s probably not a good idea or they’ll at least put down the phone.
  2. The subtle approach. If you don’t feel comfortable telling a driver to quit texting outright, try hinting:”Would you like me to type for you since you’re driving?” Or, since more states are handing out tickets for texting and driving, you could say, “I’ve seen a lot of cops out today, you might not want to text right now.” Or point out things the driver has missed seeing (or narrowly missed hitting). As in, “Did you see that dog/kid/overturned bank truck?”

    If you know the person your driver is texting, ask the driver to hand over the phone so you can say something. Then send a message that says, “Driving, talk to you later.”

    If your driver teases you about being nervous, it’s the perfect opener to say, “Yeah, texting and driving freaks me out. You never know if the person in front or behind is doing it too.”

  3. The “Wow, look at that bad driver!” approach. Point out drivers who wander into the next lane, drive 45 on the highway, run a stop sign, or stop at a green light. Then make guesses about who they’re texting. Or make up a variation on the punch buggy game, awarding points each time you see a driver who seems to be texting (this has the added benefit of forcing your own driver to focus on the surroundings, not the screen).
  4. The group approach. If your whole group thinks a driver is a hazard, make a plan together. Take away the driver’s car keys: It’s what you’re supposed to do with drunk drivers, and studies show that texting drivers are even more dangerous. Or agree not to ride with that person. If several people boycott a driver, he or she will get the message.
  5. The life-saving approach. If someone continues to text and drive or mocks you for worrying about it, avoid riding with that person. Let texting drivers know you’re cutting them off (if you feel comfortable doing so) — a little shame makes people think twice about bad habits. Or say something like, “My dad told me I can’t ride with you because he says you text and drive.”

    Speaking of parents: As we all know, it’s not just young drivers who text. If you’re stuck in a car with an adult who is texting (or tweeting or emailing) behind the wheel, be direct and tell them to stop. Most adults know that parents are constantly telling kids not to text and drive, so they should feel embarrassed enough to put down the phone.

If a driver absolutely won’t stop texting or laughs at you for being nervous, don’t argue. The last thing anyone needs is a road-raging, texting driver. Get out the car as soon as you can. Next time that driver offers to give you a ride, say, “no, thanks.”

Reviewed by: D’Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: July 2009


November 24, 2010 Posted by | Health Education (General Public) | , | 1 Comment