The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has made available a new environmental health science website for middle and high school students. According the site, “Environmental Health is the interrelationship between human health and the environment, either natural or manmade.” Users can search topics on this free site to learn about air polution, chemicals, climate change, and water polution. The site includes resources for teachers and students that are ” within the context of current middle school science curriculum standards.” For further study, a variety of links are provided to trusted sources such as the Smithsonian Education site for Prehistoric Climate Change and Why It Matters Today.
New NLM Website for Environmental Health Information
New Online Database of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs
Learning about supplements is often a challenge. A new free online database, the Dietary Supplements Labels Database from the National Library of Medicine seeks to help patients and healthcare professionals learn more about many common supplements. It includes vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and specialty supplements. Information is included about ingredients in brand-name products, including name, form, active and inactive ingredients, amount of active ingredient/unit, manufacturer/distributor information, suggested dose, label claims, warnings, and percentage of daily value.
NINDS site in Spanish
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) now has free, accurate information about different neurological disorders in Spanish. The information can be found online at http://espanol.ninds.nih.gov/. The site includes information on stroke, Parkinson’s Disease, autism, and epilepsy.
NLM’s new Drug Information Portal
Last week, the National Library of Medicine announced a new online resource for researchers, healthcare professionals, and the general public, called the NLM Drug Information Portal. Like other “federated” search tools, the idea is a one-stop, simple search interface that pulls together results from a wide variety of disparate databases. In this case, the user is presented with a single search box to enter the name of the drug (generic or commercial) — but the results are returned from a wide variety of federal government sources, including:
- MedlinePlus (Drug information & consumer health information)
- AIDSinfo (HIV/AIDS treatment)
- LactMed (Effect on breastfeeding)
- HSDB (Reviewed biological and physical data)
- Dietary Supplements Labels Database (Ingredients and label information)
- Medline/PubMed (References from scientific journals)
- TOXLINE (References from toxicological journals)
- DailyMed (Manufacturers drug label)
- ClinicalTrials.gov (Clinical trials)
- PubChem (Biological activities and chemical structures)
- NIAID ChemDB (Biological activities against HIV/AIDS and other viruses)
- ChemIDplus (Toxicological and chemical resources)
- Drugs@FDA (Information from the US Food & Drug Administration)
- DEA (Information from the US Drug Enforcement Administration)
- USA.gov (Other government resources)
Now, that’s a fine collection of resources to be able to search all at once! Thanks, NLM — and thanks to our colleagues over at the EBM & Clinical Support Blog for the tip about the new site.
October 15 – National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
Oral Longevity Site
The American Dental Association (ADA) and GlaxoSmithKline have partnered to create an initiative called Oral Longevity. The initiative has been designed to create awareness about the oral health needs of older americans. There are consumer health resources and dental resources for the dental health professionals. You can also request a DVD and download the brochure by going here: http://www.ada.org/ada/orallongevity/brochure.asp
Para los de la Tercera Edad
The Spanish language uses a unique expression of respect and appreciation to refer to seniors — it refers to them as being of “la Tercera Edad” (“the Third Age”), i.e. what follows childhood and middle-age.
Here’s something new para los de la Tercera Edad: the US National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, now offers accurate, up-to-date information on health issues affecting Hispanic seniors, online and in Spanish. The new Spanish-language content, located at http://www.nia.nih.gov/Espanol/, is designed to be user-friendly and wide-ranging, including tips on choosing a doctor and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as well as information on diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and diabetes.
School librarians at Med High in Mercedes, Texas have led a project sponsored by the National Library of Medicine to promote the role of high school students as “peer tutors.” This model program relies on students to promote better access to health information in their communities. An article about an earlier, related collaboration with the UT Health Science Center is available free online.
Personal electronic health records
Recent news headlines have given us a foretaste of what may prove to be a major healthcare issue in coming years: personal electronic health records. Many eyes have been on the developing Google Health project for months now, but earlier this month Microsoft managed to jump out to an apparent lead over Google when it introduced Microsoft HealthVault (coverage from AFP and from IHT).
Obviously, there’s quite a bit of potential here — both for good and for problems. As librarians and information professionals, we need to get involved in helping our patrons — doctors and the patients who trust them — to understand the risks and benefits, particularly in terms of the privacy implications. Lauren Weinstein wrote a recent blog post looking at those issues, and Jon Udell specifically proposes the idea of “translucent” medical records — which would be stored online but encrypted using public key cryptography, so that even if a 3rd party could compel a service provider to release those records, they could not be opened and viewed without the patient’s participation.
Keep an eye out for more news as this issue grows, is debated and developed further!
Photography exhibit documents response of volunteers in the aftermath of Hurricane Beulah
Hurricane Beulah is still recognized as one of the most significant storms to make landfall in Texas. On September 21, 1967 the storm moved into the mouth of the Rio Grande, and inundated South Texas with heavy rainfall. The memories of the hurricane and its aftermath were still fresh in the minds of many who attended the May 6th opening of a photography exhibit which chronicles the response of health professionals and local volunteers to refugees displaced by flooding in Starr County.
Hurricane Beulah caused extensive flooding on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. To escape the rising floodwaters, over 14,000 refugees from Camargo, Tamaulipas crossed the border into the small town of Roma, Texas. The refugees were in desperate need of food, shelter, and medical care. It was in Roma that Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, the only physician in town and Starr County’s Public Health Service Director, rose to action in the face of a crisis. For several weeks, Dr. Ramirez along with volunteers from the local community, UT Medical Branch in Galveston, Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio as well as the U.S. Army worked to help the hurricane victims.
In 2007 the Library at the UT Health Science Center Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen was named for Dr. Mario E. Ramirez. The Ramirez Library subsequently received materials from his personal archive and library. These are a rich collection of photographs, letters, and documents. Many of the materials donated by Dr. Ramirez are related to Hurricane Beulah, including 139 photographs and 185 pages of letters, newspaper clippings, and personal journal entries. The photographs were taken by George Tuley, a Rio Grande City teacher, who would later go on to a 39-year career as a photojournalist at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
The photographs portray the use of makeshift medical equipment in the absence of IV poles, incubators, and oxygen tents. The photographs also document the transformation of a high school into a packaged disaster hospital where blackboards were used to record patient information including diagnoses and treatments.
In 2009 the Ramirez Library received a Library Technology Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) to support the digitization, cataloging, and uploading of the Hurricane Beulah photographs to the UT Health Science Center Libraries Digital Archive as well as the creation of a traveling exhibit. The full collection of Hurricane Beulah photographs from the Ramirez Collection can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/beulahphotos. The photography exhibit will remain on display at the Ramirez Library, and a traveling version of the exhibit will be made available to local schools, libraries and museums. For more information, please contact Graciela Reyna, Assistant Director, Mario E. Ramirez, M.D. Library at (956) 365-8850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.