Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

The Guide to Community Preventive Services: What Works to Promote Health

The Guide to Community Preventive Services  is a great resource for what methods and interventions work well to improve public health. It is geared towards public health officials, researchers, and policy makers. However, it is also a good aid for anyone looking for the best way(s) to address issues touching family members and friends. The information can be used to promote or advocate for changes in policies and laws at local or national levels. They can be used to positively influence changes for the better in schools, workplaces, public health departments, and more.

A good way to start is through the Topics link at the top of the page. It includes links to issues as asthma, cancer, diabetes, nutrition, obesity, vaccines, and violence. Each topic includes links to more information on the topic and related topics.
Many topics have summaries of recommendations and findings. For example the topic Diabetes includes recommendations for certain disease management programs but insufficient evidence for self management programs in school settings or worksites.

All information on the interventions for a specific topic (as violence, diabetes, alcoholism) is carefully reviewed through a standardized step by step process.  systematic reviews. Each reviews includes summarized results of all related evidence.  These unbiased evidence-based reviews are also called systematic reviews.
[Click here for a good explanation of the systematic review process]

Each topic in this community guide answer questions  such as: c

  • What interventions have and have not worked?
  • In which populations and settings has the intervention worked or not worked?
  • What might the intervention cost? What should I expect for my investment?
  • Does the intervention lead to any other benefits or harms?
  • What interventions need more research before we know if they work or not?

Click on these tabs at the top of the  home page for additional information

April 14, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , , , | 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).

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.

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:
Customer service contact:

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

PubMed Clinical Queries Page Updated

Logo for PubMed, a service of the National Lib...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 11 August 2011 National Library of Medicine (NLM) Technical Bulletin

The PubMed® Clinical Queries homepage will be slightly modified to provide users with a more straightforward understanding of how to enter a search (see Figure 1).

Screen capture of PubMed Clinical Queries homepage.
Figure 1: PubMed Clinical Queries homepage.

After running a search, the category/scope limits for the Clinical Query Study Categories secion and topic limits for the Medical Genetics section will be available on the preview results page (see Figure 2).

Screen capture of PubMed Clinical Queries preview results page.
Figure 2: PubMed Clinical Queries preview results page.

The clinical queries search strategies will not be changed.

By Kathi Canese
National Center for Biotechnology Information



PubMed Clinical Queries provides access to specialized PubMed searches designed to quickly connect clinicians with evidence-based clinical literature.

There are two EBM search options:

    • Search by Clinical Study Category
    • Find Systematic Reviews
For more information on how PubMed can help you find biomedical articles (PubMed is the largest indexer of biomedical literature) please go to
               Many academic and medical librarians give at least limited assistance to the public.
               Call ahead and ask for a reference librarian


August 12, 2011 Posted by | Biomedical Research Resources, Educational Resources (High School/Early College(, Finding Aids/Directories, Librarian Resources, Professional Health Care Resources | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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