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Archive for January, 2017

New Research Shows Breast Cancer Precursor Treatment Causes Women to Live Longer

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

“Breast Cancer Awareness” by ~Pawsitive~Candie_N is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

pink ballonsDuctal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the most common form of non-invasive breast cancer and is non-life-threatening. However, DCIS can actually be a precursor to worse breast cancer later on. It can increase the risk of developing invasive breast cancer; patients are at a higher risk of developing a new breast cancer than a patient who has never had any breast cancer before.

The study, conducted in the Netherland on more than 10,000 women for an average of 10 years, found that those who were treated for DCIS had a 10 percent less chance of dying from any cause than the general population. That may sound confusing—if you were treated for DCIS, you are 10 percent more likely to live a longer life than someone who never had DCIS, and therefore never received treatment for DCIS.

Specifically, researchers found that women who were treated were much less likely to die from digestive, respiratory, and circulatory diseases, and other types of cancer. This study is particularly important because DCIS treatment includes radiotherapy, which can cause damage to nearby organs

More and more people are becoming aware they have DCIS because it is something that shows up in breast cancer screenings—so more women are able to get treated if they have this form of cancer.

For more information on the study, please visit “Women treated for precursor of breast cancer can expect to live as long as other women.”

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NNLM SCR Introduces Our Consumer Health Coordinator: Debbie Montenegro

Monday, January 30th, 2017

debbie-montenegro

The NNLM SCR is pleased to welcome Debbie Montenegro to the RML. Debbie will serve as the Consumer Health Coordinator and liaison to the State of Texas.

Prior to this position, Debbie worked as a Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Analyst for Baylor Scott & White Health, Library Manager for a nursing school, and Chemistry teacher. Debbie also worked at a public library while obtaining her Master of Science in Information Science degree at UNT, with a Health Informatics Specialization. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from SMU. Debbie has been published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging and in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

She is excited to join the NNLM SCR. Please feel free to contact her for projects to bring health related information to your patrons.

Contact Debbie at Debbie.Montenegro@unthsc.edu or 817-735-2469

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January is Birth Defects Prevention Month

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Untitled by Tim Bish is licensed under CC0.

yawning babyJanuary is Birth Defects Prevention Month and several states in our region want to inform residents about what can be done. In the U.S., birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies and cause 1 in 5 infant deaths every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN).

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), in partnership with NBDPN, hopes to raise awareness for infections like cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause birth defects.

CMV is a common infection which affects more than half of U.S. adults by age 40 and which often doesn’t make those who are infected ill. However, if a pregnant women gets the infection, it can spread to the unborn child, called congenital CMV. Only about 1 in 150 babies is born with congenital CMV; however, 1 in 5 of these babies will experience long-term health problems, such as hearing loss, vision loss or cerebral palsy, among others.

Pregnant women will often contract CMV from young children, which is passed through saliva or urine. Regular hand washing, as well as not sharing utensils or cups is a good way to prevent spreading CMV.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (TSDHS) on the other hand promotes a more general approach to Birth Defects Awareness Month, sharing information related to the 2017 theme: “Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection.” Tips include properly preparing food, seeing a doctor regularly, protecting oneself from Zika-carrying mosquitoes and maintaining good hygiene.

To read more information about National Birth Defects Month, please visit NBDPN’s website.

To read more information from OSDH, please visit “Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection.”

To read more information from TDSHS, please visit “January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.”

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Asthma Can Be More Serious for African-Americans; New Research Suggests Why

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Untitled by InspiredImages is licensed under CC0.

inhaler

Asthma, a chronic respiratory condition in which a person’s airways are always inflamed that can make it difficult to breathe, can be a much more serious condition for people who are black than those that are white. In fact, people who are black are 2 to 3 times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma than people who are white.

New research is suggesting that the difference in airway inflammation affects a patient’s response to treatment. It was just recently that scientists discovered that airway inflammations vary among different races.

Researchers analyzed samples of coughed-up fluid of 1,000 asthma patients and looked for the white blood cell eosinophils. They found that people who are black are more likely to have eosinophilic airway inflammation, which may make it more difficult for them to control their asthma.

To read more about the study, please visit “Airway Differences May Explain Why Asthma Can Be More Serious for Blacks.”  

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New Mexico Sees Four Cases of Whooping Cough

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Untitled by Mindy Olson P is licensed under CC0.

close up of eye

New Mexico is seeing its largest cluster of whooping cough cases in infants since 2013. So far, four infants from Eddy, Curry, Rio Arriba and San Juan have a confirmed case. The cases have all been reported in infants under six months old.

“Whooping cough is very contagious and can cause serious cough illness―especially in infants too young to be fully vaccinated,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher in a New Mexico Department of Health news release. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent your child from getting it.”

Whooping cough, scientifically known as pertussis, is highly contagious. It is characterized by uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. After a bout of coughing, the person often has to take large, deep breaths, creating the “whooping” sound. Anyone can get whooping cough, but it is extremely dangerous and can be fatal to those less than a year old.

Whooping cough is spread by coughing or sneezing, and those who are infected can be contagious for up to two weeks after the cough starts.

Whooping cough is best prevented by getting the vaccine. Infected persons can be treated through antibiotics—early diagnosis and treatment is very important.

To read more about whooping cough in New Mexico and how to prevent it, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health’s website.

To read more general information about whooping cough, please visit the CDC’s website.

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Big Data and e-Science Basics

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The terms Big Data and e-Science are increasingly used in a multitude of forums. Many of us are inundated with these terms at work and they are increasingly talked about in the media. But what do they mean? The Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) initiative has been featured here before and the ongoing webinar series on Fridays are a great resource.

But sometimes it is helpful to return to the basics.

So what is Big Data? It is more than just a large count. Big Data represents the full range of challenges and complexities created by the vast amounts of data and data sources that the research community is now collecting and using.

For a basic primer on Big Data, visit the BD2K explanation. For librarians and other information specialists there is also a valuable resource in the e-Science Portal for Librarians. This resource is created and managed by the NN/LM New England Region. This portal serves as an excellent resource to foster learning and collaboration in e-Science while providing e-Science education for librarians.

Consumer Health & Tech Roundup

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of all that’s going on. Here are some of the headlines you may have missed this past month:

Sushi Lovers, Beware: Tapeworm Now Found in U.S. Salmon [MedlinePlus]

Smartwatches could soon tell you when you’re getting sick [TechCrunch]

Quick fact sheets on key trends in digital technology now available [Pew Research Center]

Food Safety Tips for Your ‘Tamalada’ [Foodsafety.gov]

CES 2017: Smart Cane Gives Users a Boost [Health Tech Insider]

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SCR Regional Highlight: Texas Colonias See Increased Health Problems

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Colonias. If you’re from a border state, you may be quite familiar with this word, as it is generally used to describe unsanitary or unsafe housing located along the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

In Texas, colonias date back to at least the 1950s; developed as unincorporated subdivisions because the land was agriculturally worthless, they were sold at very low prices to low-income individuals. According to the Texas Secretary of State, colonias are defined as a residential area along the Mexico-Texas border which lacks basic necessities, like potable water, sewer systems, electricity, paved roads and simply safe and sanitary housing.

As one may assume by this definition, the health of many of the nearly 500,000 colonia residents is poor.

According to a New York Times article, in the highest health risk colonias water- and mosquito-borne illnesses are rampant due to no sewer system or wastewater disposal. There are high rates of asthma, rashes and lice infestations because of the burning garbage, mold and large amount of cockroaches and rodents. But still, there are more health ailments.

Because they have poor diets, as many people in poverty do, they have poor dental hygiene, diabetes, and other diseases. But what’s worse is most of these residents have no means to help themselves. There is no easy solution of going to the doctor. With many without health insurance and little access to healthcare clinics, they have no way to receive treatment.

Thankfully, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. More rural healthcare clinics are opening to fulfill this need that is so desperately needed for colonias. Like the University of Texas recently opened a new campus—University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, which currently has its inaugural class. This new medical school will not only bring in medical students from around the country but will also allow students to serve the population they grew up in.

To read more about Texas colonias, please visit the following resources:

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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Untitled by Liam Welch is licensed under CC0.

close up of eyeDid you know more than 3 million people in the U.S. are affected by glaucoma? Do you know what glaucoma is?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the eye’s optic nerve, the part of the eye that connects it’s to the brain. When damaged, it can cause vision loss, and in fact, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States, according to MedlinePlus.

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, but there are certain groups of people who should be more aware of potentially contracting the disease—mainly seniors. Those over age 60 should get an eye exam every two years. Additionally, African Americans over age 40 and those with a family history of glaucoma should also get checked regularly, as they are more at risk.

Glaucoma symptoms vary, and those with the disease may experience none. But over time they may notice a loss of peripheral vision, tunnel vision, eye pain, nausea, blurred vision, halos around lights and/or reddening of eyes.

There is no cure for glaucoma, but it can usually be controlled, especially when caught early on. Current treatments include prescription eye drops and surgery.

This January, recognize National Glaucoma Awareness Month by considering getting an annual eye exam.

To read more about glaucoma, please visit “Glaucoma Resources for Special Populations from National Library of Medicine,” and/or MedlinePlus.

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Tracking Fitness and Change

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

“Heart Rate Monitoring Device” by pearlsband is licensed under CC0.

fitnessbandsAccording to a 2013 Pew report, 60% of U.S. adults ages 18 and over nationally track their weight, diet, or exercise routine, and 21% of all adults surveyed use technology to do so.  Fitness and activity trackers such as Fitbit or Nike+ can certainly help with setting goals or finding extra motivation.

But how effective are these technologies? Recent studies reported by The Guardian show promising results in terms of retention. But lasting change takes more than a device.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institute of Health, published a guide to help consumers think about how to move through stages of change:

  1. Contemplation – thinking about making a change
  2. Preparation – planning and goal setting
  3. Action – making actual adjustments or changes
  4. Maintenance – finding a routine and overcoming setbacks

Want more information on how to execute each stage and overcome common barriers? Check out the guide here: Changing Your Habits for Better Health. You can also find additional resources for tracking progress and developing health habits on the MedlinePlus topical page on Exercise and Physical Fitness.

And then here are are some considerations if you’re in the market for a fitness tracker: Consumer Reports Fitness Tracker Buying Guide. But whether you use a high-tech gadget or a paper journal, consider what makes for lasting change!

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