Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Study reveals major shift in how eczema develops

Study reveals major shift in how eczema develops
Not 1, but 2 skin barriers influential in most common skin disease

From the December 17, 2010 Eureka news release

Like a fence or barricade intended to stop unwanted intruders, the skin serves as a barrier protecting the body from the hundreds of allergens, irritants, pollutants and microbes people come in contact with every day. In patients with eczema, or atopic dermatitis, the most common inflammatory human skin disease, the skin barrier is leaky, allowing intruders – pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites and others – to be sensed by the skin and subsequently wreak havoc on the immune system.

While the upper-most layer of the skin – the stratum corneum – has been pinned as the culprit in previous research, a new study published today in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology *** found that a second skin barrier structure, consisting of cell-to-cell connections known as tight junctions, is also faulty in eczema patients and likely plays a role in the development of the disease. Tightening both leaky barriers may be an effective treatment strategy for eczema patients, who often have limited options to temper the disease.

“Over the past five years, disruption of the skin barrier has become a central hypothesis to explain the development of eczema,” said Lisa Beck, M.D., lead study author and associate professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “Our findings challenge the belief that the top layer of the skin or stratum corneum is the sole barrier structure: It suggests that both the stratum corneum and tight junctions need to be defective to jumpstart the disease.”

Currently, there are no treatments that target skin barrier dysfunction in eczema. To treat eczema, which causes dry, red, itchy skin, physicians typically prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, like prednisone, and a variety of topical anti-inflammatory creams and ointments. But, modest benefit, negative side effects and cost concerns associated with these therapies leave patients and doctors eagerly awaiting new alternatives.

A few related eczema items

  • Eczema (MedlinePlus) has links to overviews, disease management articles, and more
  • Dermatitis, Atopic (eMedicine) is written for physicians, article is free, however one must register to view it
  • Eczema(Atopic Dermatitis) is written for the general public, it has thorough coverage on on causes, treatments, support groups, exams/tests, prevention, follow-up, and more


***For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here.

December 18, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Health News Items | , , , | Leave a comment

Sick Days/ Personal Days Taken Off in 2007 (Restricted-Activity Days, 2007: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, Ages 16-64)

Restricted-Activity Days, 2007: Estimates for the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, Ages 16-64

Here are some highlights from the report by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

  • The age group 16-24 had the lowest percentage of people with workdays lost due to illness, injury, or mental or emotional problems in the working-age population; 29.3 percent of people aged 16-24 had workdays lost.
  • When the age group 55-64 experienced workdays lost to care for a family member with health problems the mean number of days (6.4 annually) was the highest amongst the three age groups.
  • Married females were the most likely to miss workdays to care for family members with health problems (23.7 percent). Unmarried males were the least likely to miss workdays, 7.1 percent, to care for family members with health problems.
  • Individuals with private health insurance were the most likely to experience workdays lost (36.5 percent). In contrast, those reporting being uninsured were the least likely to have loss of workdays (26.2 percent).
  • In 2007, individuals belonging to households reporting high or middle income were more likely to report school days lost due to illness, injury, or mental or emotional problems, 47.4 and 47.8 percent, respectively, compared to the remaining income levels.

Figure data for accessible table follows the image

December 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Research Matters (National Institutes of Health) – Medical Research News

National Institutes of Health: Research Matters

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest source of medical funding in the world.  Trying to locate and keep up with NIH research items can be overwhelming. Through the NIH Web site Research matters, one can find research related news items through a number of ways.

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)


December 18, 2010 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health News Items, Librarian Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

Trust for America’s Health

Trust for America's Health

Trust for America’s Health is a “non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to saving lives by protecting the health of every community and working to make disease prevention a national priority”.”By focusing on PREVENTION, PROTECTION, and COMMUNITIES, TFAH is leading the fight to make disease prevention a national priority, from Capitol Hill to Main Street. We know what works. Now we need to build the resolve to get it done.”

Trust for America’s Health includes the following

  • How Healthy Is Your State? (home page link) where you can select a state from the drop-down menu. Statistics include adult health indicators (as cancer and asthma), child and adolescent health facts (as pre-term labor), obesity and diabetes rates, and program spending
  • Current Report topics include the flu, liver diseases, preventative health care, how public dollars are spent on health care, and keeping America’s food supply safe
  • Advice is given on Advocacy issues, including writing representatives and joining grassroot organizations
  • The Resource Library provides links to organization and other Web sites in topics as Health Reform Legislation, Health Disparities, Environmental Health, and Food Safety

December 18, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Could Cell Phones Raise Odds for Behavioral Woes in Kids?

HealthDay news image

From the Decemer 7, 2010 Health Day news item

Research suggests exposure to electromagnetic fields before and after birth might play role

MONDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) — Children exposed to cell phones in the womb and after birth had a higher risk of behavior problems by their seventh birthday, possibly related to the electromagnetic fields emitted by the devices, a new study of nearly 29,000 children suggests.

The findings replicate those of a 2008 study of 13,000 children conducted by the same U.S. researchers. And while the earlier study did not factor in some potentially important variables that could have affected its results, this new one included them, said lead author Leeka Kheifets, an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles.

“These new results back the previous research and reduce the likelihood that this could be a chance finding,” said Kheifets. She stressed that the findings suggest, but do not prove, a connection between cell phone exposure and later behavior problems in kids.

The study was published online Dec. 6 in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

December 18, 2010 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Atlas of the Human Body from the American Medical Association & Additional Anatomy Links

Atlas of the Human Body from the American Medical Association

Includes simple and clearly labelled diagrams of the circulatory system, the brain, the torso, the female reproductive system, and others.  Summaries of systems and related information. Each diagram and rendering contains a brief discussion of the system in question, along with a selection of related information on the left-hand side of the page. The section titled “Effects of Stroke” is quite effective, and this site will be a useful resource for the general public, medical professionals, and others working in related fields.

Side view of the torso

Other Online Human Body Atlases***

GetBodySmart – An Online Textbook about Human Anatomy and Physiology

“Visually Learn About the Human Body Using Our Interactive Animations”
Meant to supplement McGraw Hill Higher Education physical textbooks. Includes interactive animations and additional resources as quizzes and fact sheets. IPad compatible versions


A virtual 3D body that brings to life “thousands of medically accurate anatomy objects and health conditions in an interactive web-based platform.” Hundreds of interactive features and customized views that look through all of the body systems .Annotated Screenshots area save and share these powerful tools for use in a range of settings. While the Basic version is completely free, there are other levels of functionality available for a fee

Gray’s Anatomy 

The classic illustrated text of human anatomy (20th edition, 1918) is now available online. It is fully searchable by keyword, table of contents, or subject index containing 13,000 entries. From
InnerBody: Your Guide to Human Anatomy Online ***

“The place for fun, interactive and educational views of the human body.” You can explore human anatomy through illustrations, animation, tutorials, and descriptions.

Human Anatomy On-line 

“Human Anatomy On-line, the place for fun, interactive and educational views of the human body. This program contains over one hundred illustrations of the human body with animations and thousands of descriptive links.”

Google Body Browser

“layered, interactive, high resolution experience allows users to zoom, pan, rotate, the human body, and to visualize its organs, systems, bones, and muscles.”[From Google launches Body Browser/joycevalenz]

Human Anatomy

Designed for first year medical students, useful for others taking biology related courses. Material arranged in  six sections ranging from extremities to the head and neck. Each area contains a variety of detailed anatomical charts, glossaries, and images.  Each section includes many radiology resources for different perspective of the human body through x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Other helpful resources include fact sheets, quizzes, teaching materials, and other freely available course materials offered from other medical schools.  State University of New York-Upstate Medical University [KMG]

Animated Anatomies 

Animated Anatomies explores the visually stunning and technically complex genre of printed texts and illustrations known as anatomical flap books. These publications invite the viewer to participate in virtual autopsies, through the process of unfolding their movable leaves, simulating the act of human dissection. This exhibit traces the flap book genre beginning with early examples from the sixteenth century, to the colorful “golden age” of complex flaps of the nineteenth century, and finally to the common children’s pop-up anatomy books of today.”

A collection of  games, videos, and other multimedia excursions. Created by Australian science teacher Ben Crossett. Games here include jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, word searches, and the catch all Just For Fun.

Anatomy Resources (American Association of Anatomists) includes these and many more

Human Anatomy Learning Site 

From the Dartmouth Medical School, the Human Anatomy Learning Web Site is a work in progress, focusing on the needs of first-time students of human anatomy. Its aim is to help students learn clinically relevant anatomy with maximum efficiency.

Anatomy and Physiology Learning Modules

From the University of Minnesota.A collection of study aids for entry-level anatomy and physiology students. Self Tests  Inquiry, Ideas, Thoughts, Learning, Curriculum.

Pocket Body iPhone app (Google Chrome Biodigital Human)

The BioDigital Human is a 3D platform for the understanding of anatomy, disease and treatments.Interactive tools for exploring, dissecting, and sharing custom views, combined with detailed medical descriptions.

*** There are only a limited number of free comprehensive online human body atlases online.
If these do not fit your needs, consider going to a nearby public, academic, or medical library.

Many academic and medical libraries are open to the public (all libraries receiving state funding are open to the public). Don’t forget to ask for a reference librarian if you would like professional assistance!

Many academic and medical libraries provide at least some reference assistance to the public. Call ahead and ask about library services to the public. You may be pleasantly surprised.

As always, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment ( it will not be posted). Or email me at jmflahiff, currently residing at her yahoo dot com account.

I would be happy to search for an image or information meeting your needs. Will reply within 48 hour.


December 18, 2010 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Public Health | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


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