Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

[Video] Supermovie: Everyone can be a super hero to their community a… on Twitpic.

August 18 Webinar: Protecting Your Child’s Health Through Safe and Effective Vaccines

Do you know how vaccines are developed and approved? Or how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that vaccines are safe and effective in preventing disease?

Learn about the vital role that FDA plays in protecting the health of our nation’s children through regulation of vaccines in this 30-minute webinar. An FDA expert will discuss the importance of vaccines to a child’s health, the development process for vaccines, how FDA makes sure vaccines that are granted licensure (approval) are safe and effective, and how the agency oversees their continued safety and effectiveness.

An opportunity to ask questions will follow the presentation.

When:  Thursday, Aug. 18, 2:00 p.m. ET

Length: 30 minutes

Where:  To join the webinar, see the instructions here. Webinar slides will be posted here also.

Host: Office of Vaccines Research and Review within FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

Featured speaker: Norman Baylor, Ph.D., director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review within FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research

This webinar is part of a series of online sessions hosted by different FDA centers and offices. The series is part of FDA Basics, a Web-based resource aimed at helping the public better understand what the agency does.

Great places to start

Immunization Reference Information Links

Easy Immunization Recordkeeping and Other Printables for Adults:

Especially for children

(More at, scroll down)

Coloring Pages:

Puzzles and Activities for Children:

Bookmarks and Other Printables for Children:

Pass it on

Share a video

            Send an e-card
Additional Resources

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories | , | Leave a comment

Webicina – free access to curated online medical resources in social media for patients and medical professionals in over 15 languages.

Webicina provides curated medical social media resources in over 80 medical topics in over 17 languages.
It is now also available through a free iPhone application and also a free Android application 

Webicina is a free resource, with entry points at the home page for medical professionals and empowered patients

The topics for medical professionals are constantly being added. At this time they include oncology, bioinformatics, dermatology, emergency medicine, genetics, nutrition, public health, and surgery.
The topics or empowered patients are also constantly being added. At this time they include allergy, sleep, diabetes, fitness, stem cells, weight loss, and transplantation.

Each topic includes Web sites in the following areas, from carefully chosen reputable sites

  • News and Information
  • Blogs (websites with regular entries commonly organized in a reverse chronological order)
  • Podcasts (Audio files which one can download for immediate or future listening)
  • Community sites (including related Facebook groups and other forums)
  • Twitter and Friendfeed
  • Videos
  • Mobile phones (apps and software for smartphones)
  • search engines (more focused than Google, Yahoo, Bing…)
  • Slideshows
  • Clinical resources (medical professional section only — includes clinical cases and imaging)
Wish to keep up to date with just portions of Webicina?
Check out and sign up at the PeRSSonalized Medicine page (you may have to select a language)

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food May Act Physiologically Like A ‘Drug Of Choice’ For Some

From a 19 July 2011 Medical News Today article

Authorities in the field of foodaddiction at the University of Florida say new research indicates that overeating andobesity problems might be effectively tackled if people would limit their food choices.

Editorializing in the August edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Nicole M. Avena, Ph.D., a research assistant professor, and Mark S. Gold, M.D., chairman of the UF College of Medicine’s department of psychiatry, suggest modern living presents many delicious possibilities for people at mealtime – too many for people who respond to food as if it were an addictive drug…

Read the article

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

Environmental Pollutants Lurk Long After They ‘Disappear’

From a 20 July 2011 Science Daily article

The health implications of polluting the environment weigh increasingly on our public consciousness, and pharmaceutical wastes continue to be a main culprit. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher says that current testing for these dangerous contaminants isn’t going far enough.

Dr. Dror Avisar, head of the Hydro-Chemistry Laboratory at TAU’s Department of Geography and the Human Environment, says that, when our environment doesn’t test positive for the presence of a specific drug, we assume it’s not there. But through biological or chemical processes such as sun exposure or oxidization, drugs break down, or degrade, into different forms — and could still be lurking in our water or soil….

Read the article

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

MedlinePlus RSS and Content Sharing Enhancements

From the US National Library of Medicine Announcement

In June 2011, the National Library of Medicine® (NLM ®) released several enhancements that improve users’ ability to share and consume MedlinePlus® content. MedlinePlus now offers RSS feeds for every health topic page on the site — nearly 1,800 feeds for MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español combined. Whenever MedlinePlus adds a new link to a health topic page, the item appears as an entry on the corresponding health topic RSS feed. Users can subscribe to a customized selection of RSS feeds based on their specific interests using the RSS reader/aggregator of their choice. Links to the health topic feeds are available on all health topic pages, the MedlinePlus RSS Feeds page, and via any Web browser’s RSS auto-detect feature.

In addition to the health topic feeds, MedlinePlus now offers two new English RSS feeds allowing users to subscribe to all new links added to MedlinePlus and all new NIH links added to MedlinePlus. These feeds are available on theRSS Feeds page under the heading “General Interest RSS Feeds.” For Spanish-language users, MedlinePlus provides one new RSS feed that contains all new links added to MedlinePlus en español. This feed is available from the Spanish RSS Feeds page.

NLM also unveiled enhancements to the print, email, and AddThis® icons on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español health topic pages. These icons now appear above the topic summary, and the Facebook® and Twitter®sharing options are more prominent, making it easier for users to share content in these very popular social networks (see Figure 1).

Screen capture of MedlinePlus health topic page showing RSS feed icon and AddThis enhancements

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

How Healthy People Eat Cheap

How Healthy People Eat Cheap

From a March 2009 posting at Experience Li!fe

Eating well doesn’t have to break your budget. Our experts offer 15 tips on cutting your tab at the grocery store, without scrimping on the good stuff.

By Alyssa Ford / March 2009

Spendy vs. Savvy 

If there was one sound that rose above all others at the grocery checkout line last year, it was this: Ouch! When your grocery budget is under assault, it’s easy to succumb to panic (“Nine dollars a pound for organic chicken?!”) and become tempted to fill your cart with less healthy, but ostensibly cheaper, fare. Trouble is, downgrading the quality of your food is never a bargain. First, your health is just too valuable, and courting an avoidable health condition or lowered immunity by eating poorly is just way too expensive. Second, even in the toughest economic times, you don’t have to scrimp on the good stuff. You just have to know how to shop smarter.

In this, the second in our series on “How Healthy People Eat,” we’ve assembled another team of health-conscious experts to dish on their personal shopping habits:

Here, they share their top tips for creating wholesome, delicious meals on the cheap.

1. Make a strategic shopping list. Buying food on a whim, shopping haphazardly and going shopping when hungry all tend to drive your expenditures steeply upward. By planning your meals before shopping, you can save a bundle. Swensson and her boyfriend eat a nutrient-rich, whole-foods diet for no more than $55 a week. Swensson searches online circulars to find deals near her Brooklyn home, combines that information with what she knows about the food she already has on hand, then searches online for recipes that make the most of both. Then she creates a detailed shopping list from which she never strays.

2. Know the cost of your staples. Even though Farino lives in one of the most expensive food markets in the country, she’s able to eat well by keeping track of what things cost. “I know the price of Wildwood organic tofu at four different stores to the penny,” she says. By knowing what things cost, she can quickly identify a deal.

3. When you spot a sale, strike. Occasionally, olive oil, tamari and frozen peas will go on sale at Farino’s co-op, and she’ll stock up for several weeks. Plus, she doesn’t hesitate to buy in bulk when the opportunity arises. “I drink unsweetened almond milk, so when my favorite brand went on sale, I bought a whole case,” she says. The trick here is to buy only what you actually will use. (You may be able to get a truckload of olive oil for a song, but it won’t keep forever.)…

Read article

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Doctors: Colon cleansing has no benefit but many side effects including vomiting and death

From the 1 August 2011 Eureka news alert

Washington, D.C. – Colon cleansing – it’s been described as a natural way to enhance well-being, but Georgetown University doctors say there’s no evidence to back that claim. In fact, their review of scientific literature, published today in the August issue of The Journal of Family Practice, demonstrates that colon cleansing can cause side effects ranging from cramping to renal failure and death.

The procedure, sometimes called colonic irrigation or colonic hydrotherapy, often involves use of chemicals followed by flushing the colon with water through a tube inserted in the rectum. It has ancient roots, but was discredited by the American Medical Association in the early 1900s, yet colon cleansing has staged a comeback.

“There can be serious consequences for those who engage in colon cleansing whether they have the procedure done at a spa or perform it at home,” says the paper’s lead author, Ranit Mishori, M.D., a family medicine physician at Georgetown University School of Medicine. “Colon cleansing products in the form of laxatives, teas, powders and capsules with names such as Nature’s Bounty Colon Cleaner tout benefits that don’t exist.” She also says it’s important to remember the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no authority to monitor these products.

Mishori and her colleagues examined 20 studies published in the medical literature published in the last decade. She says that while these reports show little evidence of benefit, there is an abundance of studies noting side effects following the use of cleansing products including cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, electrolyte imbalance and renal failure.

“Some herbal preparations have also been associated with aplastic anemia and liver toxicity,” she says.

And Mishori points out that colon cleansing services are increasingly being offered at spas or clinics by practitioners who call themselves ‘colon hygienists’ but they have no significant medical training. In fact, organizations such as the National Board for Colon Hydrotherapy and others who promote colon cleansing require hygienists to have little more than a high school diploma.

Mishori says there are much better ways to enhance well-being: “Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get six to eight hours of sleep and see a doctor regularly.”

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

How prevalent are false diagnoses of disease?

From the 7 July KevinMd article by 

Recently, we expressed concern about the effects on the accuracy of the diagnostic process of the increasing numbers of well and worried well entering the medical care system.

One of the consequences of this influx of well people (and the concomitant reduction in disease prevalence) is the generation of more false positive test results and false diagnoses of nonexistent diseases.

The medical literature is filled with studies on the accuracy of specific disease diagnoses but the focus has been exclusively on missed diagnoses. These studies have often used autopsy data to discover how many patients died with specific diseases overlooked in life.

While missed diagnoses certainly deserve our attention, the opposite error has been almost completely ignored: How many patients with specific diagnoses of disease do not have the named disease? How prevalent are false diagnoses of disease? And which ones?

We are puzzled that these questions are not only unanswered but seem ignored in the literature.

Read the article

August 1, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment


%d bloggers like this: