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Archive for the ‘Consumer Health’ Category

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!

NCCAM Gets New Name!

As part of the omnibus budget measure signed by President Obama in December 2014, Congress changed the name of NCCAM to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, or NCCIH. The change was made to more accurately reflect the Center’s research commitment to studying promising health approaches that are already in use by the American public. Since the Center’s inception, complementary approaches have grown in use to the point that Americans no longer consider them an alternative to medical care. The name change is in keeping with the Center’s existing Congressional mandate and is aligned with the strategic plan currently guiding the Center’s research priorities and public education activities. The mission of the organization will remain unchanged.

Large population-based surveys have found that the use of “alternative medicine,” unproven practices used in place of conventional medicine, is actually rare. By contrast, integrative health care, which can be defined as combining complementary approaches into conventional treatment plans, has grown within care settings across the nation, including hospitals, hospices, and military health facilities. The goal of an integrative approach is to enhance overall health, prevent disease, and to alleviate debilitating symptoms such as pain and stress and anxiety management that often affects patients coping with complex and chronic disease.

The Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) was established in 1992 within the Office of the Director, NIH, to facilitate the study and evaluation of complementary and alternative medical practices and to disseminate the resulting information to the public. In 1998, NCCAM was established by Congress, elevating OAM to the status of an NIH center. In February 2011, NCCAM released Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Third Strategic Plan 2011–2015, which continues to guide NCCIH’s work.

NLM Resource Update: TOXMAP Now Includes EPA Coal Plant Emissions Data

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) TOXMAP’s new Flash-based beta now includes 2013 coal emissions data published by the US EPA’s Clean Air Markets program. Data was obtained from the Air Markets Program Data (AMPD) tool, a publicly-available data system for searching and downloading data collected as part of EPA’s emissions trading programs. In 2013, about 2.1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions were attributable to electricity generated from coal.

TOXMAP is a Geographic Information System (GIS) from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) that uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund Programs.

AIDSinfo Releases Free Drug App for iOS and Android Devices!

AIDSinfo HIV/AIDS Drug Database screenshotAIDSinfo has announced the release of the AIDSinfo HIV/AIDS Drug Database app. Using data from the AIDSinfo Drug Database, the drug app provides information on more than 100 HIV-related approved and investigational drugs. The information, offered in English and Spanish, is tailored to meet the needs of both health care providers and consumers. The app is designed to automatically refresh when the user is connected to a wireless or cellular data network. The auto update feature eliminates the need to manually update the app to view the most current drug information. In addition, the app works offline, ensuring that health care providers and consumers can access vital drug information anywhere, even in health care facilities that may not have an Internet connection.

Health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo website indicated that access to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels for HIV-related drugs would be a useful feature of a drug app. Thus FDA drug labels pulled from DailyMed are integrated into the app in an easy-to-navigate format. This feature, coupled with the auto update feature, makes it easy for health care providers to quickly find the latest drug information when seeing patients. In addition, information from the FDA labels is condensed in easy-to-understand summaries in English and Spanish for consumers. The app also includes information on HIV-related investigational drugs for both health care providers and consumers.

Available for both iOS and Android devices, users can personalize the free AIDSinfo Drug App to suit their needs:

  • Receive notifications when content is updated.
  • Bookmark frequently referenced drugs for easy access at any time.
  • Add personal notes to any drug.
  • Select from a menu of alarms to set pill reminders for any drug.

AIDSinfo also has the AIDSinfo Glossary of HIV/AIDS-Related Terms app, available for both iOS and Android devices, which includes English and Spanish definitions of more than 700 HIV/AIDS-related terms.

Thirty-Five U.S. Hospitals Designated as Ebola Treatment Centers

An increasing number of U.S. hospitals are now equipped to treat patients with Ebola, giving nationwide health system Ebola readiness efforts a boost. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state health officials have identified and designated 35 hospitals with Ebola treatment centers, with more expected in the coming weeks. Four of the facilities are located in California. Hospitals with Ebola treatment centers have been designated by state health officials to serve as treatment facilities for Ebola patients based on a collaborative decision with local health authorities and the hospital administration.

Ebola treatment centers are staffed, equipped and have been assessed to have current capabilities, training and resources to provide the complex treatment necessary to care for a person with Ebola while minimizing risk to health care workers. The additional facilities supplement the three national bio containment facilities at Emory University Hospital, Nebraska Medical Center, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which will continue to play a major role in the overall national treatment strategy, particularly for patients who are medically evacuated from overseas. Facilities will continue to be added in the next several weeks to further broaden geographic reach.

CDC also released guidance for states and hospitals to use as they identify and designate an Ebola treatment center. The guidance covers the range of capabilities hospitals need in order to provide comprehensive care for patients with Ebola. HHS, through the CDC and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response (ASPR), also provided technical assistance to health departments and hospitals.

NLM Resource Update: Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) Website

The following updates and changes were announced in November, 2014, for the National Library of Medicine’s Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) website:

  1. Initial Actions for Responders after Nuclear Detonation: First Receivers: Emergency Department Staff and First Responders: Emergency Medical Service Staff.
  2. Multimedia: many new videos and graphics including 13 new teaching videos from DOE / Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program (TEPP) available on the REMM web site and REMM YouTube channel. Also links to various new CDC teaching materials, such as Videos: Radiation Basics Made Simple.
  3. Protective Actions and Protective Action Guides: page redone with re-organized information and tables. EPA PAG Manual Interim Guidance included.
  4. Burn Triage and Treatment: Thermal Injuries includes links to new references for managing burns in mass casualty incidents with austere conditions.
  5. Legal Advisors for Medical Response to Mass Casualty Incident: new references and 2 new sections including assessment of state and local laws regarding management of persons during radiation incidents including legal authority to decontaminate and quarantine (CDC and partners).
  6. Nuclear Detonation: Weapons, Improvised Nuclear Devices Key References entire list re-organized and updated, including Medical Issues: Planning and Response Practical Guidance and updated Blast injury references.
  7. Dictionary of Radiation Terms: 2 new key references, NCRP Glossary of Radiation Terms and NCRP Acronyms List.
  8. Biodosimetry References updated and re-organized.
  9. Software Tools for Radiation Incident Response includes additional applications listed for biodosimetry, managing incidents, and recording radiation levels.
  10. Incident Command System and Hospital (Emergency) Incident Command System page re-organized with links to HICS, Fifth edition, 2014, expanded to meet the needs of all hospitals, regardless of their size, location or patient care capabilities.
  11. Mental Health Professionals now includes updated references on Psychological First Aid.