NLM Director’s Comments Transcript
NIH MedlinePlus Magazine Fall 2013: 12/02/2013
Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Here is what's new this week in MedlinePlus.
The new edition of NIH MedlinePlus magazine covers living with psoriasis, some back-to-school health tips, as well as information about asthma and related conditions.
The cover features former Olympic champion speedskater Apolo Ohno who was diagnosed with exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) in 2000 at the zenith of his athletic career. Ohno tells NIH MedlinePlus magazine he thought his initial EIB symptoms were (and we quote): ‘just a byproduct of the work I was putting in; it didn’t cross my mind that I could have a respiratory condition’ (end of quote).
Ohno explains he learned how to manage EIB and today is involved in creating awareness about the condition, which impacts an estimated 30 million Americans. EIB results in decreased exercise endurance, labored breathing, and extensive coughing. Ohno says (and we quote): ‘I got involved with the EIB All Stars to raise awareness ... and educate the public about the importance of managing these symptoms’ (end of quote).
In a special section, NIH MedlinePlus magazine notes asthma has similar symptoms to EIB but is a different disease. NIH MedlinePlus magazine reports asthma affects about 24.6 million Americans including seven million children. Asthma is a long-term (or chronic) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways to breathe.
NIH MedlinePlus magazine explains asthma cannot be cured but it can be controlled. The current issue features a helpful ‘asthma action plan’ (in a cut out page) to help parents manage a child’s asthma on a daily basis.
NIH MedlinePlus magazine also contains health tips for parents to assist their children as they return to school this fall. NIH MedlinePlus magazine encourages an annual check-up for children as well as several vaccinations. The recommended vaccinations include: a booster to prevent tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough, the MCV4 vaccine to prevent meningococcal disease, the HPV vaccine that protects against many cervical cancers, and the current flu vaccine.
NIH MedlinePlus magazine additionally contains a special section devoted to living with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic disease that causes scaling and inflammation. About five million Americans have psoriasis.
NIH MedlinePlus magazine explains psoriasis is a disorder of the immune system, which defends the body against infection and disease. Psoriasis is not contagious and sometimes is inherited. NIH MedlinePlus magazine notes psoriasis can cause significant physical discomfort and possible disability.
Joel Gelfand MD., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, tells NIH MedlinePlus magazine there are an increasing variety of treatments for psoriasis and persons should consult with a dermatologist (skin specialist) to find the most appropriate treatment. Gelfand urges psoriasis patients to get regular checkups.
Regarding future psoriasis treatments Gelfand adds (and we quote) ‘the short-term future looks very positive, thanks to our growing understanding of how psoriasis works. In particular, we are looking at targeted, injectable, and oral medications’ (end of quote).
Finally, the current NIH MedlinePlus magazine notes some recent progress in screening newborns for hearing loss. Although about one in 10 children were screened for hearing loss just two decades ago, today about 98 percent of newborns are tested. The screening enables early interventions and treatments that enhance a hearing impaired young person’s ability to speak, his or her social skills, and future job opportunities.
As always, NIH MedlinePlus magazine provides a helpful list of phone numbers (many of them a free call) to contact NIH’s array of institutes and centers.
NIH MedlinePlus magazine is distributed to physicians’ offices nationwide by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Friends of the National Library of Medicine. You can subscribe or find the latest edition online by clicking on ‘Magazine,’ which is on the bottom right side of MedlinePlus.gov’s home page.
Previous editions of NIH MedlinePlus magazine are available at the same site. A link to NIH MedlinePlus Salud, which provides other health information and resources in Spanish, is available there as well (see the top right of the page).
The web version of NIH MedlinePlus magazine includes links that visually supplement the information in some articles.
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Please email Dr. Lindberg anytime at: NLMDirector@nlm.nih.gov
That's NLMDirector (one word) @nlm.nih.gov
A written transcript of recent podcasts is available by typing 'Director's comments' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page.
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A disclaimer — the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.
It was nice to be with you. I look forward to meeting you here next week.