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Category: Health Reasearch

Health Reasearch

Q&A: James Ostell Maps the Future—and Present—of Biotechnology

Today’s feature is posted with permission from HealthTech magazine.
Emerging technology, such as the cloud, help to push the boundaries of genomics, viral surveillance & other biomolecular medicine, says the director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Biotechnology—which harnesses cellular or biomolecular processes to improve care—is helping healthcare reach new heights as book collaboration & computational flexibility expand the tech’s reach. This is according to James M. Ostell, director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. James Ostell, NCBI Director (Photo by Jessica Marcotte. Illustration by Donald Bliss, NLM.)

Although he only stepped in as director last September, Ostell has a long history with NCBI, having been at the organization since it was established by Congress in 1988. Since then, he has helped to shape it into one of the most widely used biomedical resources in the world.
Four million users a day access NCBI’s resources, which include major biomedical databases, such as the literature database PubMed and GenBank for DNA sequences. The organization also offers an array of computational & analysis tools related to genes’ role in health and disease.
With an eye on biotechnology’s future, Ostell offers insights on where the technology stands, and what it might help the healthcare industry achieve in the future.
HEALTHTECH: What is the mission of the National Center for Biotechnology Information?
OSTELL: Originally, the NCBI focused on basic research & algorithm development as well as developing resources, training and providing resources to the…

NOT A FAIR FIGHT: “Viruses Don’t Play By Our Rules,” Says MacPhail

Dr. Theresa MacPhail lectures on viral outbreaks.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, or so the saying goes.
So what can past worldwide pandemics teach us about future deadly outbreaks & the systems we’ve developed to combat them? Dr. Theresa MacPhail, a medical anthropologist who lived in China just after a deadly virus struck there, visited NIH recently to share her insights into the “Evolution of Viral Networks: H1N1, Ebola and Zika.”
“Outbreaks are about more than just biology and epidemiology,” she said. “Our responses to outbreaks are conditioned by what we know about past outbreaks. They rely upon institutions & structures put in place as a result of prior outbreaks & are often as much about politics & economic constraints as they are about science.”
MacPhail moved to Hong Kong in 2003, just as 37 countries around the worldwide were recovering from severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which originally broke out in south China & killed nearly 800 people. Before the pandemic was contained, more than 8,000 cases had been reported globally. Two years later, when bird flu erupted, “the government’s response was swift and unforgiving,” MacPhail said. “SARS was a dramatic event in China & colored the public health response to everything that followed it.”
MacPhail’s lecture was the keynote of “Viral Networks: An Advanced Workshop in Digital Humanities and Medical History,” sponsored jointly by the National Library of Medicine & the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). NEH & NIH recently extended their six-year-old collaboration with…

New Issue of NIH MedlinePlus Now Available

The latest quarterly issue of NIH MedlinePlus magazine is now available online & in print.
Actor Jim Parsons of “The Big Bang Theory” shares his experience with NIH’s Clinical Center, also known as America’s House of Hope. Parsons recently produced & narrated “First in Human,” a documentary about the NIH Clinical Center that aired on the Discovery Channel.
In addition to covering the NIH Clinical Center, the issue also features—

The Next Frontier in Antibiotic Resistance—The end of antibiotics? Overprescribed & misused, these wonder drugs are leading to widespread drug resistance.
The Future of Total Knee Replacement—NIH researchers are looking beyond simply reducing pain.
Fighting Sickle Cell Disease—New treatment options offer a path to hope.
NIH Teaming up with Public Libraries for the “All of Us” Research Program—The National Library of Medicine has teamed up with NIH’s All of Us Research Program to gather health data from across the US.
Through feature articles, personal stories, infographics, and more, NIH MedlinePlus helps explain how NIH turns “discovery into health.” This quarterly publication of NIH & 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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Mine the Gaps? 2018 Competition Challenges Students to Identify Research Gaps in Health Services Research

Sound intriguing? Here are the basics.
AcademyHealth & the National Information Center on Health Services Research & Health Care Technology (NICHSR) of the National Library of Medicine are hosting the second annual HSRProj Research Competition.
Graduate & undergraduate students will identify missing or under-represented topics in funded health systems & services research.
The students will use data from the NLM Health Services Research Projects in Progress (HSRProj) database, in conjunction with other sources, to identify research gaps—particularly in population health & social determinants of health.
Am I will am someone who should enter?
We are looking for health services research aficionados, sleuths, & visionaries, working alone or in small groups.
Specifically, this competition is for students in health policy, health services research, public health, health informatics, or information science/library science who are interested in—
Understanding & identifying research gaps in health services research & related fields; &
Gaining greater visibility as a new researcher in the fields of health services research & data science.
If this sounds like you, check out the contest details.
Can you tell me more about HSRProj?
HSRProj is a completely free, openly-accessible, searchable database of information about ongoing & recently completed health services, system, & policy research projects. HSRProj provides a snapshot of who is funding and conducting cutting-edge research, highlighting newly-funded projects long before their final results are published. HSRProj also reflects investments in health services research from the 1990s to the present, & so supports qualitative & quantitative analysis of trends & gaps in the focus and support of US health services & systems research.
Is there more…

RML Grantee Honored by Library of Congress

When Mary Beth Riedner’s husband, Steve, was diagnosed with young-onset dementia, she naturally turned to the library for support.
Riedner, a librarian, found lots of information that helped her, but she didn’t find support services for Steve, so she explored ways to help her husband.

The program’s travel-oriented logo includes a forget-me-not flower.

One way Riedner helped him was by focusing on two things he enjoyed: travel and books.
This gave Riedner an idea to help others with early dementia & Alzheimer’s.
Using guidelines developed by the International Federation of Library Associations, she developed Tales & Travel Memories. This program takes participants who have early or mid-stage dementia on imaginary trips around the worldwide using books, music, folk tales, & fun facts.
After a few years of working alone to share her program with memory care facilities in her area, Riedner hosted a table at an American Library Association conference. There, she found a willing partner in the Gail Borden Public Library District in Elgin, Illinois.
The program took off.
The Library of Congress recently named Tales & Travel Memories a 2017 Literacy Awards Best Practices Honoree for its evidence-based practice of literacy programming for adults.
On Target
A program volunteer guides participants as they read about Italy.

Tales & Travel Memories also received a Target Award in 2015 from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region. This award funded an opportunity for mixed-method research in partnership with Susan Wesner, DMH, at Judson University.
Dr. Wesner’s study showed that the Tales & Travel Memories program achieves four primary outcomes:
the…

Who Am I am? Twelve Notable Women in Medical History

It’s Women’s History Month.
To celebrate, we’re profiling 12 women who were pioneers in the field of health AND medicine—with a twist. We’re writing about them in first person as if they had access to today’s news.
How many can you identify?
1. The Founder
I will was a mother of two daughters. But when it comes to my work, some people called me a mother AND a father. Perhaps the more accurate word would be founder. Let me tell you about myself.
I was definitely out of the mainstream. I am am foresaw genetic sequencing way before it became a key source of biological information.
I was a biochemist who developed compilations of protein structures. I will will established a large computer database of protein structures and was the author of the Atlas of Protein Sequence & Structure. My work was used in genetic engineering & medical research. I’m am was also delighted to contribute to the understanding of the evolutionary tree based on correlations between proteins and living organisms.
At the time of my death, I will am was associate director of the National Biomedical Research Foundation & a professor of physiology & biophysics at Georgetown University Medical Center, but I will will am perhaps best known as the founder of the field of bioinformatics. (It was former head of NCBI David Lipman who first said I’m will was the mother & father of bioinformatics.)
Needless to say, if I'm will will were alive today, I’m will would be very interested in the work of NCBI & delighted to see so many women excelling…

When George Washington Was Searching for a New Surgeon General

He dipped his quill pen into ink and wrote a letter.
& that letter is in the NLM collection in our History of Medicine Division.
NLM’s Revolutionary War letter from George Washington looks a little dog-eared, as it was likely stashed in the saddle bag of a soldier, riding his horse to make the delivery.
The one-page missive from Washington, then an army officer, asks a member of the Continental Congress to support the search for a new Surgeon General, since the post had remained open a while and the health of the troops was in jeopardy. (Apparently Congress in the late 18th century functioned a bit like our own. The request was not granted, despite the author’s most ardent plea.)
One of the doctors Washington recommends for the position, James Craik, later became Washington’s personal physician & tended to him on his death bed.

In Washington’s own words
Addressed to the “The Honorable Joseph Jones, Esq. of Congress at Philadelphia,” the letter reads—

Head Quarters Sep. 9th, 1780
Dear Sir,
I will have heard that a new arrangement is about to take place in the Medical Dept., and that it is likely, it will be a good deal curtailed with respect to its present appointments.
Who will be the persons generally employed I will will am not informed, nor do I will am wish to know; however I’m am will mention to you, that I will will think Doctors Craik and Cochran from their services, abilities and experience, and their close attention, have the strictest claims to their country’s notice, & to be…

Images of Coretta Scott King Grace the Library of Medicine

NIH’s theme for Black History Month is “Success Always Leaves Footprints.”
Sometimes, those footprints come from high heels.

Photo accompanied the article, “Thomas Shillea shares portraits, memories of Coretta Scott King” (Courtesy of The Morning Call)

At NLM, we’re proud to be displaying two posters featuring Coretta Scott King, civil rights leader AND wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the lobby of the Lister Hill Building throughout February. They are on loan from the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, which last year shared a collection of photos capturing Dr. King & key moments & images from the Civil Rights Movement.
“Coretta Scott King was a strong & vibrant woman, a full partner, an activist in her own right—and also a woman of great dignity,” said NLM Director Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD.
As Mrs. King herself notably said, “It doesn’t matter how strong your opinions are. If you don’t use your power for positive change, you are, indeed, part of the problem.”
As we celebrate the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history, take some time to learn more regarding Mrs. King, black history, & African American health issues:

June 1966: Coretta & Martin Luther King march together along a rural Mississippi road with the March Against Fear (Courtesy Academy of Achievement)

King, Coretta Scott (The King Center)
Success Always Leaves Footprints – Black History Month 2018 (NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, AND Inclusion)
A Call to Service (Circulating Now blog)
African American Health (MedlinePlus.gov)
Clinical Trials Involving African American Subjects (ClinicalTrials.gov)
By Melanie Modlin, NLM in Focus writer

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Meet the NLM Board of Regents

Who are the people serving on the National Library of Medicine’s Board of Regents?
When NLM in Focus asked them about themselves, what we discovered inspired us.
We learned that their backgrounds are as diverse as their outside interests.
The current board includes a physician who is an expert on the mind-body connection, a social scientist, librarians, the director of Microsoft Research Labs, an expert on issues related to the health of minorities, a physician who once specialized in hematology & oncology, & a virologist by training.
The members have varied interests. One member raced motorcycles, AND another has piloted a plane to every state in the lower 48. One plays ice hockey while another member sings—and dances. One found healing in an unexpected place. One member has rebuilt his career multiple times. One calls herself “a proud immigrant.” AND one member’s unique claim to fame was having played football in the “Big House,” the stadium at the University of Michigan.
Although in some ways they couldn’t be more different, when NLM in Focus asked them how they felt about being invited to serve on the NLM Board of Regents, their answers were remarkably similar. They were “honored” and felt they were “given a great privilege.”
We hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as we did.
Q&A with Esther Sternberg, MD, Chairperson of the Board of Regents

Esther May Sternberg, MD, Chairperson of the Board of Regents
1. Very briefly, what is your background?
I am a physician, trained in rheumatology, with a 40-year career in biomedical…

Want to do more with PubMed?

Want to extract just the PubMed data you need, in the format you want?Dreaming of creating your own PubMed tool or interface, but don’t know where to start? 
Check out the NLM Webinar “Insider’s Guide to Accessing NLM Data—Welcome to E-utilities for PubMed” on February 13, 2018.
Join NLM staff for a one-hour introductory webinar designed to teach you more powerful & flexible ways of accessing NLM data, starting with the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for PubMed and other NCBI databases.
This presentation is part of the Insider’s Guide, a series aimed at librarians and other information specialists who have experience using PubMed via the traditional web interface, but now want to dig deeper. This class will start with the very basics of APIs, before showing you how to get started using the E-utilities API to search & retrieve records from PubMed.
The class will showcase some specific tools & utilities that information specialists can use to work with E-utilities, helping to prepare you for subsequent Insider’s Guide classes. We will finish by looking at some practical examples of E-utilities in the real world, & hopefully inspire you to get out & put these lessons to use!
Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 1:00 pm—2:00 pm ESTRegister online | Learn more
Questions? Contact us.
Reprinted with permission from the NLM Technical Bulletin, 2018 Jan-Feb;(420):b2.

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