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Archive for October, 2012

NLM Announces the Release of a New Free Resource: LiverTox!

LiverTox is a freely available website that provides up-to-date, comprehensive, and unbiased information about drug-induced liver injury caused by prescription and nonprescription drugs, herbals, and dietary supplements.LiverTox website The LiverTox website provides a comprehensive resource for physicians and their patients, and for clinical academicians and researchers to identify basic and clinical questions to be answered, and to chart optimal ways to diagnose and control drug-induced liver injury.

LiverTox provides a searchable database of about 700 medications available in the United States. Over the next few years, another 300 drugs will be added. Drug-induced liver injury is the leading cause of acute liver failure in this country. Some drugs directly damage the liver, while others cause damage indirectly or by an allergic reaction. LiverTox is a joint effort within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), involving the Liver Disease Research Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and the Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) of NLM.

LiverTox has three major components:

  • Introduction and overview of drug induced liver injury;
  • Specific drug records that provide concise data on the hepatotoxicity of medications, herbals and dietary supplements; and
  • Case submission registry that allows users to provide comments about the LiverTox database, and submit clinical cases to the LiverTox website and U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch program, used to monitor product safety.

LiverTox developers work with outside experts in drug-induced liver disease, as well as with specialists in arthritis, cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, and other conditions. The finished website has also been reviewed by FDA and pharmaceutical industry experts on liver-related complications. The database will be updated regularly with information about drug-induced liver injury, as well as with new drugs and concepts. For more information about LiverTox, visit the About Us section.

Turn the Pages of a Rare Veterinary Book from the NLM Collections!

Engraving of a horse by Nicholas Yeates (active 1669-1683) in Andrew Snape's The Anatomy of an Horse, printed in London in 1683.The National Library of Medicine has announced the release of a new Turning the Pages virtual book on its Web site, or via iPad App. The new project features selections from The Anatomy of an Horse, by Andrew Snape, farrier to King Charles II of England, and a self-described member of a dynasty of royal farriers stretching back over two centuries. Printed in London in 1683, The Anatomy of an Horse is one of the most comprehensive and beautifully illustrated books about horses published in seventeenth-century Britain. It contains numerous engravings of horses, mainly on the dissecting table, including the digestive system, heart, brain, musculature and the skeleton. Turning the Pages features a selection of these images curated by NLM staff.

Farriers were generally blacksmiths whose primary duty was making shoes for horses and applying them to the animals’ feet, but they often took on other tasks in horse care as well, including treating illnesses such as the glanders (a common equine sinus infection), the botts (a parasite), or lameness. They also applied surgical remedies for horses such as purgatives and bloodletting. Farriers were usually illiterate tradespeople, who learned their craft through an apprenticeship and “practiced” in the military’s cavalry, on a gentleman’s estate, or in a village or town.  Until the prevalence of the automobile, horses were some of the most important animals to humans, providing transportation, battle power, and heft. Horses were often the most valuable possession of a middle class family, and were considered a powerful symbol of prestige among the wealthy, nobility, and gentry.

Launched at the NLM in 2001, Turning the Pages is part of an ongoing collaboration between research engineers at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, and curators and historians at the NLM’s History of Medicine Division, to help make its rare and unique history of medicine materials widely available to the public. The NLM holds one of the world’s largest collections of early books relating to veterinary medicine dating before the year 1800.

New Disaster Preparedness Technologies Under Development at NLM!

The National Library of Medicine is developing and testing several new technologies which may help transform the way hospitals keep track of patients during emergencies. The People Locator and the Patient Tracking and Locating System are research projects being conducted as part of the public-private Bethesda Hospitals’ Emergency Preparedness Partnership (BHEPP). The People Locator, which is part of the Lost Person Finder, is an online “lost and found” Web site, that can include a person’s name, gender, age, health condition, and any available photo, to assist family members, emergency officials, and others during a disaster search. The Patient Tracking and Locating System, produced by NLM’s Office of Computer and Communications Systems (OCCS), consists of a commercial digital pen that captures patient information via a tiny camera, and tracking of disaster patients and equipment with radio frequency identification (RFID) tags in a real-time location system (RTLS). This system would allow broadcasting of patient location and condition to care providers at a central location, and a software application devised by the OCCS could be used to transfer patient records electronically between hospitals.

The BHEPP formed in 2004, to develop a coordinated disaster response model for hospitals across the country. BHEPP partners include the NLM and three nearby hospitals; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Suburban Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, a non-profit community-based hospital in Bethesda, MD. In addition, NLM’s Disaster Information Management Research Center (DIMRC) also has projects under development, including the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS), a back-up communications system for hospital emergency operations centers, and the Hospital Incident Command Center, a responder training research project that uses “virtual world” technologies. Further details about these projects are available in the NLM in Focus newsletter.

NLM/HMD Launches IndexCat User Survey

The History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) is planning a major update of its IndexCat database, the online version of the Index Catalogue of the Library of the Surgeon-General’s Office. You are invited to take part in a brief survey so NLM/HMD can better understand your current use of IndexCat and what new features you would wish this resource to offer in the future. The survey can be found at

If you are not familiar with IndexCat, please take a moment to explore it. IndexCat contains over 4.5 million references to over 3.7 million bibliographic items, dating from over five centuries, and covering subjects of the basic sciences, scientific research, civilian and military medicine, public health, and hospital administration. A wide range of materials can be discovered through IndexCat, including books, journal articles, dissertations, pamphlets, reports, newspaper clippings, case studies, obituary notices, letters, and portraits, as well as rare books and manuscripts. Recently, two new collections, involving medieval scientific English and Latin texts, were made available through IndexCat. Opening a new frontier in historical research, these additional collections encompass over 42,000 records of incipits, or the beginning words of a medieval manuscript or early printed book. IndexCat users can search incipit data by manuscript, library, author/translator, title, subject, date and other information.

The IndexCat user survey has been approved by the National Library of Medicine’s Survey Review process and responses will be anonymous. This survey will remain open until October 15, 2012.

October 2012 NIH News in Health Now Available!

Illustration of 3 X-ray images and a patient entering a CT scanner.The October 2012 issue of NIH News in Health is now available online! NIH News in Health is a monthly newsletter providing practical health information from NIH’s medical experts and is based on research conducted either by NIH’s own scientists or by universities and medical schools around the country. This issue features:

  • Looking Inside: Get the Facts About Radiation
  • Can’t Curb the Urge to Move? Living With Restless Legs Syndrome
  • Antibodies Protect Against Range of Flu Viruses
  • MRI Shows Promise for Heart Procedures
  • Featured Website: College Drinking: Changing the Culture

NIH News in Health is available in HTML, PDF, and print formats.