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National Parks: Nature and Health Benefits

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Today the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday. What a wonderful milestone in our country’s history. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have some of the most beautiful national parks, forests, and preserves. Even here in Seattle, whenever I get a peek at Mt. Rainier my eyes become glued to the view, I hold my breath in awe, I start feeling energized and happier. And I also notice the people around me appear to have a similar reaction. There’s something about seeing that mountain that just puts me in a better mood.  I am not alone in this. A quick search on PubMed results in several research papers that discuss the many health benefits of being outdoors in nature.
Such health benefits may include:

  • increase in memory and attention spans
  • stress reduction
  • sharpening the senses
  • elevates moods
  • sense of well-being
  • decrease risk of developing poor vision
  • increase creative problem solving
  • improve immune system

Not everyone has a mountain view but whether it is a view of a sunset, a desert, a field of grain, a river, a garden- taking time to get outside and enjoy the view. It’s good for both the mind and the body!

MedlinePlus and other NLM resources have information and tools to help you exercise and be healthy:

Start today and make a point of going outside and consider making plans to visit one of the National Parks and start enjoying the health benefits!

National Library of Medicine Announces 2016 Association of Health Care Journalists–NLM Journalism Fellows

NLM announced the 2016 Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ)-National Library of Medicine (NLM) Fellows class featuring seven reporters and editors representing diverse media backgrounds.

The 2016 AHCJ-NLM Fellows are:

  • Rachel Bluth (@RachelHBluth), reporter, Kaiser Health News
  • Shannon Firth (@shannonfirth), Washington reporter, MedPage Today
  • Julio Ochoa (@julioochoa), editor, WUSF-Health News Florida
  • David Wahlberg (@davidkwahlberg), health/medical reporter, Wisconsin State Journal
  • Leigh Ann Winick (@LeighAnnWinick), medical producer, CBS News
  • Paula Andalo (@paula_andalo), senior managing editor, HolaDoctor
  • Laura Beil (@LJBeil), independent journalist, Dallas

Now in its eighth year, the program brings journalists selected by AHCJ to NLM for four days of training to better use some of NLM’s health information resources, such as PubMed, PubMed Health, Genetics Home Reference,TOXMAP, ClinicalTrials.gov, and MedlinePlus. This year’s Fellows class will be at NLM Sept. 26-30.

“The key to good health is getting the very best health information,” said NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD. “Certainly health care journalists play a key role in informing the public about health and medicine. I’m gratified that this talented group will get an in-depth look at NLM information services, to help them do their important work more effectively.”

The 2016 AHCJ-NLM Fellows also will receive briefings about health care issues, such as a health disparities research update, as well as consumer health resources provided by the National Cancer Institute. For the third year, the Fellows will meet with the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, to learn more about comparative clinical effectiveness research. Read more »

Free Online CE Classes: PubMed for Librarians – registration is open

If your institution or organization includes programs in the health sciences, involves the health of the public, or works with biomedical researchers, most likely PubMed is a resource often used or should be considered for their work. Unfamiliar with PubMed or want a refresher course so you can better serve your colleagues? Consider taking one or all of the classes offered by our National Training Center.

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine Training Office (NTO) is offering three free online PubMed CE classes in September in a series called PubMed for Librarians.

  1. Introduction to PubMed: September 7, 2016 (9:00am Pacific Time)
  1. MeSH: September 14, 2016 (9:00am Pacific Time)
  1. Automatic Term Mapping: September 21, 2016 (9:00am Pacific Time)

Read a description for all three classes and find the link to the registration page here: https://nnlm.gov/ntc/pml/

PubMed is a free resource that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). PubMed includes free access to MEDLINE, the NLM database of indexed citations and abstracts to medical, nursing, dental, veterinary, health care, and preclinical sciences journal articles as well as additional selected life sciences journals not in MEDLINE.

New in PMC: New Search Result Filters and Updated Reference List Display

As of August 2016, PMC is home to four million articles! To make this wealth of full-text content easier to navigate, PMC has rolled out a few updates:

Search Result Filters
On all search results pages, you will now see filters (similar to PubMed’s filters) on the left-hand side that allow you to filter your results by article attributes, publication date, research funder, and search fields. These filters replace the Limits page and allow you to more readily:

Read more »

Wellness at Work

Health is important wherever we go, and many workplaces are recognizing the importance of staying healthy, both for the purpose of employees’ well-being and productivity in the workplace. The Centers for Disease Control provides this information page about health at work, and staying healthy to avoid chronic disease.

Maddie Romansic, Program Assistant at the NN/LM PNR, serves as a Commute Ambassador for the University of Washington’s Transportation Services, encouraging others to bike or use alternate forms of commuting to work. The Commute Ambassadors share their knowledge and excitement about different ways to commute, and help other design a healthy program. Here is Maddie’s story.

Transportation Services at University of Washington has grown a lot in the past year. They’ve added some new programs that help encourage healthy active commuting, and save you money. These will be particularly useful if you work at the UW, but even if you don’t, these programs can provide a great example and inspiration for re-imagining your daily commute, or even getting something similar started at your workplace.

I first want to introduce my personal favorite new program, called the “Bike Buddy” program, which connects would-be riders with experienced bike commuters who also commute from the same neighborhood. Once matched with a bike buddy, you get to figure out an arrangement that works for you—it might be commuting together a few times, or just meeting to glean tips and tricks for getting from your neighborhood to campus. I’m personally signed up to be a bike buddy, and there are hundreds more, scattered far and wide all over Seattle and even beyond. I recommend checking it out if you have considered bike commuting but are finding it daunting to get started alone. See more information here.

If you don’t work at UW here is an informative and inspiring video on getting started with biking in a city. I must admit, the “Copenhagen Left” really comes in handy when traffic is busy. Many UW employees even commute by bike with their kids in tow. In this blog post, a few such employees were interviewed, and they show how easy and rewarding it can be.

Another awesome resource is the “Commute Concierge” at UW Transportation Services. Employees submit information to get personalized commute plans within just a few days. Actual people — not just computer algorithms — take a holistic approach to determining optimum commutes; considering factors such as how long it takes, how pleasurable it is, what your abilities are, etc. This is especially great for newcomers to the city who are overwhelmed trying to sort out all the different possible modes of transportation, but it could be useful to anyone who thinks their current commute could be better. Explore your options here.

Most of us spend a pretty significant chunk of our lives commuting, so hopefully this information will help plant some ideas about how to make that time more enjoyable!

Free exercise information for older adults!

Celebrate Go4Life Month this September. This year’s theme is #Fit4Function, focusing on the practical benefits of exercise and physical activity, like being able to drive, carry groceries into the house, do yardwork, walk the dog – all activities important to older adults.

Go4Life is an exercise campaign program of the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health. Go4Life provides a variety of free materials to help seniors become and stay physically active. Sample exercises, an exercise guide book (in both English and Spanish), easy-to-print tip sheets with information about the health benefits of physical activity, even tools for setting goals and tracking progress, the National Institute on Aging has got it all. What’s more, all the information in these resources is based on research in people ages 50+. Read more »