Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The health risks and benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: health impact assessment study

Estació del Bicing de Barcelona de l'Hospital ...

Image via Wikipedia

From an 8 August posting at the (UK) NHS Bolton Library blog

Source: The health risks and benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: health impact assessment study — Rojas-Rueda et al. 343 —

This article is available freely via Open Access. Please click on the above link to view it fully.


Objective To estimate the risks and benefits to health of travel by bicycle, using a bicycle sharing scheme, compared with travel by car in an urban environment……


Results Compared with car users the estimated annual change in mortality of the Barcelona residents using Bicing (n=181 982) was 0.03 deaths from road traffic incidents and 0.13 deaths from air pollution. As a result of physical activity, 12.46 deaths were avoided (benefit:risk ratio 77). The annual number of deaths avoided was 12.28. As a result of journeys by Bicing, annual carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by an estimated 9 062 344 kg.

Conclusions Public bicycle sharing initiatives such as Bicing in Barcelona have greater benefits than risks to health and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Health Books

Cover of "Emotional Freedom: Liberate You...

Cover via Amazon

From a 9 August 2011 blog posting by Eunice B at the Capitol Area District Library Blog

You just never know where or when you’ll find information on good books.  I recently picked up a copy of the July, 2011TasteforLife publication atFoods for Living in East Lansing and found four interesting titles.  All four are available at CADL.

The Healthy Gut Workbook by Victor S. Sierpina, MD. This  offers holistic solutions for gastrointestinal problems presented in an evidence-based approach.

HomeMade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English. This explains everything about making cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.  Recipes and troubleshooting tips included.

How We Age:  a doctor’s journey into the heart of growing old by Marc E. Agronin, MD.  Working in a nursing home, Dr. Agronin has come to understand not only the negative changes associated with growing old but also the positive found in mental, emotional, and spiritual changes.

Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff, MD.  A practicing psychiatrist, Orloff blends traditional and alternative medicine to provide insight into how to use positive forces in one’s life.

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Librarian Resources | | Leave a comment

A change in perspective could be all it takes to succeed in school

line art drawing of Adrenal gland, cleaned up ...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 9 August 2011 Eureka news alert

Study finds stress boosts performance for confident students, but holds back those with more anxiety

Knowing the right way to handle stress in the classroom and on the sports field can make the difference between success and failure for the millions of students going back to school this fall, new University of Chicago research shows.

“We found that cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, can either be tied to a student’s poor performance on a math test or contribute to success, depending on the frame of mind of the student going into the test,” said Sian Beilock, associate professor in psychology at UChicago and one of the nation’s leading experts on poor performance by otherwise talented people.

She is the author of “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting it Right When You Have To,” released this month in paperback.

In a new paper published in the current issue of the journal “Emotion,” Beilock and her colleagues explore the topic of performance failure in math and show, for the first time, that there is a critical connection between working memory, math anxiety and salivary cortisol.

Working memory is the mental reserve that people use to process information and figure out solutions during tests. Math anxiety is fear or apprehension when just thinking about taking a math test. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland and associated with stress-related changes in the body; it is often referred to as the “stress hormone.”

Read this entire Eureka news alert

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buyer Beware: Herbal Products Missing Key Safety Information

From the 8 August 2011 Science Daily article

Many herbal remedies available over-the-counter in pharmacies and health food shops are still lacking important information needed for safe use, according to University of Leeds researchers.

In April this year, a new EU law came into force regulating the sale of traditional herbal medicines, such as St John’s wort and Echinacea. These products must now contain clear information on possible side effects, how they could interact with other prescribed medicines and whether people with existing illnesses should take them or not. They are clearly marked with the THR logo showing they have ‘Traditional Herbal Registration’.

However, a number of popular herbal remedies, such as Asian ginseng and ginkgo, may not be covered by this law and could be missing key details on their safe use. Also, existing stocks on the shelves of shops and pharmacies, produced before the law came into force, can still be bought and will not have the new clear safety information….

Read entire Science Daily news article

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

The Real Science News Cycle (Comic and a Response)

From the 31 July 2011 blog posting at Science is Everyone’s Story

I forwarded this comic about science news to a journalist the other day. But then I took a second look at it.

At first glance, the process seems simple. A scientist unearths valuable, complex information. The university PR department simplifies it… and the story goes downhill. At the end, the scientist’s grandmother is wearing a hat to protect herself from his discovery.

The Science News Cycle: Ph.D. ComicsThe Science News Cycle. © Jorge Cham

After reading the comic, I realized I disagree with it. Often, in my experience, the process looks like this:

  1. The scientist’s grandmother already has an opinion.
  2. The scientist, publicist and reporters see their work as a one-way transfer of information. They don’t consider how audiences with preexisting opinions will respond to the story.
  3. The bloggers seek news that will confirm their preexisting views.
  4. The scientist’s grandmother shakes her head. Her belief has been reinforced. She goes online to buy a hat.
  5. At the end of the story, the scientist goes to ask a federal agency for funding. The agency leaders were appointed by politicians whom his grandmother elected. The scientist hopes the agency will make the right decision.
From the scientist’s point of view, the translation failed. From my perspective, the scientist and the publicist missed a chance to change the preexisting beliefs of their audiences. If there are misconceptions out there already, putting facts on the table may not be enough to change public perceptions of science.





August 9, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

Government agency working to empower patients and others to improve health care quality

Find More Ways to Improve Your Health Care.

The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is working to empower us through an ad campaign and online materials.

The ad campaign Questions are the Answers includes public service announcements (the videos may  be viewed here)

The Questions are the Answers campaign also features these Web pages

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety | , , , , | Leave a comment

How many research papers are freely available? (About 28% in PubMed)- August 01, 2011


From the Newsblog item

The chart shows the proportion of papers indexed on the (largely biomedical) PubMed repository each year that are now freely accessible: in 2009, it’s above 28%. (Some of this literature is not immediately available at the time that it is published, because of journal policies that impose embargo periods on when material can become free). Those numbers are even more impressive than a study last year which found that around 20% of research papers published in 2008 were freely available on the internet.

The growth is due to various public access mandates by federal government and by funding agencies – as well as the success of open access publishers like the Public Library of Science. “What’s interesting is the relatively stable linear slope here for more than 10 years,” says David Lipman, director of the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health, which houses PubMed. “Would we expect that to continue at the same rate with around 50% of the literature published in 2021 freely available?”

Read entire article (with links) here

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , | Leave a comment

Elsevier wants to create an incubation environment

From the 8 August 2011 Science Intelligence and InfoPros blog posting

In this podcast from Copyright Clearance Center, Rafael Sidi, Elsevier talks about a new app ecosystem.

Sidi explains that “as a scientific publishing company, we are moving to a solution space and we don’t want to be just an information provider, but we want to also provide solutions to our customers, to our market… We want to go to the community, collaborate with the community and build the solutions together with the community.”

In order to have their “data easily remixable, reusable,” they are “going to the crowd.  We are letting them play with our data and build on top of our data stuff that they need to build, because at the end, scientists and researchers, they know their problem better than us.”

With the main goal to accelerate science, Elsevier reaches out to the community in hopes to collaborate to find new solutions. “We want to create an incubation environment for the scientific and research community.  [In some case], we providing some seed funding to startup companies… Our goal for the future, definitely, we want to create an Elsevier incubation environment.”

The podcast and transcript are available at:

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources | , , , | Leave a comment


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