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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

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.

NCBI HIV-1 Website Updated

The HIV-1, human interaction database has been updated and is now on an improved page. The improved interface includes help documentation and supports structured queries against Gene, as well as browsing, filtering and downloading the protein and replication interaction data sets. The most recent data release (June 2014) includes 12,785 HIV-1, human protein-protein interactions for 3,142 human genes and 1,316 replication interactions for 1,250 human genes. The HIV-1, human interactions project, collates published reports of two types of interactions – HIV-1, human protein interactions, and human gene knock-downs that affect virus replication which are reported as “replication interactions.”

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.

NLM Releases Rare Footage of President Franklin Roosevelt Speaking at NIH

On October 31, 1940, just days before President Franklin D. Roosevelt would be elected to an unprecedented third term as President of the United States, he traveled to Bethesda to dedicate the National Cancer Institute and the new campus of what was then the National Institute of Health (NIH), before it would eventually become known in plural form, National Institutes of Health, as multiple units were established over subsequent years. That late October afternoon, Roosevelt stood on the steps of the new main NIH building, ready to address a crowd of 3,000 people. Still relevant today, in a variety of contexts, are the subjects he discussed: the need for preparedness in light of war and for research into deadly diseases, recent improvements in public health and health care, and hope that the research conducted at NIH would lead to new cures for and even the prevention of disease.

The National Library of Medicine is making the film of Roosevelt’s speech publicly available online for the first time, nearly 74 years after the President made his speech. Sound recordings, transcripts, and photographs of this event have been publicly available for many years. Research suggests, however, that this rare film footage has not been seen publicly since its recording and may no longer exist anywhere else. The recording does not appear to have been professionally produced, since the camera is unsteady in places, a hand sweeps across the lens, and the filming starts and stops, though it isn’t known whether this is a result of the original filming or of later editing. The film is publicly available via the NLM’s Digital Collections archive of over 10,000 biomedical books and videos, and its YouTube site. Read more about this historically significant film footage on the NLM blog, Circulating Now: From the Historical Collections of the World’s Largest Biomedical Library.

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.

Population Health Added to Special Queries

The NLM PubMed Special Queries page includes a link to a new MEDLINE/PubMed Population Health search. A definition for population health is “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group. The field of population health includes health outcomes, patterns of health determinants, and policies and interventions that link these to differences between groups of people.” 1

The Population Health Special Query is a PubMed search of relevant MeSH headings and text words combined strategically to retrieve PubMed citations. MeSH headings were selected with the assistance of members of the Institute of Medicine Board on Population Health and Public Health.

1 Kindig D, Stoddart G. What is population health? Am J Public Health. 2003 Mar;93(3):380-3. PubMed PMID: 12604476.

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.

NLM Announces New VSAC Tutorial

The National Library of Medicine has announced a new Value Set Authority Center (VSAC) tutorial, Updating Value Sets. The nine-minute tutorial is available as a link from the UMLS Video Learning Resources page, the NLM Distance Education Resources page, and is posted at the NLM YouTube site. Additional tutorials designed to assist users with VSAC and VSAC authoring tools are in development. NLM encourages comments about the tutorial and suggestions for further topics, which may be sent to NLM Customer Service.

The NLM Value Set Authority Center is developed by NLM in collaboration with Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide searchable access to value sets that are used to define concepts used in clinical quality measures, and to support effective health information exchange and many other biomedical informatics applications and programs. Since October 2013, VSAC also offers the Authoring Tool that allows users to author value sets.