Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Video Game Teaches Young Students Emergency Preparedness

“The Day the Earth Shook” is a video game which the Illinois Emergency
Management agency has created to teach young people about earthquake

November 27, 2010 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Resource Guide for Public Health Preparedness has a new look and new web address

From an NLM-TOX-ENVIRO-HEALTH-L NOTICE ( a US National Library of Medicine listserv)

The Resource Guide for Public Health Preparedness has a new look and new
web address, It is now a featured
resource on the Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC)
web site,

The Resource Guide was first developed by the New York Academy of Medicine
Library in 2002 with funding from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)
National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care
Technology (NICHSR). The Guide is now jointly funded by NICHSR and DIMRC.
The Guide continues to provide access to no-cost web materials on public
health preparedness topics for the public health workforce.

Recently, this database and web site moved to NLM and the content
continues to be maintained by the New York Academy of Medicine Library.
Previous web addresses will automatically take the user to the new web
address. Comments and questions about the Resource Guide may be sent to<> .

[Editor Flahiff’s note: There does not seem to be any browse feature, there is, however, a Site map and search feature.

November 27, 2010 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Online Tutorials Now Available for Bioethics Information

From a  November 24 Medlib-L(medical librarian)posting

The Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown (BRL) has developed a
1-minute Adobe Captivate tutorial for utilizing PubMed’s bioethics
subset limit.  This tutorial is available both as a Flash file
( and as a Vimeo
video (

BRL also has developed tutorials for its ETHXWeb (covers most topics in
bioethics), GenETHX (covers human genetics and ethics topics),
International Bioethics Organizations, and Syllabus Exchange databases.
The GenETHX tutorial demonstrates accessing the Bioethics Thesaurus
Database to identify appropriate search terms for complex concepts.
Bioethics Thesaurus terms, many of which are included in MeSH, are
useful for refining searches as well as for creating bioethics keyword
tags for online documents.

Links to the BRL database tutorials can be found at:

An Express Library Technology Improvement Award from the
Southeastern/Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of
Medicine enabled BRL to develop these tutorials.

Kathleen Schroeder, M.D., M.S.I
Subject Specialist, Science and Technology
Bioethics Research Library, Georgetown University

November 27, 2010 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Despite Efforts, Study Finds No Decline in Medical Errors

HealthDay news image

But experts say some safety initiatives may take time to bring results

From a November 24, 2010 Health Day news item

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 24 (HealthDay News) — Despite intensive efforts to improve patient safety, a six-year study at 10 North Carolina hospitals showed no decline in so-called patient “harms,” which included medical errors and unavoidable mistakes.

Sorting through patients’ medical records from more than 2,300 randomly selected hospital admissions, teams of reviewers found 588 instances of patient harm, which included events such as hospital-acquired infections, surgical errors and medication dosage mistakes.

While most harms were minor and temporary, 50 were life-threatening, 17 resulted in permanent problems and 14 people died, said the researchers, who selected North Carolina hospitals because the state has shown a strong commitment to patient safety. The admissions records spanned the period from January 2002 to December 2007.

Study author Dr. Christopher Landrigan said the results likely reflect what’s happening nationwide. A 1999 Institute of Medicine report publicizing high medical error rates spurred many U.S. hospitals to implement safety-promoting changes, but no uniform set of guidelines exists to direct facilities which changes to tackle, he said.

“What has been done right is that regulatory agencies have begun prioritizing patient safety,” said Landrigan, an assistant professor of pediatrics and medicine at Harvard Medical School. “But these efforts have largely been a patchwork of unconnected efforts and so far have not been as strong as they can be.”

Slightly more than half of the errors were avoidable, Landrigan said. They were detected by investigators who scanned patients’ charts for “trigger” events that suggested mistakes had occurred, such as a prescription for an anti-opioid drug that could remedy a morphine overdose.

The study, published in the Nov. 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine [free full text article], is important because health-care professionals “really haven’t had a good sense of what’s going on with safety over time,” said Dr. David Bates, a professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he co-directs the program in clinical effectiveness.

“It’s very useful to have robust estimates of the frequency of harm over time in a relatively large sample,” said Bates, who also serves as medical director of clinical and quality analysis for Partners Healthcare System in Massachusetts and is associate editor of the Journal of Patient Safety.

Like Landrigan, Dr. Jeffrey Rothschild of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston believes patient safety has likely improved since the study concluded three years ago.

“But lots of opportunities for improvement are still out there,” said Rothschild, also an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “One of the challenges is gaining a really good handle on the extent of the problem.”

The researchers, who were from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Stanford University Medical School and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, pointed out that several practices proven to improve patient safety take much time and money to implement.

These practices include work-hour limits for medical staff as well as the use of electronic medical records and computerized work-order entries for prescriptions and procedures.

“It takes awhile for these improvements to happen,” Landrigan said. “My suspicion is, if we go five years hence, we’re going to see these improvements over time.”

Related Web Sites




November 27, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Fresh Seafood Shouldn’t Smell Fishy, Food Science Expert Says

[Editor’s note: When I was living in Lubbock, TX it was a bit challenging to get fresh seafood. The Gulf of Mexico was a 10 hour drive away, and it seemed the locals were more into beef at that time. Luckily, an Asian grocery store trucked in fresh seafood twice a week from the Gulf….The fish was kept in styrofoam coolers under ice!…I did check the seafood, as described below…(including the close up sniff test!)and had some delicious meals!]


HealthDay news image


From a November 25, 2010 Health Day news item by Robert Preidt

THURSDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) — If seafood is on the menu this holiday, there are a number of ways you can ensure that it’s fresh and safe.

A faint sea odor is normal, but fresh seafood should not smell “fishy,” according to Kantha Shelke, an Institute of Food Technologists food science expert. Freshly cut fish, peeled crustaceans (shrimp, prawns, rock shrimp, lobster, soft shell crabs) and shucked mollusks (scallops, oysters, clams and mussels) should be moist, not slimy or dry around the edges.

Fresh fish should have clear, well-rounded eyes, not clouded, dry and sunken. The gills should be bright red, not darkened or slimy, and the fish should feel moist and springy instead of mushy, she added.

Fresh prawns, shrimp, lobster, soft shell crabs and rock shrimp should have a uniformly light-colored tail without any discoloration, Shelke said. Mollusks in the shell should be alive and hold tightly to their shells when handled and must come with either a “last sale date” or “date shucked.” When buying fresh oysters, look for a natural creamy color within a clear liquid.

It’s best to buy fresh seafood the day you’re going to eat it. If that isn’t possible, properly store it in the fridge or freezer until it is prepared and cooked. Shelke offered the following storage tips:

  • Fresh fish, shrimp, scallops, freshwater prawns, and lobster tails can be stored in tightly sealed storage bags or plastic containers and kept on ice in the refrigerator. Using this method, fresh scallops and crustacean tails will keep three to four days and fresh fish will keep five to seven days.
  • Scallops, crustacean tails and fish can be frozen in water and stored in a freezer for four to six months (0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower). To thaw, leave them in the refrigerator overnight or you can place them under cold, running tap water immediately before you cook them.
  • Live, hardshell mollusks can remain alive for a week to 10 days stored un-iced in the fridge, kept at 34 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Freshly shucked mollusks can keep for up to 10 days when packed in ice and stored in the refrigerator.
  • Fresh softshell crabs can be stored up to two days if wrapped in plastic and packed in ice in the fridge. They can keep for up to six months when wrapped in several layers of plastic and stored in a freezer (at 0 degrees Fahrenheit). It is important to thaw these overnight in the refrigerator only.

SOURCE: Institute of Food Technologists, news release, Oct. 27, 2010




November 27, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment


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