Librarians from the Laredo Independent School District recently spent a day touring the facilities of the Laredo Extension Campus, learning about the UT HSC health career programs in Laredo and hearing about the resources that are available for school-age children and adolescents. During the day, they spent over an hour in the library, where they received demonstrations of MedlinePlus, MedlinePlus en español, Tox Town, and Tox Mystery. The latter two programs, developed by the Division of Specialized Information Services of the National Library of Medicine, are intended for use by younger students. The program for the librarians was designed to introduce them to resources that they can use with students and share with teachers as well.
School librarians visit the Laredo Campus Library
School-based asthma surveillance program
An article published last year in the Journal of School Health describes the development of a school-based asthma surveillance program for Texas elementary schools.
Science Expo 2011
Health Professionals of Tomorrow storm UT Health Science Center
The UT Health Science Center played host to nearly 1,500 students from all over San Antonio and South Texas on November 12, 2011. The majority of the students were high school seniors and juniors with a few extra who came along for the ride. The enthusiasm and excitement displayed by the students was exciting and spoke well of the future of medicine in the hands of these possible upcoming professionals. The UT Health Science Center Briscoe Library sponsored an exhibit table in the medical lecture hall commons area during the Science Expo. On exhibit were such things as the availability of MedlinePlus, the PubMed database and how to effectively use the National Library of Medicine resources. Also on hand were materials containing information on medical librarianship and available scholarships. Many students had never encountered the MedlinePlus database and were extremely surprised at the amount of information available to them. A few students did admit that they were still trying to decide on a career and were quite engaging when asked about their foreseeable choices. It was quite apparent that both students and staff experienced a wonderful time and left looking forward to future Science Expo gatherings.
Snus: a new youth tobacco threat?
A recent post on the Consumer Reports Health Blog discusses the possible resurgence of smokeless tobacco among young people in the US, in the form of “snus” (rhymes with “juice”). Snus is a spit-free form of smokeless tobacco that has been popular in Scandinavian countries for decades, packaged and sold in small teabag-like pouches. The National Cancer Institute looked at snus as a possible youth tobacco threat in a Spotlight article in the Feb 2007 issue of the NCI Cancer Bulletin. The NCI article noted that the “ease of use and gum-like flavors” of the new American versions of snus are reminiscent of the smokeless tobacco products of the 1970, when use among teens and young adults increased — and notes the effect in Norway, where snus use has tripled among teens and young adults in the last decade.
Although there is significant debate in the public-health community about the marketing of snus to current smokers as a “safer alternative” or “harm reduction” compared to cigarettes, the NCI article cites evidence suggesting that smokeless tobacco use among teens may lead to higher rates of smoking initiation within 2-4 years.
It is interesting to note that so far, most of the major-brand snus products have included Texas cities in their early test-marketing. The NCI Cancer Bulletin Spotlight article notes that US Smokless Tobacco (UST) test-marketed its Revel product in Austin in 2004 and RJ Reynolds also tested its Camel Snus in Austin in 2006; other sources note that Philip Morris test-marketed Marlboro Snus in Dallas/Fort Worth in 2007 before expanding the test to Indianapolis.
Spot the Block
Some of the more recent efforts in the promotion of health literacy focus on the use of food labels for nutritional information. This would seem to be a simple method for consumers to make informed nutritional decisions. Consumers, however, often do not or cannot use food lables to full advantage. For some ‘food for thought’, check out the newly redesigned website for the National Agricultural Library’s Food Nutrition Center (FNIC). The site has a wealth of information and visual aids to assist consumers in getting the most out of reading food labels. The site also features a program to promote food label reading called Spot the Block. Although aimed at teens, the program and materials could be adapted for other ages as well.
There is even a health literacy assessment tool, available in English and Spanish, based on an ice cream nutrition label. Named the Newest Vital Sign (NVS), the tool poses six questions that test the ability of an individual to read and use the information on the label to make health related nutritional decisions. Take the test and see what you think!
Texas-Mexican Border Study finds pesticides a BIG problem.
HARLINGEN,TX— Air samples from homes of Hispanic mothers-to-be along the Texas-Mexico border contained multiple pesticides in a majority of the houses, according to a study conducted by the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.
Several studies have reported that pesticide exposure may adversely affect mental and motor development of the infants during infancy and childhood. The new report is in the summer issue of the Texas Public Health Journal .
Click Here to read the entire story as it appears in the HSC News Publication, and what suggestions are being made to remedy the situation. Story by Will Sansom and Sheila Hotchkin.
The Library of Congress Rolling Exhibit “Gateway to Knowledge” Visits Kerrville Feb 18-19
The Library of Congress has hit the road with a traveling exhibition called “Gateway to Knowledge” that will be visiting Kerrville, TX this weekend on February 18 and 19.
According to the press release, “The Library of Congress will launch a new traveling exhibition late in September that will bring facsimiles of many of its top treasures and information about the millions of resources in its unparalleled collections to the heartland of America. The exhibit will include programming especially for teachers and students and provide relevant and engaging learning experiences for lifelong learners. The truck, which will be staffed and driven by two docents well-versed in the Library and its collections, will be parked at various schools, libraries, community centers and other public venues. The exhibition will also outline the history of the Library, including Thomas Jefferson’s role in allowing its re-establishment following the burning of the U.S. Capitol in 1814 by providing his personal book collection to the nation. Jefferson’s organization of his books by ‘Memory, Reason and Imagination’ will inform the organization of the exhibition.”