Skip Navigation Bar
NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health


An older couple walking in the park

The Pain Before the Fall

The aches and pains of getting older may be more serious than previously thought. A new study of nearly 750 people over 70 suggests chronic pain may increase an older person's risk of falling. Over a period of 18 months, participants recorded their falls. Those who had pain in two or more joints, severe pain, or pain that hampered daily activities were more likely to have a fall than people without pain. Researchers say another trial is needed to see if better pain control could reduce the risk of falling. The National Institute on Aging funded the study.

Parent Training Plus Medication Helps Children with Autism

Children with autism and related disorders may experience irritability, tantrums, aggression, and self-injury that can severely disrupt and strain families, teachers, and caregivers. Now, a new study finds that combining parent training with the medication risperidone (Risperdal) works better than medication alone at limiting disruption. In the training, parents were taught how to help their children develop social skills and how to manage their children's severely disruptive behavior. "This study shows promise of a more effective treatment protocol that could improve life for children with autism and their families," says Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of the National Institute of Mental Health, which funded the study.

H1N1 Flu Update

President Obama has received his H1N1 vaccination. Health officials urge all Americans to get vaccinated.

President Obama has received his H1N1 vaccination. Health officials urge all Americans to get vaccinated.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that H1N1 (officially, the 2009 H1N1) flu shots are widely available across the U.S. The CDC is urging everyone to get vaccinated because of the possibility of a third flu wave this winter. At, you can enter your ZIP code in the Flu Vaccine Locator to learn where to get vaccinated. Flu activity was relatively low across the U.S. at the start of February, according to CDC, with most flu continuing to be caused by H1N1. Flu activity, caused by either H1N1 or seasonal flu viruses, is expected to continue for several more months. As of January 31, 2010, more than 209 countries and overseas territories or communities worldwide have reported laboratory-confirmed cases of pandemic H1N1 flu, including at least 15,174 deaths. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that the 2010/2011 seasonal flu vaccine include the H1N1 vaccine.

Sugary Colas and Pregnancy Don't Mix

For the first time, researchers have found that women who drink a lot of sugary colas before getting pregnant have a greater chance of developing diabetes, called gestational diabetes, during pregnancy. Women who drank five or more sugary colas a week were 22 percent more likely to develop the condition than those who drank less than one serving a month. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause complications during pregnancy. It also raises the risk of the mother and the baby developing type 2 diabetes later in life. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development supported the work.

ResearchMatch to Advance New Treatments

Convenient, user-friendly, secure, and free of charge, ResearchMatch is the latest Web site for people interested in participating in medical research studies that may be right for them. Billed as the nation's first disease-neutral, volunteer recruitment registry, ResearchMatch has been developed under the Clinical and Translational Science Awards program (CTSA), a nationwide affiliation of medical research institutions led by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), part of the NIH. ResearchMatch connects anyone interested and residing in the U.S. with thousands of approved researchers investigating a wide range of diseases. Says NCRR Director Barbara Alving, M.D., "By facilitating direct communication between potential participants and researchers, ResearchMatch provides greater opportunity for the public to help advance new treatments." For more information go to

Winter 2010 Issue: Volume 5 Number 1 Pages 27 - 28