Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Cancer Risk: Understanding the Puzzle

Cancer Risk: Understanding the Puzzle is an interactive site that can help you analyze what you see or hear in the news and make informed decisions about lowering your cancer risk. Use online tools to explore your risk for different types of cancer.
(US National Cancer Institute)

Excerpts

woman on sofa What Is Risk?
Do you know the four types of risk factors that affect your cancer risk? Or that your level of contact with these risk factors can affect your risk? This section explains the concept of risk and lets you test your knowledge of the subject.

two people hiking Can I Lower My Risk?
Here you can explore your risk for 6 cancers: breast, cervical, colon, lung, prostate, and skin. What are the risk factors for each of these cancers? Which risk factors apply to you? And what can you do to reduce your risk?

man reading newspaper Is This News Story True?
You’ve heard the stories about things like cell phones and deodorants causing cancer. How do you decide if the stories you find in the media are accurate? Learn how to analyze what you see or hear in the news.



May 4, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

We Can – A National Child Obesity Prevention Program

We Can, Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition
We Can!
 
 is a national education program designed to give parents and communities ways to help kids stay at a healthy weight, can help your family avoid excess pounds. From the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Get tips on choosing low-calorie snacks, getting active, and cooking fun, healthy meals.

The home page has links to

May 4, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Health Education (General Public), Nutrition, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Your Smartphone to Lose Weight (and other interesting things you can do with a smartphone)

Texting on a keyboard phone

Image via Wikipedia

From the May 5, 2011  Cornflower blog item (The Blog of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region)

Today in Chicago, it is currently 48 degrees at 10:00 am.  Not exactly beach weather.  However, it will be soon time to take off those winter jackets and replace it with t-shirts and suntan lotion.  So, did you know you can use your smartphone to help you lose weight? (Not saying you need it! You look marvelous!) Duke University researchers are using Android smartphones and wireless weight scales for a weight loss study.  It’s not just that you connect with a scale wirelessly and it adds your weight to a chart on your phone; the app on your smartphone will keep track of your weight and depending how it is trending, send you messages.  Hopefully they aren’t messages like “lay off the cookies, Max!” Because I love cookies too much.  Anyway.  This article came out a few days ago and you may find it interesting: http://www.imedicalapps.com/2011/04/duke-researchers-android-phones-bluetooth-weight-scale/.

Sort of on the same wavelength about getting messages from your phone – there are a growing number of services that will communicate with you to remind you of appointments, to take medicines, or in the case above, maybe even give encouragement.  Some examples:

There is a Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast on this topic: http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2011/04/26/health-literacy-out-loud-57-texting-important-health-messages/

Other developments:

  • In Denver, Co, the hospital group Denver Health has teamed up with Microsoft and EMC on a project to send patients text message reminders about upcoming appointments in a diabetes program that aimed to help patients better self manage their condition.  They ask patients to text in their daily glucose readings.  They hope that this will improve condition management, reduce admission rates and reduce costs.  Read more about this project.
  • Getting teens and tweens to be more complaint with eczema treatments with texting: http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/texting.html

For more clinical research see the following:

There’s more where these came from in PubMed.

What is your organization doing with mobile technologies? Does your hospital have ER wait times available via a mobile device? What about appointment reminders?

P.S. Don’t forget about the NLM “Show Off Your Apps” Contest! http://challenge.gov/NIH/132-nlm-show-off-your-apps-innovative-uses-of-nlm-information

P.P.S. (or is it P.S.S.?) Don’t forget about all of the mobile sites and apps available already from the NLM: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mobile/

May 4, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Public confused about ingredients in pain relievers, study finds

Open bottles of Extra Strength Tylenol and Ext...

Image via Wikipedia

From a 2 May 2011 Science News Daily article

ScienceDaily (May 2, 2011) — People take billions of doses of over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol every year, but many do not pay attention to the active ingredients they contain, such as acetaminophen, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. That lack of knowledge about popular pain relievers plus particular ignorance of acetaminophen’s presence in more than 600 over-the-counter and prescription medicines could be a key reason acetaminophen overdose has become the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.

The study reported only 31 percent of participants knew Tylenol contained acetaminophen. In addition, 75 percent of participants knew Bayer contained aspirin; 47 percent knew Motrin contained ibuprofen; 19 percent knew Aleve contained naproxen sodium; and 19 percent knew Advil contained ibuprofen.

The solution proposed by the researchers is to develop a universal icon for acetaminophen that would appear on all medicine labels….

…”People may unintentionally misuse these medicines to a point where they cause severe liver damage,” Wolf said. “It’s easy to exceed the safe limit if people don’t realize how much acetaminophen they are taking. Unlike prescription products, there is no gatekeeper, no one monitoring how you take it.”

Individuals don’t understand they may be taking the drug simultaneously in multiple medications, said Jennifer King, lead author of the paper and project leader for medication safety research in Feinberg’s Health Literacy and Learning Program.

The study found only 41 percent of participants read the ingredients on drug labels….

Related Resources (from the University of Toledo Consumer Health Library Guide)

May 4, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Annual Health Care Costs Rise Dramatically, Says New Study

Percent of Youth 4-17 ever diagnosed with Atte...

Percent of Youth 4-17 ever diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: National Survey of Children's Health, 2003

Poor childhood health caused by environmental factors, such as air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals, cost the United States $76.6 billion in 2008, according to authors of a new study in the May issue of Health Affairs. This price tag represents a dramatic increase in recent years, rising from 2.8 percent of total health care costs in 1997 to 3.5 percent in 2008…

Click here for a Medical News Today summary of the research article (May 3, 2011)

Excerpts

Researchers used recent data to estimate the number of environmentally induced conditions in children and then calculated the annual cost for direct medical care and indirect costs, such as lost productivity resulting from parents’ caring for sick children. They found that the aggregate cost of environmental illness in children was $76.6 billion in 2008 dollars.

The study provides an update to an analysis of 1997 data that documented $54.9 billion in annual costs of environmentally contributable childhood diseases in the United States. In comparing the two studies, researchers found that diminished exposure to lead and reductions in costs for asthma care were offset by diseases newly identified as environmentally induced, including attention deficit disorder,[Editor Flahiff’s note: see above map] and the added burden of mercury exposure. This toxic metal, from contaminated fish and coal-fired power plants, can harm the developing brain and is associated with intellectual disability.

Key findings from the study:

– Lead poisoning cost $50.9 billion
– Autism cost $7.9 billion
– Intellectual disability cost $5.4 billion
– Exposure to mercury (methyl mercury) cost $5.1 billion
– Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cost $5.0 billion
– Asthma cost $2.2 billion
– Childhood cancer cost $95.0 million

May 4, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Study Questions Giving Babies Botanical Supplements, Teas

HealthDay news image

Nearly 1 in 10 infants fed these largely unregulated products, researchers say

From the 2 May 2011 Health Day article

MONDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) — The use of botanical supplements and teas for infants is a surprisingly common practice, new research finds, but experts warn that such products might not be safe for babies.

The study, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, found that nearly 10 percent of babies are given botanical supplements or teas during their first year of life. The researchers found that even babies as young as 1 month old were given these products.

“Our study is the first to examine the prevalence of dietary botanical supplement and tea use among a sample of U.S. infants,” wrote the study’s authors. “The wide variety of dietary botanical supplements and teas given to infants increases the likelihood that some are unsafe.”

Results of the study are published online May 2 in Pediatrics. The report is scheduled to appear in the June print version of the journal.

[The full text of this article is free and may be found here]

Dietary botanical supplements and herbal teas don’t receive the same scrutiny that pharmaceutical products do, according to background information in the study. Use of such products can cause adverse reactions with other medications, and these products may be inherently unsafe themselves.

Some supplements may contain heavy metals or other contaminants, and infants are more susceptible to such toxins, according to the study. In addition, some dietary supplements have caused seizures and even death in previously healthy infants. One dietary supplement was recalled in 2007 because of microbiological contamination…..

Click here for the rest of the article

Related Resources

Somewhat lengthy drug and over-the-counter medicationinformation with these sections: description, before using,
proper use, precautions and side effects. From Micromedex, a trusted source of healthcare information for
for health professionals.  

              Herb and supplement information includes information on uses based on scientific evidence as well as safety and
potential interactions with drugs, herbs, and supplements. From Natural Standard, an independent group of researchers
and clinicians

May 4, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: