Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

New Report Provides High-Impact Recommendations to Improve Prevention Policies in America

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From the 29 January 2013 Trust for America’s Health news release 

Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) has released A Healthier America 2013: Strategies to Move from Sick Care to Health Care in Four Years – which provides high-impact recommendations to prioritize prevention and improve the health of Americans.

The Healthier America report outlines top policy approaches to respond to studies that show 1) more than half of Americans are living with one or more serious, chronic diseases, a majority of which could have been prevented, and 2) that today’s children could be on track to be the first in U.S. history to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.

“America’s health faces two possible futures,” said Gail Christopher, DN, President of the Board of TFAH and Vice President – Program Strategy of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  “We can continue on the current path, resigning millions of Americans to health problems that could have been avoided or we invest in giving all Americans the opportunity to be healthier while saving billions in health care costs.  We owe it to our children to take the smarter way.”

The Healthier America report stresses the importance of taking innovative approaches and building partnerships with a wide range of sectors in order to be effective.  Some recommendations include:

  • Advance the nation’s public health system by adopting a set of foundational capabilities, restructuring federal public health programs and ensuring sufficient, sustained funding to meet these defined foundational capabilities;
  • Ensure insurance providers reimburse for effective prevention approaches both inside and outside the doctor’s office;
  • Integrate community-based strategies into new health care models, such as by expanding Accountable Care Organizations into Accountable Care Communities;
  • Work with nonprofit hospitals to identify the most effective ways they can expand support for prevention through community benefit programs;
  • Maintain the Prevention and Public Health Fund and expand the Community Transformation Grant program so all Americans can benefit;
  • Implement all of the recommendations for each of the 17 federal agency partners in the National Prevention Strategy; and
  • Encourage all employers, including federal, state and local governments, to provide effective, evidence-based workplace wellness programs…..

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

CDC Releases Data on Interpersonal and Sexual Violence by Sexual Orientation (A First in this Area)

nisvs_coverFrom the 25 January 2013 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) press release

The first set of national prevalence data on intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV), and stalking victimization by sexual orientation was released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals; with sexual orientation based on respondents’ identification at the time of the survey.

The survey also found that bisexual women (61.1 percent) report a higher prevalence of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner compared to both lesbian (43.8 percent) and heterosexual women (35 percent). Of the bisexual women who experienced IPV, approximately 90 percent reported having only male perpetrators, while two -thirds of lesbians reported having only female perpetrators of IPV.

The data presented in this report do not indicate whether violence occurs more often in same-sex or opposite sex couples. Rather, the data show the prevalence of lifetime victimization of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking of respondents who self-identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual at the time of the survey and describe violence experienced with both same-sex and opposite-sex partners. …

Other key findings include:

  • The majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators.
  • Nearly half of female bisexual victims (48.2 percent) and more than one-quarter of female heterosexual victims (28.3 percent) experienced their first rape between the ages of 11 and 17 years.

CDC will work to create resources to bring attention to these issues within lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

For more information about NISVS, including study details, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html.

To watch webinars that discuss the NISVS 2010 Summary findings, please visit PreventConnectExternal Web Site Icon, a national online project dedicated to the primary prevention of sexual assault and domestic violence.

 

 

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

2011 EPA Toxic Release Inventory is releaed

From the EPA Web page

The TRI National Analysis is an annual report that provides EPA’s analysis and interpretation of the most recent TRI data. It includes information about toxic chemical releases to the environment from facilities that report to the TRI Program. It also includes information about how toxic chemicals are managed through recycling, treatment and energy recovery, and how facilities are working to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals generated and released.

WASHINGTON – Total toxic air releases in 2011 declined 8 percent from 2010, mostly because of decreases in hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions, even while total releases of toxic chemicals increased for the second year in a row, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report published today.

The annual TRI provides citizens with vital information about their communities. The TRI program collects information on certain toxic chemical releases to the air, water and land, as well as information on waste management and pollution prevention activities by facilities across the country. TRI data are submitted annually to EPA, states and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste facilities.

What’s new in the National Analysis this year?

  • An investigation into declining air releases;
  • More information about pollution prevention activities conducted at TRI facilities;
  • Updated risk information;
  • Enhanced Indian Country and Alaska Native Villages (ANVs) analysis.

What tools are available to help me conduct my own analysis?

A variety of online tools are available to help you access and analyze TRI data. When using TRI data, you may also want to explore the other data sources and information listed on the TRI Data and Tools webpage.

Where can I get downloadable files containing the data used in the 2011 National Analysis?

  • Basic Data Files : Each file contains the most commonly requested data fields submitted by facilities on the TRI Reporting Form R or the Form A Certification Statement.
  • Basic Plus Data Files : These files collectively contain all the data fields submitted by facilities on the TRI Reporting Form R or the Form A Certification Statement.
  • Dioxin, Dioxin-Like Compounds and TEQ Data Files : These files include the individually reported mass quantity data for dioxin and dioxin-like compounds reported on the TRI Reporting Form R Schedule 1, along with the associated TEQ data.

January 18, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Partial Reblog] The Power of Patient-Expert Books

(And no, I am not advertising these books, or endorsing the contents of these books, only pointing to a trend!)

From the 4 January 2013 Huffington Post article by Riva Greenberg

Today, more and more books are being written by patients — well-educated, informed patients who manage their illness successfully and have experience, practical knowledge and insights to share with other patients.

As the new year incites a rush to become a “new, better and healthier you,” we often do so learning from our peers. When it comes to illness-warranted behavior changes, as like seeks like, it’s often easier to make changes learned from fellow patients with whom you share the experience of a disease. Like support groups and mentor programs, this is fertile soil for positive behavior change. So, I applaud the rise of patient-authors.

Patient-authors also narrate the experience of illness. That is why I hope health care professionals (HCPs) are also reading books written by patients. A book like No-Sugar Added Poetry, for example, can give HCPs immediate access to some of the emotional landscape of living with diabetes.

There is, in my mind, no easier or quicker way to tap into the experience of illness — what patients grapple with, how they feel, and the practical things that must be managed every day — than by reading a patient-written book.

When clinicians do, I believe they will become more mindful and compassionate and the relationship with their patients more trusting. And that can lead to better outcomes for both….

Read the entire article here

 

January 15, 2013 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Free Webcast] Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World-A Workshop

Found this while “surfing” the Institute of Medicine Web page (the primary source for an article in one of my RSS feeds).
I think I share a concern with gun violence with many of you dear readers.There has to be a better way to prevent gun violence than simply arming more folks. For example, a school system to the west of my hometown of Toledo, OH believes arming its janitors will curb violence. (Montpelier schools OKs armed janitors***). My gut reaction? If I had children in the school I would  pull them out. Homeschool them if there were no other ways to educate them. And if the teachers were armed? Same reaction.

Meanwhile I’m going to be participating in a [local] Community Committee Against Gun Violence (MoveOn.org). For the past several years I’ve been very concerned about gun violence. Time to start to do something…hopefully not too late.

Yes, this webcast might be viewed as just another talking heads exercise. I am hoping some good will come out of it. If nothing else, keep a conversation alive on how to address prevention of violence through nonviolence.

Here’s some information about the Webcast directly from the Institute of Medicine web site

Evidence for Violence Prevention Across the Lifespan and Around the World-A Workshop

When: January 23, 2013 – January 24, 2013 (8:00 AM Eastern)
Where: Keck Center (Keck 100) • 500 Fifth St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 Map
Topics: Global HealthChildren, Youth and FamiliesSubstance Abuse and Mental HealthPublic Health
Activity: Forum on Global Violence Prevention
Boards: Board on Global HealthBoard on Children, Youth, and Families

This workshop will be webcast. Register to attend in-person or register to watch the webcast.

  [My note…registration is now closed for in-person attendance, they’ve reached seating capacity]

Evidence shows that violence is not inevitable, and that it can be prevented. Successful violence prevention programs exist around the world, but a comprehensive approach is needed to systematically apply such programs to this problem.  As the global community recognizes the connection between violence and failure to achieve health and development goals, such an approach could more effectively inform policies and funding priorities locally, nationally, and globally.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) will convene a 2-day workshop to explore the evidentiary basis for violence prevention across the lifespan and around the world. The public workshop will be organized and conducted by an ad hoc committee to examine: 1) What is the need for an evidence-based approach to violence prevention across the world? 2) What are the conceptual and evidentiary bases for establishing what works in violence prevention? 3) What violence prevention interventions have been proven to reduce different types of violence (e.g., child and elder abuse, intimate partner and sexual violence, youth and collective violence, and self-directed violence)?  4) What are common approaches most lacking in evidentiary support? and 5) How can demonstrably effective interventions be adapted, adopted, linked, and scaled up in different cultural contexts around the world?

The committee will develop the workshop agenda, select and invite speakers and discussants, and moderate the discussions. Experts will be drawn from the public and private sectors as well as from academic organizations to allow for multi-lateral discussions. Following the conclusion of the workshop, an individually-authored summary of the event will be prepared by a designated rapporteur.

 

*** I did respond to the newspaper article. The response is online. I am expecting some rather strong responses, perhaps about how naive I am (sigh).

“Now I know, more than ever, that I have to get more involved in addressing violence through nonviolent means. For starters, am going to get better prepared for a nonviolent workshop our Pax Christi USA section is sponsoring next month. Also am going to do my best to follow through with a local Community Committee Against Gun Violence (http://civic.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?rc=homepage&action_id=302). Guess it’s time to be part of the solution…these two events are steps that are challenging, don’t solve things overnight, but in my heart of hearts…I feel called to participate in actions like these….(am thanking teachers here, esp those at St. Catherine’s(1960-1969) and Central Catholic (1969-1973).”

 

January 11, 2013 Posted by | Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Curēus, an open-access medical journal with crowdsourcing

[Reblog] Curēus, an open-access medical journal with crowdsourcing December 23, 2012

Posted by Dr. Bertalan Meskó in MedicineWeb 2.0Medical journalism,Medicine 2.0e-Science.
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John Adler who is a neurosurgeon at Stanford just launched Curēus, an open-source medical journal that leverages crowdsourcing to make scientific research more readily available to the general public. What do you think?

Based in Palo Alto, California, Curēus is the medical journal for a new generation of both doctors AND patients. Leveraging the power of an online, crowd-sourced community platform, Curēus promotes medical research by offering tools that better serve and highlight the people who create it, resulting in better research, faster publication and easier access for everyone.

We make it easier and faster to publish your work – it’s always free and you retain the copyright. What’s more, the Curēus platform is designed to provide a place for physicians to build their digital CV anchored with their posters and papers.

The Curēus site also has..

Currently, a relatively few number of papers online. The concept is good, here’s hoping this is not a flash in the pan, but the wave of the future.

December 27, 2012 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s no app for that: health apps that don’t work

iTunes Store, impresion en iPhoto y iPhone en ...

iTunes Store, impresion en iPhoto y iPhone en México (Photo credit: marcopako )

 
From the 15 November 2012 article at HealthNewsReview.org

 

A report by The New England Center for Investigative Reporting – published by the Washington Post – is headlined, “Many health apps are based on flimsy science at best, and they often do not work.”

It begins:

“When the iTunes store began offering apps that used cellphone light to cure acne, federal investigators knew that hucksters had found a new spot in cyberspace.

“We realized this could be a medium for mischief,” said James Prunty, a Federal Trade Commission attorney who helped pursue the government’s only cases against health-app developers last year, shutting down two acne apps.

Since then, the Food and Drug Administration has been mired in a debate over how to oversee these high-tech products, and government officials have not pursued any other app developers for making medically dubious claims. Now, both the iTunes store and the Google Play store are riddled with health apps that experts say do not work and in some cases could even endanger people.

These apps offer quick fixes for everything from flabby abs to alcoholism, and they promise relief from pain, stress, stuttering and even ringing in the ears. Many of these apps do not follow established medical guidelines, and few have been tested through the sort of clinical research that is standard for less new-fangled treatments sold by other means, a probe by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has found.”

 

 

 

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

Look up medications more quickly and easily on Google

From the Google Announcement

11/30/12 | 9:00:00 AM

Labels: 

We get a lot of queries for medicine on Google. So to make it quick and easy for you to learn about medications, we’ll start showing key facts — side effects, related medications, links to in-depth resources, and more — right on the search results page.


This data comes from the U.S. FDA, the National Library of Medicine, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, among others. It’s part of the Knowledge Graph — our project to map out billions of real-world things, from famous artists to roller coasters to planets (and now medications). We hope you find this useful, but remember that these results do not act as medical advice.

Posted by Aaron Brown, Senior Product Manager, Search

 

Related Resources (because there are other reputable resources besides the one’s Google mines! with additional drug info)

MedlinePlus Trusted Health Information for You

 
 
 
Learn about your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Includes side effects, dosage, special precautions, and more.
Browse dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions.
 
Information about label ingredients in more than 6,000 selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to compare label ingredients in different brands. Information is also provided on the “structure/function” claims made by manufacturers.
These claims by manufacturers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Companies may not market as dietary supplements any products that are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
 
 
Drug Information Portal
A gateway to selected drug information from the US government.  It links you to information on over 12,000 drugs from trusted consumer drug information sources (as MedlinePlus Drug Information), the US Food and Drug Information (as Drugs @FDA)LactMed(summary of effects on breastfeeding), and more.
 


 
Pillbox enables rapid identification of unknown solid-dosage medications (tablets/capsules) based on physical characteristics and high-resolution images.
Once a medication is identified, Pillbox provides links to drug information and drug labels.
 
 
MedWatch logo
Clinically important safety information and reporting serious problems with human medical products.
Safety information includes drug information, recalls & alerts, drug shortage information, and medication guides.
 

Together we

Adverse Reaction Online Database contains information about suspected adverse reactions (also known as side effects) to health products, recalls, advisories, and warnings from the Canadian government
 
 
More Drug Resources at Drug Information Resources 
      (by the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section of the Medical Library Association)
 
Including…..
  • CenterWatch/Clinical Trials Listing Service
    This useful resource lists newly approved drugs, drugs in current clinical research, weekly trial results, as well as a link to the PDR Family Medical Guide for Prescription Drugs.
  • Longwood Herbal Task Force
    This site has in-depth monographs about herbal products and supplements written by health professionals and students. It provides clinical information summaries, patient fact sheets, and information about toxicity and interactions as well as relevant links. The task force is a cooperative effort of the staff and students from Children’s Hospital, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
  • FDA Recalls  provides information gathered from press releases and other public notices about certain recalls of FDA-regulated products
  • Epocrates

 

 

December 12, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

[Reblog] Understanding Eyes as We Age

[Reblog] from the December 7, 2012 post at As Our Parents Age –Timely Topics for Adult Children

 

I’ve written several posts about eye medical care (post on cataracts – posts on detached retinas). Sometime soon I will share a bit more about my experience with cataract surgery — mine occurred several weeks ago.

Recently I discovered a terrific eye education resource. If you are trying to make sense of the medical health of your eyes or the eyes of an aging parent, get started by educating yourself about the structure of an eye. Check out this wonderful Eye Anatomy Tour, posted over at the Cleveland Clinic website.

Because most of my doctors offer explanations during fairly short appointments, I am not always able to absorb everything. My physicians usually explain things clearly and mostly in an unrushed manner, but I cannot always remember everything that I need (or want) to know.

The nice thing about this animated eye tour is that it can be run over and over — always a useful feature but especially so if an adult child is  explaining an eye condition to an aging parent. When you watch the tour you can also use the Dictionary of Eye Terms, linked from the same web page.

 

December 11, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin (videos, interactive graphics, audio slideshows, and more!)

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Photo credit: Mark Warner)

 

“Reblog” from the Scout Report

 

 

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hhmi-bulletin/id411540287?mt=8

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is a remarkable institution that stands at the forefront of research in a wide range of medical fields. This site provides access to the HHMI Bulletin via the iPad in a format that is most visually stimulating. On this site, visitors can browse screen shots of this most wondrous compendium, complete with exclusive videos, interactive graphics, and audio slideshows. Visitors with iPads who download the app can learn about the latest cancer research, along with fun primers of the basic work of the HHMI and updates about long-term projects. Those without iPads are still strongly encouraged to check out the H HMI Bulletin, available here: http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/. [KMG]

 

 

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

Deficiency Symptoms and Signs – A Referenced Resource for Professionals and the Public

This morning I came across this nutrition deficiency guide while doing a (somewhat) focused Web search on a Quora question about nutritional deficiencies.
The table (rather longish) lists signs/symptoms along with possible nutritional deficiencies and other possible causes.

According to the terms and use, I am not allowed to copy/paste the table, or provide a direct link to this very informative table.
(This is a commercial site, but ad free).

Here’s how to get to the table

This site has, well, to me, an overabundance of unbiased, reliable nutrition from a medical doctor.

Dr. Stewart is medical practitioner in 1976 from Guy’s Hospital London and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1979.  He was a founding member of the British Society for Nutritional Medicine.

 

October 31, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health Resources in Multiple Languages

Those of you who follow my blog notice that from time to time I highlight multilingual health information Web sites as Healthy Roads Media.

Recently (via a US govt listserv- PHPartners) I ‘ve come across a wonderful list of general health information resources in multiple languages. This resource list is a subset of the larger  Multi-Cultural Resources for Health Information. Multi-Cultural Resources includes links in the following areas

Oh, I haven’t forgotten. Here is the list of Health Resources in Multiple Languages.

 

 

October 27, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Suicide Prevention Plan: 10/15/2012 [NLM Director’s Comments ]

From the Director’s page

Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I’m Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Here is what’s new this week in MedlinePlus.listen

comprehensive plan to reduce the number and impact of suicides in the U.S. recently was announced by the U.S. Surgeon General…

..

The Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention is available at surgeongeneral.gov.

Meanwhile, a helpful introduction to suicide symptoms is provided by the American Society of Suicidology in the ‘overviews’ section ofMedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page. A helpful guide about what to do if someone is suicidal is provided by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Research and Education in the ‘prevention/screening’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page.

The Mayo Foundation for Medical Research and Education also provides a helpful website, ‘Considering suicide? How to Stay Safe and Find Treatment’ in the ‘coping’ section of MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page contains links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the ‘journal articles’ section. Links to related clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the ‘clinical trials’ section. From the suicide health topic page, you can sign up to receive email updates with links to new information as it becomes available on MedlinePlus.

To find MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page, type ‘suicide’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page, then, click on ‘Suicide (National Library of Medicine).’ Links to health topic pages devoted to depression, mental health and behavior, as well as social/family issues are accessible within ‘related topics’ on the right side of MedlinePlus.gov’s suicide health topic page.

As the Surgeon General’s report notes, improving prevention to offset a sobering rate of suicide is gaining new momentum in medicine and public health. We wish the Surgeon General’s National Strategy for Suicide Prevention every success.

Before I go, this reminder… MedlinePlus.gov is authoritative. It’s free. We do not accept advertising …and is written to help you.

 

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

Ask a Scientist [Howard Hughes Medical Institute]

 

askascientist.org.gif

From the Web page

Ask a Scientist connects you to some of the top scientists in the country, and each of them is connected to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. If you’ve got a question about medicine, human biology, animals, biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, or evolution, then please, Ask A Scientist

Links include

 

October 12, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Elementary School/High School), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

[Partial Reblog] New series: Understanding and Guiding Medical Research

 

 

 

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a...

A patient having his blood pressure taken by a physician. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

From the 1 September 2012 post at ePatient Dave

 

Some edits made, and new items added, late the same evening.

I’ve recently learned of some well-intentioned medical research that disturbs me so deeply that I think it’s time to get formal about teaching e-patients and their partners how to detect research that misses its target, even if it’s well intentioned.

Doing this responsibly requires a deep understanding of the purpose of research and its methods. So this is the start of a series in which I’ll lay out what I’ve learned so far, describe the problems and challenges and opportunities that I see, and invite dialog on where I’m wrong and your own experiences as patient or clinician or researcher.

If this succeeds we’ll have a new basis for considering questions of what to do and how to prioritize it, in this era of change in medicine – not just in research but in all of medicine, as we work on reducing our spend. My goal in the series will be to be as clear in my writing as I can, while being as verifiably accurate as I can, given that I’m no PhD or Pulitzer laureate. Critique and correction are welcome.

This first post is an introduction, with background reading.

Context: Patient Engagement

The context for this series is patient engagement: patients shifting from being “compliant” cars in a medical car wash to being responsible and engaged.

Empowered, engaged patients take responsibility for their health and their care. One aspect is being responsible for understanding, as best we can, the evidence that a recommended treatment is right for us. Sometimes it’s pretty simple, sometimes not; but the higher the stakes get, the more important it is.

With respect to research, there’s a big challenge: sometimes the published evidence sucks – even though it got through the peer review process and was approved by a big-name journal.

Of course not all evidence sucks. But if you’re considering whether to be cut open or eat chemicals (meds), you have a choice: trust blindly (“whatever you say, doc”) or take responsibility for understanding as much as you can.

As we’ll discuss, one big reason blind trust fails is that the evidence your doctor gets isn’t necessarily great, and most clinicians aren’t rigorously trained in how to scrutinize it. (They too are largely trained to trust the journal process.) So this is for them too.

Intended audiences

  • Patients and caregivers – the people on the receiving end of the treatment; the ones who make the decision to accept treatment.
  • Clinicians, for two reasons:
    • In a participatory relationship, the patient and clinician need to be on the same page regarding the basis for decisions, or one will think the other’s crazy
    • As I said, in my experience most clinicians haven’t been rigorously schooled in the weakness of the info they were taught to trust. (This isn’t an insult; see homework below.)
  • Health policy people (government and non-profits), because they need to be firmly grounded in reality, or they can’t possibly make policies that work in reality (eh?)
  • Insurance companies (commonly euphemized as “care plans” or just “the plans”), who decide what will get paid for.  (I know some insurance companies don’t mind paying for stuff that doesn’t work; they basically get a commission on all spending. But others do care what works and what doesn’t – some even have staff who help patients understand the options! They need to be well informed too.)
  • Others, I’m sure.

This will make some people unhappy.

It’s the unhappiness that comes from realizing the world isn’t what you thought it was. And the unhappiness that comes from realizing you have to adjust.

But ladies and germs, disconnects like that are what keep a dysfunction in place and make problems intractable. So, comfortable or not, let’s get on with it. The unhappiness I anticipate:

  • Some clinicians don’t welcome questions from their patients. (Others do.) In my personal experience most of the ones who object don’t realize how weak the evidence is.
    • I hope they’ll remember what I learned in school: all science must be open to new information. (As SPM co-founder and ACOR founder Gilles Frydman said in 2010, “All knowledge is in constant beta.”)
    • I know clinicians have many pressures including short appointments. This doesn’t have to be done by an MD; in my view of the future, every “medical home” will have coaches who can help assess published material.
  • Some patients really don’t want to hear that the science they depend on – which has indeed produced miracles – has also produced crap sometimes. They especially don’t want to hear that clinicians – their clinicians, who they know are good people – aren’t perfect.
  • In general, everyone wants certainty – doctors and patients alike – so it’s unsettling to know you can’t have it. (Even the best science has a chance of errors, and all science is subject to correction.)

Important: This is not a “we reject science” series.

  • love science. I personally am alive because of great medical research that created a harsh treatment delivered brilliantly by great clinicians at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston. I love the training and clinical experience that made them able to save my life!
  • It included great laparoscopic surgery and orthopedic surgery developed by great skilled scientists and delivered by skilled, adroit surgeons & teams. Hooray for science!
  • But in the end, science knows that there is no certainty. They’re doing the best they can amid uncertainty. Heck, I myself live in uncertainty:
    • The best evidence (which is not great) says there’s a 50% chance my cancer will return, which would likely kill me
    • At diagnosis the evidence said I had 24 week median survival
    • On the flip side, the treatment that did cure me usually doesn’t work.

Bottom line: There Is No Certainty.

The art of designing, conducting and reporting research includes dealing accurately with this issue.Whatever you read, there’s always a chance it’s wrong.

In my view, the ultimate responsible patient understands this, accepts the uncertainty (as best a human can), and responds by saying “Okay, what are the options? And what are the chances they’ll work?”

If you fully understand that much research is shaky and deserves questioning, you can skip to the end and wait for round 2.  If not, read these past posts, because if you don’t realize there’s weakness, you have no reason to learn what comes next.

Here’s your homework.

Past posts establishing the need to be responsible for our decisions

These posts are from e-patients.net………
Click here for the rest of the post

 

 

 

September 7, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health care | , , | Leave a comment

New Genetics Education Resource

The National Library of Medicine (NLM)  is pleased to announce the release of a new educational resource, GeneEd.

..a useful resource for students and teachers in grades 9 – 12 to learn genetics.

GeneEd allows students and teachers to explore topics such as Cell Biology, DNA, Genes, Chromosomes, Heredity/Inheritance Patterns, Epigenetics/Inheritance and the Environment, Genetic Conditions, Evolution, Biostatistics, Biotechnology, DNA Forensics, and Top Issues in Genetics.

Teachers can use the site to introduce topics, supplement existing materials, and provide as a reliable source to students conducting research.

Text varies from easy-to-read to advanced reading levels, which makes this a versatile tool both in and out of the classroom.
Specialty pages including Teacher Resources and Labs and Experiments highlight those tools that teachers may find particularly helpful.

Other specialty pages such as Careers in Genetics and Highlights allow students to see what is new and noteworthy in the field of Genetics along with links to different careers related to the science of Genetics.

September 4, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, statistics | , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations (Free Information and Resource Kit)

Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations

I learned a lot just by looking at the powerpoint slides and the overview.

From the SAMHSA site

Equips prevention professionals, healthcare providers, and educators with information on current health issues among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) populations. Includes an overview of terms related to gender identity and sexual expression.

Table of contents

Helpful Terms for Prevention Specialists and Healthcare Providers A-1
A Discussion about Gender Identity B-1
Top Health Issues for Lesbians C-1
Top Health Issues for Gay Men D-1
Top Health Issues for Bisexual Men and Women E-1
Top Health Issues for Transgender People F-1
Selected Web-based Resources G-1
PowerPoint Slides: Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations H-1


July 13, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

National Library of Medicine (NLM) Drug Information Portal is now available for mobile devices

Now one can get summary and detailed drug information on the go from reputable resources

From a recent email rec’d from the US National Library of Medicine

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Drug Information Portal is now available for mobile devices.http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov/m.drugportal

This mobile optimized web site covers over 32,000 drugs and provides descriptions, drug names, pharmaceutical categories, and structural diagrams.  Each record also features information links to 19 other resources including NLM PubMed, NLM LactMed, and Drugs@FDA.  The mobile version of a resource is used when available.

Smart Phones accessing the main Drug Portal site will be taken the mobile site.

The Drug Information Portal (http://druginfo.nlm.nih.gov)  is a free Web resource from the NLM that provides an informative, user friendly entry-way to current drug information for over 32,000 drugs. Links to sources span the breadth of the NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies. Current information regarding consumer health, clinical trials, AIDS–related drug information, MeSH pharmacological actions, PubMed biomedical literature, and physical properties and structure is easily retrieved by searching on a drug name. A varied selection of focused topics in medicine and drug–related information is also available from displayed subject headings.

For a full list of available apps and mobile websites, visit our NLM Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/mobile/

June 22, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Professional Health Care Resources | , , | 1 Comment

Government in action – Quick Health Data Online (Free telephone training today, June 14)

quick health data online

Can’t make the training? Guided help at the Web site (Look for the “Get Started Now” Box

From the Website

About Quick Health Data Online

The Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health has developed an important online tool: Quick Health Data Online. Quick Health Data Online contains extensive health data for the years 1998-2004 for the entire United States, and it will be updated on a yearly basis. National, regional, state, and county data are available and the data can be stratified by gender, race/ethnicity, and age concurrently.

The database includes statistics on:

  • Demographics
  • Mortality
  • Access to care
  • Infections and chronic disease
  • Reproductive health
  • Maternal health
  • Mental health
  • Prevention
  • Violence and abuse

Free training available

Quick Health Data Online 101
QHDO 101 will provide an overview on health indicators available, preparing custom queries, and generating tables, graphs, and basic maps.

  • Monday, April 16: 3-4 p.m. (EST)
  • Monday, May 14: 2-3 p.m. (EST)
  • Tuesday, June 12: 1-2 p.m. (EST)

Quick Health Data Online 201
QHDO 201 will detail the comprehensive mapping features.

  • Wednesday, April 18: 1-2 p.m. (EST)
  • Wednesday, May 16: 2-3 p.m. (EST)
  • Thursday, June 14: 3-4 p.m. (EST

Register today! (for the training) External link The toll-free conference call number and other details are provided at the registration site. You need to be at a computer with Internet access and a telephone.

June 13, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , | Leave a comment

Haz-Map (occupational health database) redesigned for web and mobile versions

three hazardous waste workers with barrelfarmer on tractor in field

 

From a recent email from NLM (US National Library of Medicine)

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) has released redesigned web and mobile versions of Haz-Map (http://hazmap.nlm.nih.gov/ ). The new design adapts to web browsers on desktop computers, laptops, and tablets, as well as mobile browsers on smart phones, such as iPhones, Android and Blackberry phones.

Haz-Map is an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and for consumers seeking information about the health effects of exposure to chemicals and biologicals at work.  Haz-Map links jobs and hazardous tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms. It currently covers over 5997 chemical and biological agents and 235 occupational diseases.

More information can be found at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/hazmap.html

June 13, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, environmental health, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Professional Health Care Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Wale Based “Do Lectures” Presented by People Who Do so the Rest of us can be Inspired Inspire Others

From the About Page

The idea is a simple one— that people who Do things can inspire the rest of us to go and Do things, too. So each year we invite a set of people down here to come and tell us what they Do. They can be small Do’s or big Do’s or just extraordinary Do’s. But when you listen to their stories, they light a fire in your belly to go and Do your thing, your passion, the thing that sits in the back of your head each day, just waiting, and waiting for you to follow your heart.

A number of the lectures are health related .  Good approaches through the Do Lecture home page include the Well-Being and Challenging links.

GIVING PATIENTS CONTROL OF THEIR HEALTH RECORDS was very persuasive in explaining patients naturally should not only have access but control because they are the only ones going to all the consultations. I also was astounded by a few facts previously unknown to me. For example 95 % of UK doctors use electronic records as compared to only 5% of US doctors. And UK patients use the internet more so than US patients.
This site was found via The Scout Report (https://scout.wisc.edu),a service of the  University of Wisconsi-Madison  finding, filtering, and presenting online information and metadata since 1994.

May 30, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

Traditional Chinese Medicines – Some Are Dangerous

Herbal supplements

Herbal supplements (Photo credit: Ano Lobb. @healthyrx)

As I’ve stated in previous postings here, choose your alternative/traditional/complementary medicines and therapies wisely.
Also, include herbs, supplements and traditional medicines in “medications” lists you share with your healthcare provider, pharmacist, or any healthcare professional you are consulting.  Many of these non-prescription items can interfere with any prescription medicine you are taking.
The Related Resources section below has links to trusted resources. However, they are not meant to replace advice from you health care provider.

From the 14 April 2012 article at Medical News Today

Australian border officials seized 15 TCMs (traditional Chinese medicines), which researchers from the Murdoch University analyzed to reveal the animal and plant composition by using new DNA sequencing technology. The results, published in PLoS Genetics, showed that some of the analyzed TCM samples contained potentially toxic plant ingredients, allergens, as well as traces of endangered animals.Leading researcher, Dr. Bunce, and a Murdoch University Australian Research Council Future Fellow commented:

“TCMs have a long cultural history, but today consumers need to be aware of the legal and health safety issues before adopting them as a treatment option.”

Related Resources

  • HerbMed® 
    an interactive, electronic herbal database – provides hyperlinked access to the scientific data underlying the use of herbs for health. It is an impartial, evidence-based information resource provided by the nonprofit Alternative Medicine Foundation, Inc. This public site provides access to 20 of the most popular herbs.
  • Herbs at a Glance (US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
    a series of fact sheets that provides basic information about specific herbs or botanicals—common names, uses, potential side effects, and resources for more information.
  • Herbal Links
    a compilation of  sites that the researchers at the University of Iowa Drug Information Service consider to be the highest quality and most useful to pharmacists for finding information concerning herbal medicines.
  • Longwood Herbal Task Force
    This site has in-depth monographs about herbal products and supplements written by health professionals and students. It provides clinical information summaries, patient fact sheets, and information about toxicity and interactions as well as relevant links. The task force is a cooperative effort of the staff and students from Children’s Hospital, the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

  • Drug Information Portal (US National Library of Medicine)
    Search by drug.  Information includes some basic resources (as that at MedlinePlus) plus some more technical ones (as Toxilogical Data and Literature)

  • Dietary Supplements Labels Database Information about label ingredients in more than 6,000 selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to compare label ingredients in different brands. Information is also provided on the “structure/function” claims made by manufacturers.These claims by manufacturers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Companies may not market as dietary supplements any products that are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
  • NCCAM Director’s Page – It’s Time to Talk (March 13, 2012)
    • Time to Talk is a recently launched NCAAM series which encourages folks to discuss complementary health practices with their health care providersThe director notes the following
      • We know that nearly 40 percent of Americans use some kind of complementary health practice. But we also know that most patients do not proactively disclose use of complementary health practices to their health care providers. Likewise, most providers don’t initiate the discussion with their patients. As a physician, I strongly believe that patients and their health care providers need to talk openly about all of their health care practices to ensure safe, coordinated care. Talking not only allows fully integrated care, but it also minimizes risks of interactions with a patient’s conventional treatments.
    1. List the complementary health practices you use on your patient history form. When completing the patient history form, be sure to include everything you use—from acupuncture to zinc.  It’s important to give health care providers a full picture of what you do to manage your health.
    2. At each visit, be sure to tell your providers about what complementary health approaches you are using. Don’t forget to include over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as dietary and herbal supplements. Make a list in advance, or download and print this wallet card and take it with you. Some complementary health approaches can have an effect on conventional medicine, so your provider needs to know.
    3. If you are considering a new complementary health practice, ask questions. Ask your health care providers about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with medications (both prescription and nonprescription).

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , | 2 Comments

[PDF Document] The Nature of Science and the Scientific Method

The Geological Society of America has recently published an eight page document explaining in some detail the five steps of the scientific method and an overview of what science is capable of.

While it seems to be a discussion aid in the evolution/intelligent design debate, it is a useful tool for any branch of science including medicine. The talking point section is a great summary.

The document entitled The Nature of Science and the Scientific Method may be found here.

 

April 16, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , | Leave a comment

Google knows more about certain diseases than physicians ever will

Hmm…  interesting “point” “counterpoint” items on finding health information on the Web

Overall, I think Google and other search engines are doing a better job of locating health information.
However, it is good to keep in mind that search engines rank items, they do not evaluate them!
So, search safely, knowing that search engines do not index 100% of what is available on the World Wide Web.

If you do decide to find health information on the Web, please evaluate content carefully!
Health Information is best used in consultation with a professional health care provider (or 2!)

A few good guides on evaluating health information may be found at

Unlike information found in medical textbooks, which has been evaluated and edited by professionals, the information on the Internet is unfiltered. It is up to the user to evaluate and judge how good the information really is. When looking for health information it is particularly important to think about the information critically and examine the Web site carefully. Listed below are some questions and tips to think about when searching for good health information on the Internet.

What type of site is it? Is it a government site, educational or commercial? Look at the web address for the extension. The most common are .gov for government, .edu for educational, .com for commercial and .org for organizational.

Who is sponsoring the site? A good Web site will make sponsorship information clear. There should also be an address (besides an e-mail address) or a phone number to contact for more information.

What are the credentials of the sponsor or author of the material on site? If it is an organization or association, is it nationally recognized or is it a local group? Also, are the author’s qualifications relevant to the topic being discussed? For example, someone with a Ph.D. in psychology should not necessarily be accepted as an expert on nutrition.

What is the purpose of the site? Is it a public service or is it trying to sell something? If there is advertising on a page, something that is more and more common even with non-commercial sites, it should be clearly separated from the informational content. Also, it is easy to disguise promotional material as “patient education” on web sites. If a product or treatment is given a good review on one site, try to find other sites that also approve of it.

How current is the information? A good site will list when a page was first established and when it was last up-dated. If there are links to other sites, are they up-to-date?

How accurate is the information? This can be hard to determine if you’re not familiar with a topic but there are some things to look for. For example, is the information free of spelling errors and typos? Mistakes of these kind can indicate a lack of quality control. Are the sources of factual information listed? For instance, if a document states, “recent studies indicate…”, are the sources for the study listed so they can be verified? If a topic is controversial, is the information presented in a balanced way? There are many controversies in regard to treatment options; however, a good site will present the pros and cons of a particular option. Be cautious with sites that claim “miracle cures” or make conspiracy claims.

Evaluate each site separately. Links can often lead from a good site to ones of lesser quality.

Look for awards or certificates that a site has received. For example, the HON Code logo is displayed by sites that have agreed to abide by eight principals set by the Health on the Net Foundation. These principles set standards for accuracy, bias, sponsorship and confidentiality. When using a directory or search engine that rates sites, read the page that discusses what criteria are used to determine a site’s rating.

The Internet is a wonderful source of information and, when used carefully, can be very helpful in answering health-related questions. But the information found on the Internet should never be used as a substitute for consulting with a health professional. And, whenever using the Internet, keep in mind the caveat, “It is so easy to post information on the Internet that almost any idiot can do it, and almost every idiot has.”

 

And finally, a few good places to start finding reputable, timely health information

Image DetailCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the US governments primary way to communicate information on diseases, conditions, and safety. Information may be found in areas as ….






eMedicine Consumer Health has over 900 health and medical articles. Most articles include causes, symptoms, treatment options, prevention, prognosis, and more. Information may also be browsed by topic (Topics A-Z).  Additional features include picture slideshowshealth calculators, and more.




familydoctor.org -- health information for the whole family



Familydoctor.org includes health information for the whole family
Short generalized information on Diseases and Conditions (with A-Z index), Health Information for Seniors, Men, and Women, Healthy Living Topics, pages geared to Parents & Kids, and videos.  Numerous health tools in the left column (as health trackers, health assessments, and a Search by Symptom page.


 

Healthfinder.gov is a US government Web site with information and tools that can help you stay healthy. Resources on a wide range of health topics carefully selected from over 1,600 government and non-profit organizations. Social media options to connect you with people and organizations that can help you on your journey to living a healthier life.

Content includes information on over 1,600 health-related topicsQuick Guide to Healthy Living, and free interactive tools to check your health, get personalized advice, and keep track of your progress.


KidsHealth provides information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years. Material is written by doctors in understandable language at three levels: parents, kids, and teens
KidsHealth also provides families with perspective, advice, and comfort about a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral issues that affect children and teens.


 

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

Science of Chocolate and more “goodies” from Science Oxford Live

Just in time for Valentine’s day.

ScienceOxford not only engages in innovation but also in educating students as well as the public at large. It’s Web presence encourages life long learning through Webcasts (above) as well as exhibitions at its center in Oxford, England.

Science Oxford Live has a YouTube channel with videos ranging from Parkinson’s Disease to health care innovations to microbes to consciousness. Other science topics outside of health/medicine are also represented.
The Watch Us page also links to

 

February 13, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

Live Science – Commercial Site of Science, Health, and Technology News since 2004

 

This morning I stumbled upon LiveScience.com while perusing January’s Internet Reviews at College and Research Library News.

Live Science provide news in the areas of science, health, and technology for a general academic audience, especially undergraduates.It is a commercial site that is part of the TechMedia Network (which also includes TechNews Daily and Business News Daily). LiveScience content is often featured at partner sites including Yahoo and MSNBC.com. Most of the professional journalists on the editorial staff  hold advanced degrees in technology or the sciences.

The site can be a big overwhelming at first with its images and video links, but there is wealth of information for the patient!
The features include:

  • 11 subject areas in the bar at the top of the page – “Space,” “Animals,” “Health,” “Environment,” “Technology,” “History,” “Culture,” “Video,” Strange News,” “Images,” and “Topics.”
  • “Top Stories” section typically presents five current news items along with a variety of rotating images.
  • Images  (containing considerable archives)  with links to albums, infographics, and wallpapers

 

 

 

February 9, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health News Items, Librarian Resources, Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

Hands-Only CPR video with Vinnie Jones: The European Way [ ScienceRoll]

Hands-Only CPR video with Vinnie Jones: The European Way [ ScienceRoll]

From the 4 January 2012 posting by Dr. Bertalan Meskó 

A few weeks ago, I shared a video in which hands-only Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was described by Ken Jeong in the American way. I was a bit jealous back then but now here is our own European version created by the British Heart Foundation featuring Vinnie Jones (actor e.g. from Guy Ritchie films). Amazing!

Vinnie Jones’ hard and fast Hands-only CPR  (British Heart Foundation)

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , | 1 Comment

FDA Warns About Stem Cell Claims

Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatm...

Cell Basics: What are the potential uses of human stem cells and the obstacles that must be overcome before these potential uses will be realized?. In Stem Cell Information World Wide Web site. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2009. cited Sunday, April 26, 2009

 

Consumer Updates — FDA Warns About Stem Cell Claims

From the 6 January 2012 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Stem cell therapies offer the potential to treat diseases or conditions for which few treatments exist.

Stem cells, sometimes called the body’s “master cells,” are the precursor cells that develop into blood, brain, bones and all of your organs. Their promise in medical treatments is that they have the potential to repair, restore, replace and regenerate cells that could then be used to treat many medical conditions and diseases.

But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned that the hope that patients have for cures not yet available may leave them vulnerable to unscrupulous providers of stem cell treatments that are illegal and potentially harmful.

FDA cautions consumers to make sure that any stem cell treatment they are considering has been approved by FDA or is being studied under a clinical investigation that has been submitted to and allowed to proceed by FDA.

FDA has approved only one stem cell product [Flahiff’s emphasis], Hemacord, a cord blood-derived product manufactured by the New York Blood Center and used for specified indications in patients with disorders affecting the body’s blood-forming system.

Regulation of Stem Cells

FDA regulates stem cells in the U.S. to ensure that they are safe and effective for their intended use.

“Stem cells can come from many different sources and under the right conditions can give rise to many different cell types,” says Stephanie Simek, Ph.D., deputy director of FDA’s Office of Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies.

Stem cells that come from bone marrow or blood are routinely used in transplant procedures to treat patients with cancer and other disorders of the blood and immune system.

Umbilical cord blood is collected from a placenta with the birth mother’s consent. Cord blood cells are then isolated, processed, and frozen and stored in a cord blood bank for future use. Cord blood is regulated by FDA and cord blood banks must follow regulatory requirements.

But there are many other stem cell products, including other cord blood-derived products, that have been reviewed by FDA for use in investigational studies, says Simek.  Investigational products undergo a thorough review process as the sponsor prepares to study the safety and effectiveness of the product in adequate and well-controlled human studies (clinical trials).

As part of this review, the sponsor must show how the product will be manufactured so that FDA can make certain that appropriate steps are being taken to help assure the product’s safety, purity and potency. FDA also requires that there be sufficient data generated from animal studies to aid in evaluating any potential risks associated with the use of these products.

Consumers need to be aware that at present–other than cord blood for certain specified indications–there are no approved stem cell products.

Advice for Consumers

  • If you are considering stem cell treatment in the U.S., ask your physician if the necessary FDA approval has been obtained or if you will be part of an FDA-regulated clinical study. This also applies if the stem cells are your own. Even if the cells are yours, there are safety risks, including risks introduced when the cells are manipulated after removal.There is a potential safety risk when you put cells in an area where they are not performing the same biological function as they were when in their original location in the body,” says Simek. Cells in a different environment may multiply, form tumors, or may leave the site you put them in and migrate somewhere else.
  • If you are considering having stem cell treatment in another country, learn all you can about regulations covering the products in that country. Exercise caution before undergoing treatment with a stem cell-based product in a country that—unlike the U.S.—may not require clinical studies designed to demonstrate that the product is safe and effective. FDA does not regulate stem cell treatments used in solely in countries other than the United States and typically has little information about foreign establishments or their stem cell products.

Thwarting a Stem Cell Scheme

In December, 2011, three men were arrested in the United States and charged with 15 counts of criminal activity related to manufacturing, selling and using stem cells without FDA sanction or approval.

According to the criminal indictment, one of the accused, a licensed midwife who operated a maternity care clinic in Texas, obtained umbilical cord blood from birth mothers, telling them it was for “research” purposes. Instead, the midwife sold the cord blood to a laboratory in Arizona which, in turn, sent the blood to a paid consultant at a university in South Carolina. The owner of the laboratory in Arizona was convicted in August 2011 of unlawfully introducing stem cells into interstate commerce.  She faces up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The consultant, an assistant professor, used university facilities to manufacture stem cell products. He then sent the products back to the lab, which sold them to a man representing himself as a physician licensed in the U.S. The man then traveled to Mexico to perform unapproved stem cell procedures on people suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

The three defendants allegedly received more than $1.5 million from patients seeking treatment for incurable diseases.

“Scammers like these offer false hope to people with incurable diseases in order to line their own pockets with money,” says Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Holland of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI), Kansas City Field Office. “FDA will continue to aggressively pursue perpetrators who expose the American public to the dangers of unapproved stem cells and ensure that they are punished to the full extent of the law.”

FDA’s OCI worked the case with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Related Resources

January 9, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Health News Items | , , | Leave a comment

American College of Physicians Ethics Manual Sixth Edition

From the article abstract about the revised ethics manual

The sixth edition of the American College of Physicians (ACP) Ethics Manual covers emerging issues in medical ethics and revisits older ones that are still very pertinent. It reflects on many of the ethical tensions in medicine and attempts to shed light on how existing principles extend to emerging concerns. In addition, by reiterating ethical principles that have provided guidance in resolving past ethical problems, the Manual may help physicians avert future problems. The Manual is not a substitute for the experience and integrity of individual physicians, but it may serve as a reminder of the shared duties of the medical profession.

The full review of this manual by the ACP may be found here

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , | Leave a comment

HealthNewsReview.org – Independent Expert Reviews of News Stories

Health News Review

HealthNewsReview.org – Independent Expert Reviews of News Stories

Health News Review includes reviews of health articles in the news.Their objective criteria includes these factors…

The Web site also includes a toolkit – “a number of tipsheets, primers, links and other resources to help journalists and consumers do a better job of evaluating claims about health care interventions”

From their About Page

HealthNewsReview.org is a website dedicated to:

  • Improving the accuracy of news stories about medical treatments, tests, products and procedures.
  • Helping consumers evaluate the evidence for and against new ideas in health care.

We support and encourage the ABCs of health journalism.

  • Accuracy
  • Balance
  • Completeness
Related Resources
How to Read a Research Paper (and also Understand Health News Research Items) (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
patientInform
 “The goal of patientINFORM is to allow patients, their family members and anyone interested in learning more about a specific disease or its treatment to access the most important new research articles through the web sites ofparticipating health organizations or publishers. Participating health organizations provide interpretation of research articles, in the form of summaries or news items written to be understood by nonphysician, nonscientist readers..
Understanding medical research (MedlinePlus) – links to overviews, related issues, and information from organizations
Related articles

 

December 31, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Reference for Non-Medical Librarians (most resources are free and online)

Medical Reference for Non-Medical Librarians.

Great advice and nice listing/categorizing of links

Contents of this site include

  • General Tips on how to assist customers/patrons/patients
  • General Online Health/Medical resources
  • Popular medical guides
  • Dictionaries
  • Evidence Based Medicine Resources
  • Disease,Diagnosis,Treament
  • Nutrition
  • Drugs
  • Mental Health
  • Diagnostic Tests
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Ask an Expert

 

December 30, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public) | , , | Leave a comment

Fee based health info may be free online through your library’s Web site

The Internet has a wealth of health information from trusted, reliable sites.
(I’ve noted quite a few in this blog and at my Google site – Health and Medical News and Resources)

However, it is not always easy to locate health information, especially on specific topics.

Your local public or academic library just may have the online sources you need.
Although quite a few online resources require paid subscriptions, your library may have included them at their Web site.
All you have to do is register for borrowing privileges (get a library card) at your local library.
Alternatively, you may be able to just go to the library and get access through their computers.

At my local library, I discovered the following…some or all just might be at your library also…ask a reference librarian or check the library’s Web site

  • Alt Health Watch 
    Offers information about Alternative Health issues, including complementary, holistic and integrated approaches to health care and wellness. Provides full text articles form a number of sources, including: journals, reports, consumer newsletters, pamphlets, booklets, special reports, original research and book excerpts. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
  • ConsumerReports.org
    Ratings and reviews, recommendations and buying advice for thousands of products and services. Users will also find in-depth advice, tips and trends written by Consumer Reports experts. Frequently updated articles, blogs and video content allow consumers to peruse the latest consumer news — whether they’re looking to learn more about budget-friendly home improvement plans, understanding the benefits and risks of retirement options, or searching for the latest recalls of baby products. This database provided by the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
  • Health & Wellness Resource Center
    Provides up-to-date reference material as well as full-text magazines, journals, and pamphlets from a wide variety of authoritative medical sources. Includes streaming videos featuring medical experts plus links to key health websites.
  • Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
    Provides scholarly full text journals focusing on many medical disciplines and featuring the Lexi-PAL Drug Guide, which covers 1,300 generic drug patient education sheets with more than 4,700 brand names. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
  • MEDLINE
    Offers medical information on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system and pre-clinical sciences among many subjects. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
  • Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection
    Covers many psychological topics, including emotional and behavioral characteristics, psychiatry and psychology, mental processes, anthropology, and observational and experimental methods. This database is provided by OPLIN, the Ohio Public Library Information Network.
Related Resources

December 29, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UM’s Taubman Health Library Plain Medical Language app

 

THL’s Plain Medical Language app 

“The Taubman Health Sciences library has created a free iPhone app based on our award-winning Google widget that translates medical terms into everyday English.

Watch the app in action here.”

December 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , | Leave a comment

Pocket Body iPhone app

From the 12 December 2011 Science Roll blog item by Dr. Bertalan Meskó

 remember when I had to study all the details of human anatomy from textbooks and some old books with many pictures, but I didn’t have a chance to see things in 3D (which would have made it much easier to understand, learn and memorize). After medical school, I started to discover new apps and solutions for this problem.

I’ve been using the Biodigital app on Google Chrome, it’s free but a bit hard to use.

And recently, I’ve received a letter from the makers of the Pocket Body iPhone app which is just great, although fairly expensive.

Award winning Pocket Body features a fully anatomically accurate human character with nine layers of musculoskeletal, neurovascular, and internal organ visual content…plus over 30,000 words of learning material.

I hope you check it out and let me know what you think!

December 13, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , , | Leave a comment

Anatomy and Physiology Learning Modules – CEHD – U of M

Anatomy and Physiology Learning Modules – CEHD – U of M

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

Web Anatomy

Web Anatomy

A collection of study aids for entry-level anatomy and physiology students

Self Tests

Self Test

Quiz your self on human anatomy

Anatomy Bowl

Anatomy Bowl

A multiplayer player game where you can face off against a friends

VO2Max

VO2Max

 

 

Image Bank

Image Bank

Take a look at anatomy images

Timed Tests

Timed Tests

Race against the clock to quiz your self on human anatomy

Videos

Student Videos

Papers

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , | Leave a comment

UK Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) announces new partnership with PubMed Health

https://i1.wp.com/www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/so11/graphics/pm_health_fig1.gifCRD announces new partnership with PubMed Health.

From the 9 December press release (at Eureka News Alert)CRD announces new partnership with PubMed Health

A new partnership between the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) at the University of York and PubMed Health is launched today.

PubMed Health is a new online service provided by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the US National Library of Medicine (NLM) – the world’s largest medical library. The service provides summaries and full text of selected systematic reviews and also provides information for consumers and clinicians based on those reviews

Systematic reviews are widely recognised as reliable sources of information about the effects of healthcare interventions. But as with individual research studies, they can be hard to find, may have flaws and can be difficult to interpret.

Since 1994, CRD has been producing and maintaining DARE, a database which uniquely provides access to over 11,000 abstracts of quality assessed and critically appraised systematic reviews. The database has become a key resource for health professionals and policy makers as it provides its users with a ‘bottom line’ on the overall validity and reliability of each review.

The new partnership involves CRD providing DARE content to PubMed Health.

Deputy Director of CRD Dr Amanda Sowden said: “CRD aims to produce and disseminate high quality evidence to inform health care decision making in the UK and internationally. Our partnership with PubMed Health is an exciting and prestigious development that will help give our database content truly global reach.”

 

—————

and…from the NLM (US National Library of Medicine’s December Technical Bulletin)

Update — PubMed Health December 2011 Release

With its December release, PubMed® Health grows to over 18,000 systematic reviews and health technology assessments in the last 10 years. With the inclusion of the Database of Reviews of Effects (DARE) from the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination in England, PubMed Health is getting close to comprehensive coverage of reliable systematic reviews on clinical effectiveness.

Other new features and content additions in this release include:

  • Evidence-based, regularly updated information on cancer for consumers and health professionals from the National Cancer Institute (NCI®) Physician Data Query (PDQ®) database.
  • Two full-text books under “Understanding research results” from the “Understand clinical effectiveness” tab:
    Irwig L, et al. Smart Health Choices: Making Sense of Health Advice. London: Hammersmith Press; 2008. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK63638/

    Evans I, et al. Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare. 2nd edition. London: Pinter & Martin; 2011. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK66204/
  • Simplified and broadened — display of medical encyclopedia search results.

Addition of Over 12,000 Reviews from DARE

A new section in the “Contents” drop-down box on the homepage has been added for the DARE reviews (see Figure 1). This new content type rounds out PubMed Health’s coverage of systematic reviews on clinical effectiveness in the published biomedical literature, joining over 4,500 Cochrane reviews and hundreds of systematic reviews by health technology assessment agencies.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box
Figure 1: Contents drop-down box.

DARE is a key database produced by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) and funded by England’s National Institute of Health Research. Information specialists at CRD regularly search an extensive group of electronic databases, supplemented by hand searching, to identify published systematic reviews that meet their set of scientific criteria.

For about half of the reviews that qualify for DARE, a CRD summary with critical appraisal of the scientific quality of the review is added. These may raise caveats about the reliability of the review, as in the example featured in Figure 2.

PubMed Health displays the title of the review and its citation (see #1 in Figure 2). For those reviews with a full CRD summary and appraisal, the conclusion is then displayed, followed by a link to the complete version (see #2 in Figure 2). This is followed by the abstract of the review itself, if one is included in PubMed (see #3 in Figure 2).

Screen capture of Example of a DARE review with CRD summary
Figure 2: Example of a DARE review with CRD summary.

Each PubMed Health record from DARE includes a link to an explanation of CRD’s process and assessment criteria.

Currently, DARE is added to weekly, and new records and summaries will appear shortly afterward in PubMed®Health. The records will not yet appear in PubMed.

Changes to Display of Search Results

DARE reviews are returned with all results, and can also be viewed under their own content type (see #1 in Figure 3).

Medical encyclopedia content has been simplified, with some content text also appearing (see #2 in Figure 3). Previously, only medical encyclopedia content for diseases and drugs were shown on the search results page. Relevant medical encyclopedia content for procedures and other types of searches now display.

The parallel “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed remains (see #3 in Figure 3). This search continues to return results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results
Figure 3: Search results.

NCI cancer information for patients and health professionals appears under the “For consumers” and “Clinical Guides” links, respectively.

Twitter followers can learn more about PubMed Health content and additions by following @PubMedHealth.

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology and Information

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , | Leave a comment

High Intestinal Microbial Diversity Safeguards Against Allergies

From the 9 December 2011 Medical News Today article

High diversity and a variety of bacteria in the gut protect children against allergies as opposed to some individual bacterial genera. These are the findings of a comprehensive study of intestinal microflora (gut flora) in allergic and healthy children, which was conducted at Linköping University in Sweden.

One hypothesis is that our immune system encounters too few bacteria during childhood, which explains the increasing proportion of allergic children. However it has been difficult to substantiate the hypothesis scientifically.

“We conducted the study in collaboration with Karolinska Institute and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology which substantiates the so-called hygiene hypothesis. Children acquire intestinal microflora from their environment, and in our society they are probably exposed to insufficient bacteria that are necessary for the immune system to mature”, says Thomas Abrahamsson, paediatric physician and a researcher at Linköping University….

It is the composition of intestinal microflora during the first weeks of life that show signs of being critical to the immune system’s development. In the absence of sufficient stimuli from many different bacteria, the system may overreact against harmless antigens in the environment, such as foods. The risk of developing asthma at school age for children afflicted by these allergies is five to six times higher. 

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

National Library of Medicine Launches YouTube Channel

From the announcment

New Outlet Will Allow Access to Lectures, Training, Special Events and Other Video Content

 

The National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is pleased to announce the launch of its new YouTube channel, at http://www.youtube.com/nlmnih.

YouTube is a free video-sharing Web site, created in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos. Unregistered users may watch videos, and registered users may upload an unlimited number of videos.

The NLM YouTube channel will post videos of database training, NLM exhibitions (such as an overview of the new Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness), public service announcements, lectures and more.  Interested parties can subscribe to be notified whenever new content is posted on the NLM channel. The NLM site also features links to NIH YouTube channels and other federal health resources.

Although figures for the number of YouTube users worldwide vary, most studies list it as the third most popular Web site, following Facebook and Google. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and now operates as a subsidiary of Google.

 NLM utube home page

November 29, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , | Leave a comment

Mobile Health Slideshow and Infographics (with related resources)

From the November 28th 2011 Science Roll blog item by Dr. Bertalan Mesko

Since around 2009, it has been quite clear that mobile phones would not only change the way we check healthcare information online, but the way we do anything online so relevant statistics and analyses are crucial in order to be able to analyze the situation and draw useful conclusions. I’ve recently come across a great presentation focusing on mobile health by Daniel Hooker, health librarian.

And Andrew Spong shared an infographics by Manhattan Research that presents the state of mobile health. 85% of people use social media for health-related reasons on mobiles. Click on the image for larger version.

Related Resources 
  • Health Apps (free and low cost) at jmflahiff.wordpress.com

November 28, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public), Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reminder: NLM Gateway Changing

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From NLM Technical Bulletin, November 23, 2011 [posted]

Reminder: NLM Gateway Changing

On December 1, 2011, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) will complete the transition of the NLM® Gateway to the new LHNCBC pilot project. The new site will retain the Web address of the former NLM Gateway. It will have two databases: Meeting Abstracts and Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj). HSRProj also remains available via a separate search engine through the portal HSR Information Central.

The Meeting Abstracts database contains abstracts from HIV/AIDS, Health Services Research, and Space Life Sciences meetings and conferences. The final update to the Meeting Abstracts database is the addition of the abstracts from the 2010 18th International AIDS Conference which will be completed in December 2011. After this addition, no new meeting abstract data will be loaded.

For additional information on the transition to the pilot project, see the article NLM Gateway Transitioning to New Pilot Project Site.

========
May 27, 2011 [posted]

NLM Gateway Transitioning to New Pilot Project Site

On December 1, 2011, the NLM® Gateway will transition to a new pilot project from the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC). The current version of the NLM Gateway provides search access across multiple databases; however, all but one of these databases is available from other NLM sources, and most users of those databases search them directly and do not use the NLM Gateway. Only one database, Meeting Abstracts, is uniquely located on the Gateway system. Although NLM has invested in and supported the NLM Gateway for eleven years, based on current budget limitations and the results of evaluations of the use of NLM Gateway, the Library has recently decided to discontinue this service, as currently configured, and transition to a new pilot project site.

The new site will focus on two databases: Meeting Abstracts and Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj). A forthcoming NLM Technical Bulletin will provide more information on this new service from the LHNCBC. Once the new pilot system is available in December, the current Gateway URL will redirect any visitors to the new Web site. The Meeting Abstracts database will still be unique to this site, while HSRProj will continue to be accessible from its home site.

The Meeting Abstracts database contains selected abstracts from meetings and conferences in the subject areas of AIDS, Health Services Research, and Space Life Sciences. The last update to the Meeting Abstracts Database is anticipated to be the addition of the 2010 18th International AIDS Conference, which is expected to be loaded in the fall of 2011. After this addition, the Meeting Abstracts database will still be accessible, but no new data will be loaded.

All of the other resources currently accessed through the NLM Gateway will be available through their individual sites (see Table 1). The home sites for these systems are listed on the NLM Databases & Electronic Resources page. This directory of resources is easily located by clicking on the “All NLM Databases” link in the Databases column on theNLM homepage.

Table 1: The NLM Resources, and homepage URLs, that will no longer be available through the NLM Gateway.

NLM Resources Formerly on the NLM Gateway URL
Bookshelf http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books
Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System (CCRIS) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?CCRIS
ClinicalTrials.gov http://clinicaltrials.gov/
Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Database (DART) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?DARTETIC
Directory of Health Organizations (DIRLINE®) http://dirline.nlm.nih.gov/
Genetic Toxicology Data Bank (GENE-TOX) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?GENETOX
Genetics Home Reference http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/
Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?HSDB
Household Products Database http://hpd.nlm.nih.gov/
Images from the History of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/ihm/index.html
Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?IRIS
International Toxicity Estimates for Risk (ITER) http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?iter
MEDLINE®/PubMed® http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
MedlinePlus® http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/
NLM Catalog http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog
Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/omim
Profiles in Science® http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/
TOXLINE® Subset http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?TOXLINE

If you are accustomed to the NLM Gateway cross file searching function you may want to try using the cross database features provided by TOXNET® and by the NCBI Entrez system.

The search box on the TOXNET homepage offers a cross database search function for the databases in the Toxicology Data Network (see Figures 1 and 2).

Screen capture of TOXNET homepage with Search All Databases feature.
Figure 1: TOXNET homepage with “Search All Databases” feature.

Screen capture of TOXNET Search Results Page.
Figure 2: TOXNET Search All Databases Results Page.

The NCBI global query feature on the NCBI homepage provides a cross database search feature for all of the Entrez databases (see Figures 3 and 4). Selecting “All Databases” in the search box will return a summary search page identifying possible results across all of the NCBI Entrez databases, including PubMed, PubMed Central, BookShelf, NLM Catalog, and the genetic and protein databases such as Gene, OMIM, BLAST, dbGaP, and others.

You can simply bookmark the Web page http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/gquery to access the global query search feature. However, going to the NCBI homepage may be the easier way to access this function; the NCBI logo on the top left corner of any Entrez-based system links to the NCBI homepage.

Screen capture of NCBI homepage and All Databases option in the search box
Figure 3: NCBI homepage and “All Databases” option in the search box.

ENTREZ global query search results page
Figure 4: Entrez global query search results page.

By David Gillikin
Bibliographic Services Division

November 26, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Librarian Resources | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

As probiotics use grows for gut health, VSL#3 has designations for specific GI issues

 

diagram of a human digestive system

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From the 17 November 2011 Eureka News Alert

VSL#3, classified as medical food, is designated for the dietary management of UC, ileal pouch and IBS

GAITHERSBERG, MD, Nov. 18 – As clinical studies continue to validate the use of probiotics to help promote general gastrointestinal health, a growing U.S. market1 for probiotics indicates that the U.S. healthcare community and consumers alike are recognizing the value of these beneficial microorganisms. However, because most probiotics are classified as dietary supplements, directing patients to the best probiotic for their individual needs can be challenging. And, as the category matures, one probiotic preparation — VSL#3 — stands apart and ahead because it is not a supplement; it has been classified as a refrigerated medical food designated for the dietary management of three major gastrointestinal conditions: Ulcerative Colitis, Ileal Pouch and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the host.” But research also shows that probiotics are not “one size fits all.”

“As the amount of research in the field of probiotics increases, clinical evidence continues to indicate that not all probiotics are the same; probiotic activity is strain-specific and unique, and some strains can have antagonistic or synergistic activities when mixed together,” said Marc Tewey, vice president, commercial operations, at Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals, Inc., manufacturer of VSL#3. “VSL#3 is formulated with a precise mix of eight proprietary strains of live bacteria, and the result is a probiotic medical food so potent, it must be used under medical supervision and must be shipped and sold as a refrigerated product.”

What are medical foods?

According to the FDA, medical foods are:

  • Specially formulated and processed products for the partial or exclusive feeding of a patient by means of oral intake or parenteral tube feeding
  • For dietary management of patients with special medically determined nutrient requirements that cannot be achieved by diet alone
  • Designed to provide nutritional support specifically modified for the management of the unique nutrient needs
  • Only for use under medical supervision
  • Only for a patient receiving active medical care on a recurring basis for the use of the medical food

The VSL#3 line of products contain between 112.5 billion and 900 billion live, colony-forming units (CFU), the large numbers of which make them the most potent brand of probiotics available and require the product to be refrigerated. VSL#3 utilizes a synergistic combination of diverse strains of bacteria including: Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacteria longum, Bifidobacteria infantis, Bifidobacteria breve, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. Bulgaricus. Clinical studies using VSL#3 and published in notable journals, such as Gut, Gastroenterology and the American Journal of Gastroenterology have indicated that it colonizes the GI tract with beneficial bacteria, and in doing so, forms an intestinal barrier, which may help protect the GI tract and promote the absorption of nutrients.

“One of the main goals of physicians whose patients are living with these chronic diseases is to lengthen the periods between symptom ‘flares’ as much as possible,” said Tewey. “Studies show that incorporating the use of this type of dietary therapy alongside traditional drug therapies can be an effective step in achieving that goal for many who suffer from these debilitating conditions.”

VSL#3 is one of the few probiotic preparations supported by Level 1 (double-blind, placebo-controlled) scientific data, and has been the subject of a collection of more than 80 studies that have demonstrated its efficacy, specifically in the dietary management of IBS, Ulcerative Colitis and Ileal Pouch. It is the only probiotic recognized as an effective tool in the dietary management of pouchitis by the American College of Gastroenterology2 and by the Cochrane Review3 for the treatment and prevention of pouchtis after ileal pouch-anal anastamosis for chronic ulcerative colitis.

###

VSL#3 products are available online at www.vsl3.com, as well as behind the pharmacy counter at pharmacies nationwide. They come in three formulations: VSL#3 DS prescription-only packets, VSL#3 OTC packets and VSL#3 OTC capsules. Physicians and pharmacists interested in additional information about the product can call 1-866-634-2765 and consumers may call 1-866-GET-VSL3 or visit www.vsl3.com for more information.

1 Source: “U.S. Digestive Health Enzymes, Prebiotics & Probiotics Market (2010 – 2015)” Markets and Markets, July 4, 2011

2Kornbluth, A, Sachar DB. Ulcerative colitis practice guidelines in adults: American College of Gastroenterology, Practice Parameters Committee.; Practice Parameters Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. AM J. Gastroenterol. 2010 Mar; 105(3):501-23

3Holubar SD et al., (Review) The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 6.

 

Educational Resources

 

 

 

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

Syphilis Rises 36% In USA In Four Years

Extragenital syphilitic chancre of the left index finger PHIL 4147 lores

 

[On a personal note, I believe I knew 2 men in Liberia who had STD’s. One developed an eye condition that is usually caused by syphilis, another developed sporadic muscle spasms that are usually associated with syphilis..

Now I think that when I was in Liberia in 1980/81 as a Peace Corps in education, I should have taught a whole week on sexually transmitted diseases…1980 was the year HIV/AIDS was identified as a disease I think]

 

From the 17 November 2011 Medical News Today page

From 2006 to 2010, the number of reportedsyphilis cases in the USA rose 36%. Among young, African-American males the rate rose by 135%, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The authors explained that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are hidden epidemics of huge health and economic consequences in the USA. STDs are called hidden epidemics because a considerable number of infected people are unwilling to come forward openly, and also because of the social and biologic characteristics of these types of diseases.

The authors wrote:

“All Americans have an interest in STD prevention because all communities are impacted by STDs and all individuals directly or indirectly pay for the costs of these diseases.”

The CDC believes that sexually active males with male partners should be screened for STDs once every three months, rather than yearly.

Gonorrhea – reported cases of gonorrhea fell 16% over the four-year period, down to their lowest levels ever. However, over the last year they have risen slightly. In 2010 there were over 300,000 reported cases. According to some CDC surveillance systems, gonorrhea is becoming resistant to the only medication available for this disease.

Chlamydia – the number of reported cases rose 24%, due to an increase in screenings. There were approximately 1.3 million cases reported in 2010. The majority of people in America with Chlamydia are undiagnosed – they don’t know they have it. The CDC recommends that all sexually active young women be screened annually; less than half of them do so.

Syphilis – after a long period of increased rates, the incidence of syphilis dropped 1.6 since 2009. The rate among young, African-American males rose 134% from 2006 to 2010. The rate among African-American MSM (men who have sex with men) rose considerably, the reported added.

Nineteen million new cases of STDs are diagnosed annually in the USA. STDs cost the health-care system $17 billion a year.

Of those in high risk groups, only half are being tested, the authors wrote. A significant number of infected individuals are unaware, because they have no symptoms……

 

Educational Resources

From the MedlinePlus page for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

 

 

Read the article

 

November 18, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

NCI Announces Guide to Communicating Data to Lay Audiences

 

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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

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research

Excerpts from Using Social Media to Enhance Your Research, at the Krafty Librarian blog

Daniel Hooker posted some nice slides on Using Social Media to Advance Your Research that he presented to a group of PhDs and post-docs at the UBC Faculty of Medicine.  I gave a similar presentation to World Health Interest Group at Case Western Reserve University.  I spoke about using blogs, Twitter, wikis, etc. in scientific research.

During my presentation some of the attendees got hung up on the tools and technologies as toys and the idea of communicating was lost.  Social media is just one method people can use to communicate, share ideas, protocols, methods, lab notes, etc. In the very broadest of terms, email is sort of social media.  You can email many people who can then pass that discussion along to others. Listservs are a perfect example of this.  But email has been around with us for such a long time that there is no real discussion about its communication potential.  Yet, email was once a new fangled communication toy.

Read this abstract from Science 1982. 12;215(4534):843-52.

Computer networks are an integral part of the rapid expansion of computing. Their emergence depends both on evolving communication technologies, such as packet-switching and satellites, and on diverse experiments and innovations in the software tools that exploit communications. The tools provide computer users with facilities such as electronic mail, access to remote computers, and electronic bulletin boards. Scientists can both adapt and extend tools to meet the communication needs of their work, and several networks are developing to serve particular scientific communities.

……

Blog examples:

  • Useful Chemistry  -Chronicles research involving the synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds. Closely tied to Useful Chemistry wiki

  • Cold Spring Harbor Protocols –Discusses current events in biology with emphasis on lab techniques, protocols are highlighted & discussed in detail

  • HUGO Matters  –Discusses topics relevant to human genetics and genomics

Lab Notes blogs:

 Wiki examples:

  • UsefulChem wiki –Synthesis of novel anti-malarial compounds, including experiments. It is completely open.

  • OBF wiki –Open Bioinformatics Foundation focused on supporting open source programming in bioinformatics

  • OpenWetWare –Promotes sharing of information, know-how and wisdom among researchers & groups working in biology & biological engineering. It is partially open.

  • WikiPathways –Dedicated to the curation of biological pathways

  • Yeast Genome wiki –Everything yeast including protocols, methods, reagents, strains

Lab or Research Group wikis:

 Twitter feeds:

Lists of scientists and researchers on Twitter:

The easiest way to have a rich and informative Twitter feed is to follow the people the leaders in your field are following and branch off from there.  By the way, Twitter’s site is ok for learning, but it really stinks for following any sort of conversation AND you always have to refresh the page (annoying). I highly recommend using Hootsuite or TweetDeck to monitor your Twitter feeds.  The thing I like about TweetDeck is that a little message pops up in the corner of my computer screen with the tweet. I can read it quickly and decide whether I want to ignore it, comment, or click on their link. Using Twitter on TweetDeck this way is very similar to how I use email because my email pops messages to my main screen too.

Really you need to sit down and figure out what your information needs are and the leaders in your field to follow.  This might be hard, but I bet there might be somebody in your field who is already doing it, so ask them, build off of what they are doing and tweek it to fit your needs.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources | , | Leave a comment

PubMed Health – A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.

From the November NLM Technical Bulletin article

PubMed Health — A Growing Resource for Clinical Effectiveness Information

PubMed® Health developed further as a resource for clinical effectiveness research with its August and September 2011 releases. Growing from around 200 items based on systematic reviews to over 5,000, PubMed Health has also begun a collection focused on helping people understand systematic reviews and their results. PubMed Health goals are: helping users find the evidence that could answer their questions about effects of health care and helping them understand what they find.

Making Systematic Reviews More Accessible
Systematic reviews that identify and interpret studies on the effects of health care form an essential research basis for informed decision-making. Systematic reviewing has been growing, especially with the advent of The Cochrane Collaboration and the increasing incorporation of this methodology in health technology assessment by public agencies and clinical practice guideline development.

Systematic reviews (including health technology assessments) are often lengthy and highly technical. Their evolution has been accompanied by a growth in knowledge translation activity. Along with traditional abstracts, various forms have been developed to help people use systematic reviews: executive and policymaker summaries, summaries or other forms for patients/consumers and summaries for clinicians.

However, these materials have been scattered widely on content providers’ Web sites without being collected centrally. Many of the systematic reviews undertaken by public health technology assessment agencies have also remained outside the National Library of Medicine® (NLM®) system. The PubMed Health initiative is gathering them together within a single searchable resource.

PubMed Health Content
PubMed Health contains systematic reviews and summaries of systematic reviews undertaken or updated in roughly the last ten years. The time limit is applied to publication date of around eight years, to allow for the time lag from the date of the evidence search. The cut-off currently is 2003.

New content incorporated in these releases include summaries from The Cochrane Collaboration and the National Health Service (NHS) National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment Programme. There are also full text reviews from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Drug Effectiveness Review Project (DERP) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), England’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Evidence-based Synthesis Program. From NHS Choices comes “Behind the Headlines”, its educational service on the science behind the news. These new content providers join PubMed Health original consumer clinical effectiveness content for consumers content provided by AHRQ and the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

The reviews and review summaries now in PubMed Health account for perhaps one-third of the good quality systematic reviews published by public agencies and journals worldwide. Most of the remainder can be found in PubMed “Clinical Queries” Systematic Reviews search which runs simultaneously with a PubMed Health search; those PubMed results are presented as links on the right-hand portion of the results page (see #3 in Figure 4).

Organization
The re-designed homepage (see Figure 1) includes four key sections:

  • Contents: a complete alphabetical listing of all titles, sorted by type of content.
  • Behind Headlines: the NHS guide to the science behind health stories in the news.
  • New & updated: content added in the last 60 days.
  • Featured reviews: high quality reviews on interesting topics are selected and featured here. “Previously featured reviews” are provided in an RSS feed to which people can subscribe.
  • Understanding clinical effectiveness: an explanation of clinical effectiveness research along with a section focusing on resources to help people understand systematic reviews and interpret the results.

Screen capture of PubMed Health homepage.
Figure 1: PubMed Health homepage.

A drop-down box under “Contents” (see Figure 2) shows the categories of information currently included in PubMed Health where these are available:

  • For consumers: includes consumer summaries of systematic reviews as well as consumer information based on systematic reviews.
  • Executive summaries: executive or policymaker summaries of systematic reviews.
  • Clinical guides: clinician summaries of systematic reviews as well as clinical practice guidelines that are based on a fully reported systematic review.
  • Full text reviews: systematic reviews with full texts, including PDF versions.
  • Medical encyclopedia: medical and drug information for consumers for supplementary background information.

PubMed Health includes content that is currently also cited in PubMed, and PubMed Health will systematically be building in links to these citations. However, there will be some time lag for many items between inclusion in PubMed Health and citation in PubMed. Consumer content from PubMed Health is currently not included in PubMed.

Screen capture of Contents drop-down box.
Figure 2: Contents drop-down box.

At the top right-hand corner (see Figure 3), “About PubMed Health” explains the Web site and the National Center Biotechnology Information, NLM, with a full listing of content providers. “Help” includes explanation of basic functions, along with suggested citations for PubMed Health content.

Screen capture of About PubMed Health and Help features.
Figure 3: About PubMed Health and Help features.

Searching
The primary search (see #1 in Figure 4) returns clinical effectiveness content by relevance, with the option of viewing all (default) or only specified content types. Relevant medical encyclopedia results are shown at the right (see #2 inFigure 4), with the results of the “Clinical Queries” filter search for systematic reviews in PubMed showing below those (see #3 in Figure 4). “Clinical Queries” returns results chronologically.

Screen capture of Search results.
Figure 4: Search results.

Additional Features
With medical encyclopedia content, PubMed Health has enhanced the display of anatomical images and given this popular feature a more prominent position. There are links from the medical encyclopedia diseases and conditions pages to MedlinePlus® content.

PubMed Health now features “Add this” sharing for e-mail and social media. Coming in the fall, PubMed Health will begin a Twitter feed, announcing new content providers and features, as well as featured content.

PubMed Health full address: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/
Shortcut: http://www.pubmed.gov/health
Customer service contact: pmh-help@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

By Hilda Bastian
National Center for Biotechnology Information

 


November 16, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (Health Professionals), Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, health care, Health Statistics, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources, Tutorials/Finding aids | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New 2011 Survey of Patients with Complex Care Needs in Eleven Countries Finds That Care Is Often Poorly Coordinated

 

 

international survey

From the November 2011 Report

An international survey of adults living with health problems and complex care needs found that patients in the United States are much more likely than those in 10 other high-income countries to forgo needed care because of costs and to struggle with medical debt. In all the countries surveyed, patients who have a medical home reported better coordination of care, fewer medical errors, and greater satisfaction with care than those without one.

Key Findings

  • Sicker adults in the U.S. stood out for having cost and access problems. More than one of four (27%) were unable to pay or encountered serious problems paying medical bills in the past year, compared with between 1 percent and 14 percent of adults in the other countries. In the U.S., 42 percent reported not visiting a doctor, not filling a prescription, or not getting recommended care. This is twice the rate for every other country but Australia, New Zealand, and Germany.
  • In the U.S., cost-related access problems and medical bill burdens were concentrated among adults under age 65. Compared with Medicare-aged adults 65 or older, adults under 65 were far more likely to go without care because of the cost or to have problems paying bills.
  • Adults with complex care needs who received care from a medical home—an accessible primary care practice that knows their medical history and helps coordinate care—were less likely to report experiencing medical errors, test duplication, and other care coordination failures. They were also more likely to report having arrangements for follow-up care after a hospitalization and more likely to rate their care highly.
  • Sicker adults in the U.K. and Switzerland were the most likely to have a medical home: nearly three-quarters were connected to practices that have medical home characteristics, compared with around half in most of the other countries.
Read the entire report

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Consumer Safety, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health care, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Patients want to understand the medical literature (with links to resources for patients)

http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/library_for_health_information/Pages/index.aspx

From the Science Intelligence blog item

Findings of a recent  study by JISC:

Publishing a lay summary alongside every research article could be the answer to assisting in the wider understanding of health-related information. 

Patients Participate! asked patients, the public, medical research charities and the research community, ‘How can we work together in making sense of scientific literature, to truly open up research findings for everyone who is interested?’ The answer came from patients who explained that they want easy-to-understand, evidence-based information relating to biomedical and health research. 

Some universities now offer researchers training in communicating with lay audiences. (…)

JISC believes that publicly-funded research should be made available for everyone and be easy to find. JISC funded this work to show how making access to scientific literature enables citizen-patients to participate in the research process, therefore providing mutual understanding and better links between scientists, medic, patients and the general public.

http://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/stories/2011/10/participate.aspx


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“Summaries for Patients” and other plain language summaries help patients and others understand medical studies and guidelines

“Summaries for Patients

“Summaries for Patients” are brief, non-technical summaries of studies and clinical guidelines published inAnnals of Internal Medicine. The Summaries aim to explain these published articles to people who are not health care providers.

To search for summaries, click on New Search (top of middle column) at “Summaries for Patients”
Once at the New Search Page (http://www.annals.org/search), be sure to check Summaries for Patients , under Limit Results by Section (Articles Published After 1927)


Here are excerpts from a recent Summaries for Patients, Who Reports Having More Pain at the End of Life?

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Pain at the end of life is everyone’s great fear, but we still do not know enough about what makes pain worse at the end of life. Studies of pain near death have mostly looked at specific types of patients, such as those with cancer or those who are in a hospice program in which a patient’s comfort and reducing pain is a main focus of care. Other studies have asked family members about their deceased or dying relative’s experience of pain in the last months of life, but these reports are affected by their feelings about the pain of their loved one. In addition, studies have generally not examined patients from national surveys that offer broader understanding of patients’ experience of moderate to clinically significant pain at the end of life.

What did the researchers find?

Among the more than 4700 patients in the study, about 25% had clinically significant pain. However, the proportion experiencing significant pain increased to nearly 50% in the last 4 months before death. One of the most important things that affected the amount of pain was having arthritis. Surprisingly, the reason that a person was dying, such as heart disease or cancer, was not associated with important differences in the amount of pain.

What were the limitations of the study?

No information about treatment for pain was provided, and the study did not follow specific patients over time to see how their pain changed. Some people with arthritis might have had pain from something else that they mistakenly thought was arthritis.

What are the implications of the study?

Physicians and patients are not good at knowing when death is close, so it is important long before the last few months of life to discuss pain and ways to reduce it. Arthritis may be an important cause of pain or death that could be reduced by lifestyle changes long before death.

patientINFORM plain language summary Web sites are provided by participating publishers to help patients or their caregivers more fully understand the implications of research and to provide links to the full text of research articles they’ve selected from participating journals. The publishers allow readers following links from patientINFORM material on the health organizations’ sites to access the full text of these articles without a subscription, and they provide patients and caregivers with free or reduced-fee access to other articles in participating journals.

The Cochrane Collaboration

Working together to provide the best evidence for health care

Cochrane Collaboration provides systematic reviews of the strongest evidence available about healthcare interventions (as drugs and medical procedures).  It does not cover all interventions, but those covered were reviewed  in-depth by experts in the medical and library fields.
The main activity of the Collaboration is the preparation of Cochrane reviews that are published electronically in successive issues of The Cochrane Library. These Cochrane reviews investigate the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. They also assess the accuracy of a diagnostic test for a given condition in a specific patient group and setting.
[Click here to find more information about the use of the evidence to inform decision making in health care ]

Here is how to find plain language  and audio summaries of Cochrane reviews

Related Blog Items 


Cannot find a plain language summary with the above resources?

Consider asking a reference librarian for help at your local public, academic, or hospital library. Many academic and hospital libraries provide at least limited reference service to the public.
Call or email them for information about their services.

You may also contact me at jmflahiff@msncom.  I will do my best to reply within 48 hours.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Misleading information on health social sites (and tips on how to evaluate health/medical information)

elderly computer

http://www.shockmd.com/2008/09/05/youre-never-to-old-to-learn-computer-skills/

 

 

From the Science Intelligence and InfoPros site

Social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube can be powerful platforms to deliver and receive healthcare information, especially for patients and caregivers who are increasingly going online to connect and share experiences with others with similar medical issues or concerns. However, these sites may lack patient-centered information and can also be sources of misleading information that could potentially do more harm than good, according to the results of two separate social media-related studies…
Medical News Today: 1st of November, 2011.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/236877.php
iHealthBeat:
http://m.ihealthbeat.org/articles/2011/11/1/researchers-say-online-health-information-could-be-misleading.aspx

 

 

And, of course, when looking for or evaluating health information….it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional and/or a professional librarian.

At the very least… evaluate the information objectively!

 

 


Related articles and Web sites

How to evaluate medical and health information

Great starting places for quality health and medical information

  • MedlinePlus (US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health)
    Links to information on over 700 diseases/conditions, drugs & supplements, videos & tools (as health calculators, anatomy     videos, directories (as Find an Eye Doctor), and links to organizations
  •  But Wait, There’s More!

Many academic and medical institutions offer at least some reference services to the general public.  Be sure to ask for a reference librarian. He or she not only has a master’s degree in Library Science, but often additional related education in health related areas.

November 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Health Education (General Public) | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Statistical New World” and Other Creative (Bio)statistics Diddies

From the 18 August 2011 Tens and Twos with Dr. Felicia Mebane (public health)  blog item A Statistical New World” and Other Creative (Bio)statistics Diddie

 

FINALLY! Some creative videos on statistics. I wonder if they read my prior emails begging for more creativity in this area :) .

This year, the American Statistical Association hosted a “Promoting the Practice and Profession of Statistics” video competition. And, one of the three winning videos was from graduate students and staff in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. YAY, biostats!

August 23, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College( | , , | Leave a comment

The State of America’s Children – 2011 Report

Children's Defense Fund

 

From the Children Defense Fund Web site

CDF’s new report The State of America’s Children 2011 finds children have fallen further behind in many of the leading indicators over the past year as the country slowly climbs out of the recession. This is a comprehensive compilation and analysis of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on population, poverty, family structure, family income, health, nutrition, early childhood development, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and gun violence. The report provides key child data showing alarming numbers of children at risk: children are the poorest age group with 15.5 million children—one in every five children in America—living in poverty, and more than 60 percent of fourth, eighth and 12th grade public school students are reading or doing math below grade level.

View this year’s interactive report or download the document.

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, health AND statistics, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

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