The Medical Section of the SLA Biomedical and Life Sciences Division

2010 News

September 30, 2010
AIDSinfo is on-the-go

AIDSinfo is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services project, managed by the National Library of Medicine, that offers the latest federally approved HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, HIV treatment and prevention clinical trials, and other research information for health care providers, researchers, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and the general public. AIDSinfo now offers a mobile site that allows users to access its resources and information on-the-go. The new site optimizes many of the main site’s features for phones and other mobile devices. When viewing AIDSinfo on your mobile device, you will be automatically redirected to the mobile site. JavaScript must be enabled on your device for the mobile site to function properly. The AIDSinfo mobile site is available at .

September 28, 2010
NIH will expand key pharmacogenomics resource

The National Institutes of Health is spending $15 million over five years to expand a key resource, the Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base (PharmGKB),
During the next five years, PharmGKB plans to:

  • Develop tools that automatically extract information from the biomedical literature and key databases.
  • Intensify its focus on understanding the molecular basis for drug toxicity and multiple-drug interactions, information that may help improve the safety and efficacy of medicines.
  • Analyze the genomes of additional individuals, including a family that has volunteered to be studied.
  • Develop guidelines for doctors about the use of genetic tests to customize dosages when prescribing certain medicines.

  • This NIH News Release is available online at:

    September 24, 2010
    NIH to launch gulf oil spill health study

    The National Institutes of Health will launch a multi-year study this fall to look at the potential health effects from the oil spill in the Gulf region. The Gulf Worker Study, announced by NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in June, is in response to the largest oil spill in U.S. history, caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. Collins pledged $10 million in NIH funding for the study's initial phases.

    To help expedite the launch of the study, BP will contribute an additional $10 million to NIH for this and other important health research. The BP funding will come through the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI). The GRI is a ten-year, $500 million independent research program established by BP to better understand and mitigate the environmental and potential health effects of the Gulf spill. The NIH will have full autonomy regarding the distribution of the $10 million, with input from external scientific experts in environmental health and who are familiar with the Gulf region. This NIH News Release is available online at:

    September 15, 2010
    NIH will examine the childhood obesity epidemic

    The National Institutes of Health is launching two major research efforts, totaling $72.5 million, to examine ways to curtail the nation's childhood obesity epidemic. One will study long-term approaches to prevent or treat childhood obesity, and the other will examine community efforts to reduce childhood obesity rates. Obesity rates have increased four-fold among children in the past 40 years. Today, 17 percent of U.S. children and adolescents are obese. Factors behind this increase are believed to include increased consumption of high-calorie food and drinks and less physical activity during and after school. Overweight and obese children are at higher risk of chronic diseases during childhood and adulthood, including heart disease, stroke, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers. Cardiovascular conditions associated with obesity, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, are increasingly being diagnosed during childhood, as is type 2 diabetes. This NIH News Release is available online at:

    July 31, 2010
    Tutorial - Health Reform and Medicare: Overview of Key Provisions

    Tricia Neuman, Sc.D., Kaiser Family Foundation's vice president and director of the Medicare Policy Project, reviews the background of the Medicare program and explains the key Medicare provisions included in the new health reform law. She explains major changes affecting benefits including the Medicare prescription drug benefit and preventive services, as well as the provisions that achieve savings and the law’s impact on Medicare Advantage. Neuman also discusses the numerous delivery system, quality and payment reforms and touches on future challenges.

    July 15, 2010
    New NLM Database: FDA Unique Ingredient Identifier (UNII)

    A new web site sponsored by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now available. The UNII is an essential element required for the listing of substances in the FDA Structured Product Labeling (SPL).  The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the FDA collaborated to make access to this code easier. Users entering a substance name or a UNII will be directed to the FDA record.  Spell checking and autosuggest are available for each query.  If no UNII is available for a substance, the user is referred to the FDA to request one.
    Links to the NLM ChemIDplus ( and the Drug Information Portal ( are provided for most drugs.  The database is updated weekly with data provided by FDA.

    July 14, 2010
    MedlinePlus has a new look!

    MedlinePlus entire site has been redesigned with a new layout and color scheme.  Some highlights of the new design are:
    --A Videos & Cool Tools page that makes multimedia content easier to find and searchable.
    --A Share button on all health topic pages and interactive tutorials that allows you to share links to MedlinePlus through your favorite social networks.
    --A medical dictionary search box on the English homepage for quick look-up of medical terms.
    --A search cloud widget on the homepage, and a widgets page where you can find options for
     embedding MedlinePlus content in your own blogs, personalized homepages, and other sites.

    We invite you to visit MedlinePlus to see the changes and new features for yourself. Let us know what you think of the new design by clicking the Contact Us link that appears on every page. As always, you can stay up-to-date with the latest changes to MedlinePlus by following it on Twitter @medlineplus4you, visiting our What’s New page, and signing up for email updates. Also, don’t forget about the mobile version of MedlinePlus for reliable health information when you’re on-the-go.

    July 9, 2010 for comparing health insurance plans
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today unveiled an innovative new on-line tool that will help consumers take control of their health care by connecting them to new information and resources that will help them access quality, affordable health care coverage.  Called for by the Affordable Care Act, is the first website to provide consumers with both public and private health coverage options tailored specifically for their needs in a single, easy-to-use tool.

    May 26, 2010
    PubMed Bookshelf

    Eighteen new reports are now on the NCBI Bookshelf in the collection of NIH-funded reports from the National Academies. To view these and other books go to: The reports and workshop summaries available in this collection were sponsored under a contract (N01-OD-4-2139) between the National Academies and the NIH, administered by the NIH Office of Science Policy (

    Below is the list of new releases:
     Continuing Assistance to the National Institutes of Health on Preparation of Additional Risk Assessments for the Boston University NEIDL, Phase 1
     The Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise: Innovative Strategies to Enhance Products from Discovery Through Approval: Workshop Summary
     Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
     Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health
     A Guide to the Methodology of the National Research Council Assessment of Doctorate Programs
     Toward Health Equity and Patient-Centeredness: Integrating Health Literacy, Disparities Reduction, and Quality Improvement: Workshop Summary
     Health Literacy, eHealth, and Communication: Putting the Consumer First: Workshop Summary
     Responsible Research with Biological Select Agents and Toxins

    May 24, 2010
    Advances in Medical Imaging website

    The May issue of NIH News in Health, is now available. The featured website is Advances in Medical Imaging. This colorful and easy-to-read website shows how advanced types of MRI and other tools can improve brain surgery, cancer screening, and diagnosis of stroke and heart attack.

    NIH has an entire institute, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), devoted to developing new imaging devices and other leading edge technologies. To see some of the innovative ways that NIBIB is bringing together teams of doctors, scientists and engineers to improve health care, visit

    Another NIH institute, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), supports many basic researchers who use imaging as a tool to understand life processes – understanding that lays the foundation for health advances. To view a gallery of cool images produced by NIGMS-funded researchers, visit
    The NIH Image Bank also features photos of various medical imaging technologies. To browse this collection, visit

    May 20, 2010
    BiomedExperts - the first literature-based scientific social network

    Collexis provides the BiomedExperts social network free of charge.  BiomedExperts is the first literature-based scientific social network. Profiles in BioMedExperts (BME) are generated by extracting and assigning the biomedical concepts from an article to the authors and co-authors that are listed with the published article. There are 1.8 million BioMedExperts profile from more than 190 countries using 18 million scientific publications from over 20,000 journals. The profiles represent approximately 24 million connections in the pre-established BME network. BME experts can access the system to revise and/or update their personal details, publications, and/or preferences.
    For example my search on the keyword “library” provided the following BME: Library Administration (5); Library Automation (32); Library Collection Development (62); Library Services  (208);  Library Surveys (29); Library Technical Services (9).
    More information at:

    May 17, 2010
    New on MedlinePlus: Anatomy Videos

    MedlinePlus now includes a collection of animated anatomy videos as part of the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. These 78 animated videos show the anatomy of body parts and organ systems and how diseases and conditions affect them. To see a complete list of the videos, please visit this new section:
    English<> and
    The videos play in QuickTime format. If you do not have QuickTime, you will be prompted to obtain a free download of the software before you view a video. You can download the Apple QuickTime player at:

    You van now sign to sign in for updates on MedlinePlus news, special features, and health topics in both English and Spanish. The new service replaces the former daily and weekly MedlinePlus e-mail announcement lists and greatly expands the subscription offerings available to users.

    May 6, 2010
    First Phase of PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada) Officially Launched

    PMC Canada <> is the result of a partnership between the National Research Council's Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the US National Library of Medicine (NLM). With the launch of PMC Canada, Canadians have a freely accessible national digital repository of the latest  peer-reviewed health and life sciences literature at their fingertips, including research resulting from CIHR funding.

    May 5, 2010
    New Resource Guide from NLM: Crude Oil Spills and Human Health

    The page <> provides links to information on how the United States responds to oil spills, state agencies in the Gulf region that respond to spills, occupational hazards for professionals and volunteers assisting with clean-up, seafood safety and more.

    The links under “Featured Sites” focus on the latest updates about the recent spill and subsequent controlled burning of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico. This spill followed the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit oil platform 50 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta on April 20, 2010.

    May 4, 2010
    NLM's New Social Media Page

    Check out the new link on the NLM Home Page to find out what social media services are available from NLM.
     For example:
    ----OMIM records have a new look: Table of Contents for the record page, related links boxes, streamlined URL:
    ---- Book Citations Added to PubMed

    May 3, 2010
    Cancer genetics gets personal

    Researchers have developed a novel technique for identifying patient-specific biomarkers in tumor DNA which they say can reliably monitor the progression of individual patients' cancers. Their findings were published in Science Translational Medicine (1).  In this study, researchers from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Life Technologies instead looked for rearrangements of large chunks of DNA in the entire genome of four colorectal cancer patients and two breast cancer patients. The rearrangements they found, approximately 1 to 1.5 kb in size, only occurred in tumor samples and to their surprise, each individual's tumor had its own unique rearrangement.
    Read more:

    (1)   Leary, Rebecca J et. al. (2010) “Research Article: Cancer Genetics Development of Personalized Tumor Biomarkers Using Massively Parallel Sequencing.”  Sci Transl Med 2(20):20ra14.

    April 14, 2010
    ResearchRaven: A Free Search Platform for Publishing and Networking Opportunities in the Health Sciences

    ResearchRaven, is a public service provided by the Samaritan Health Services Center for Health Research and Quality. The purpose of ResearchRaven is to enable users to efficiently find current information about professional conferences, calls for papers for publications and for papers for presentations at professional meetings, and other research-related materials.
    Please note: Librarianship is one of the category for “calls for papers / meetings & conferences” and “calls for papers / publications.”
    ScanGrants, is another public service provided by the Samaritan Health Services Center for Health Research and Quality, facilitates the search for funding sources to enhance individual and community health. The funding sources listed may be of interest to virtually anyone associated with the health field – medical researchers, social workers, nurses, students, community-based health educators, medical libraries, academics and others.

    April 12, 2010
    NIH Announces Genetic Testing Registry (GTR)

    The National Institutes of Health announced today that it is creating a public database that researchers, consumers, health care providers, and others can search for information submitted voluntarily by genetic test providers. The Genetic Testing Registry (GTR) aims to enhance access to information about the availability, validity, and usefulness of genetic tests.

    Currently, more than 1,600 genetic tests are available to patients and consumers, but there is no single public resource that provides detailed information about them. GTR is intended to fill that gap.

    This NIH News Release is available online at:
    More information about the Genetic Testing Registry and NCBI is available at:

    April 10, 2010
    Database of Genomic Structural Variation (dbVar)

    The database of Genomic Structural Variation (dbVar) at: contains data and analyses from studies on large-scale genomic variation and provides associations of defined variants with phenotype information. The dbVar homepage provides additional documentation including an overview of structural variation, a Frequently Asked Questions list, and information on submitting data. A dbVar RSS feed has also been established to provide announcements and updates.

    April 10, 2010
    Genomic Careers Resource Web site

    National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) launched the Genomic Careers Resource on the institute's Web site . The careers resource showcases nearly 50 career opportunities through video interviews, career profiles, tools to rate potential career choices, and an interactive game. The Genomic Careers Resource is aimed primarily at high school and college students.
    This NIH News Release is available online at:

    March 29, 2010
    Research Suggests Food Availability Could Prompt Addiction

    The study (1), conducted by researchers at the Scripps Research Institute, was released in the online version of Nature Neuroscience and will also appear in the journal's May 2010 print issue.  When investigators gave rats access to varying levels of high-fat foods, they found unrestricted availability alone can trigger addiction-like responses in the brain, leading to compulsive eating behaviors and the onset of obesity. This NIH News Release is available online at: <>.

    (1) The study titled: "Addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rates: Role for dopamine D2 receptors," by Paul M. Johnson and Paul J. Kenny in Nature Neuroscience can be found online at:<>

    March 26, 2010
    LENUS: The Irish Health Repository

    Lenus <> , which is named for the Celtic God of health and wellbeing, is Ireland’s most comprehensive online repository of health-related reports, research and official publications.” It includes “material from former Irish health boards, the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health and Children and many other organisations active in the field of Irish health,” from 1960 to the present. It has been accepted into the WorldWideScience Alliance, the international web-based science gateway.

    March 23, 2010
    An Iconography of Contagion

    An Iconography of Contagion: A Web Exhibition of 20th-century Health Posters has been launched in a new online version, on the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Web site, at
    The site, which is adapted from the exhibition of the same name, hosted by the National Academy of Sciences in 2008, features more than 20 health posters from the 1920s to the 1990s, from North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Using images that are by turns beautiful, humorous, jarring and unexpected, they cover infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS, gonorrhea and syphilis. In pictures, text and captions, An Iconography of Contagion shows the interplay between medical science, politics, public understanding of disease, war, and cultural values and prejudices. It was curated by medical historian Michael Sappol in NLM's History of Medicine Division.

    March 18, 2010
    Toxicology and Environmental Health (TEHIP) page

    NLM’s Environmental Health & Toxicology page <>
    providing resources related to toxicology and environmental health, has a new look and navigation.


    January 16, 2010
    Medicare formulary coverage for top-selling biologics

    Biologics' are therapeutics produced through recombinant DNA technology or other biological processes. A recent article by Liang et al. discovered that “biologics were covered by most Medicare prescription drug plans in 2006, but access to these biologics was limited by high patient cost-sharing and prior authorization requirements” (1).  Moreover “in 2009, patient cost-sharing and utilization management requirements have increased still further...... (with) significant variations by drug, drug class and drug characteristics” (ibid).

    (1)  Liang SY, Haas JS, Phillips KA. Medicare formulary coverage for top-selling biologics.
    Nat Biotechnol. 2009 Dec; 27(12):1082-4.

    January 14, 2010
    2009 Web Health Awards Program Winners

    The Web Health Awards is a program that recognizes the best Web-based health-related content for consumers and professionals. The program is held twice a year — spring/summer and fall/winter — with the goal of providing a "seal of quality" for electronic health information. Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit awards are presented and winners are permitted to use the awards program winner's logo(s) on their websites and in their promotional materials.
    The Spring/Summer 2009 Web Health Awards Program Winners can be found at:

    January 12, 2010
    Studies comparing treatment options receive a boost

    The US National Institutes of Health will support studies toward an answer, thanks to $400 million it received from the economic stimulus package to support research for the next two years on the comparative effectiveness of treatment options for a range of diseases from Alzheimer's to asthma. Such research may, for instance, compare competing drugs or explore the benefits of surgery versus drug therapy. The US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Department of Health and Human Services will also receive comparable amounts to support comparative effectiveness research.
    Source: News, Nature Medicine 15, 468 (2009).

    January 11, 2010
    Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms

    The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) created the Talking Glossary of Genetic Terms, to help everyone understand the terms and concepts used in genetic research. In addition to definitions, specialists in the field of genetics share their descriptions of terms, and many terms include images, animation and links to related terms.

    Recently updated, the next-generation glossary contains several new features, including more than 100 colorful illustrations and more than 2 dozen 3-D animations that allow you to dive in and see genetic concepts in action at the cellular level.

    Rev. March 2011