The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded a landmark study that supports a crucial component of the 2017 Hypertension
Clinical Practice Guidelines put forth by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The AHA and ACC guidelines state that high blood pressure should be treated earlier by changes in lifestyle and medications for some. The new guideline recommends treatment at 130/80 instead of 140/90.
Recommendations are the result of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial (SPRINT) that was designed to determine how to best treat adults with high blood pressure, over the age of 50, and at risk for heart disease. SPRINT was sponsored in part by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and The National Institute of Aging (NIA), divisions of the National Institutes of Health.
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.