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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

OCLC Announces Community Health Engagement Opportunity for Public Libraries!

As part of its IMLS-funded Health Happens in Libraries program, OCLC is seeking up to five public libraries wishing to collaborate with a local partner to develop and implement community health activities. These activities, to be conducted with the Health Happens in Libraries team from January through July 2015, will support the goals of each participating library and their partner(s), and enhance public library capacity to advance health and wellness priorities in the communities they serve. Activities may include a range of services, such as a workshop on healthy family meal planning, or training to patrons seeking reliable online health information. In addition to stipend support for any related travel, participating libraries will also be eligible to receive $500 for supplies, materials, or other necessary expenses to meet their goals. Actual time commitment will ultimately be proportional to the engagement goals of each library community

The Participant Overview provides a full description of this opportunity, including how to submit a statement of interest for your library to be considered for this exciting work. If interested in participating in this 7-month project, please submit a statement of interest by 5:00 PM PST Tuesday, December 9, 2014. Selected libraries will be notified by December 31, 2014. A panel will review all statements in an effort to select a variety of libraries, representing diverse perspectives and communities. Questions about the program may be directed to the Project Coordinator, Liz Morris.

Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM) Updates

CHEMM WebsiteThe National Library of Medicine (NLM) has released a new version of Chemical Hazards Emergency Medical Management (CHEMM). CHEMM is a Web-based resource that can be downloaded in advance to Windows and Mac computers to ensure availability during an event if the Internet is not accessible. CHEMM’s content is also integrated into the NLM Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER), which is Web-based and downloadable to Windows computers. CHEMM’s content is also available in WISER’s iOS and Android apps. The new CHEMM content will be incorporated into the next release of WISER.

New or updated content in CHEMM includes:

  • Updated and enhanced content on Decontamination Procedures, Discovering the Event, and Training and Education
  • An NIH CounterACT program funded database with information on twenty-two medical countermeasures (including efficacy, relevant publications, research in progress, FDA and other global regulatory status information)
  • Content for how emergency responders can recognize and handle events dealing with toxic gases generated by the combinations of consumer products or common household chemicals
  • A workshop report describing toxic chemical syndromes, or toxidromes, that lays the foundation for a consistent lexicon for use in CHEMM and for other uses that, if adopted widely, will improve response to chemical mass exposure incidents
  • A toxidromes outreach plan whose goal is to raise widespread awareness and encourage use of the toxidromes throughout the stakeholder community, and
  • An evaluation and validation plan for CHEMM’s Intelligent Syndromes Tool (CHEMM-IST) that, once completed, will move CHEMM-IST from its current state as a prototype to a product ready for use in an operational response environment.

For more information see the “What’s New on CHEMM?” section of CHEMM.

November 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available!

Composite illustration of a couple dancing, a woman swimming, a scale, diary, and vegetables.Check out the November issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:

  • Preventing Type 2 Diabetes: Steps Toward a Healthier Life
    People with diabetes have a problem with blood sugar. Their blood sugar, or blood glucose, can climb too high. Having high levels of sugar in your blood can cause a lot of trouble. Diabetes raises your risk for heart disease, blindness, amputations, and other serious issues. But the most common type of diabetes, called type 2 diabetes, can be prevented or delayed if you know what steps to take.
  • Parkinson’s Disease: Understanding a Complicated Condition
    We rely on our brains for every movement we make, whether writing, walking, talking, or even sleeping. But a serious brain disorder like Parkinson’s disease can rob a person of the ability to do everyday tasks that many of us take for granted. There’s no cure, but treatment can help. And researchers continue to seek new understanding to improve medical care.
  • Progress Toward a Bird Flu Vaccine
    An experimental bird flu vaccine triggered a powerful immune response in more than half of the volunteers who received it. The approach might lead to better vaccines against a variety of flu viruses.
  • Participating in Alzheimer’s Research
    Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Eventually, affected people can’t perform even simple tasks. There’s no cure, but researchers are now testing new ways to diagnose, treat, or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Featured Website: Safe to Sleep
    Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of death among infants between 1 month and 1 year of age. Find out how you can reduce your baby’s risk of SIDS and other sleep-related causes of infant death.

NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S. Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!

NLM Resource Update: Environmental Health Student Resources

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) provides online environmental health student resources for students in grades 1-12. The information and data in the following resources are free and vetted by science professionals. The resources can be used by science educators in their classrooms, in after school programs, in home school programs, and by students for their academic research assignments.

  • Environmental Health Student Portal (Grades 6-8): Provides middle school students and educators with information on common environmental health topics such as water pollution, climate change, air pollution, and chemicals.
  • Toxicology Tutorials (Grades 9-12+): Teach basic toxicology principles; written at the introductory college student level.
  • Household Products Database (Grades 6-12+): Learn about the potential health effects of chemicals in common household products ranging from personal hygiene products to landscape care products.
  • ToxTown (Grades 6-12+): Interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances. Includes classroom materials. Also available in Spanish.
  • TOXMAP (Grades 9-12+): Uses maps of the United States to visually explore Superfund and Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) sites and data from the EPA. Includes classroom materials.
  • Native Voices Exhibition Lesson Plans & Activities (Grades 6-12): Familiarize students with Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian healthcare by using the NLM Native Voices exhibition Web site content materials.
  • ToxMystery (Grades 1-5): Teaches elementary school students about toxic substances in the home. Game format; includes lesson plans and activities. Also available in Spanish.

NLM’s Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) Rebranded as HealthReach

The National Library of Medicine’s Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN) resource was a national collaborative partnership with the principal focus of creating and making available a database of quality multilingual/multicultural, public health resources to professionals providing care to resettled refugees and asylees. In October, 2014, NLM’s Specialized Information Services (SIS) broadened the scope of RHIN by rebranding it HealthReach. This was done to better meet the needs of the diverse non-English and English as a second language speaking audiences. HealthReach continues to recognize the importance of providing refugee and asylee specific information while expanding the information provided to meet the needs of most immigrant populations. Over the next several months new resources will be added to the web site. There is also a new Twitter feed, @NLM_HealthReach. There isn’t much change between the old RHIN and the new HealthReach; this was intentional to help with the continuity of service through the transition.

NLM Releases New Versions of MedlinePlus Mobile Sites in English and Spanish!

MedlinePlus logo

The National Library of Medicine has just announced the release of new versions of the MedlinePlus Mobile sites in English and Spanish. Like the original versions of the mobile sites, the redesigned sites are optimized for mobile phones and tablets. Unlike the original mobile sites that contained only a subset of the information available on MedlinePlus, the new sites have all of the content found on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español! They also have an improved design for easier use on mobile devices. Illustrations of the new sites are available in the NLM Technical Bulletin.

The key features of the redesigned mobile sites are:

  • Access to all the content available on MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español
  • Improved navigation using “Menu” and “Search” options to access search and major areas of the sites
  • Enhanced page navigation with the ability to open and close sections within pages
  • Updated look and feel with a refreshed design

This new version of MedlinePlus Mobile is the first step in redesigning MedlinePlus and MedlinePlus en español to behave responsively. Responsively designed Web sites automatically change their layouts to fit the screen of the device on which they are viewed, whether that is a desktop monitor or a mobile touchscreen. In 2015, the MedlinePlus team will release a fully responsive version of MedlinePlus to provide a consistent user experience from the desktop, tablet, or phone. This will obviate the need for a separate mobile site. Users will then have one destination for MedlinePlus when using any device. Until then, try out this first offering of MedlinePlus’s responsive design on your smartphone! Feel free to send feedback and comments about the new site via the “Contact Us” link that appears on every page.

New ACA Materials Available in Spanish!

From Coverage to Care (C2C) is an initiative from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) designed to help people with new health coverage understand their benefits and connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them. C2C resources, available in both English and Spanish, are now available to download and print.

Available resources include:

  • A Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You (Una Guía para Un Mejor Cuidado y Una Vida Más Saludable) that includes 8 steps to explain what health coverage is, and how to use it to get needed care.
  • Consumer tools including a sample insurance card and a sample explanation of benefits.
  • An 11-part video series that helps explain the information covered in the Roadmap.

To learn when new resources become available, sign up for notifications through the Minority Health listserv. From Coverage to Care materials are also available through the order page.

October 2014 Issue of NIH News in Health is Now Available!

Illustration of a woman surrounded by healthy foods that don’t contain added sugar.Check out the October issue of NIH News in Health, the monthly newsletter bringing you practical health news and tips based on the latest NIH research. In this issue:

  • Sweet Stuff: How Sugars and Sweeteners Affect Your Health
    Most of us love sweet foods and drinks. But after that short burst of sweetness, you may worry about how sweets affect your waistline and your overall health. Is sugar really bad for us? How about artificial or low-calorie sweeteners? What have scientists learned about the sweet things that most of us eat and drink every day?
  • Cold, Flu, or Allergy? Know the Difference for Best Treatment
    You’re feeling pretty lousy. You’ve got sniffles, sneezing, and a sore throat. Is it a cold, flu, or allergies? It can be hard to tell them apart because they share so many symptoms. But understanding the differences will help you choose the best treatment.
  • Genetic Clues to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak
    Scientists sequenced the genomes of nearly 100 samples of Ebola virus from patients in West Africa. The findings are helping researchers track the origin and spread of this deadly virus.
  • NIH Health Information at Your Fingertips
    Can you separate facts from myths about weight loss, nutrition, and physical activity? How do you recognize a heart attack or stroke? How many drinks is too many?
  • Featured Website: It’s a Noisy Planet
    Kids and teens are often exposed to noise levels that could permanently harm their hearing. It could take a long time before you even notice damage has been done. Learn about the causes and prevention of noise-induced hearing loss, so your kids—and you—can have healthy hearing for life.

NIH News in Health is available online in both HTML and PDF formats. Print copies are available free of charge for offices, clinics, community centers, and libraries within the U.S. Visit the NIH News in Health Facebook page to suggest topics you’d like to see covered, or share what you find helpful about the newsletter!

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: Drug Information Portal

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Drug Information Portal is a free web resource that provides an informative, user–friendly gateway to current drug information for over 53,000 substances. The Portal links to sources from the NLM, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other government agencies such as the U.S. FDA. 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 a drug name. A varied selection of focused topics in medicine and drug–related information is also available from displayed subject headings.

The Drug Portal retrieves by the generic or trade name of a drug or its category of usage. Records provide a description of how the drug is used, its chemical structure and nomenclature, and include up to 20 Resource Locators which link to more information in other selected resources. Recent additions to these Locators include clinical experience with drugs in PubMed Health, substances reviewed in NLM’s LiverTox, information from the Dietary Supplement Label Database, and drug images in the Pillbox database. Data in the Drug Information Portal is updated daily, and is also available on mobile devices. More information is available from the Drug Information Portal Fact Sheet.

NLM Mourns Dr. Morris F. Collen, Medical Computing Pioneer

The National Library of Medicine is saddened at the passing of Dr. Morris F. Collen, known around the world as “Mr. Medical Informatics,” on September 27, 2014. He was 100 years old. In addition to his wide-ranging contributions to medical informatics, Dr. Collen was a valued advisor to NLM. He was a member of the Lister Hill Board of Scientific Counselors from 1984 to 1987. He served on the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee, which advises NLM on the journals to be indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed, from 1997 to 2002, chairing the Committee from 2000 to 2002. He also contributed to NLM Long Range planning.

Morris Collen earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine in 1938. His residency at the University of Southern California/Los Angeles County General Hospital took him to California, where he started what would become a legendary career at Kaiser (later Kaiser Permanente). He served as chief of medical services at Kaiser’s Oakland hospital from 1942 to 1952, and medical director the following year. From 1953 to 1961, Dr. Collen served as physician-in-chief at Kaiser Permanente (KP) in San Francisco.

During World War II, Dr. Collen was one of the first doctors to experiment with the use of a new wonder drug–penicillin–for the treatment of pneumonia in shipyard workers, at a time when most of the drug was shipped overseas for members of the armed forces. Dr. Collen’s interest in the use of computers as a way to improve medical care developed during a 1961 conference on biomedical electronics. Soon afterward, he founded Kaiser Permanente’s research division and created a prototype electronic health record fed by punch card into a huge IBM mainframe computer. The record included information from patient screenings and lab results. One of Dr. Collen’s major achievements at KP was the development of the multiphasic health checkup, which addressed the physician shortage of the 1950s, post-World War II. This series of procedures and tests, given to thousands of KP members, screened for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Not only did these revolutionary tests save physicians’ time; they constituted a significant experiment in preventive care. Dr. Collen eventually automated the multiphasic health checkups, moving them onto a punch card system in 1964.

Electronic health records are in the headlines today, but their bloodlines run back to Dr. Collen. Kaiser Permanente’s early EHR system became internationally known because of his groundbreaking efforts. In fact, he predicted that the computer would have “the greatest technological impact on medical science since the invention of the microscope,” as noted in a 2008 Kaiser Permanente publication.