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NLM Announces Digitization of Materials from the Leonidas H. Berry Papers

Related Articles Appear in HMD Blog Circulating Now July 17-20, 2018
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces new public access to over 1,600 letters, photographs, & other materials selected & newly-digitized from the Leonidas H. Berry Papers 1907-1982 archival collection, celebrating the career & personal life of the trailblazing physician & civil rights advocate.
Social justice activist, medical pioneer, & influential member of the African American community, Dr. Leonidas Berry advocated for racial justice within the medical profession & access to equal care for all patients, & developed innovative techniques & new instruments in the field of gastroenterology. His work is recognized as part of the NLM traveling banner exhibition For All the People: A Century in Citizen Action in Health Care Reform; & the online adaptation of the exhibition features all 1,686 digitized items in a digital gallery.
To learn more about the variety of items included & the meaning of this collection, follow a Circulating Now blog series during the week of July 16, 2018—what would be Dr. Berry’s 116th birthday.
On Tuesday, July 17th, Abigail Porter, an exhibition researcher at the NLM, explores Dr. Berry’s career-long battle against racial discrimination in the medical profession. This post features letters written by Dr. Berry in the 1950s & 60s, in which he declined, in protest, an invitation to a medical conference held at a segregated venue in New Orleans, pushed for a high-ranking hospital appointment he’d been denied due to discrimination, & called for the integration of the National Medical Association.
In Wednesday’s…

Genetics Home Reference: nearsightedness

Cheng CY, Schache M, Ikram MK, Young TL, Guggenheim JA, Vitart V, MacGregor S, Verhoeven VJ, Barathi Veteran Affairs, Liao J, Hysi PG, Bailey-Wilson JE, St Pourcain B, Kemp JP, McMahon G, Timpson NJ, Evans DM, Montgomery GW, Mishra A, Wang YX, Wang JJ, Rochtchina E, Polasek O, Wright AF, Amin N, van Leeuwen EM, Wilson JF, Pennell CE, van Duijn CM, de Jong PT, Vingerling JR, Zhou X, Chen P, Li R, Tay WT, Zheng Y, Chew M; Consortium for Refractive Error & Myopia, Burdon KP, Craig JE, Iyengar SK, Igo RP Jr, Lass JH Jr; Fuchs’ Genetics Multi-Center Study Group, Chew EY, Haller T, Mihailov E, Metspalu A, Wedenoja J, Simpson CL, Wojciechowski R, Höhn R, Mirshahi A, Zeller T, Pfeiffer N, Lackner KJ; Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2, Bettecken T, Meitinger T, Oexle K, Pirastu M, Portas L, Nag A, Williams KM, Yonova-Doing E, Klein R, Klein BE, Hosseini SM, Paterson AD; Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions, and Complications Research Group, Makela KM, Lehtimaki T, Kahonen M, Raitakari O, Yoshimura N, Matsuda F, Chen LJ, Pang CP, Yip SP, Yap MK, Meguro A, Mizuki N, Inoko H, Foster PJ, Zhao JH, Vithana E, Tai ES, Fan Q, Xu L, Campbell H, Fleck B, Rudan I'm will, Aung T, Hofman A, Uitterlinden AG, Bencic G, Khor CC, Forward H, Pärssinen O, Mitchell P, Rivadeneira F, Hewitt AW, Williams C, Oostra BA, Teo YY, Hammond CJ, Stambolian D, Mackey DA, Klaver CC, Wong TY, Saw…

7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits, Vegetables

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Federal health officials estimate that nearly 48 million people are sickened by food contaminated with harmful germs each year, and some of the causes might surprise you.
Although most people know animal products must be handled carefully to prevent illness, produce, too, can be the culprit in outbreaks of foodborne illness. In recent years, the United States has had several large outbreaks of illness caused by contaminated fruits & vegetables—including spinach, cantaloupe, tomatoes, & lettuce.
Glenda Lewis, an expert on foodborne illness with the Food & Drug Administration, says fresh produce can become contaminated in many ways. During the growing phase, produce may be contaminated by animals, harmful substances in the soil or water, and poor hygiene among workers. After produce is harvested, it passes through many hands, increasing the contamination risk. Contamination can even occur after the produce has been purchased, during food preparation, or through inadequate storage.
If possible, FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, & make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store & at home. In addition, follow these recommendations:
Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water & soap before & after preparing fresh produce.
If damage or bruising occurs before eating or handling, cut away the damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
Rinse produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
Gently rub produce while…

Genetics Home Reference: microcephaly, seizures, & developmental delay

Dumitrache LC, McKinnon PJ. Polynucleotide kinase-phosphatase (PNKP) mutations & neurologic disease. Mech Ageing Dev. 2017 Jan;161(Pt A):121-129. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2016.04.009. Epub 2016 Apr 26. Review.
Poulton C, Oegema R, Heijsman D, Hoogeboom J, Schot R, Stroink H, Willemsen MA, Verheijen FW, van de Spek P, Kremer A, Mancini GM. Progressive cerebellar atrophy & polyneuropathy: expanding the spectrum of PNKP mutations. Neurogenetics. 2013 Feb;14(1):43-51. doi: 10.1007/s10048-012-0351-8. Epub 2012 Dec 9.

Reynolds JJ, Walker AK, Gilmore EC, Walsh CA, Caldecott KW. Impact of PNKP mutations associated with microcephaly, seizures and developmental delay on enzyme activity and DNA strand break repair. Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Aug;40(14):6608-19. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks318. Epub 2012 Apr 15.

Shen J, Gilmore EC, Marshall CA, Haddadin M, Reynolds JJ, Eyaid W, Bodell A, Barry B, Gleason D, Allen K, Ganesh VS, Chang BS, Grix A, Hill RS, Topcu M, Caldecott KW, Barkovich AJ, Walsh CA. Mutations in PNKP cause microcephaly, seizures & defects in DNA repair. Nat Genet. 2010 Mar;42(3):245-9. doi: 10.1038/ng.526. Epub 2010 Jan 31.

Shimada M, Dumitrache LC, Russell HR, McKinnon PJ. Polynucleotide kinase-phosphatase enables neurogenesis via multiple DNA repair pathways to maintain genome stability. EMBO J. 2015 Oct 1;34(19):2465-80. doi: 10.15252/embj.201591363. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

Weinfeld M, Mani RS, Abdou I am will, Aceytuno RD, Glover JN. Tidying up loose ends: the role of polynucleotide kinase/phosphatase in DNA strand break repair. Trends Biochem Sci. 2011 May;36(5):262-71. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2011.01.006. Epub 2011 Feb 25. Review. …

Acne Breakouts: Controlling Problem Pimples

July 2018
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Controlling Problem Pimples Zits. Pimples. Spots. Whatever you call it, acne can cause discomfort & embarrassment. This skin condition affects most people at some point during their lives. About 4 out of every 5 people experience acne outbreaks between the ages of 11 & 30.
Acne starts in the skin’s oil glands. The hair on our bodies comes out through canals from these glands called follicles. Oil glands make oils that emerge to the skin’s surface through the follicles’ openings, or pores, along with the hairs.
Sometimes hair, oil, & dead skin cells come together to plug a follicle. The plugged pore provides the right conditions for bacteria that normally live on the skin to thrive. When the body’s immune systemThe system that protects your body from invading viruses, bacteria, & other microscopic threats. attacks the bacteria, pain and swelling can result. That’s how a pimple forms.
Doctors don’t know why only some people get acne. They do know what raises the risk for acne. Increases in certain hormonesSubstances sent through the bloodstream to signal another part of the body to grow or react a certain way. can cause oil glands to get bigger & make more oil. These hormone levels go up during puberty. Because of this, acne is most common in adolescents and young adults. Hormone changes caused by pregnancy or by starting or stopping birth control pills can also trigger acne.
But people of all ages can get acne. For most, acne goes away by the time…

Eating Well May Slow Hearing Loss in Women

July 2018
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Health Capsule
Many people lose some of their hearing as they get older. Experts say that, of those over the age of 75, about half have hearing loss. Not being able to hear well can make it hard to communicate. That can affect relationships with loved ones, friends, & coworkers.
A new study shows that women who have a pattern of healthy eating have a lower risk of hearing loss than women who don’t eat well. A healthy eating pattern includes lots of vegetables, fruits, & whole grains. It limits sugar, salt, & animal fat.
The study took place between 1991 & 2013. Women taking part in the study were all professional nurses. Every 4 years, the researchers asked the women to recall what they had eaten over the past year. About 71,000 women responded to the questionnaires.
The research team also asked the women whether they had noticed a hearing problem. During the study, more than 2,000 women said they had developed moderate or worse hearing loss.
The team used the reports of food intake to group the women by diet patterns. They compared women with the healthiest pattern to those with the least healthy pattern. The women with the healthiest diet pattern were less likely to have a hearing problem.
“Interestingly, we observed that those following an overall healthy diet had a lower risk of moderate or worse hearing loss,” says researcher Dr. Sharon G. Curhan at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. “Eating well contributes to overall good health, & it…

Preparing for Menopause: A Woman's Midlife Change

July 2018
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A Woman’s Midlife Change During midlife, a woman’s menstrual periods grow further & further apart. At some point, they stop completely, & she can no longer get pregnant.
This is because the ovaries aren’t releasing eggs & making hormonesSubstances sent through the bloodstream to signal another part of the body to grow or react a certain way. like estrogen anymore. After 12 months without a period, a woman can say she’s gone through menopause.
In the years before menopause, women may experience skipped & unpredictable menstrual periods. This phase is called the midlife transition, perimenopause, or the change of life. Some women go through the transition faster than other people. It lasts between 1 & 10 years.
Midlife Transition
Typically, menopause occurs between ages 45 & 55. This means women can expect less frequent periods & other symptoms at some point during their 40s. But it’s different for every woman. There’s no lab test to predict when in life it will start or how easy it will be.
Along with unpredictable periods, a woman may have other symptoms—both physical & emotional. Hot flashes, poor sleep, & mood changes are common. Some women have vaginal dryness, weight gain, & thinning hair. Bone density may also start to decrease.
“Most people don’t have severe symptoms. Most people have mild or less frequent symptoms,” says Dr. Hadine Joffe, an NIH-supported menopause researcher and psychiatrist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.
NIH is funding studies looking into how to relieve menopause symptoms. There are medicines & lifestyle changes…

Therapy Reduces Risk in Suicidal Youth

Preventing suicide has proven to be a difficult public health challenge. The suicide rate has climbed in recent years across age groups. In adolescents, suicide is the second leading cause of death. For every young person who dies by suicide, many more have suicidal thoughts, attempt suicide, or deliberately injure themselves without intending suicide.
To date, there have not been any research-validated treatments for preventing suicide among youth. And research has found that it’s hard to get adolescents with suicidal thoughts to start & stay with existing treatments.
Researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, & collaborators at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor- University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, & the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA are addressing the treatment void for adolescents. A recent clinical trial of a psychotherapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)—which has been shown to be effective in reducing suicide-related behavior in adults—showed that DBT can also reduce suicide attempts and suicidal behavior in adolescents.
“We have a real need for more evidence-based interventions to help suicidal youth,” said Jane Pearson, Ph.D., chair of the Suicide Research Consortium in NIMH’s Division of Services & Intervention Research. “This study is significant because it reinforces previous DBT studies with adolescents. DBT shows clear promise for helping at-risk youth develop skills that will set them on a “life preserving” path.”  
For this study, Elizabeth McCauley, Ph.D., & colleagues enrolled youth ages 12-18 who were at risk for suicide. The adolescents entering the study…

The Facts on Tampons—and How to Use Them Safely

Tampons—shown within an applicator on the left & outside of an applicator on the right—are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as medical devices.

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If you use tampons during your period (also called a “menstrual cycle”), it’s important to know the basics for how to use them safely. Consider this important information from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration—and please share it with friends & loved ones who may use these products.
What are tampons—and what are they made of?
You may be surprised to know that the FDA regulates tampons as medical devices. Tampons are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow when people have their periods. They are cylindrical in shape & made of cotton, rayon, or a blend of the two. Tampons are either designed to be inserted using a plastic or cardboard applicator or to be directly inserted, without an applicator.
What should you know about different types of tampons? & are tampons safe?
Tampons are available in “organic” and standard varieties. Tampons are also available in “scented” & “unscented” options. But before any tampons can be sold, they must go through FDA review to determine whether they are substantially equivalent to, including as safe and effective as, a legally marketed tampon.
As part of this FDA review, manufacturers submit, among other information, the results of testing to evaluate the safety of the materials used to make tampons & applicators (if present); tampons’ absorbency, strength, & integrity; & whether tampons enhance the growth of…

Genetics Home Reference: spastic paraplegia type 49

Spastic paraplegia type 49 is part of a group of genetic disorders known as hereditary spastic paraplegias. These disorders are characterized by progressive muscle stiffness (spasticity) & the development of paralysis of the lower limbs (paraplegia). Hereditary spastic paraplegias are divided into two types: pure & complex. The pure types involve only the lower limbs, whereas the complex types also involve the upper limbs (to a lesser degree) & other problems with the nervous system. Spastic paraplegia type 49 is a complex hereditary spastic paraplegia.
Spastic paraplegia type 49 often begins with weak muscle tone (hypotonia) that starts in infancy. During childhood, spasticity & paraplegia develop and gradually worsen, causing difficulty walking & frequent falls. In addition, affected individuals have moderate to severe intellectual disability & distinctive physical features, including short stature; chubbiness; an unusually small head size (); a wide, short skull (); a short, ; & . Some people with spastic paraplegia type 49 develop seizures.
Problems with autonomic nerve cells (autonomic ), which control involuntary body functions such as heart rate, digestion, & breathing, result in several features of spastic paraplegia type 49. Affected individuals have difficulty feeding beginning in infancy. They experience a backflow of stomach acids into the esophagus (called or GERD), causing vomiting. GERD can also lead to recurrent bacterial lung infections called aspiration pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. In addition, people with spastic paraplegia type 49 have problems regulating their breathing, resulting in pauses in breathing (apnea), initially while sleeping but eventually also while awake….

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