Healthy Second Life

Are you in Second Life?  There’s a growing community of health-related resources and groups in SL and a community wiki called SL Healthy has grown up to help you find them.  There are listings of SL events related to health and health care, resources, links to official health group presences and more.  If you are an active SL participant, do you think the libraries should be there?  What do you think a library should do in a virtual world?


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Follow medlineplus4you on Twitter

twitter_birdThe National Library of Medicine (NLM) recently launched medlineplus4you on Twitter as a companion to their well-respected consumer health website,  Follow medlineplus4you to get the latest health information and tips from NLM.  Both medlineplus4you and provide trustworthy health and wellness information from U.S. government agencies and other authoritative sources.

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Side-by-side comparison of health reform proposals

The Kaiser Family Foundation has a web site to help you compare features and elements of health reform proposals currently in discussion.  You can select from twelve different proposals including those from the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate HELP committee, the House Tri-Committee and various other proposals including principles espoused by President Obama.  You can then compare them on various topics from changes to private insurance, cost containment, prevention/wellness, impacts on employers, etc.  There is also a printable chart showing everything.  The Kaiser Family Foundation is not associated with Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries.

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Healthcare 2.0 – good review article

For a very nice overview of Healthcare 2.0 technology and its impact on physician/patient dynamics check this out:

Randeree E. Exploring technology impacts of Healthcare 2.0 initiatives. Telemedicine & E-Health. 2009 Apr;15(3):255-60. Review. PubMed PMID: 19382863.  Link:

The author does a particularly good job of laying out how Web 2.0 affects information retention, consumer health literacy, and communication trends. Note: this is from a licensed e-journal.  Full text of the article is available online for users of the UCSD network (or other subscribing institutions).

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America’s Affordable Health Choices Act

The full text of this bill (HR 3200) is now available from a website set up by the House Committees on Education and Labor, Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce.  The full bill is over 1000 pages long, so the website includes several links with summaries of different aspects of the proposed legislation.  One such summary is a one-page document about the Public Health Insurance Option (pdf).   The Congressional Budget Office has already prepared a brief analysis (pdf) which includes a number of useful tables about projected costs and revenues under this bill’s provisions.

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Healthcare Reform Website

In March, the website was announced and highlighted the  report, “Americans Speak on Health Reform: Report on Health Care Community Discussions,” which summarizes comments from the thousands of Americans who hosted and participated in Health Care Community Discussions across the country.   For more details on its initial release, check their press release.

Continuing the trend of employing social media tools, this website is a collecting zone for details on the President’s town hall meetings and other healthcare related speeches, latest news items and reports, and Health Care Reform blog posts.  Their Newsroom has links to items of possible interest.

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Report: 861 New Cancer Drugs Being Researched

PhRMA compiled a report – released April 1, 2009 – regarding all the “medicines in the research pipeline for cancer” as a result of President Obamas call for “curing cancer in our time.”  The report includes those drugs that are currently in human clinical trials as well as those awaiting FDA approval.  No wonder my cancer center friends have been so busy!

The top 4 types of cancer being researched include:

  • 122 drugs for lung cancer
  • 107 for breast cancer
  • 103 for prostate cancer
  • 70 for colorectal cancer

A unique application is the use of scorpions (actually, using a synthetic substance derived from them) to directly treat brain tumors.

You can view the full report, Medicines in Development for Cancer 2009 or look at the backgrounder Fact Sheet.

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New Clinical Trial Recruiting Tools

UCSF’s Memory & Aging Center  has a new strategy to recruit patients for hard to fill clinical trials — a YouTube channel and a Facebook page – Defeat Dementia.  These were mentioned in a recent NYTimes article musing on the ethics of using live broadcast surgeries as marketing tools – Webcast Your Brain Surgery? Hospitals See Marketing Tool.  A very interesting idea and wish they included more information on the success of these tools.

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Social Media for Asthma Alerts

Looking to expand their current “traditional” alerting system (using major media outlets), AZ state officials are considering including Facebook, Twitter, & other social media sites in their list of ways to notify asthmatic people about potential health hazards.  

Based on research from ASU, Phoenix is trying to set up a network that will be sensitive enough to allow alerts by zip code instead of just the greater metro area. People could sign up for the type of alert they prefer for the area code they  want.

Story in the Arizona Daily Star

Hat tip to iHealthBeat blog.

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Swine Flu Precautions

From the Centers for Disease Control:

Swine flu is a type of virus. It’s named for a virus that pigs can get. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. The virus is contagious and can spread from human to human. Symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

There are antiviral medicines you can take to prevent or treat swine flu. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against swine flu. You can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza by

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. You can also use alcohol-based hand cleaners.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Trying to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Staying home from work or school if you are sick.

A new Swine Flu topic page on MedlinePlus produced by the National Library of Medicine  is now live at    By the end of today, Monday, April 27, 2009 the topic will also be posted in Spanish.

Please share with your friends, family, and patients. Take precautions and take care!

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