The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Launches a Crowdsourcing Project Called PregSource to Better Understand Pregnancy
PregSource, collects information from pregnant women to increase knowledge about pregnancy. The research project delves into emotional, physical, labor, and delivery aspects to identify specific challenges experienced by subsets of women, to include those with physical disabilities. The overarching goal of the research program is to form better strategies to improve maternal health care in the United States.
Participants of PregSource answer online surveys to share information about their experiences like sleep, mood, weight changes, morning sickness, and others. According to the NIH, by collecting this data, the NIH hopes to answer the following research questions:
- How many women experience morning sickness? How long does it generally last?
- How much does pregnancy affect women’s sleep patterns? How do these patterns change over the course of the pregnancy?
- What are the patterns of weight gain during pregnancy, and how do they affect health?
- How do women with challenges, such as physical disabilities or chronic diseases, experience pregnancy and new motherhood?
Pregnant women ages 18 years and older can enroll. Enrollment is free. Information from participants will not be sold to third parties. Personal information is de-identified, meaning names and addresses are removed from data collected. The information is then shared with researchers to be used in future studies.
HeathDay and MedlinePlus reports that in over half of the supplements studied by researchers, the actual ingredients differed from what was written on the label. Some ingredients may actually be harmful. Researchers find that 80% of bodybuilding and 70% of weight-loss supplements contained ingredients not listed on the labels. Also, half of the body building supplements contained anabolic steroids that were not included on the label.
Health professionals and researchers worry that undisclosed substances may contribute to long-term liver damage. Researchers state that over 20% of liver damage cases reported are attributed to herbal and dietary supplements. In one case cited, a bodybuilder experienced liver damage after taking a supplement that contained an anti-estrogen cancer treating drug called tamoxifen. Liver damage is known to be caused by tamoxifen toxicity or overdose.
The Federal Drug Administration does not regulate supplements the way other drugs are regulated. Talk with your doctor, dietician, or nutritionist before taking any supplements. If supplements are needed, those professionals can point you to supplements that are more trusted and have gone through more rigorous standardization processes to ensure consumers get a high-quality product.
Research findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, in Washington, D.C.
The NIH Data Science Releases a Case Study Underscoring the Value of Librarianship in the Patient Care Setting
A NIH Data Science published a report titled A Case Study in NIH Data Science: Open Data and Understanding the Value of Libraries and Information Services in the Patient Care Setting. In short, the NIH used other research studies to learn where and how clinicians reported using PubMed/MEDLINE as an information resource influencing clinical decision making.
Journals and PubMed/MEDLINE were the two resources most used by clinicians according to the NIH data analysis. In addition, the NIH discovered that when clinicians use a greater number of information resources, the probability of changes to patient care were higher and so is the prevention of negative events.
According to the NIH, the advantage of using research that is already available saves time, money, increases collaboration, and extends the life of the original work. This has direct implications for researchers and librarians, in particular. Leveraging information service skills is an important part of affecting patient care.
Who best to provide that service than a librarian?
Plan to get the most out of your doctor’s appointments. You can address your concerns as best as possible, by following some key steps.
1) Make a list of the questions and concerns you want to talk about with your doctor.
2) Put them in order, listing the most important question or concern first. Make sure to ask all the most important questions during your visit.
3) Take a list of your medications and dosages. This includes over-the-counter medications, herbal medications, supplements, and vitamins. Or, bring all your medicine with you in a clear plastic bag.
4) Bring your insurance cards.
5) Bring the names and phone numbers of all the doctors you see.
6) If you feel comfortable, take a friend or family member. This person can help you remember what you want to say and take notes for you about what the doctor said in the appointment.
Learn more on the National Institute of Aging website.
The opioid epidemic has become a national crisis, one that may lead the White House to declare a national state of emergency. But there may be good news on the horizon about one possible solution to the rising number of overdose deaths.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that deaths from prescription drugs, heroin, and synthetic opioid like fentanyl have more than quadrupled in the last 20 years. Almost 30,000 deaths a year are attributed to illegal and legally prescribed opioids.
However, in the state of Colorado, the growth of overdose deaths has slowed over the past few years, an adjustment linked to the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana.
In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health and coauthored by researchers in the School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, an analysis of data from the year 2000 to 2015 shows a 6% reduction in Colorado’s number of opioid-related deaths after recreational marijuana was made legal in 2012.
The study, the first of its kind to look at short-term public health benefits of legalized marijuana, has garnered a huge amount of attention, trending on Google and ranked high on Web of Science for number of citations soon after it was released.
Despite the potential benefits demonstrated by the study, the lead author recommends caution for policymakers considering legal decisions, as further study is necessary to examine the long-term effects of expanded and legalized marijuana use. This is one story you’ll want to add to your saved folder and check back on in the future.
Get your flu shots! The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting our first flu cases of the season in our region. The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine by the end of October. The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu illness.
Take three actions to fight the flu:
1) Get your flu shot.
2) Stop the spread of germs by avoiding close contact with sick people, wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
3) If you get the flu, take your antiviral medications as prescribed by your doctor.
If you experience the following symptoms, you may have the flu:
Seek treatment from a doctor if you think you may have the flu.
Find out more by visiting the CDC website.
Happy Halloween! Here are health and safety tips for the big day, courtesy of the CDC:
- Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks.
- Offer a variety of fruits and vegetables if you have guests over.
- Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
- Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause someone to fall.
- Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
- Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely. For more tips, go to the CDC’s Halloween health page
Studies show that relationships between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to both. “One Health” recognizes that the health of humans is connected to the health of animals and the environment.
“Zoonotic” diseases are diseases that can be passed from animals to humans. 6 out of every 10 infectious diseases in humans are spread from animals. The goal of One Health is to encourage the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines-working locally, nationally, and globally-to achieve the best health for people, animals, and our environment.
- Here are some tips courtesy of the CDC’s Healthy Pets Healthy People page that can help you and your pet stay healthy:
- Take your pet to its veterinarian regularly so it stays in good health.
- Practice good hygiene around your pets so they don’t unintentionally pass germs to you.
Learn about diseases different types of pets can spread – just in case.
To learn more, see the CDC’s website on “One Health”: https://www.cdc.gov/onehealth/index.html
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Fall is a great season for sports fans. Baseball and soccer finish out their seasons and make way for hockey and football, both professional and college leagues. But those with risk of increased risk might need to be careful about how much they get into the game.
A recent study released in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology and covered by Time Magazine suggests that watching a sports game can affect your heart rate as much as playing in the game might. In the study, researchers measured the pulse of spectators viewing a Canadian hockey game, with half watching on TV and half live in the arena. The participants of the study had no history of heart disease and filled out a “fan passion” survey to determine investment in their team
The study found that heart rates were elevated by an average of 92% during the games, with an average of 75% increase for TV viewers and 110% average increase for attendees. This increase was sustained for more than 30 minutes, and was primarily caused by periods of high-intensity in the game.
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the heart rate increase does not seem to be connected to gender or the measured level of “fan passion,” though researchers admitted possible issues with the survey used for that measurement.
The intense emotional stress experienced while watching a sports game can be dangerous for those at risk of a cardiovascular event, and the authors of the study advocate for added preventative measures, like having defibrillators available in sports venues. However, the authors also stress the importance of such an event to improving quality of life. So don’t worry about having to miss your favorite team’s next game; just make sure you’ve taken the proper precautions if you’re at risk!
Every year, at least 2 million people in the U.S. become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections. Bacteria adapt to the antibiotics designed to kill them, making our antibiotics less effective and limiting our treatment options. For more information on prevention, see the CDC’s Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance page: https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/index.html
Also follow the “ABCs of Antibiotics”, provided by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC):
- Ask – “Are these antibiotics necessary?”
- Bacteria – Antibiotics do not kill viruses. They only kill bacteria.
- Complete the course – Take all of your antibiotics exactly as prescribed (even if you are feeling better).
For more information, check out the infographics at http://professionals.site.apic.org
October is Liver Awareness Month. The liver is the largest organ inside of the body. It has many important functions including digestion, storing energy, and removing poisons. Unfortunately, it may not show symptoms when it is in trouble. However, there are some warning signs, such as jaundice. There are many kinds of liver diseases and conditions. Some are due to viruses, some are inherited, and others are caused by drug and/or alcohol misuse.
To learn more, see the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for more information on liver health topics: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease and also MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/liverdiseases.html
As we make our way into fall, here’s your annual reminder to get your flu shot and protect yourself from the influenza virus this year. U.S. health officials are worried this year’s flu season could be particularly bad. Why? Australia’s flu season has already hit and strain H3N2 has been pretty impactful, especially to the older population. And U.S. health officials have already seen H3N2 begin to pop up.
Something else important to remember is that while we often associate the flu with a sick day at home with a runny nose and sore throat, and can become much more serious. Some cases of the flu can lead to hospitalization and even death, which is why it’s so important to get a flu shot, if you’re able, to protect yourself from the virus. Officials say the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the flu they’ve observed are far too high given there is a vaccine for the disease.
There are 1000s of places you can get your flu shot. For a list, vist HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
To read more about this year’s flu vaccine, please visit “It’s Time to Get Your Flu Shot Again.”
Happy National Medical Librarians Month! As the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region, we aim to advance the progress of medicine and improve public health through increased access to health information. While our region makes up only Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas, there is an NNLM for every state, all with the same mission.
One of the ways we fulfill this mission is by partnering with health science libraries, medical libraries, and in turn their librarians. By being a member of your local NNLM, they have the opportunity to apply for grants to help fulfill our mission as well through programs that are best suited for their local populations.
This month, we celebrate those medical librarians we work with, and we hope you will help us celebrate them too!
To find out more about National Medical Librarians Month, please visit the Medical Library Association’s website.
With World Heart Day being tomorrow, it seemed quite fitting to share a new study highlighting another risk of e-cigarettes that was published in an article on MedlinePlus.
One of the causes of cardiovascular disease can include smoking or the use of other tobacco products. As it turns out, e-cigarettes can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease–heart attacks, to be more specific. The new study shows that the nicotine in e-cigarettes can cause a spike in adrenaline, in turn increasing the risk of heart attack and sudden cardiac death.
As many of us have probably often heard, e-cigarettes are often promoted as the healthy alternative to cigarettes. When it comes to inhaling carcinogens, this may be true, but the smoking device still pose new risks.
To read more about the study, please visit “Will an E-Cigarette Harm Your Heart?”
This Friday is World Heart Day, a health observance founded in 2000 by the World Heart Federation to inform the world’s population that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading cause of death. Cardiovascular disease is actually the cause behind a third of all deaths in the world each year.
Cardiovascular disease can be several things; it includes heart attacks, strokes, arrhythmia and heart valve problems. Cardiovascular disease can be brought on by a number of things, or a combination of things, including lack of exercise, poor diet and smoking.
To protect your heart, the World Heart Federation has several suggestions to maintain your heart health, including:
- Being active
- Stopping smoking and using other tobacco products
- Eating healthily
- Knowing the warning signs of cardiovascular disease
- And carefully taking any necessary medication, among other tips.
To find out more about World Heart Day, please visit the World Heart Day website.
The National Networks of Libraries of Medicine, South Central Region is pleased to announce it has awarded nearly $420,000 in funding since 2016. Grant amounts ranged from $895 to $40,000 and went to organizations across the SCR region, which include Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
To read about the projects our grants are helping fund, please visit our Past Funded Project page. By clicking on the links within the webpage, you can find out what organization was awarded the grant as well as learn more about the specific project each grant will fund.
To learn more about the grants SCR offers, please visit our Funding Opportunities page–we are still accepting applications for some grants! Many more of our grants will reopen for applications mid-next year, so continue to check back. The most basic of qualifications to be eligible for an NNLM SCR grant are that you are network member of NNLM SCR, which is free and open to institutions interested in providing health information.
This week is National Malnutrition Awareness Week, an observance created by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) in 2009, with the purpose of advocating for optimal nutrition care as much as possible, while also raising awareness for health professionals, and the public, to intervene early on.
Malnutrition is common for hospitalized patients in the U.S., and is often associated with unfavorable health outcomes, which include higher infection rates, poor wound healing, longer hospital stays and more. This also leads to increased costs.
ASPEN will be hosting four other webinars throughout the week, (one was also presented yesterday) on different topics relating to malnutrition. To learn more about the webinars and to register, please visit the Malnutrition Awareness Week website.
While the worst of Hurricane Harvey may be over, there are still many precautions and safety measures that Texans, especially parents need to take as they return to their homes.
For one thing, there’s many environmental concerns. Chemical plants and other industrial sites released toxins during the widespread flooding. A lot of debris and other hazardous items will be present from the floodwater that rushed through. Safe drinking water is also a concern.
Before kids can return to school, it needs to be safe and cleaned up. As children are naturally curious, parents and other caretakers should keep a close eye on their kids to ensure their kids also remain safe although the hurricane has passed.
To read more about additional risks Harvey still poses, please visit “Harvey Wrath Still Poses Risk for Children.”
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. Did you know:
- Half the population has been impacted by suicide?
- In the U.S., someone dies from suicide every 11.9 minutes?
- 90 percent of people who attempt suicide survive?
According to the latest CDC data from 2014, there were nearly 6,000 deaths attributed to suicide in the SCR region. Here’s how our region ranks nationally:
- Texas – second highest number of suicide deaths
- Oklahoma – 22nd
- Louisiana – 26th
- Arkansas – 31st
- New Mexico – 33rd
Suicide is completely preventable. Often those who commit or attempt suicide are struggling with depression or another mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health has some tips on what you can do if you suspect someone you know is contemplating suicide, including:
- Asking them if they are considering suicide
- Keeping them safe by removing the lethal means
- Being there to listen to them
- Connecting them with resources
- And staying in touch after a crisis.
To learn more about Suicide Prevention Week, please visit the American Association of Suicidology’s website.
A new study researching seniors found that there is a higher risk for medical error if they can’t understand everything a doctor or nurse says to them. About a third of seniors aged 65 to 74 have some form of hearing loss, and that increases to 50 percent for those individuals over the age of 75.
In the study, nearly half of the seniors reported they misheard the medical professional, which of course means there’s more likely to be an error reported.
Earlier research has shown that when there is better communication between doctor and patient, it could prevent 36 percent of medical errors.
And oftentimes, medical visits take place where there is a lot of background noise, which can make it more difficult for a person who has hearing loss to discern what someone is actually saying to them and what they can ignore. In addition, some health care providers have hearing loss, so they may not always hear patients’ concerns.
To read more about the study, please visit “Patients’ Hearing Loss May Mean Poorer Medical Care.”