The Medical Section of the SLA Biomedical and Life Sciences Division

2012 News

December 5, 2012
Health of Older Americans
Older Americans 2012: Key Indicators of Well-Being, the sixth report prepared by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, since 2000, provides an updated and accessible compendium of indicators, drawn from official statistics about the well-being of Americans primarily age 65 and older.

Thirty-seven key indicators are categorized into five broad areas -- population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. This year's report also includes a special feature on the end of life.

December 5, 2012
Rethinking Herbal Medicine

A phylogenetic1study of traditional plant remedies found that many medicinal plants used by nearly 100 cultures on different continents are related. Because these distant groups of people likely identified their plant therapies independently, such herbal treatments may be legit, the researchers argue, and the plants likely contain bioactive compounds that scientist could exploit for new drug therapies.

1. Saslis-Lagoudakis C. H. 2012. Phylogenies reveal predictive power of traditional medicine in bioprospecting. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(39):15835-40.

November 14, 2012
Fall 2012 issue of Biofeedback is available
In this issue: Chair's Message, Medical SectionReport, MLA Liaison Report, and more! Download the PDF.

October 12, 2012
Genetic Testing Registry (GTR)
The National Institutes of Health has launched an online tool called the Genetic Testing Registry (GTR), available at . GTR provides a central location for voluntary submission of genetic test information by providers. The scope includes the test's purpose, methodology, validity, evidence of the test's usefulness, and laboratory contacts and credentials. The overarching goal of the GTR is to advance the public health and research into the genetic basis of health and disease. Genetic tests currently exist for about 2,500 diseases, and the field continues to grow at an astonishing rate. To keep pace, GTR will be updated frequently, using data voluntarily submitted by genetic test providers. GTR will contain no confidential information about people who receive genetic tests or individual test results.

Genetic tests that the Food and Drug Administration has cleared or approved as safe and effective are identified in the GTR. However, most laboratory developed tests currently do not require FDA premarket review. Genetic test providers will be solely responsible for the content and quality of the data they submit to GTR. NIH will not verify the content, but will require submitters to agree to a code of conduct that stipulates that the information they provide is accurate and updated on an annual basis. If submitters do not adhere to this code, NIH can take action, including requiring submitters to correct any inaccuracies or to remove such information from GTR.

To view video tutorials on how to use GTR, go to

October 12, 2012
Aging-Related Statistics Released
In 2010, 40 million people age 65 and over accounted for 13 percent of the total population in the United States. In 2030, the number and proportion of older Americans is expected to grow significantly -- to 72 million, representing nearly 20 percent of the population said the report, by the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics.

Older Americans 2012, the sixth report prepared by the Forum since 2000, provides an updated and accessible compendium of indicators, drawn from official statistics about the well-being of Americans primarily age 65 and older. The 176-page report provides a broad description of areas of well-being that are improving for older Americans and those that are not. Thirty-seven key indicators are categorized into five broad areas -- population, economics, health status, health risks and behaviors, and health care. This year's report also includes a special feature on the end of life.

October 12, 2012
National Library of Medicine updates website
A new integrated homepage and updated graphic design for its popular database was announced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). Users will now have access to new and reorganized content about clinical research, background information about the site, search tools, and help for those maintaining study records. Core content and functions of the site - including the basic and advanced search, search results options, and the study record data - remain the same. The re-design was undertaken to meet the needs of the many different users of the site, including patients, clinicians, researchers, and the media.

August 28, 2012
Summer 2012 issue of Biofeedback is available
In this issue: Chair's Message, Chicago Conference Reports, Book Reviews, Division Awards, and more! Download the PDF.

July 16, 2012
Dr. Kinyoun Forefather of the NIH
Dr. Kinyoun founded in 1887 the Hygienic Laboratory on Staten Island, N. Y., to diagnose cholera, plague, smallpox and other diseases that posed significant threats to public health at the time. In this one-man, one-room laboratory Dr. Kinyoun (1860 to 1919) laid the foundation for what today are 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health. However, few people recognize Dr. Kinyoun's legendary contributions or the hardships he endured as a result of his work. In a review published in the American Society for Microbiology two NIH researchers Dr. Morens and Dr. Fauci aim to change that. You will find below the citations to the article:

Morens, D. M. and Fauci, A. S. 2012. The Forgotten Forefather: Joseph James Kinyoun and the Founding of the National Institutes of Health. American Society for Microbiology 3(4): e00139-12. Available online at:

More information at:

July 16, 2012
NIH and Lilly collaborate to generate public resource of approved and investigational medicines
The National Institutes of Health and Eli Lilly and Company will generate a publicly available resource to profile the effects of thousands of approved and investigational medicines in a variety of sophisticated disease-relevant testing systems.

Through the collaboration, the NIH's newly established National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and Lilly Research Laboratories have agreed that NCATS' Pharmaceutical Collection of 3,800 approved and investigational medicines will be screened using Lilly's state-of-the-art Phenotypic Drug Discovery (PD2) panel. This panel features assays (i.e. tests) that are designed to reveal novel mechanisms or pathways of potential medicines and, as part of this collaboration, approved medicines as well. As such, the panel may provide new insights for drug discovery.

This NIH News Release is available online at:

July 16, 2012
NIA adds genetic data to health and retirement study
Read More:

The Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a 20-year nationwide survey of the health, economic and social status of older Americans, has added genetic information from consenting participants to its massive database. Supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted by scientists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the HRS is the premier database for studying retirement and the baby boom generation.

This NIH News Release is available online at:

June 20, 2012
FDA Unveils Biosimilars Guidance
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released draft guidance for drug makers interested in making generic forms of biological drugs such as enzymes and antibodies. The move could open the door for cheaper versions of some of medicine's most expensive drugs, but it is still unclear how many companies will be willing to tackle the challenges and uncertainties of making 'biosimilar' drugs.

Copying biological molecules is a stickier proposition than making ordinary generic medicines because proteins are typically much larger and more complex than small-molecule drugs. They are also often produced in cell cultures, and even small variations in how the cells are grown can change the properties of the protein produced.

Read more at:

June 20, 2012
New, Free E-Biography Released
Always There: the Remarkable Life of Ruth Lillian Kirschstein, M.D., a new biography released Feb. 6, 2012 tells the rare story of a woman who was as comfortable conversing with lawmakers on Capitol Hill as she was bringing science to children in inner-city classrooms.

Medical Scientist. Classical pianist. Physician. Art lover. Humanitarian. Research Administrator. Dr. Ruth Kirschstein, who died in October 2009, will be remembered not only for the many roles she played throughout her life, but also for the many lives she touched in the course of 83 years.

Ruth once observed, looking back over her life, "It never occurred to me that I could not do anything I wanted." This is a story for non-scientists who will learn about the life and legacy of a researcher who embodied the spirit of the National Institutes of Health. It is a story for scientists who will see additional insights into the evolution of polio vaccine. It is a story for administrators who will have a close-up view of how one strong woman got things done. Above all, it is an inspirational story for young people pursuing the sciences who will see the many ways a scientist can share their talents.

The book is available, free of charge, for wide release in several digital formats, including for Kindle, Nook and iPad at

June 20, 2012
NIH Clinical Research Trials and You
The National Institutes of Health has created a new website, NIH Clinical Research Trials and You to help people learn more about clinical trials, why they matter, and how to participate. From the first cure of a solid tumor with chemotherapy to the use of nitroglycerin in response to heart attacks, clinical research trials -- or research studies involving people -- have played a vital role in improving health and quality of life for people around the globe.

May 7, 2012
Spring 2012 issue of Biofeedback is available
In this issue: Chair's Message, Conference Program & Sponsors, Medical Section Report, Book Reviews, and more! Download the PDF.

March 29, 2012
Section Program at the Annual Conference

March 29, 2012
SLA Annual Conference

January 14, 2012
Report Explores Social Science Role in Medical Education
Behavioral and social sciences play a key role in health issues and need to play a key role in the medical school curriculum, according to a report(1) released Thursday by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The report notes that behaviors and the social determinants of health -- such as smoking, diet, exercise, and socioeconomic status -- account for more than 50 percent of premature disease and death in the United States.

The report is the companion to “Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians,” a 2009 publication released by the AAMC and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) that developed competencies related to the biological, physical, genetic, molecular, and mathematical sciences, as well as foundations of knowledge and reasoning.

Read more: Higher Ed

AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges). “Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians.” November, 2011.

January 12, 2012
Online Forensic Nursing Resource Available is an online resource committed to compiling the most relevant information to the practice of forensic nursing and related fields. Discussion topics range from general nursing theory to, most recently, forensic nursing and primary sexual violence prevention. The site's forensic nursing and primary sexual violence prevention resource combines expert insight from a credentialed forensic nurse with established models of prevention. Taken together, the website's resources provide a framework for forensic nurses and other healthcare professionals to begin sexual violence prevention efforts in their own communities.
Credit: ResourceBlog

January 10, 2012 Insurance Finder—updated
Department of Health and Human Services updated the Insurance Finder with more information on private insurance plans. Created under the Affordable Care Act, was launched July 1, 2010, and is the first website of its kind to bring information about private and public health coverage options into one place to make it easy for consumers to learn about and compare their insurance. and its Insurance Finder are critical new tools for consumers, making the health insurance market more transparent.
Credit: ResourceBlog

January 9, 2012
What happened to personalized medicine?
This is the question asked in an editorial which appeared in the first 2012 issue of Nature Biotechnology journal (Nature Biotechnology, January 2012, 30(1): doi:10.1038/nbt.2104)

Although “2011 was a banner year for personalized medicine,” this editorial affirms a slow progress for the development of personalized medicine, due to simple economics, a technology lag, and “the key impediment—biology” (or complexity of disease).

The editorial offers several solutions to this problem. The first is “to broaden the concept of personalized medicine from the genetically reductionist version to one that includes other types of markers.” This approach will require longitudinal clinical studies. The second approach involves “better genetics education in medical schools, the development of robust point-of-care devices and data-sharing technology and the establishment of trusted sources (e.g., medical association position statements on tests or the National Institutes of Health's genetic testing registry).”The third approach requires patients and all individuals to adhere to a healthy life style, through education, “insurance premium incentives,” technologies to help them monitor their health etc. Lastly, and “most importantly, payers should identify areas where early, targeted interventions would reduce disease burden and cost.”

Rev. December 2012