MedlinePlus is an excellent resource for consumer health education, but did you know that it is also a great source of current and comprehensive health news? The “Health News” section of MedlinePlus is updated every weekday, and Reuters and HealthDay news stories remain on the site for 90 days. A direct link to the complete list of Health News items is available from the main MedlinePlus page, and each health topic also includes a link to “latest news” in the Basics section of the main health topic page. You can even get the latest health news on specific topics by email if you subscribe to a free service that alerts you when new information is available and set up your personal profile.
Current health news source: MedlinePlus
Developing Healthy People 2020 – Upcoming Regional Meetings
Discussion and collaboration in the development of the next Healthy People http://www.healthypeople.gov/ document is starting next week in Atlanta. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has planned five meetings to discuss the framework for Healthy People 2020 in regional settings. The final meeting will seek to gain input from national organizations.
According to healthypeople.gov, the purpose of the regional meetings is “To obtain public perspectives on the framework that will be used to organize Healthy People 2020 objectives.” Registration for regional meetings is still open for San Francisco (April 1), Fort Worth (April 14), Chicago (April 30), New York (May 14), and Bethesda (May 28).
For more information on the Healthy People 2020 development initiative, visit http://www.healthypeople.gov/hp2020/.
To stay up-to-date on Healthy People and receive e-mail notices of publications, grants, events, and websites consider subscribing to the listserv. Visit https://list.nih.gov/archives/healthypeople.html for directions.
Drugs and Drug Interactions
One increasing challenge in health information is helping consumers to be aware of the variety of drugs and supplements they may be taking, keep track of them, and understand their use, effects, and possible interactions and side-effects. When helping patients who may not be able to get regularly updated drug information from their doctors — such as Winter Texans or other visitors whose regular doctors may be far away — it’s important to be able to provide consumer-oriented drug-information sources that they can use to understand drug topics despite their complexity and fluidity. Here are a few suggestions:
- DrugLib.com is a drug information database that can be searched by drug name, condition, or category and includes FDA alerts.
- ExpressScripts’ DrugDigest tool includes a drug library and comparison tool, as well as a helpful interaction checker where you can enter a set of drugs and check the interactions between those drugs as well as interactions with food and alcohol.
- The FDA’s MedWatch site provides drug safety information and an RSS feed of the latest safety alerts. [thanks pilgrimtinker at Learn to Live]
- iGuard.org is a service launched earlier this year that allows patients to enter the list of drugs they’re taking; iGuard then provides an analysis of the risk of interaction problems, and allows user to sign up for a personalized alert service with new information, alerts or discoveries about their specific set of drugs. [thanks Joshua Schwimmer at TechMedicine]
- Last week, Thomson launched PDRhealth.com, a new consumer-oriented site based upon Thomson’s PDR products for health professionals. The new site supports the PDR drug information with background information on conditions, and online tools like risk factor analyzers to support health decision-making.
Finding equivalent consumer-oriented sites in the Spanish language is a bit more difficult. Two options include:
- BuenaSalud.com includes a searchable Enciclopedia de Medicamentos that provides helpful information on quite a few drugs.
- PortalFarma.com, from the professional organization of pharmacists in Spain, provides an online database that does offer interaction information; unfortunately, although it is available to the public, the presentation is not very consumer-friendly.
El regreso de la “Lotería de salud” #13: El cantarito
Primero que nada, su humilde servidor y cantor de lotería quiere pedir disculpas por la larga e inesperada ausencia de la “Lotería de Salud;” una serie de compromisos y problemas técnicos hicieron difícil continuar con la lotería por ese período. Pero lo bueno es que regresamos — y ojalá sea por un buen rato más.
Esta semana — del 19 al 25 de octubre de 2008 — es la Semana Nacional de la Prevención del Envenenamiento por el Plomo. La imágen del “cantarito” nos recuerda que el plomo tóxico no sólo nos puede alcanzar en materiales del trabajo o en antigua tubería o pintura de nuestras casas, sino también en vajillas de barro o cerámica como las que se pueden comprar en México o en la frontera, o en remedios caseros como “greta” y “azarcón”. El plomo es un veneno silencioso — altos niveles de plomo en la sangre no muestran síntomas óbvias hasta que lleguen a tener efectos permanentes en el cerebro y en el cuerpo. Los niños corren más riesgo del plomo porque les pueden llegar a afectar cantidades de plomo mucho más pequeñas de los que afectan a los adultos.
Por favor, lea los siguientes documentos para entender cuáles son las posibles fuentes de plomo que pueden afectarle a usted y a su familia. Si cree que es posible que usted o algún miembro de su familia se haya expuesto al plomo, es importantísimo que vaya al doctor y pida que le haga pruebas del nivel de plomo en la sangre.
- De MedlinePlus: Envenenamiento con plomo e Intoxicación con plomo
- De la EPA (Agencia de Protección Ambiental): Un programa de video y un programa de audio (6 min 38 seg)
- Del DSHS (Departamento Estatal de Servicios de Salud): “Plomo en su comida y remedios caseros”
- Del TCEQ (Comisión de Calidad Ambiental de Texas): “El envenenamiento con plomo: ¿De dónde viene? ¿Cuáles son los riesgos?”
En Tu Biblioteca
The American Library Association is partnering with Univision Radio on a campaign to increase public library use among Hispanics. From the press release:
“The new en tu biblioteca (“at your library”) campaign, which is part of ALA’s Campaign for America’s Libraries, communicates how libraries create opportunities for Latino adults and their children. The campaign positions the librarian as a trusted source who can help library users obtain to accurate information about health, entrepreneurship and small business management, education, finances and more.”
[Thanks to Siobhan Champ-Blackwell's BHIC blog.]
February 2012: National Children’s Dental Health Month
In 2002, the Urban Institute reported that one of the most prevalent chronic illnesses facing children in the United States today is tooth decay. It is astounding that oral health problems persist among children in spite the fact that tooth decay is largely preventable through regular dental cleanings and checkups. Still, 24 percent of children ages 5 to 17 account for 80 percent of the tooth decay disease in permanent teeth among this age group. Socioeconomic disparities are blamed for these oral health burdens and low-income children are disproportionately affected. Inadequate access to dental care can be cited as the problem. Please read the report: http://www.urban.org/publications/309527.html
It is with this problem in mind that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) offers Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Dental Services though a managed care model. Beginning March 1, 2012, HHSC will expand managed care dental services to include Medicaid. The goal of this expansion is to provide quality, comprehensive dental services to eligible recipients. HHSC will select two or more dental contractors to provide services to both Medicaid and CHIP Members. Please read the report:
It is good to remember also, that we can help protect our children’s teeth and diminish the growth of caries with various applications of dental sealants and with topical and systemic fluoride, but most importantly, a sound education and a good oral hygiene program will go a long way to help maintain healthy teeth and gums for a long, long time.
“Something Fun” from the American Dental Association in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month:
Flu Vaccine Locator Available
Funding Alerts from Texas DSHS
Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) sends weekly alerts about new funding opportunities, with a focus on support for public health projects: “Our mission is to help organizations in Texas pursue public health funding opportunities by disseminating funding information through the Funding Alert and our website. Our services are limited to clients living in Texas.”
Good Health Blogs
Writers and readers of health blogs now have one way to identify a site as a source of authentic health-related information. The Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics (HBCE) reviews health blog sites to see if they maintain standards of 1) Clear presentation of perspective 2) Confidentiality 3) Commercial disclosure 4) Reliability of information and 5) Courtesy. Approved sites are listed on their website, and in turn bloggers can download an HBCE button to place on their blog’s homepage to identify themselves. The approved blogs come from a wide range of health interests, written by patients, medical health professionals, and students in both undergraduate and graduate professional health programs. An array of health-related topics are covered from personal accounts of coping with cancer, to the challenges of training to work as a paramedic, to support for independent practice for nurse practitioners. You can review the continuously updated list of medical blogs and patient blogs on their site. To have your blog reviewed so that it can be added, please visit their site here for instructions: http://medbloggercode.com/get-the-code/.
Health Literacy – Presentation by Oralia Bazaldua, PharmD
Last month Oralia Bazaldua provided an excellent overview of health literacy, with a focus on health literacy in South Texas. The video and slides are available from the UTHSCSA Department of Family and Community Medicine’s grand rounds online library.