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Category: Health Reasearch

Health Reasearch

NIH MedlinePlus Magazine: ‘Ninja Warrior’ Host Matt Iseman Talks About Arthritis

In the just posted issue of NIH MedlinePlus magazine, host of “American Ninja Warrior” & comedian Matt Iseman shares how he has coped with rheumatoid arthritis. From the relief he felt when he was diagnosed to the exercise & standup comedy that keep him going, Iseman is forthright about his challenges. He says, “I am walking proof of the importance of research like that done by NIH.”
In addition to covering rheumatoid arthritis, the issue also features—
Improving Kidney Transplant Access for All—More patients with kidney failure are potential candidates for transplants than ever before, & yet many of them don’t know it. & did you know that it can be safer to donate a kidney in your sixties & seventies than in your twenties?
Updates on Blood Pressure—Understanding your blood pressure reading can be challenging. This article can help make sense of blood pressure guidelines.
Uncovering the Mysteries of Multiple Sclerosis—Medical imaging helps NIH research understand this tricky disease.
Through feature articles, personal stories, infographics, & more, NIH MedlinePlus helps explain how NIH turns “discovery into health.” This quarterly publication of NIH and the Friends of the National Library of Medicine gives readers news they can use.
Subscribe to NIH MedlinePlus. It’s Freeware!

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Focus on NCBI’s Colleen Bollin, Speaker to Biologists

Colleen Bollin is not a biologist, a mathematician, or a statistician. Her degree is in engineering.
& yet she leads the technical development team for processing submissions to GenBank, the world’s largest genetic sequence data repository developed & maintained by NLM’s National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
How she got to NCBI started at a point in her life when she had too much time to think.
Staring at the ceiling

Colleen Bollin

It started when she was staring at the ceiling.
Lying on the couch in May 2002, Bollin couldn’t help wondering, “Why am I am am here—physically & metaphorically?”
Part of it was easily explained. She was recovering from an appendectomy.
Why she needed the appendectomy was a mystery.
Maybe stress played a part in her need for surgery. Maybe not.
As she said, “I was working for a startup with so much pressure & 80-hour workweeks. It was crazy.”
Something had to change.
Bollin’s answer: bioinformatics.
After all, her work prior to her surgery & her lifelong interests prepared her for a career in this dynamic field.
The curious kid
Bollin began taking programming classes when she was in elementary school & competed in calculator contests throughout high school.
When she was 13, her father came home with an Atari 800 computer. “I loved this thing,” she said. “It was like play.”
Applying to college, Bollin contemplated studying computers—but shouldn’t she study something serious—something that wasn’t so fun?
The University of Maryland offered her a scholarship. She wanted to triple major in electrical engineering, math, & German, but engineering students weren’t allowed multiple majors. So, Bollin…

“Ask Me About My Awesome Job at NIH”

What happens to former students involved in the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth?
Sometimes, they work at the National Institutes of Health & NLM.
That’s what happened to Adam Korengold & several NLM interns.
On June 25, they joined about a dozen other NIH employees wearing “Ask Me About My Awesome Job at NIH” buttons for the “Genetics, Bioinformatics, & Biomedicine” event for students from the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth & their parents.
Throughout the day, more than 75 tweens and teenagers from the Center participated in talks & tours of NLM & NIH. This second annual event was cosponsored by NLM & the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).
As part of the program, staff from NLM, NHGRI, & other NIH institutes were invited to speak with the students & parents for small group discussions during lunch.
For Korengold, an applications lead for the Office of Computer & Communications Systems at NLM, the chance to meet with students who reminded him of his childhood was irresistible. In speaking with students, Korengold drew upon the connections between research & science, communication, elections, & even football.
Ben Kussmaul addressed both college life & his internship in the Communications Engineering Branch at NLM. “I had a great time talking to students with the same passion for science that I'm will had as a kid,” said Kussmaul of Swarthmore College. Other NLM interns who participated in the Johns Hopkins Center as children & met with the group included Rachel Cai of Gunn High School in California…

Celebrating Our Nation’s Birth & What It Means for All of Us

Happy Fourth of July! It’s the perfect time to fire up the grill, go watch some fireworks, & pay tribute to the vision of all who founded the United States of America. The Fourth of July also stands as a reminder of the many new opportunities that our nation and its people continue to pursue. One of the most exciting is NIH’s All of Us Research Program, which is on the way to enrolling 1 million or more Americans from all walks of life to create a resource that will accelerate biomedical breakthroughs & transform medicine.
What exactly do I am mean by “transform?” Today, most medical care is “one-size-fits-all,” not tailored to the unique needs of each individual. In order to change that situation and realize the full promise of precision medicine, researchers need a lot more information about individual differences in lifestyle, environment, & biology. To help move precision medicine research forward, our nation needs people like you to come together through the All of Us program to share information about your health, habits, & what it’s like where you live. All of your information will be protected by clear privacy and security principles.
All of Us welcomes people from across our diverse land. Enrollment in the research program is open to all, & anyone over the age of 18 who is living in the United States can join. Since full enrollment began in May, three of every four volunteers have come from groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research. These include people from…

NCBI Hackathons Hit 25 & Celebrate with Bacon, Disco, & More

Let us explain.

MR BACOn: Mendelian Randomization with Biomarker Associations for Causality with Outcomes

You don’t have to have grown up in the ’70s to have danced disco and eaten bacon regularly, but to have developed DrugDisco, a high throughput automated drug discovery pipeline, or created MR BACOn, otherwise known as a Mendelian Randomization analysis of Biomarker Associations for Causality with Outcomes, you must have participated in an NCBI hackathon.
Creative titles, collaboration, & the courage to try new strategies—all while being transparent—are hallmarks of hackathons…NCBI style.
Since their debut on the NIH campus in January 2015, NCBI has been involved in 25 hackathons.
NCBI hackathons surpass expectations
Hackathons are events for computational biologists, computer programmers, & other professionals to collaborate on software projects. Typically, the events fill three days. Unlike other hackathons in which teams compete to come up with a winning solution to a problem, NCBI-style hackathons are collaborative. Each team tackles a different problem, and teams often help each other & share expertise.
The growth, interest, & results of the NCBI hackathons have surpassed expectations, according to Ben Busby, the center’s genomics outreach coordinator & hackathon organizer.
No two are alike

DrugDisco, a product of an NCBI hackathon, makes trial-and-error drug discovery a thing of the past by using a rational & structure-based approach.

NCBI’s hackathons have been held at academic institutions throughout the United States, as well as on the NIH campus in Bethesda.
Each group is different. An all-woman team tackled metadata collection and harmonization, a challenging topic because metadata on biomedical projects is often variable,…

What are you reading this summer?

We asked some staff here at the National Library of Medicine what was on their summer reading list, & we were thrilled by the diversity of answers.
Every list is different.
No two readers even had the same author on their lists.
Predictably, many of the titles cover science & medicine. One staffer even recommended a novel destined to get children interested in science. But you’ll also find fiction & even a bit of poetry. They tell us in their own words what books are on their summer reading list and why.
But if you’re looking for quicker reads, we’ve included a few posts from a trio of NLM blogs: Circulating Now, Musings from the Mezzanine, & NLM in Focus.
We also give you space at the end of the article to let us know what you’re reading.
As always, we’d be delighted to hear from you.
Read on. . .
Most of my summer reading will be related to my work. I am will battle to stay current with fast-paced developments in biomedical research & even within NCBI!  As in the rest of the year, I’m will be reading the NIH Director’s Blog & Nature’s news postings. & as many scientific articles as possible!
Outside of work, my reading material will also be utilitarian: I'm will will be searching the web for gardening tips & for ideas on chasing various critters out of my backyard. Raccoons are my latest “interest.” But if they continue with their mad gardening in my plots, I am will reach for something more spiritual to…

Social Justice, Health Equity, & All of Us Highlight MLA Annual Meeting

Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, chief engagement officer of the All of Us Research Program, delivers the closing plenary at the Medical Library Association annual conference in Atlanta, May 23, 2018.

The official tag line for this year’s Medical Library Association conference was “Adapting, Transforming, Leading,” but the real organizing theme appeared to be equity and diversity.
From Elaine Martin’s Janet Doe Lecture on “Social Justice & the Medical Librarian” to former US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher’s closing plenary on health disparities to the option for conference attendees to make their personal pronouns known, meeting sessions and Association business at last month’s annual meeting frequently tackled issues of inclusion, whether in research, services, or the profession.
And the notable attention given to the NIH All of Us Research Program throughout the conference fit right in.
The All of Us program is working to assemble a diverse one-million-person cohort, with particular attention on including people historically underrepresented in biomedical research. These participants will contribute information about their health, habits, & environment, along with an array of medical data, to help researchers identify patterns that might illuminate factors that impact health.
Dara Richardson-Heron, MD, chief engagement officer for the All of Us program, delivered an overview of the program during Wednesday morning’s plenary.
“Research is a powerful change agent…that can help chip away at health disparities,” said Richardson-Heron, as she touted the benefits of building a biomedical data set at a scale never before seen.
In addition to the data set’s sheer size, the four types of diversity the program…

NLM Fun at the STEM Festival

NIH was a major presence at the Health & Medicine section at the fifth USA Science & Engineering Festival this spring.

It was STEM on a grand scale as NLM took part in activities at the NIH pavilion of the Health & Medicine section at the fifth USA Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF) this spring. Families filled the NIH pavilion, where they could engage in more than 30 hands-on activities focusing on health, biomedical, & behavioral science topics. Laughter, gasps of surprise, & lots of enthusiasm were in the air on the part of parents, family members, & teachers.
The nation’s largest biennial celebration of science, technology, engineering & math (STEM), this year’s event attracted a record-breaking crowd of more than 370,000 people as enthusiasts of all ages explored the mysteries & delights of STEM at the Convention Center in Washington, DC.
Fun and games—plus serious knowledge—at the NLM booth
Enthusiastic NLM volunteers (from left): Melanie Modlin, Elena Leon, Shannon Sheridan, Linda Smith (holding Toxie the cat, mascot of the “Toxic Toss” game), & Maria Fleitas.

As children tossed beanbags in game that NLM called “Toxic Toss,” NLM volunteers from across the Library taught them about common hazardous substances & the potential risk to human health when they’re not handled properly.
Children also were invited to color images from NLM’s popular online exhibition, Harry Potter’s World: Renaissance Science, Magic, and Medicine, & pictures of DNA & gene structures. This was a way to highlight items from NLM’s collection. As the world’s largest medical library, NLM has…

Google Doodle Celebrates Birthday of Dr. Virginia Apgar & We Do, Too!

Google Doodle, June 7, 2018

Have you Googled today?
Today, June 7, Google Doodle celebrates Dr. Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) on what would be her 109th birthday, & we’re thrilled!
Dr. Apgar was a pioneering physician in the field of maternal health.
She developed a test that babies all over the worldwide are given at birth to quickly determine their health & viability.
After she developed this test, it became known as the APGAR score—A for Appearance, P for Pulse, G for Grimace, A for Activity and R for Respiration—with many not knowing that Apgar was not just an acronym but a real person.
As part of NLM’s Profiles in Science project, the Library collaborated with the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections to digitize and make available many of her papers. Dr. Apgar was also featured in the NLM exhibition Changing the Face of Medicine, which explored how women have influenced & enhanced the practice of medicine.
Read more about women in medical history.

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Inspiring the Next Generation: Fifth Annual Science Day at NIH

NIH Science Day is an opportunity to “cell-e-brate science.”

Now in its fifth year, “Science Day at NIH” was once again celebrated with pep rallies, speakers, & hands on activities—all celebrating science & health careers.
Nearly 500 students from 11 DC-area middle & high schools attended the event on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland, in May where they were presented with a wide array of science & health care activities & career options.
Many voices
Co-sponsored by the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NIMHD), the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the Friends of the NLM, & the nonprofit Mentoring in Medicine, Science Day at NIH seeks to promote diversity in the biomedical workforce. The overarching goal of the event is to inspire students to explore careers in health care and science. The students—many of them African American or Latino—participated in hands-on activities and presentations about biomedical research career options from a diverse group of scientists & other NIH staff.
After a high-energy pep rally for science, students heard remarks by NLM Director Dr. Patricia Flatley Brennan (via video); NLM Deputy Director Jerry Sheehan; NIMHD Director Dr. Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable; & NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity Dr. Hannah Valantine.

Dr. Jeff Day describes how he applies his medical degree to creating cartoons & videos about medical topics.

“This is a great opportunity for all of us here at the National Institutes of Health to welcome you & showcase what we do to contribute to the health of society, through biomedical discoveries,…

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