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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

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.

NLM’s DailyMed Web Site Redesigned With New Features and Improved Usability!

DailyMed web site

On September 18 the National Library of Medicine launched a newly redesigned DailyMed web site. DailyMed provides trustworthy information about marketed drugs in the United States, and is the official provider of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) label information. The web site provides a standard, comprehensive, up-to-date, look-up and download resource of medication content and labeling found in medication package inserts. Since 2005, when DailyMed was first launched, its usage has increased significantly.

Based on the needs and feedback received from the public, NLM began redesigning the DailyMed web site in 2013. The new site is a responsive design which is now easily accessible on all types of devices, adjusting and optimizing automatically for smart phones to large screen desktop displays. Based on the size of the screen, content will relocate, images will resize, the layout will change, and even the navigation will adjust, to deliver an exceptional user experience no matter what device is being used to view the site.

In addition to responsive design, the following new features are available:

  • Enhanced Search Results to include displaying of NDC Codes, Pill Images, and Package Label Images on the search result page. The information will help users easily identify the drug label. The thumbnail images of drugs, magnification feature, accordions, etc. provide a more user friendly experience.
  • Improved user interface by displaying an accordion-style data presentation, so users don’t have to scroll through the entire label.
  • Simplified page navigation and added definitions & tooltips for industry-specific phrases.
  • A dedicated News page and Article & Presentation Page for users to easily access DailyMed and NLM/FDA drug-related news.

TOXMAP and Native American Populations

Although the National Library of Medicine’s TOXMAP resource is not specifically designed for any one particular group, the TRI and Superfund Programs can be of interest to specific populations such as Native Americans, by helping to find sources of chemical releases and contamination in locations of interest to them.

In the beta version of TOXMAP, click on the “Zoom to Location” icon, enter “reservation” or “rancheria” into the “Address or Place” search box, and then click “Zoom to.” In TOXMAP classic, click on “Zoom to a Place,” enter “reservation” or “rancheria” into the “other place name” search box, and then click “Submit.” You can also overlay US Census data by race: “American Indian and Alaskan Native” (1990) or “One Race: American Indian and Alaska Native” and “Two or More Races Including American Indian and Alaska Native” (2000). For more information, visit the TOXMAP and Native American Populations webpage.

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: Environmental Health Student Portal

The National Library of Medicine Environmental Health Student Portal has added Mercury and Your Health, an animation about the uses of mercury and how exposure can impact human health. The 16-minute video introduces children to mercury and its basic properties, discusses mercury exposure routes, outlines health impacts of mercury, describes mercury containing products, discusses mercury contamination in the environment, outlines the proper disposal of mercury containing products, discusses bioaccumulation and mercury contamination of fish, and describes additional sources that children could use to find credible health information on mercury.

The Environmental Health Student Portal connects middle school students and science teachers with free, reliable, and engaging environmental health education resources. The Student Portal offers a diverse array of engaging educational materials such as videos, games and activities, lesson plans, experiments and projects, fun challenges, as well as additional resources for further reading. Mercury is one of the chemicals covered in this resource.

Household Products Database Update

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Household Products Database (HPD) now contains over 14,000 products. The latest update includes a new product category “commercial/institutional.” Product manufacturers of the more than 300 products in this category use various descriptions, including professional grade, professional use, hospital grade, and more. Users can locate products using the new “commercial/institutional” link under “Browse by Category” on the HPD homepage or by entering the category/description terms (e.g. commercial, institutional, professional, hospital) as a Quick Search.

The Household Products Database links over 14,000 consumer brands to health effects from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by manufacturers, and allows scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients. The database is designed to help answer the following typical questions:

  • What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brands?
  • Which products contain specific chemical ingredients?
  • Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer?
  • What are the acute and chronic effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand?
  • What other information is available about chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National Library of Medicine?

Information in the Household Products Database comes from a variety of publicly available sources, including brand-specific labels and Material Safety Data Sheets when available from manufacturers and manufacturers’ web sites.

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

Illustration of a man declining a beer that’s being offered by his friend at a picnic.Check out the September 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:

  • Drinking to Excess: Recognize and Treat Alcohol Problems
    Some people enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner. Others might grab a beer while watching a football game. Most people drink alcohol moderately, within their limits. Others overdo it occasionally. But some people find they can’t control their drinking. How do you know when drinking is becoming a problem? And what can you do if it is?
  • Focusing on ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
    Most children get restless, rowdy, or distracted at times. That’s all part of being a kid. But some kids have such trouble paying attention, staying focused, and finishing tasks that it interferes with their schoolwork, home life, and friendships. These difficulties might be signs of a developmental disorder called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
  • Genetic Sites Tied to Schizophrenia
    Researchers linked more than 100 genetic regions to schizophrenia, including 83 that were previously unrecognized. The findings may lead to new strategies for treating this serious brain disorder.
  • Featured Website: Gut Check
    This site offers easy-to-read information about screening for colorectal cancer, the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths nationwide. Screening may detect growths called polyps that can be removed before they develop into cancer. It can also detect cancer early, when treatment may be most effective. Videos and other resources help you decide which screening test is right for you.

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!