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Archive for the ‘Public Health’ Category

Registration Available for NTC Online Class “Discovering TOXNET” March 7 – April 6

Sign up now for the Spring session of Discovering Toxnet, a four-week online Moodle class conducted by the National Library of Medicine Training Center (NTC) March 7 through April 6. The course provides an introduction to TOXNET and other NLM environmental health databases through videos, guided tutorials, and discovery exercises. The purpose of this class is to enhance familiarity with reliable environmental health and toxicology information from the National Library of Medicine and other reliable sources. Skills and knowledge acquired from this course will enable attendees to access, utilize and refer others to online environmental and toxicology information.

Zika Virus Content Syndication

The National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center has been updating the Zika Virus Health Information Resources incident topic page as new guidance documents and resources are published. Starting today, you can embed the National Library of Medicine Zika Virus page on your Web site by creating a free account on the HHS Content Syndication Storefront. Once you have an account, search for the NLM Zika page to access the code used to embed the webpage on your Web site. Each time we update our Web page, your page will also be updated.

New 2016 MeSH Headings: Zika Virus Infection and Zika Virus

On January 27, 2016, two new MeSH headings were added to the 2016 MeSH Browser in response to increased reports in the literature about the Zika virus outbreak and its tentative association with microcephaly in newborns as well as possible paralysis and Guillain-Barre Syndrome in adults:

The terms also appeared in the MeSH export file available to licensees on January 27, 2016. Indexing for the new headings began January 28, 2016. In addition, NLM Indexing staff will review citations previously indexed on this topic to determine if the new headings should be applied to the citations. Here is a suggested interim PubMed search strategy to retrieve citations on Zika until the review of previously indexed citations is completed:

Zika [tiab]

Using the [tiab] search tag finds citations that have already been indexed with MeSH or are still in process. The tag restricts retrieval to the article title, abstract, or author keyword fields and prevents false drops from other fields such as author name.

A Zika Virus Health Information Resources page, from the Disaster Information Management Research Center at NLM, gathers resources on the emerging health issues arising from the Zika Virus. For additional information see the article, NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center Resource List Updates.

Selected Zika Virus Health Information Resources Compiled by NLM

For decades, the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus was mainly seen in equatorial regions of Africa and Asia, where it caused a mild, flu-like illness and rash in some people. About ten years ago, Zika outbreaks spread to the Pacific islands. Then, last spring, Zika appeared in South America, where it has so far infected more than 1 million Brazilians. A recent study published in The Lancet suggests that Zika virus could eventually reach regions of the United States in which 60% of the population resides. Humid, subtropical parts of the country might support the spread of Zika virus all year round, including southern Texas and Florida. With no vaccine or treatment currently available to prevent or treat Zika infection, the best way for individuals, and pregnant women in particular, to protect themselves is to avoid traveling to places where Zika is known to be present. If an individual has to live or work in such a region, the CDC recommends strict precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing protective clothing, using insect repellants, and sleeping in rooms with window screens or air conditioning.

Following are selections from a list of resources gathered by the National Library of Medicine to assist public health departments, health care providers, librarians, and others seeking authoritative information on the virus and disease. In addition, Zika Virus and Zika Virus Infection are new terms included in NLM’s Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) vocabulary.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

World Health Organization (WHO)

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), World Health Organization

NLM Announces Pill Image Recognition Challenge

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announced its Pill Image Recognition Challenge January 19, 2016 in the Federal Register. The Pill Image Recognition Challenge will also be posted on Challenge.gov. The submission period for the Challenge is April 4, 2016 to May 31, 2016, with winners announced August 1, 2016.

The Pill Image Recognition Challenge is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Challenge under the America COMPETES (Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science) Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-358). Through this Challenge the National Library of Medicine (NLM) seeks algorithms and software to match images of prescription oral solid-dose pharmaceutical medications (pills, including capsules and tablets). The objective of the Challenge is the development and discovery of high-quality algorithms and software that rank how well consumer images of prescription pills match reference images of pills in the authoritative NLM RxIMAGE database. NLM will use the Challenge entries (i.e., algorithm and software) to create a future API (Application Programming Interface) and a future software system for pill image recognition; the API will be freely accessible and the system will be freely usable.

For further details, visit the NLM News & Events page.

New AIDSinfo HIV/AIDS Treatment Guidelines App Released!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the release of a new AIDSinfo Treatment Guidelines app for both iOS and Android devices. The AIDSinfo Treatment Guidelines app provides mobile access to the HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines developed by working groups of the NIH Office of AIDS Research Advisory Council. The guidelines include recommendations by expert panels on the treatment of HIV infection and related opportunistic infections in adults, adolescents, and children and on the management of perinatal HIV infection.

Health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo website expect mobile access to up-to-date HIV information at the point of care even when an Internet connection is unavailable. Designed to meet that expectation, the app automatically refreshes guidelines content when the user is connected to a wireless or cellular data network. When wireless Internet access is not available, app users can view and search the guidelines offline, and the app will check for and download any updates when the user is back online and connected again.

Available for both iOS and Android devices, the free AIDSinfo Guidelines app includes several features to personalize the app to meet individual needs. Using these features, app users can:

  • View only guideline recommendations or tables
  • Receive alert notifications when a new guideline is released or guideline content is updated
  • Bookmark sections of a guideline
  • Add notes to sections of a guideline
  • Share guidelines and notes via social media, email, or text
  • Search for information within guidelines
  • Use the guideline spell suggest feature for searching when connected to wireless or using cellular data

The free Guidelines app may also be downloaded from the AIDSinfo website. NLM encourages feedback on this app and other features of AIDSinfo. Please email your comments and suggestions to ContactUs@aidsinfo.nih.gov.

Resources for Aliso Canyon Natural Gas (Methane) Leak

Several local and state California agencies, as well as federal agencies, are responding to the natural gas leak at the Southern California Gas Company Aliso Canyon Facility that is affecting the Porter Ranch neighborhood in Los Angeles. The National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management Research Center (NLM Disaster Health) provides information on public health aspects of chemical incidents for the benefit of health professionals and volunteers who may be responding to an incident and for people living in or concerned about an affected region. The primary releases from the well are natural gas (methane) and odorants (tertiary butyl mercaptan and tetrahydrothiophene). The area is also being affected by “oily mist” containing assorted chemicals: benzene, toluene, ethylene, xylene, and other organics consistent with oil residues from the former oil drilling facility site. Air sampling has also noted radon and hydrogen sulfide.

A resource guide with a compilation of links on the gas leak and specific chemicals detected was prepared by NLM staff members Cindy Love, Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, and Stacey Arnesen. Contributions from NN/LM PSR staff were made by Kelli Ham, Lori Tagawa, and Alan Carr. A PDF version of the guide is also available.

HHS Video Prize Challenge: My Preparedness Story

The HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response recently kicked off the My Preparedness Story: Staying Healthy and Resilient Video Challenge. The contest invites young people between the ages of 14 and 23 to submit a creative video, up to 60 seconds long and closed-captioned, showing how they help their families, friends, and community protect their health during disasters and every day. Completed videos should be uploaded to YouTube, and the link, along with a description and transcript of the video, should be provided through the “Submit Solutions” form. The entries will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges and the top entries will be posted on the web site for public voting. Submissions could be used to help others learn better ways to prepare their communities for disasters and emergencies, and contestants could win up to a $2,000 grand prize. Entries are due by March 28, 2016, at 8:00 p.m. PDT. Winners will be notified and announced no later than May 9.

104 libraries selected to host traveling exhibition on Native concepts of health and illness

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, on behalf of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), has announced the 104 libraries that will host Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, a traveling exhibition to U.S. libraries. Native Voices explores the interconnectedness of wellness, illness and cultural life for Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Stories drawn from both the past and present examine how health for Native People is tied to community, the land and spirit. Through interviews, Native People describe the impact of epidemics, federal legislation, the loss of land and the inhibition of culture on the health of Native individuals and communities today.

The exhibition will tour the United States from February 2016 through June 2020. Selected sites from Pacific Southwest Region include:

Arizona

  • A. T. Still University of the Health Sciences, Mesa
  • Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Yuma County Library District, Yuma

California

  • Alpine Branch, San Diego County Library, Alpine
  • Humboldt State University, Arcata
  • California State University, Bakersfield
  • California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo
  • California State University, Fresno
  • University of Redlands, Redlands
  • Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Smith River
  • Springfield College, Tustin
  • City of Watsonville, Watsonville

Hawaii

  • University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo

Nevada

  • University of Nevada, Reno

NIH unveils FY2016–2020 Strategic Plan

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has just released the NIH-Wide Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2016–2020: Turning Discovery Into Health, which will ensure the agency remains well positioned to capitalize on new opportunities for scientific exploration and address new challenges for human health. Developed after hearing from hundreds of stakeholders and scientific advisers, and in collaboration with leadership and staff of NIH’s Institutes, Centers, and Offices (ICOs), the plan is designed to complement the ICOs’ individual strategic plans that are aligned with their congressionally mandated missions.

The plan focuses on four essential, interdependent objectives that will help guide NIH’s priorities over the next five years as it pursues its mission of seeking fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and applying that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. The objectives are to:

  1. advance opportunities in biomedical research in fundamental science, treatment and cures, and health promotion and disease prevention;
  2. foster innovation by setting NIH priorities to enhance nimbleness, consider burden of disease and value of permanently eradicating a disease, and advance research opportunities presented by rare diseases;
  3. enhance scientific stewardship by recruiting and retaining an outstanding biomedical research workforce, enhancing workforce diversity and impact through partnerships, ensuring rigor and reproducibility, optimizing approaches to inform funding decisions, encouraging innovation, and engaging in proactive risk management practices; and
  4. excel as a federal science agency by managing for results by developing the “science of science,” balancing outputs with outcomes, conducting workforce analyses, continually reviewing peer review, evaluating steps to enhance rigor and reproducibility, reducing administrative burden, and tracking effectiveness of risk management in decision making.

To inform development of the strategic plan, NIH solicited input from a wide range of stakeholders through a Request for Information, which generated more than 450 responses; a series of interactive webinars, which attracted more than 750 participants; and meetings with 21 NIH advisory councils, including the Advisory Committee to the NIH Director. The plan concludes with a bold vision for NIH, listing some specific achievements and advances that the agency will strive to deliver over the next five years.