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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine Winter 2015 Issue Available Online!

Cover of Winter 2015 NIH MedlinePlus issueThe Winter 2015 issue of NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine features information on healthy aging with Go4Life, living with Alzheimer’s disease, finding good health information on the Internet, atrial fibrillation, and treating alcohol problems. The cover features Howie Mandel, a host, performer, and producer, who was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib). He discusses his involvement with the National Stroke Association’s Fibs or Facts campaign that raises awareness about AFib and its increased risk for stroke.

The magazine also recaps the Science Pathfinders at NLM/NIH event on September 26, 2014, where more than 500 middle and high school students at public and private schools in Maryland and the District of Columbia visited the NIH campus in Bethesda to hear presentations from top scientists and medical doctors on the latest advances in medical research. This issue’s HealthLine describes the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and and the Pharmaceuticals division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) small phase 1 clinical trial of the experimental vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease.

NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine is the free, trusted consumer guide to the vast array of authoritative online health and medical information at MedlinePlus. Published four times a year, the magazine showcases the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) latest medical research and healthcare information. NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine is freely available as a print subscription, e-mail alerts, and online.

National Library of Medicine Announces Pill Image Recognition Request for Information

NLM Pill Image Recognition Pilot logoThe National Library of Medicine (NLM) has issued a call for participation in a Pill Image Recognition (PIR) Request for Information (RFI). Unidentified and misidentified prescription pills present challenges for individuals and professionals. Unidentified pills can be found by family members, health professionals, educators, and law enforcement. The nine out of 10 US citizens over age 65 who take more than one prescription pill can be prone to misidentifying those pills.

This PIR RFI is a pilot for a forthcoming PIR Challenge whose goal is to develop smart phone apps that individuals can use to take pictures of prescription pills and then search for and retrieve pill images and associated data of likely matches in an NLM database. NLM anticipates that respondents will include professionals and students, individually or in teams, in computer vision and computer graphics working on content-based image retrieval. Instructions for responding to the RFI are available on the PIR website.

The deadline for submissions to this RFI is Monday, April 27, 2015.

February 2015 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available!

Whimsical illustration of a heart being repaired by construction workers.

Check out the February 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:

  • Fixing Flawed Body Parts: Engineering New Tissues and Organs
    How can you mend a broken heart? Or repair a damaged liver, kidney, or knee? NIH-funded scientists are exploring innovative ways to fix faulty organs and tissues or even grow new ones. This type of research is called tissue engineering. Exciting advances continue to emerge in this fast-moving field.
  • Galled by the Gallbladder? Your Tiny, Hard-Working Digestive Organ
    Most of us give little thought to the gallbladder, a pear-sized organ that sits just under the liver and next to the pancreas. The gallbladder may not seem to do all that much. But if this small organ malfunctions, it can cause serious problems. Gallbladder disorders rank among the most common and costly of all digestive system diseases. By some estimates, up to 20 million Americans may have gallstones, the most common type of gallbladder disorder.
  • Many Older People Take Anti-Anxiety Meds Despite Risks
    Despite known risks, older people often take benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that helps treat anxiety and sleep problems. New research raises questions about why benzodiazepines are prescribed so often when safer alternatives may be available.
  • Treatment for Alcohol Problems
    An estimated 17 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder. But research suggests that only a fraction of them seek professional help. No matter how severe the problems may seem, most people can benefit from some form of therapy.
  • Featured Website: Find a Cancer Center
    NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) supports specialized cancer research centers that deliver cutting-edge cancer treatments to people in communities across the country. This interactive map can help you find an NCI-designated center near you and learn about its patient services and research.

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!

Grant Announcement for the National Resource Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Adolescents

The HHS Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) has issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) with the purpose of funding an organization that will support the maintenance, operation, and re-launch of a national HIV/AIDS resource center. The Resource Center will promote practical strategies to assist in the implementation of evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions and best practices targeted to adolescent youth, in particular adolescents at high risk and African American and Hispanic/Latino adolescents. Funding for this project comes from the HHS Secretary’s Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI). OAH anticipates funding one grantee with an annual budget of up to $350,000 per year for a three-year project period. Applications are due by Friday, April 10, 2015.

Measuring Success Toolkit

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is a form of assessment used to help improve the performance and achievement of program results and often used by both non-government organizations (NGOs) and government agencies. It utilizes a staircase diagram with six questions related to program planning, monitoring, and evaluation; with information about clarifying the differences. While not specific to health information outreach programs, the Measuring Success Toolkit, from the Urban Reproductive Health Initiative, is about health program planning, monitoring and evaluation. The toolkit provides helpful resources from the initiative’s multi-country perspective of working with the urban poor and the significant health disparities they face that may be helpful to consult when working with health information outreach partners in underserved communities. The Toolkit includes subject-specific M&E resources such as maternal & child health and HIV/AIDS, and the resources within the toolkit are selected by M&E experts and reviewed quarterly following established criteria, to identify important resources from diverse perspectives that include accurate, up-to-date information.

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: LiverTox

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) LiverTox resource is a free website providing up-to-date, comprehensive and unbiased information about drug-induced liver injury caused by prescription and nonprescription drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements. LiverTox represents a collaborative effort by medical and scientific specialists to provide a central repository of clinical information in support of clinical and basic research on the prevention and control of drug-induced liver injury. The site also provides guidance to clinicians and healthcare providers on the diagnosis and management of this important cause of liver disease. LiverTox contains approximately 850 drug and herbal records. It is a joint effort of the Liver Disease Research Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) of NLM.

Look for these LiverTox updates in the coming months:

  • Addition of about 100 new records.
  • New histopathologic imaging (microscopic structure of diseased tissue) from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) included in drug records.
  • Section  providing public access to reference cases, initially populated with clinical cases from the Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network, a consortium of eight academic medical centers throughout the United States. This repository will allow for statistical analyses of trends in drug-induced liver disease, as well as better characterization of clinical patterns of injury.

New Toolkit on Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy!

According to recent studies, and despite new private insurance coverage over the past year, many people do not understand the very terms and concepts necessary to make informed choices. A new Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit, Health Literacy and Health Insurance Literacy: Do Consumers Know What they are Buying? addresses the extent and significance of both health literacy and health insurance literacy for Americans buying and using health insurance.

A few highlights from the Toolkit:

  • Nearly nine out of ten adults have difficulty using health information to make informed decisions about their health.
  • Half of Americans don’t understand such basic health insurance terms as premium, deductible and copay.
  • Thirty-seven percent of marketplace enrollees did not know their deductible, and 47% of those receiving subsidies did not know the amount of federal assistance they were getting.
  • The cost of low health literacy in the United States currently represents between 7% and 17% of all personal health care expenditures.

Contents of the Toolkit include:

  • An overview of problems associated with health literacy as well as studies analyzing their impact.
  • Links to reports and news articles explaining and analyzing the issue.
  • Contact information for leading experts on the issue.

National Library of Medicine Resource Update: Alternatives to Animal Testing Portal

The National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Alternatives to Animal Testing (ALTBIB) portal provides access to PubMed/MEDLINE citations relevant to alternatives to the use of live vertebrates in biomedical research and testing. The ALTBIB topics and subtopics are aligned with current U.S. and international approaches. For example, information is provided on in silico, in vitro, and refined or improved animal testing methods. Strategies that incorporate validated methods and other approaches are also covered. In addition to the topic areas for PubMed searches, the ALTBIB portal includes a searchable bibliographic collection of alternatives to animal testing, including citations from published articles, books, book chapters, and technical reports published from 1980 to 2000.

The Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), part of NLM’s Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), now includes subheadings (“/alternative/ and /in vitro tests/”) in the Human and Non-Human Toxicity Excerpts fields. These subheadings allow users to locate data from in vitro and other alternative methods. For example, users can search “ALTERNATIVE IN VITRO TESTS” to locate records with this data. Coverage includes results from methods validated by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM) and the European Union Reference Laboratory for Alternatives to Animal Testing (EURL-ECVAM).

NLM HIV/AIDS Portal Now Offers Multilingual Content Search!

NLM’s HIV/AIDS Portal now offers the ability to search for multilingual content. The new Multilingual Search interface searches specifically for HIV/AIDS related topics from the multilingual and multicultural content of HealthReach (formerly RHIN). HealthReach offers easy access to quality health information to individuals for whom English is not the primary language. It is also an important resource for health professionals as well as public health administrators. Users can search by subject/topic, language, and format. The default for the search is always HIV/AIDS so there is no need for these terms to be included in the search. There is also an Advanced Search capability to further refine retrieval. The content is available in audio and video formats as well as text. For text documents there is a feature that allows viewing the document in a split screen with one side being English and the other being the language requested in the search.

January 2015 Issue of NIH News in Health Now Available!

Illustration of 2 people playing tennis.Check out the January 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:

  • Osteoporosis in Aging: Protect Your Bones with Exercise
    Bones feel solid, but the inside of a bone is actually filled with holes like a honeycomb. Bone tissues are broken down and rebuilt all the time. While some cells build new bone tissue, others dissolve bone and release the minerals inside.
  • Listen Up! Noises Can Damage Your Hearing
    Sounds surround us. We enjoy many of them—like music, birdsong, and conversations with friends. But loud or long-lasting noises—from motors, power tools, and even headphones—can permanently damage your hearing. Take steps to protect your ears from harmful noises.
  • Ebola Vaccine Prompts Immune Response
    An experimental vaccine to prevent Ebola virus disease was well-tolerated and produced immune system responses in all 20 healthy adults who received it. Based on these results, researchers are planning further studies to assess the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.
  • Detect Glaucoma Early To Protect Vision
    Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve, which carries visual signals from the eye to the brain. If left untreated, glaucoma can lead to vision loss or blindness. But many people with early-stage glaucoma have no symptoms. By the time they’re diagnosed, they may have already noticed changes to their side, or peripheral, vision.
  • Featured Website: Rethinking Drinking
    Have you taken a look at your drinking habits and how they may affect your health? Some people have symptoms of an alcohol use disorder without recognizing them. Others don’t know where to find help to cut back or quit. This site offers research-based information about how alcohol affects your health and tips for making changes.

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!