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NLM Director’s Comments Transcript
NIH MedlinePlus Magazine Summer 2013: 09/09/2013

Picture of Dr. Lindberg

Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

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.listen

The new edition of NIH MedlinePlus magazine covers skin cancer protection, an introduction to genetics and health, as well as information about memory loss.

The cover features former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who are both skin cancer survivors. President Bush and President Clinton each had basal cell carcinomas removed, which are the most common form of skin cancer.

 NIH MedlinePlus magazine finds about two million persons are treated for basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer annually. Melanoma, a more serious type of skin cancer, is less common.

NIH MedlinePlus magazine reports there are about 77,000 new cases of melanoma and about 9,500 deaths from the disease each year.

NIH MedlinePlus magazine adds the number of overall cases of skin cancer is increasing. For example, recent NIH research finds there is a significant increase in skin cancer among children, especially girls ages 15-19.

Dr. Edward Long, who was the staff director of the U.S. Senate panel responsible for funding medical research, tells NIH MedlinePlus magazine he believes skin cancer rates will increase among U.S. soldiers returning from recent wars. Dr. Long says (and we quote:) ‘with so many men and women having served long tours in the deserts of Iraq and high elevation regions like Afghanistan, we can expect growing rates of skin cancer from all that sun exposure as the warfighters of today become the veterans of tomorrow’ (end of quote).

NIH MedlinePlus magazine provides a helpful list of questions for skin cancer patients to ask a health care provider. They include:

  • What is the stage of skin cancer? Has it spread? Do any lymph nodes or other organs show signs of cancer?
  • How will treatment affect my normal activities?
  • Would participation in a clinical trial (research study) be a good option?

The current NIH MedlinePlus magazine also devotes a section to introduce how our health is impacted by the genes we inherit.

NIH MedlinePlus magazine explains researchers are testing several approaches to gene therapy — where genetic intervention is used to treat disease. NIH MedlinePlus magazine cites several gene therapy approaches including:

  • replacing a mutated gene that is the cause of a disease with a healthy copy of the gene
  • knocking out a malfunctioning, mutated gene
  • introducing a new gene into the body to counter a disease.

NIH MedlinePlus magazine additionally introduces GeneEd, a new educational website about genetics and health, that is designed for 9-12th graders. You can find GeneEd by typing ‘G….E….N…E   E…D’ in Google, Bing, or similar search engines.

A special section in NIH MedlinePlus magazine focuses on memory loss among seniors. NIH MedlinePlus magazine reports memory loss may reflect one of three conditions: Alzheimer’s disease (which causes large numbers of brain nerve cells to die), mild cognitive impairment (which is a less severe than Alzheimer’s and more common), and vascular dementia (which is often caused by small strokes or changes in the brain’s blood supply).

NIH MedlinePlus magazine reports the cost of caring for Americans with dementia was between $159 to $215 billion in 2010.

Finally, the current NIH MedlinePlus magazine has a section devoted to medication safety as well as an interview with NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D. regarding a new initiative to better understand the inner workings of the human brain.

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 now includes links that visually supplement the information in some articles.

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

To find MedlinePlus.gov, just type in 'MedlinePlus.gov' in any web browser, such as Firefox, Safari, Netscape, Chrome or Explorer. To find Mobile MedlinePlus.gov, just type 'Mobile MedlinePlus' in the same web browsers.

We encourage you to use MedlinePlus and please recommend it to your friends. MedlinePlus is available in English and Spanish. Some medical information is available in 43 other languages.

Your comments about this or any of our podcasts are always welcome. We welcome suggestions about future topics too!

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.

The National Library of Medicine is one of 27 institutes and centers within the National Institutes of Health. The National Institutes of Health is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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.