Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

NCI Announces Guide to Communicating Data to Lay Audiences


Logo of the United States National Cancer Inst...

Image via Wikipedia

NCI Announces Guide to Communicating Data to Lay Audiences.

(Via the Blog Health Information Literacy – for health and well being)

The following was posted on the NCI Cancer Patient Educators’ Listserv [CA-PATIENT-ED@LIST.NIH.GOV]

Communicating data to lay audiences is difficult, but the National Cancer Institute’s newly releasedMaking Data Talk: A Workbook can help you present scientific and health data in engaging and effective ways.

 The workbook, based on the groundbreaking book Making Data Talk: Communicating Public Health Data to the Public, Policy Makers, and the Press written by NCI communication researchers, provides key information, practical suggestions, and examples that can be applied to many public health issues.

Making Data Talk: A Workbook is available to download or order a print copy. The content provides:

·         Recommendations about selecting and presenting data, including tips for using visual symbols
·         An introduction to the OPT-IN (Organize, Plan, Test, Integrate) framework which guides public health practitioners on how to present health data to lay audiences.
·         Practice exercises using real-world examples to reinforce key concepts and help you apply what you have learned
Chapters in the workbook include:
·         You CAN Make Data Talk and Be Understood
·         Use Communication Fundamentals to Your Advantage
·         Help Lay Audiences Understand Your Data
·         Present Data Effectively
·         Use OPT-In Framework to Make Your Data Talk
·         Show What you Know: Communicating Data in Acute Public Health Situations
·         Show What You Know: Communicating Data in Health Policy or Program Advocacy Situations

Order your print copy of the workbook or download the online version today.

Other NCI publications include

ntroductory Information

  • What Is Cancer?
    Definition of cancer, a brief explanation of the origins of cancer in cells, basic cancer statistics, and links to other NCI cancer-related resources.

NCI Publications

  • What You Need To Know About™ Cancer Index
    This booklet series has information on many types of cancer. Each booklet tells about possible risks, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, and each has lists of questions to ask the doctor.
  • NCI Fact Sheets
    Nearly 200 frequently updated fact sheets on a wide array of cancer topics. Fact sheets address risk factors, prevention, support, treatment, and more.
  • Chemotherapy Side Effects Fact Sheets
    Chemotherapy fact sheets with clear medical advice from doctors and nurses, and practical tips from patients to help you manage side effects.
  • Radiation Therapy Side Effects Fact Sheets
    Radiation therapy fact sheets that help patients understand their treatment and manage side effects. The fact sheets (also available in audio) have patient testimonials, tips from healthcare providers, and questions to ask providers.
  • NCI Publications Locator
    An online system for finding, viewing, and ordering NCI reports, publications, and other materials. Can be searched by topic, audience, and language.
  • Ordering National Cancer Institute Publications
    A fact sheet that describes NCI policy on distribution of publications, including quantity, cost, method of payment, shipping and handling, and refunds.

NCI Health Communications Publications

  • Making Data Talk: A Workbook
    This workbook provides key information, practical suggestions, and examples on how to effectively communicate health-related scientific data to the public, policy makers, and the media.
  • Pink Book – Making Health Communication Programs Work
    This book, a revision of the original 1989 Making Health Communication Programs Work, is a guide to creating successful health communications programs using tested strategies and methods.
  • Theory at a Glance: A Guide for Health Promotion Practice
    This monograph describes influential theories of health-related behaviors, the processes of shaping behaviors, and the effects of community and environmental factors on behavior. It makes health behavior theory accessible and provides tools to solve problems and assess the effectiveness of health promotion programs.
  • Clear & Simple: Developing Effective Print Materials for Low-Literate Readers
    This guide outlines a process for developing publications for people with limited-literacy skills. It features proven principles and a discussion of the real-life issues faced in developing low-literacy materials. NIH Publication 95-3594

Cancer Literature in PubMed

Other Resources

  • Education and Training for Health Professionals
    This is a collection of cancer education and training offerings from NCI and NIH for health professionals. Courses are available in a variety of formats such as online self-study, video, webinars, and animated tutorials.
  • Understanding Cancer Series
    This Web site contains graphic-rich tutorials for educational use by life science teachers, medical professionals, and the interested public. Each tutorial is also available in PDF and PowerPoint formats that may be downloaded from the Web.
  • Inside Cancer: Multimedia Guide to Cancer Biology
    This Web site uses animations, narration, and interviews to explain how cancer develops and to discuss cancer causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Visuals Online
    An NCI database of cancer-specific scientific and patient care-related images, as well as general biomedical and science-related images and portraits of NCI directors and staff.
  • CancerSPACE
    CancerSPACE (Cancer: Simulating Practice and Collaborative Education) is a unique educational tool created to help clinics improve their process for cancer screening. It is designed for use in training the staff of community health centers.
  • PDQ®
    An NCI database that contains the latest information about cancer treatment, screening, prevention, genetics, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine, plus clinical trials.
  • NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms
    A dictionary of more than 100 genetics-related terms written for healthcare professionals. This resource was developed to support the comprehensive, evidence-based, peer-reviewed PDQ cancer genetics information summaries.
  • Professional Resources for Cancer Patient Education
    Information about the Cancer Patient Education Network, the cancer education grants program, and a listserv for cancer patient educators.
  • EPEC™-O | Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Oncology
    EPEC™-O (Education in Palliative and End-of-Life Care for Oncology) and EPEC™-O with American Indian and Alaska Native Cultural Considerations are free comprehensive multimedia curricula in CD-ROM format for health professionals caring for persons with cancer.
  • Evaluating Health Information on the Internet
    This fact sheet contains information to help people decide whether the health information they find on the Internet or receive via e-mail from a Web site is likely to be reliable.
  • Prevention Communication Research Database
    This database offers a searchable collection of audience research conducted or sponsored by HHS agencies and concerning prevention issues such as physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use, and substance abuse.
  • ASCO® Abstracts
    Search ASCO’s comprehensive database of abstracts to find the results of the latest clinical cancer research.
  • Links to Other Web Sites
    Links to other federal government Web sites and to NCI partners.

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

NIH grantees rebut theory that seasonal flu strains originate in tropical regions


A diagram of influenza viral cell invasion and...

Viral Cell Invasion and Replication

From the 16 November 2011 Eureka News Alert article

NIH grantees rebut theory that seasonal flu strains originate in tropical regions

Influenza researchers have found that flu strains migrate back and forth between different regions of the world, evolving along the way. This is contrary to the common belief that flu strains from the tropics are the source of global seasonal epidemics.

The research appeared online on Nov. 14 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was supported in part by the Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillanceand the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“This study helps us to better understand why the persistence, movement and evolution of flu viruses are complex and largely unpredictable,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “These findings also remind us of the importance of maintaining vigilance in our global influenza surveillance efforts.”

Previous studies had shown that in general, influenza viruses in tropical regions tend to be more varied and circulate year-round rather than seasonally, like flu viruses found in temperate regions with more moderate climates. The prevailing theory had been that tropical areas of the world may be the source of flu viruses from which new seasonal flu strains originate….

none of the seven temperate and tropical regions they examined was the source of all new H3N2 flu strains in a given year. The migration pattern was more complex. Virus strains moved from one region to several others each year, and flu outbreaks were traced back to more than one source. And although the virus that migrated between Southeast Asia and Hong Kong persisted over time, its persistence was caused by the introduction of virus from the temperate regions. Therefore, the tropical regions did not maintain a source for the annual H3N2 influenza epidemics. Further, in contrast to annual flu epidemics in temperate climates, relatively low levels of genetic diversity among flu strains and no seasonal fluctuations were found in the tropical regions.

“We found that the H3N2 influenza virus population is constantly moving between regions, and every region is a potential source for new epidemics,” said Dr. Bahl. “Regions with more connections to others, such as travel centers, may contribute more to the global diversity of circulating viruses.”

The complexity of the global virus circulation found in the study suggests that efforts to control flu should include region-specific strategies, according to the researchers. In future studies, the researchers intend to examine whether the virus behaves differently in temperate and tropical areas, including regions not included in this analysis, and in places that are more or less connected to the rest of the world.




The new findings build on earlier influenza virus evolution research funded in part by NIAID ( For more information about NIAID’s influenza research, visit (

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November 17, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , | 1 Comment

3 p.m. slump? Why a sugar rush may not be the answer

From the 17 November Eureka News Alert

Protein, not sugar, stimulates cells keeping us thin and awake, new study suggests

A new study has found that protein and not sugar activates the cells responsible for keeping us awake and burning calories. The research, published in the 17 November issue of the scientific journal Neuron, has implications for understanding obesity and sleep disorders.

Wakefulness and energy expenditure rely on “orexin cells”, which secrete a stimulant called orexin/hypocretin in the brain. Reduced activity in these unique cells results in narcolepsy and has been linked to weight gain.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge compared actions of different nutrients on orexin cells. They found that amino acids – nutrients found in proteins such as egg whites – stimulate orexin neurons much more than other nutrients….

…”To combat obesity and insomnia in today’s society, we need more information on how diet affects sleep and appetite cells. For now, research suggests that if you have a choice between jam on toast, or egg whites on toast, go for the latter! Even though the two may contain the same number of calories, having a bit of protein will tell the body to burn more calories out of those consumed.”


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November 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , , , | Leave a comment

Annual Childhood Flu Vaccines May Interfere With Development of Crossresistance

From the 17 November Science Daily article

Vaccinating children annually against influenza virus interferes with their development of cross-reactive killer T cells to flu viruses generally, according to a paper in the November Journal of Virology.

In this study, first author Rogier Bodewes of Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands and his collaborators collected blood samples from Dutch children with cystic fibrosis, who are vaccinated annually against influenza, and from healthy control children who are not vaccinated, and tested both sets of blood samples for the presence of virus-specific killer T cells. The majority of virus-specific killer T cells are directed to conserved viral proteins, that is, proteins that are very similar among different flu viruses, unlike the rapidly evolving, highly variable proteins which are targets of antibodies induced by influenza vaccines.

In unvaccinated children, the investigators found that the number of virus-specific T cells rises with age, while such an increase was absent in children vaccinated annually. In fact, vaccination appeared to interfere with induction of such killer T cells, says Bodewes….

…The research points up potentially conflicting policy outcomes. Annual flu vaccines are effective against seasonal flu, but could leave people more vulnerable to novel pandemics, says Bodewes, as induction of virus-specific killer T cells caused by childhood flu infection may reduce morbidity and mortality rates from pandemic influenza viruses.

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November 17, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Higher Minimum Legal Drinking Ages Linked To Lower Rates Of Suicides And Homicides Later In Life

Drinking age by country

Drinking Age By Country

From the 17 November 2011 Medical News Today article

Prior to the 1984 passage of a uniform drinking-age limit of 21 years in the U.S., many states permitted the legal purchase of alcohol at age 18. These lower drinking ages have been associated with several adverse outcomes such as higher rates of suicide and homicide among youth. A new study of individuals who were legally permitted to drink before the age of 21 has found they remain at elevated risk for suicide and homicide as adults, particularly women born after 1960.

Results will be published in the February 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

“After prohibition, most states had a drinking age of 21,” explained Richard A. Grucza, an epidemiologist at Washington University School of Medicine, and corresponding author for the study. “In the late 1960s and early 1970s, as voting rights were extended to people as young as 18, and people of that age were also being drafted to serve in Viet Nam, a lot of states lowered their drinking ages. But by the late 1970s, we saw spikes in DUI-related deaths among young people and states began to revert to a drinking age of 21. The 1984 federal act was really just a completion of change that was already underway.” …..

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November 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Novel Index For Tracking Drug Resistance – Drug Resistance Index


A schematic representation of how antibiotic r...

Image via Wikipedia, A schematic representation of how antibiotic resistance is enhanced by natural selection,

From the 17 November 2011 Medical News Today article

Ramanan Laxminarayan, Director of Extending the Cure, and Keith P. Klugman, Professor of Global Health at Emory University describe a novel index for tracking resistance in a report published in this week’s British Medical Journal Open.

Similar to a Consumer Price Index (CPI) but for drug resistance, the tool accumulates information of resistance trends andantibiotic use into one single measure of antibiotic resistance over time. The DRI is designed for application at any level, from local hospitals to national healthcare system surveillance. It can be used by hospitals to track their own resistance levels and to measure their own success of interventions, such as antibiotic stewardship and infection control programs.

The researchers explain how the index can be applied to evaluate trends in resistance linked to two disease-causing microorganisms, namely Escherichia coli and Acinetobacter baumannii. It is also able to highlight how physicians adapt to resistance trends. In this analysis for example, the index displayed how physicians were able to use other drugs for treating resistant strains of E. coli infections, and how very few options remained for treating Acinetobacter, a super bug, which is more and more resistant to all available antibiotics. Laxminarayan declared: ……

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November 17, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reducing The Treatment Gap For Mental, Neurological, And Substance Use Disorders

WHO | World Health OrganizationMental Health Gap Action Programme logo

From the 17 November Medical News Today report

In this week’s PLoS Medicine, Shekhar Saxena of the WHO in Geneva, Switzerland and colleagues summarize the recent WHO Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) intervention guide that provides evidence-based management recommendations for mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders.

This guide is aimed at reducing the treatment gap for MNS disorders, which is more than 75% in many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Further details and background material to the guide can be accessed on the WHO website:

The authors recommend that: “In the near future, further efforts should be made to introduce formal evaluations of the capability of [treatment] programs to induce relevant and persistent changes, and to generate useful insights on how implementation in [low- and middle-income countries] should be conducted to maximize benefit at sustainable costs.”

November 17, 2011 Posted by | Psychology, Public Health | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Human Services Programs and Their Clients Can Benefit from National Health Reform Legislation

urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

From the Report Summary (Urban Institute)

Human services programs-the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, subsidized child care, etc.-and their clients can benefit from national health reform. Millions of low-income health coverage applicants can be connected with human services programs, as the latter programs: (a) help health programs efficiently reach eligible consumers; (b) access unprecedented, time-limited federal funding for modernizing eligibility computer systems while limiting risks to current funding; (c) keep social services offices available as an avenue for seeking health coverage; and (d) use a forthcoming Medicaid expansion to accomplish core human services goals related to employment and child development.



November 17, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do you make an informed choice when downloading/selecting health apps?




Related Resources

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November 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment


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