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21st Century Cures Act

“Stethoscope” by
Rohvannyn is licensed under CC0.

Stethoscope

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act. This bill passed both the US Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

This law will provide $4.8 billion in funding for the NIH to fund research projects dealing with transforming cancer treatments, brain disorders, and precision medicine. Additionally, there are provisions that should help increase access to mental health care in a variety of ways.

The law also funds $1 billion for state grants to help the growing problem of opioid addiction. However, this law doesn’t just affect funding. It has provisions that create a new U.S. Research Policy Board that will hopefully help ease the regulatory burden of academic research, ease medical device regulation, and create faster paths to drug approval. In a law that spans almost 1,000 pages, it will be several years, possibly decades, before all the effects can be seen.

For more information, please see 21st Century Cures Act — A View from the NIH in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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–Written by Bethany Livingston, Research Administrator, NN/LM SCR

 

 

 

 

 

Fasting May Prevent Childhood Cancer

“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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New Mexico Sees Two More Cases of Hantavirus

“Photo” by My Name is licensed under CC0.

Mouse

New Mexico’s McKinley County recently announced it has confirmed two more cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. They are the seventh and eight cases of hantavirus confirmed in New Mexico this year. The 59-year-old man and 29-year-old woman diagnosed have been hospitalized.

Hantavirus is a disease carried by rodents and can be transmitted to humans through saliva, urine or droppings. People will often inhale the virus when cleaning up rodent droppings and nesting materials. In New Mexico, the primary culprit of hantavirus is the deer mouse, which carries the Sin Nombe virus, the hantavirus strain found in New Mexico.

Symptoms of hantavirus include fever, severe muscle aches and fatigue. Several days after contracting the virus, symptoms will also include headaches, dizziness, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain.

To prevent contracting the virus, keep mice and rats out of your home. Deer mice in particular can get through a hole that is the size of a dime, so check to make sure your home is secure. If you notice mouse or rat droppings, clean them up properly—don’t just sweep them up and risk inhaling them. Please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Facts About Hantavirus” for specific instructions regarding this.

While it is possible for people with hantavirus to recover, four of the previous six people who contracted hantavirus this year in New Mexico died—it is a serious disease.

For more information about hantavirus in New Mexico, please visit the New Mexico Department of Health.

For more general information regarding hantavirus, please visit the CDC’s website.

 

 

Read Books to Live Longer

“hurry up, we’re dreaming!” by
Dennis’ Photography is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
No changes were made to this work.

Girl Reading in Snow

Looking for a healthy pastime to get through the winter months? Why not try… curling up with a good book!

A recent study published in the September issue of the journal of Social Science and Medicine found a correlation between book reading and longevity. The research team behind the study, based at the Yale University School of Public Health, looked at the reading habits of a group of 3,635 adults over the age of 50 and tracked their survival rate over a 12 year period.

The team observed a 20% reduction in mortality for those who read books compared to those who didn’t, as well as an advantage for reading books of any level over other types of reading material such as newspapers and magazines. The authors suggest that reading just 30 minutes per day, or about a chapter a day, can have a positive impact on your lifespan regardless of your gender, health, education or economic status.

As to why reading helps extend readers’ lives, the study points to two cognitive processes involved in reading books. The first is cognitive engagement as the reader makes connections within the book and to the outside world and formulates questions about the content. Books also promote empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence. Both of these processes can lead to better health behaviors and reduced stress.

For more information, see the study abstract available from ScienceDirect.

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Written by Sarah Miles, Health Professions Coordinator, NN/LM SCR

SCR Regional Highlight: Stay Healthy This Holiday Season by Remaining Active at Holiday Outings!

Photos by NM BioPark Society.

River of Lights - Holiday Light Show

Stay Healthy This Holiday Season by Remaining Active at Holiday Outings!

With the holidays quickly approaching, many of us may be dreaming of family gatherings with big family dinners to follow. And while it’s always nice to indulge every once in a while, you should also remember to remain physically active—even during the holidays!

Remaining active doesn’t have to mean leaving your loved ones to head to the gym though, there are many festive activities that will keep you in the holiday spirit, surrounded by family while still being active.

One event is the River of Lights—Holiday Light Show at the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden in Albuquerque, the largest walk-through holiday production in New Mexico! It is open from 6 to 9:30 p.m. through Dec. 23, and then again from Dec. 26 through Dec. 30. This year is the 20th Annual River of Lights and features new sculptures, and a new light show set to a variety of classic and contemporary holiday music favorites.

Walking daily has many benefits. Just like any aerobic activity, it reduces your risk of early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and depression. Additionally, walking an hour per day can lower your risk of some types of cancer! Perhaps even after the holidays you’ll consider a daily walk as part of your exercise routine!

For more tips on how to stay active and healthy during the holiday season, please see 12 Ways to Have a Health Holiday Season from the CDC.

To learn more about the River of Lights, please visit the City of Albuquerque’s website.

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Written by Sara Goodwin, NN/LM SCR

Winter is Coming: Be Prepared

“Dressing for Cold Weather” infographic from Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Dressing for Cold Weather Infographic

Colder temperatures are on the way if they’re not already upon you! With that in mind, the Oklahoma State Department of Health would like to remind everyone to be safe and keep warm this winter. Additionally, take proper precautions and ensure your family is prepared in the event of a major winter weather event.

For adults 65 and older and for babies, it’s very important to monitor the temperature of a house. Infants lose body heat more easily than adults and can’t produce body heat, and older adults produce less body heat.

Also, use caution when heating your home with a woodstove, fireplace or space heater—install a carbon monoxide detector to know if your house has reached dangerous carbon monoxide levels.

OSDH has also created a “Dressing for Cold Weather” infographic to help individuals know what to wear outside at what temperatures.

To read more tips for preparing for the cold weather, please visit the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website.

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It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

“Photo” by realworkhard is licensed under CC0.

Cigarette Smoke
Research on smoking is finding that it’s never too late for a person to quit. Even if it’s at 60 years old, you can gain years back on your life.

It’s a long-known fact that cigarettes and smoking are harmful to a person’s health—it causes more than 480,000 deaths in Americans per year, nearly 1 in 5 people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Besides just adding years to your life, quitting smoking also reduces a person’s heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease.

The research studied data collected on 160,000 men and women, in which they completed a survey about their smoking habit between 2004 and 2005 and the deaths of the participants were tracked until the end of 2011. While the study did find that participants were more likely to die earlier if they quit later in life, the data also pointed out those who quit smoking at any time fared better than those who were still current smokers when they died.

“…The study also makes the point that I try to tell my patients, some of whom believe it and some of whom don’t, that smoking cessation is good for you even late in life. If you stop, you will live longer than if you don’t stop,” said Dr. Norman Edelman, senior medical consultant to the American Lung Association in a MedlinePlus article.

To read more about the study, please visit “It’s Never Too Late to Stop Smoking.”

To read more about the dangers of smoking, please visit the CDC’s website.

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Meet Me Monday: Brandy Klug, Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library

Brandy Klug, Gibson D. Lewis Library

Brandy Klug is the Web Services Librarian at Gibson D. Lewis Health Science Library at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, TX.  She currently manages the library’s web and social media presence and is very passionate about web development and design, usability testing, and social media strategy. Since May 1st, Brandy has also had the opportunity to provide interim web and social media support for the NN/LM South Central Region.

In addition to web services, Brandy has worked in a variety of other areas over the last 15 years including acquisitions, serials, cataloging, reference, instructional design, and electronic resources.  She received her MLS from Texas Woman’s University and her M.S.Ed. from University of Nebraska – Kearney.

Contact Brandy at brandy.klug@unthsc.edu.

 

Texas Medicaid Cuts Hurts Rural Kids With Disabilities

Photo by Gabby Orcutt is licensed under CC0.

Child Playing in Field

More than a year ago, Texas lawmakers ordered the state to cut the amount of money for therapists who work with children with disabilities. After the Texas Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit against the cuts, they are finally taking effect.

The cuts are significant—taking away $350 million in Medicaid reimbursement—and they impact some of the most vulnerable. These Texas children often are born premature, or with down syndrome, or with some other genetic disorder that delays them developmentally. And even as these providers lost money, they still served the children. Now many of these providers are closing their doors.

A story on NPR shares some of the real stories of kids in Texas who have disabilities, how the service providers have helped them, and what will happen if they don’t have access to services.

To read the NPR article and learn more about the Texas Medicaid cuts, please visit “Cuts in Texas Medicaid Hit Rural Kids With Disabilities Especially Hard.”

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Hospital Quality Data Available

“Photo” by SilasCamargo is licensed under CC0.

Hospital Beds

The Joint Commission has released its 2016 annual report on America’s hospitals. The report contains data contributed by more than 3,300 hospitals nationwide. Extensive changes were made to the metrics collected in past years. Several measures previously included were dropped from the data collection process because hospital performance was consistently high and considered to no longer represent a useful quality metric. The new process now gives organizations a choice in determining which measures to report. Additionally, eCQM (electronic clinical quality measures) are now reported.

Examples of the national performance summary data presented include measures of rates of tobacco screening, influenza immunization, stroke education, percent of stroke patients discharged on statin medications and more.

While the annual report synthesizes data collected from hospitals nationwide, granular data reflecting the quality and safety results for individual hospitals may be found on The Joint Commission Quality Check website.

See Annual Report – Improving America’s Hospitals to learn more about the data collection process and view the results of the report.

Citation: America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety – The Joint Commission’s Annual Report 2016

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Written by Lisa Smith, NN/LM SCR