Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category
A collaborative project between the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and several other federal and state partners, to reduce the time and improve the accuracy of detecting foodborne pathogens by using whole genome sequencing (WGS) techniques, received the HHSinnovates award on July 21, 2014. The HHSinnovates program was initiated in 2010 to recognize new ideas and solutions developed by HHS employees and their collaborators. Six finalist teams were recognized at the awards ceremony. The WGS Food Safety Project, which also involved the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state public health laboratories, was one of three projects to be honored as “Secretary’s Picks” by HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. The award went to the specific individuals leading the project in the various agencies; in the case of NCBI, Senior Scientist William Klimke, PhD, was honored for his work in heading NCBI’s part of the project.
WGS provides greater specificity than other techniques, such as the commonly used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), in identifying the DNA fingerprint of bacteria. It also can more rapidly determine whether isolates are related to a foodborne disease outbreak. The demonstration project involves real-time sequencing of Listeria monocytogenes isolates from human DNA as well as the food supply chain. In the project, the whole genomes of isolates are sequenced and the sequencing data are sent to NCBI, which performs assembly, annotation and analysis, and then sends results back to CDC, FDA, USDA and the labs. Collaborative projects using WGS for other pathogens related to food safety are also underway.
The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has announced the Toxicology in the 21st Century (Tox21) Data Challenge 2014 competition.
The goal of the challenge is to crowdsource data analysis by independent researchers in order to develop computational models that can better predict chemical toxicity. It is designed to improve current toxicity assessment methods, which are often slow and costly. The model submission deadline is November 14, 2014. NCATS will showcase the winning models in January 2015. Registration for the challenge and more information is available on the web site.
Tox21 scientists are currently testing a library of more than 10,000 chemical compounds in NCATS’s high-throughput robotic screening system. To date, the team has produced nearly 50 million data points from screening the chemical library against cell-based assays. Data generated from twelve of these assays form the basis of the 2014 challenge. For more information on the Tox21 Modeling Challenge and Tox21 Program, contact Anna Rossoshek.
The National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) is offering an online, asynchronous Moodle class called Discovering TOXNET from October 20 – November 14, 2014. Register now to discover TOXNET and other NLM environmental health databases through videos, guided tutorials, and discovery exercises! The class is taught online in thirteen independent modules. Participants work on their own time over a period of four weeks to complete the modules of interest. There is one required module; the remaining are optional. This class is offered for variable MLA Continuing Education credit. Each module will be offered for 0.5 to 2.0 credit hours, for a total of up to 12 hours. Credit will not be awarded for partial completion of a module. Total credit awarded will be based on completed modules with a minimum of 1.0 credit hours.
TOXNET is a web-based system of databases covering hazardous chemicals, environmental health, toxic releases, chemical nomenclature, poisoning, risk assessment and regulations, and occupational safety and health. The independent modules cover TOXLINE, ChemIDplus, TRI, TOXMAP, Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), IRIS, Haz-Map, LactMed, WISER, CHEMM, REMM, LiverTox, and more.
The modules are:
- Introduction to TOXNET: 0.5 hour (Required)
- TOXLINE: 1.0 hour
- ChemIDplus: 2.0 hours
- Integrated Risk Information System & Risk Assessment: 1.0 hour
- Hazardous Substances Databank: 1.5 hours
- Toxic Release Inventory: 1.0 hour
- TOXMAP: 1.5 hours
- Household Products Database: 0.5 hour
- LactMed: 0.5 hour
- Haz-Map: 0.5 hour
- WISER & CHEMM: 1.0 hour
- REMM: 0.5 hour
- LiverTox: 0.5 hour
Space in the class is limited, so don’t delay registering! For questions, contact the NTC.
Community Health Maps Blog is an initiative designed to share information about free and low cost and easy-to-use applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping tools. The goal is to help community-based and other types of small organizations collect and visualize information about their communities with an eye towards using these techniques to support planning and decision-making about community health. The tools discussed on the Community Health Maps Blog can support the collection and visualization of health statistics, demographic information, community resources, and events, thereby facilitating a better understanding of community conditions.
The interactive nature of blogging helps Community Health Maps share information about hardware platforms and software applications available to communities as they consider how, or if, they might use GIS. NLM encourages the submission of blog postings by those who use such resources to carry out projects within their communities, as well as those who have identified additional applications that may be of interest for this purpose.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the release of a new CDC Blast Injury mobile application, which may be downloaded for free from the iTunes store. The program is designed to assist in the response and clinical management of injuries resulting from terrorist bombings and other mass casualty explosive events. The application provides clear, concise, up-to-date medical and healthcare systems information to assist healthcare providers and public health professionals in the preparation, response, and management of injuries resulting from terrorist bombing events. CDC is hosting a Google+ Hangout on Monday, June 30, at 8:30 AM PDT to discuss this new tool.
AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently updated its AIDSinfo (English) and infoSIDA (Spanish) Web sites. They are now automatically optimized for display across all devices, including desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. Visitors to the AIDSinfo and infoSIDA Web sites will now be able to access all of the content on any device they are using. AIDSinfo offers access to the latest, federally approved HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, HIV treatment and prevention clinical trials, and other research information for health care providers, researchers, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and the general public.
NLM decided to create a responsive design Web site, a site that automatically adjusts to any device, because of a shift in the ways that people are accessing the Internet. Between 2010 and 2014, mobile traffic to the AIDSinfo Web site increased tenfold, and almost 90% of health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo Web site have Internet access at the point of care, and of those, more than two-thirds use a mobile device when seeing patients. With this redesign, health care providers, researchers, people with HIV/AIDS, their family and friends, and anyone who visits the Web site will now be able to access the HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, drug database, fact sheets, clinical trials search, HIV/AIDS glossary, and all of the other features in an easy-to-navigate format no matter what device they are using.
If you have saved the mobile site URLs (http://m.aidsinfo.nih.gov/ and http://m.infosida.nih.gov/) as a Bookmark or Favorite on your tablet or smartphone, you will be automatically redirected to the responsive design Web site. Please send your questions or feedback about the responsive design Web site to: ContactUs@aidsinfo.nih.gov.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the solicitation of proposals for the 2014 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects, from organizations and libraries to design and conduct projects that will improve access to HIV/AIDS related health information for patients, the affected community, and their caregivers. Awards are offered for up to $40,000. Quotations are due to NLM on Friday, July 11, 2014!
The solicitation for the 2014 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects is posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. Small Businesses can apply to a specific set-aside. The Federal Business Opportunities Web site will also list all notices, updates, and modifications to the Solicitation.
Projects must involve one or more of the following information access categories: information retrieval; skills development, resource development; and/or equipment acquisition. Emphasis will be placed upon the following types of organizations or arrangements for developing these programs: community-based organizations (CBOs) or patient advocacy groups currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services to the affected community; public libraries serving communities in the provision of HIV/AIDS-related information and resources; health departments or other local, municipal, or state agencies working to improve public health; faith-based organizations currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services; and/or multi-type consortia of the above-listed organizations that may be in existence or formed specifically for this project.
The NLM primary point of contact for the solicitation is Elena Leon, Contract Specialist, and the secondary point of contact is Robin Hope, Contracting Officer.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Specialized Information Services (SIS) has released a new TOXMAP Web site. The new TOXMAP links to the beta version of the new Flash-based TOXMAP, and to the previous version of TOXMAP, renamed TOXMAP classic. It also has a refreshed FAQ, News, Glossary, and video tutorials.
TOXMAP is a National Library of Medicine website that uses maps of the United States to show locations and information of toxic chemicals released by industrial facilities and declared hazardous waste sites. The data is from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund Program. The maps can display demographic overlays such as population density, racial/ethnic groups, age groups, income data, and health data (cancer and disease mortality).
NLM has just released the latest version of WISER for the Android (version 3.1) to the Google Play store. This release brings the Help Identify and Protective Distance Mapping functions to Android devices (it is already on the Windows, iOS, BlackBerry and WebWISER versions). WISER is now functionally equivalent across all platforms, so there’s greater uniformity and less of a learning curve for people using different devices.
Here’s a look at what’s new in this release:
- WISER’s Help Identify Chemical capability is now available on the Android platform. Identify and validate an unknown chemical based on the following criteria:
- physical properties of the substance gathered by observation or sensors
- signs and symptoms of victims of exposure
- the ability to categorize a substance, such as a substance used in a meth lab or a flammable substance
- hazard values from NFPA 704 placards
- transportation identification, including DOT placards, type of road trailer, and type of rail car
- Use WISER’s protective distance mapping feature on your Android device. Visualize the areas likely to be affected during the first 30 minutes after a substance is spilled or released on a live map. The Department of Transportation’s Emergency Response Guidebook serves as the source of WISER’s protective distance data.
WISER for Android can be downloaded and installed directly from the Google Play Store.
Also, look for these exciting additions in the coming months:
- WISER for iOS and WISER for Android 4.5, which adds chemical reactivity, triage procedures, and WISER’s full set of radiological tools to these mobile platforms
- WISER 4.6, which will add many new substances to WISER and update much of WISER’s backend data, including its HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank) substance data
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is introducing a new NLM TOXNET interface, with an improved appearance and interactive capabilities, and a facelift for a more current look and feel.
The new TOXNET features:
- Improved appearance
- Intuitive interactive capabilities
- Improved multi-database search
- Easy selection of items to save in “My List”
- More accessible menus and pull-downs
- Type-ahead Browse
- Hover-over Help
The old TOXNET will continue to be available for some weeks. Please take time to explore the new interface!