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Archive for the ‘General (all entries)’ Category

SCR Regional Highlight: University of Arkansas assists displaced Marshall Islands community

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The Marshall Islands – Majuro – Window by Stefan Lins is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

marshall islands

In the Pacific Ocean near the equator and just west of the international dateline, there is a small country known as the Marshall Islands, which has a population of 53,000 inhabitants. Somewhat similarly, if you head to Springdale, Arkansas, located in the northwest corner of the state, you will find not only the Consulate of the Marshall Islands, but the largest community of Marshallese Americans in the continental U.S., with an estimated population between 6,000 and 14,000.

The Marshall Islands have become a place of despair and great poverty. It was the site of 67 nuclear tests that occurred over a 12-year period; in 1956, the Marshall Islands was called “the most contaminated place on Earth” by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

In 1986, after the war had ended, the Marshall Islands became their own fully sovereign nation, but also became a U.S. Associated State, receiving assistance from the U.S., and also allowing Marshallese to travel and work within the U.S. without a visa. Springdale, Arkansas became the best immigration option after the first Marshallese to arrive, John Moody, sent back word about jobs available at Tyson Foods, where the company is headquartered.

And while 1,000s of Marshallese traveled halfway across the world to to escape the poverty and health issues, they are still plagued by diseases including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, some of which stem from the nuclear tests, but others that occurred after the fact; like how U.S. food aid to the Marshall Islands came in the form of processed items, which have contributed to the diabetes among the population as well as obesity.

Besides having a general distrust for health professionals, causing them not to seek medical treatment, many Marshallese also have no way to afford it, as the U.S. rescinded Medicaid and Medicare following the original 1986 agreement, leaving many without any form of health insurance.

But there is some hope for the Marshallese in Springdale, Arkansas. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Library has begun a program to assist those displaced Marshallese, in part through funding by NNLM SCR. By teaching classes to Marshallese health workers and raising awareness for the health literacy information available, UAMS hopes to be able to eventually improve the overall health of the Marshallese of Northwest Arkansas. It will just take time.

To read more about the Marshallese population in Springdale, please visit “For Pacific Islanders, Hopes and Troubles in in Arkansas.”

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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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Tuberculosis Diagnoses Increase for First Time in 23 Years

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

“Photo” by WikiImages is licensed under CC0.

syringe

While you may not think tuberculosis (TB) is a concern for yourself and your family, many people in the U.S. suffer with it, and for the first time in 23 years, the U.S. saw an increase in diagnosed cases in 2015. There were 9,557 cases total and it affected 27 states and the District of Columbia, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

This increase calls for a more comprehensive public health approach to curbing TB, according to the CDC’s report. Suggested strategies according to the report are:

  • “Increased testing and treatment of latent (showing no symptoms) TB,
  • Greater efforts to reach populations most affected by TB, and
  • Reducing TB transmission through effective diagnostic and treatment strategies.”

TB is a bacterium that usually affects the lungs but can affect any part of the body. It is usually spread through the air when a person throat coughs, speaks or sings and another person breaths it in. But not everyone who becomes infected will become sick, which is called latent TB infection. This occurs when your body is able to fight off the bacteria.

Primary TB symptoms include a cough that last as for three weeks or longer, pain in the chest, and coughing up blood. Others may also include weight loss, fatigue, no appetite, chills, fever and sweating at night.

To read more from the recent CDC report, please visit “Burden of TB in the United States.”

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

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Fasting May Prevent Childhood Cancer

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

“Photo” by Alexas_Fotos is licensed under CC0.

Mouse

UT Southwestern Medical Center announced recently the results of research they had been undertaking in regards to the effects fasting had on cancer. Interestingly enough, fasting helped prevent the most common childhood cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Research was conducted on mice who underwent six cycles of one day of fasting and one day of eating. These mice were compared to other mice who ate normally. The research showed that after seven weeks of this the cancer was completely inhibited—there was a dramatic reduction in the number of cancerous cells in blood marrow and the spleen and a reduced number of white blood cells.

Since the study was conducted without any sort of drug, researchers are investigating if they could quickly begin conducting human clinical trials.

This fasting method did not see the same results for acute myeloid leukemia, the cancer that is most often found in adults.

To read more about the research, please visit “Fasting kills cancer cells of most common type of childhood leukemia.”

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