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NIH-commissioned Census Bureau report highlights effect of aging boomers

July 28, 2014 Comments off

NIH-commissioned Census Bureau report highlights effect of aging boomers
Source: National Institutes of Health/U.S. Census Bureau

While rates of smoking and excessive drinking have declined among older Americans, prevalence of chronic disease has risen, and many older Americans are unprepared to afford the costs of long-term care in a nursing home, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau commissioned by the National Institutes of Health.

The report highlights those trends and others among America’s older population, now over 40 million and expected to more than double by mid-century, growing to 83.7 million people and one-fifth of the U.S. population by 2050. Population trends and other national data about people 65 and older are presented in the report, 65+ in the United States: 2010 (PDF, 12.0M). It documents aging as quite varied in terms of how long people live, how well they age, their financial and educational status, their medical and long-term care and housing costs, where they live and with whom, and other factors important for aging and health.

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Using Dietary Supplements Wisely

July 18, 2014 Comments off

Using Dietary Supplements Wisely
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Like many Americans, you may take dietary supplements in an effort to stay healthy. With so many dietary supplements available and so many claims made about their health benefits, how can you decide whether a supplement is safe or useful? This fact sheet provides a general overview of dietary supplements, discusses safety considerations, and suggests sources for additional information.

Update on findings in the FDA cold storage area on the NIH campus

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Update on findings in the FDA cold storage area on the NIH campus
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

As previously reported, on July 1, 2014, biological samples were found in the cold storage area of U.S. Food and Drug Administration laboratories on the National Institutes of Health campus. The FDA has since acquired additional information from the federal investigative agencies regarding inventories of the materials.

The investigation found 12 boxes containing a total of 327 carefully packaged vials labeled with names of various biological agents such as dengue, influenza, Q fever, and rickettsia. Upon the discovery of these vials on July 1, 2014, FDA employees followed standard protocol and turned them all over to the appropriate NIH safety program officials, who in turn transferred them to the appropriate investigative agencies, as per standard protocols.

Mind and Body Practices for Fibromyalgia

July 8, 2014 Comments off

Mind and Body Practices for Fibromyalgia
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, fatigue, and a number of other symptoms that can interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily activities. It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects 5 million American adults. Most people with fibromyalgia—between 80 and 90 percent—are women. However, men and children also can have the disorder, which is often associated with other syndromes. The causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, but there are probably a number of factors involved. Recently, researchers have focused on abnormalities in processing of pain by the central nervous system.

Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Current diagnostic criteria are available from the American College of Rheumatology. Treatment often involves an individualized approach that may include both pharmacologic therapies (prescription drugs, analgesics, and NSAIDs) and nonpharmacologic interventions such as exercise, muscle strength training, cognitive behavioral therapy, movement/body awareness practices, massage, acupuncture, and balneotherapy.

MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing

June 10, 2014 Comments off

MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing
Source: National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health

What should you look for when evaluating the quality of health information on Web sites? Here are some suggestions based on our experience.

See also: MedlinePlus — Evaluating Health Information
See also: MedlinePlus — Evaluating Internet Health Information: A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine

Melatonin: What You Need To Know

June 4, 2014 Comments off

Melatonin: What You Need To Know
Source: National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine

What’s the Bottom Line?

How much do we know about melatonin supplements?
Researchers have conducted many studies on whether melatonin supplements may help people with various sleep disorders; however, important questions remain about its usefulness, how much to take and when to take it, and long-term safety.

What do we know about the usefulness of melatonin supplements?
Melatonin supplements may help some people with certain sleep disorders, including jet lag, sleep problems related to shift work, and delayed sleep phase disorder (one in which people go to bed but can’t fall asleep until hours later), and insomnia.

What do we know about the safety of melatonin supplements?
Melatonin supplements appear to be safe when used short-term; less is known about long-term safety.

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis

June 2, 2014 Comments off

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Dietary Supplements for Osteoarthritis
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Osteoarthritis, which affects an estimated 27 million Americans, is a leading cause of disability in older adults. Because the general population is aging and obesity, a major risk factor, is increasing in prevalence, the occurrence of osteoarthritis is on the rise. Clinical practice guidelines issued by the American College of Rheumatology recommend aerobic exercise and/or strength training, weight loss (if overweight), and a number of pharmacological and non-pharmacological modalities for treating OA of the knee, hip, or hand.

Many people with OA report trying various dietary supplements in an effort to relieve pain and improve function. However, there is no convincing evidence that any dietary supplement helps with OA symptoms or the underlying course of the disease. This issue of the digest summarizes current scientific evidence about several dietary supplements most often used by people with OA, including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) and Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), S-Adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), and herbal remedies.

Sleep Disorders and Complementary Health Approaches : What the Science Says

May 2, 2014 Comments off

Sleep Disorders and Complementary Health Approaches: What the Science Says
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Discusses Mind and Body Techniques, Dietary Supplements

See also: 5 Things To Know About Sleep Disorders and Complementary Health Approaches

Acupuncture Research – Areas of High and Low Programmatic Priorities

April 15, 2014 Comments off

Acupuncture Research – Areas of High and Low Programmatic Priorities
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

On this page:

  • Published Research
  • Areas of High Programmatic Priority
  • Areas of Low Programmatic Priority
  • NCCAM Contact Information
  • Selected References

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Chronic Low-Back Pain and Complementary Health Approaches

April 4, 2014 Comments off

NCCAM Clinical Digest: Chronic Low-Back Pain and Complementary Health Approaches
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

This issue of the digest summarizes current scientific evidence about spinal manipulation, acupuncture, massage, and yoga, the complementary approaches most often used by people for chronic low back pain.

NIH releases comprehensive new data outlining Hispanic/Latino health and habits

February 27, 2014 Comments off

NIH releases comprehensive new data outlining Hispanic/Latino health and habits
Source: National Institutes of Health

A comprehensive health and lifestyle analysis of people from a range of Hispanic/ Latino origins shows that this segment of the U.S. population is diverse, not only in ancestry, culture, and economic status, but also in the prevalence of several diseases, risk factors, and lifestyle habits.

These health data are derived from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL), a landmark study that enrolled about 16,415 Hispanic/Latino adults living in San Diego, Chicago, Miami, and the Bronx, N.Y., who self-identified with Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or South American origins. These new findings have been compiled and published as the Hispanic Community Health Study Data Book: A Report to the Communities.

Massage Therapy for Health Purposes: What You Need To Know

February 27, 2014 Comments off

Massage Therapy for Health Purposes: What You Need To Know
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

A lot of the scientific research on massage therapy is preliminary or conflicting, but much of the evidence points toward beneficial effects on pain and other symptoms associated with a number of different conditions. Much of the evidence suggests that these effects are short term and that people need to keep getting massages for the benefits to continue.

Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs

February 17, 2014 Comments off

Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Offers the latest research findings on hallucinogens and dissociative drugs, describing what they are, how they are abused, and basic facts about different drugs within this classification of drugs.

Credentialing: Understanding the Education, Training, Regulation, and Licensing of Complementary Health Practitioners

February 14, 2014 Comments off

Credentialing: Understanding the Education, Training, Regulation, and Licensing of Complementary Health Practitioners
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Health care providers’ credentials—the licenses, certificates, and diplomas on their office walls—tell us about their professional qualifications to advise and treat us. In the United States, local and state governments and professional organizations establish the credentials that complementary health practitioners need to treat patients. This fact sheet provides a general overview of the credentialing of practitioners and suggests sources for additional information.

Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need To Know

February 12, 2014 Comments off

Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need To Know
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

What’s the Bottom Line?

Are complementary health approaches for chronic pain safe?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Although many of the complementary approaches studied for chronic pain have good safety records, that doesn’t mean that they’re risk-free for everyone. Your age, health, special circumstances (such as pregnancy), and medicines or supplements that you take may affect the safety of complementary approaches.

Are any complementary health approaches for chronic pain effective?
The currently available evidence is not strong enough to allow definite conclusions to be reached about whether complementary approaches are effective for chronic pain. However, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that some of these approaches, such as massage, spinal manipulation, and yoga, may help to manage some painful conditions.

CRS — Brief History of NIH Funding: Fact Sheet

January 16, 2014 Comments off

Brief History of NIH Funding: Fact Sheet (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary federal agency charged with conducting and supporting biomedical and behavioral research. Its activities cover a wide range of basic, clinical, and translational research, focused on particular diseases, areas of human health and development, or more fundamental aspects of biomedical research. Its mission also includes research training and health information collection and dissemination. About 83% of the NIH budget funds extramural research through grants, contracts, and other awards. This funding supports research performed by more than 300,000 non-federal scientists and technical personnel who work at more than 2,500 universities, hospitals, medical schools, and other research institutions around the country and abroad. About 11% of the agency’s budget supports intramural research performed by NIH scientists and non-employee trainees in the NIH laboratories and Clinical Center. The remaining 6% funds research management, support, and facilities’ needs.

Almost all of NIH’s funding is provided in the annual Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations act. In addition to its regular annual appropriations, NIH received a total of $10.4 billion in supplemental FY2009 appropriations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). ARRA funds were made available for obligation for two years; $4.95 billion was obligated in FY2009, and $5.45 billion in FY2010.

Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask

September 26, 2013 Comments off

Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What To Ask
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse

Offers guidance in seeking drug abuse treatment and lists five questions to ask when searching for a treatment program.

Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction

September 19, 2013 Comments off

Ayurvedic Medicine: An Introduction
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

Ayurvedic medicine (also called Ayurveda) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems. It originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and remains one of the country’s traditional health care systems. Its concepts about health and disease promote the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices. India’s government and other institutes throughout the world support clinical and laboratory research on Ayurvedic medicine, within the context of the Eastern belief system. But Ayurvedic medicine is not widely studied as part of conventional (Western) medicine. This fact sheet provides a general overview of Ayurvedic medicine and suggests sources for additional information.

Finding and Evaluating Online Resources on Complementary Health Approaches

September 18, 2013 Comments off

Finding and Evaluating Online Resources on Complementary Health Approaches
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

The number of Web sites offering health-related resources—including information about complementary health approaches (often called complementary and alternative medicine)—grows every day. Social media sites have also become an important source of online health information for some people. Many online health resources are useful, but others may present information that is inaccurate or misleading, so it’s important to find sources you can trust and to know how to evaluate their content. This guide provides help for finding reliable Web sites and outlines things to consider in evaluating health information from Web sites and social media sources.

Clinical Digest — Spotlight on a Modality: Omega-3 Fatty Acids

September 9, 2013 Comments off

Clinical Digest — Spotlight on a Modality: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Omega-3 fatty acids have been in the news lately, after a new study raises concern about the association of omega-3s and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Omega-3s are a popular supplement used by many Americans. In fact, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health practices by Americans, fish oil/omega-3/DHA supplements are the natural product (excluding vitamins and minerals) most commonly taken by adults, and the second most commonly taken by children.

Moderate evidence has emerged about the health benefits of consuming seafood, but the health benefits of omega-3s in supplement form are less clear. For example, the findings of individual studies on omega-3 supplements and heart disease have been inconsistent, and in 2012, two combined analyses of the results of these studies did not find convincing evidence that omega-3s protect against heart disease.

There is some evidence that omega-3s are modestly helpful in relieving symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis. Omega-3s may also be helpful for age-related macular degeneration (AMD; an eye disease that can cause loss of vision in older people). For most other conditions for which omega-3s are being studied, definitive conclusions cannot yet be reached. This issue of the digest provides information on what the science says about omega-3’s effectiveness and safety for several conditions for which there is the most evidence, including heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, infant development, and diseases of the eye and brain.

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