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Archive for the ‘Mobile Devices’ Category

NLM Project to Improve Malaria Diagnosis Wins HHS Funding

Researchers at the National Library of Medicine are collaborating on a software tool to speed up the diagnosis of malaria. They’ve developed an automated system for detecting and counting parasites in blood films. The goal is to develop a version for smartphones so it can be used in the field. The project, Watch it, Parasite!, is an idea so promising, the US Department of Health and Human Services will provide support from the HHS Innovation Ventures Fund Program to take this early-stage idea to the next level.

The current standard method for malaria diagnosis in the field is light microscopy of blood films. About 170 million blood films are examined every year for malaria, which involves manual counting of parasites. To improve malaria diagnostics, the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, an R&D division of the National Library of Medicine, in collaboration with NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Mahidol-Oxford University, is developing a fully-automated system for parasite detection and counting in blood films. While existing drugs make malaria a curable disease, inadequate diagnostics and emerging drug resistance are major barriers to successful mortality reduction. The development of a fast and reliable diagnostic test is therefore one of the most promising ways of fighting malaria, together with better treatment, development of new malaria vaccines, and mosquito control.

Read more about this project by visiting NLM in Focus.

Tox Town Updates the “Town” Neighborhood Scene

The National Library of Medicine’s Tox Town resource now has an updated Town neighborhood with a new photorealistic look. All of the location and chemical information is the same, but the new graphics allow users to better identify with real-life locations. The Town scene is now available in HTML5 so, in addition to computers, it can be accessed on a variety of personal electronic devices, including ipads, ipad minis, and tablets. Regardless of where you live, you will definitely want to visit the updated Town neighborhood and learn about possible environmental health risks in a typical town.

NLM Honors Nobel Laureate Marshall Nirenberg Who Deciphered the Genetic Code

Fifty years ago, Marshall W. Nirenberg, PhD, deciphered the genetic code. It led to a Nobel Prize—the first for a scientist at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Nirenberg’s family recently donated his Nobel Prize medal to the National Library of Medicine to be added to the papers and other items that chronicle his contributions to science. NLM’s History of Medicine Division hosted the first of three events at NIH that will celebrate the legacy of Marshall Nirenberg, who died in 2010, and the fiftieth anniversary of his deciphering of the genetic code. Subsequent events will be announced by the NIH Office of Intramural Research.

A Tribute to Marshall Nirenberg was filled with personal stories from his wife; from a scientist in his lab; and from a historian who helped develop NLM’s Nirenberg collection. The event, held March 17, was recorded and can be viewed on demand. One of the most significant pieces in the Nirenberg collection is the chart that is the first summary of the genetic code. Dated January 18, 1965, when more than half of the code had been deciphered, the document, with curatorial notes provided by Serlin, was recently added to NLM’s Turning the Pages project, which is available online and as an iPad app. Dr. Nirenberg won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1968. He shared the award with Har Gobind Khorana of the University of Wisconsin and Robert W. Holley of the Salk Institute.

Keep It Simple with Micro-Surveys

A hot trend in marketing research is the micro-survey. Also known as the bite-sized survey, these questionnaires are short (about three questions) with the goal of collecting focused feedback to guide specific action. The micro-survey is a technique for overcoming what is arguably the biggest hurdle in survey assessment: Getting people to respond to your questionnaire. It is a technique that is particularly useful for populations where mobile technology use is on the rise, and where there is competition for everyone’s attention in any given moment. To better expect respondents to answer questionnaires, don’t burden them with long, matrix-like questions or require them to flip through numerous web pages. Keep things simple, or respondents will be lost before they ever get to the submit button.

The trick to micro-surveys is to keep them short, but administer multiple questionnaires over time. For example, break down a traditional membership or customer questionnaire into several micro-surveys and distribute them periodically. The length of the survey is not the only factor contributing to response rate. Follow the Dillman method, which provides time-tested guidelines for administering surveys. Also, take a look at Champagne’s Nine Principles of Embedded Assessment. His website has articles and YouTube videos on how to implement these principles. If you want to try doing a micro-survey, check out the effective practices described in this blog article from the marketing research company Instantly.

National Library of Medicine Launches TOXinvaders Game!

The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has launched TOXinvaders, an environmental health and toxicology game for the iPhone and iPad. It is available from the Apple Store. TOXinvaders supports middle school science concepts pertaining to chemistry, the environment, and health. It can serve as an engaging classroom or homework activity for middle and high school students, as well as an entertaining learning activity for gaming aficionados of all ages. In the classroom environment, TOXinvaders works best as a supplement to NLM’s Tox Town, Environmental Health Student Portal, TOXMAP, and ChemIDplus Web sites.

The game consists of four fast-paced levels, in which a launcher is used to annihilate toxic chemicals falling from the sky and earn protective shield points by capturing “good chemicals.” To move on to the next level, players must take a brief quiz about the chemicals. These dynamically generated tests provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about environmental health and toxicology from the game’s chemical information sheet and from NLM Web sites. Quiz questions and answers can also serve as a starting point for classroom discussions, as well as for Tox Town, TOXMAP, and Environmental Health Student Portal activities and experiments.

Apple’s “iWork for iCloud” Now Available to Everyone!

Apple recently made its “iWork for iCloud” app suite available to all users at no cost, even those without an Apple device. iWork for iCloud is web-only access and features web versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote for creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations. To access this trio of productivity apps, you will need to create an Apple ID on iCloud.com, if you don’t already have one. Sign-up is free and includes 1GB of free storage for saving documents.

To create an Apple ID:

  1. Go to iCloud.com.
  2. Click Create Apple ID.
  3. Fill out the required account information including your email address, a strong password, and security questions.
  4. Verify your email address by entering the 6-digit code that Apple sends you.
  5. Accept the iCloud Terms of Service.

iCloud.com supports recent versions of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Learn more about the system requirements for iCloud.

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.

Mobile Data Solutions Online Course

Are you curious about the use of smart phones, tablets, or other mobile data resources to collect data for your assessment project, but are seeking more information on how to determine if this is the right approach for your project or program and how to process the data you collect using this method? Then check out Mobile Data Solutions, which was created as part of the Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) project, with expertise provided by U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Digital Development Lab and designed by TechChange.

The primary goal of this freely available and accessible online course (free registration is required) is to learn more about mobile tools, processes, and strategies for data collection in order to use mobile devices (referred to as mobile data solutions) to their full potential. The course will take about two hours to complete and can be done at your own pace over time. Progress in the course is saved so you’ll be taken to the point where you stopped to continue learning the next time you access it.

The learning objectives of the course are:

  • Describe examples of mobile data solutions from collection through visualization
  • Articulate the benefit of using these solutions
  • Analyze the challenges and limitations associated with mobile data solutions
  • Assess whether or not particular mobile data solutions are appropriate for a project, program or problem
  • Outline how to design a project or activity to include mobile data solutions
  • Explain the steps involved in implementing mobile data solutions
  • Summarize how to analyze, visualize, and share mobile data

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.

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.