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Director's Comments Transcript: NIH MedlinePlus Magazine 04/06/09

Picture of Dr. Lindberg

Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine substituting this week for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National of Medicine.

Here is what's new this week in MedlinePlus.

To listen to Dr. Lindberg's comments, click herelisten

The new edition of NIH MedlinePlus Magazine features a profile about the 'heart truth' campaign -- plus a section about how to keep your family healthy in 2009.

In the cover story, actress Ana Ortiz (from the television comedy Ugly Betty) models a red dress symbolic of the National Heart Lung, and Blood Institutes' annual 'heart truth' campaign to inform women about the risk factors for heart disease. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death among American women; one of every four women dies from the disease.

A page in the current NIH Medline Plus Magazine is devoted to providing easy-to-read information about heart disease's symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

NIH MedlinePlus Magazine reports among heart disease's symptoms are:

  • Chest pain or discomfort – such as a squeezing pain in your chest
  • Shortness of breath 
  • A cold sweat, nausea, light-headedness, discomfort in one or both arms, your neck, jaw, or stomach.

An accompanying graphic displays how a clot in a coronary artery blocks the supply of oxygen and blood and can cause a heart attack.

Other accompanying graphics provide: questions to ask a doctor about heart disease, some recent research from NIH that helps assess, treat, and manage heart disease, plus a list of some websites that provide 'heart healthy' information.

A separate section about illness prevention in the new NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, called Healthy Family 2009, provides a variety of preventive tips targeted for new moms, kids, and adults.

For starters, NIH MedlinePlus Magazine lists eight information sources on the Internet that assist expectant and new moms. These sources include sites for pregnant teenage women as well as later childbearing.  

The Healthy Family 2009 section includes a tear out page that provides a child vaccination schedule and notes the appropriate ages for recommended vaccinations. In contrast to some published vaccination schedules, NIH MedlinePlus Magazine also introduces why a child should receive each recommended vaccine.

A page on NIH MedlinePlus Magazine urges adults to be screened for: blood pressure, cholesterol, colorectal cancer, depression, diabetes, and sexually transmitted diseases. Women are encouraged to get screening tests for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and osteoporosis. Men are encouraged to be screened for prostate cancer.

NIH MedlinePlus Magazine provides a primer on healthy aging that includes information about how to control your blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight, curb drinking, stop smoking, continue to exercise plus follow other preventive steps, such as educating yourself about health (by using, of course!)

Two special articles introduce the health benefits of exercise for children and adults.

Among other topics, NIH MedlinePlus Magazine contains a section on post-traumatic stress disorder (which we discussed in a recent podcast).

Other articles include a section on complementary and      alternative medicine and its expansion within U.S. clinical practices. The section explains how research -- often funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine --   provides increasing evidence about clinically useful integrative, alternative, and complementary practices.

Additional articles in the current NIH MedlinePlus Magazine include:

  • Some centennial contrasts between America's health in 1909 and 2009. In 1909, the leading causes of death were tuberculosis, heart disease, diarrhea, and enteritis (an inflammation of the small intestine often caused by eating or drinking substances contaminated with bacteria or viruses). Today, thanks to medical research, only heart disease remains a leading cause of death, along with stroke, and cancer. 
  • The 'Health Lines' section reports new research that suggests adults should take a nap during a lag in the day in lieu of trying to wake up via the caffeine in soft drinks or coffee.

NIH MedlinePlus Magazine is distributed to physician's 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 'NIH MedlinePlus Magazine,' which is on the bottom right side of's home page. Previous editions of the magazine are available at the same site.

Moreover, the NIH MedlinePlus Magazine's web interface (on is much improved. The former large PDF file of the entire magazine is replaced by a link to a cluster of similar articles, or section, within the magazine. The new format makes it easier to pick what you wish to read and now, there are new links to other sectional articles (at the end of each story). Best yet, the copy, format and photos look nicer -- and I think are easier to read -- on your computer screen.

Overall, the entire format is more user-friendly and I encourage you to give it a try.

Before I go, this reminder……. is authoritative. It's free. We do not accept advertising …and is written to help you.

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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.

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