World Immunization Week

Vaccine Preventable Disease

WHO Table 1 Vaccine Preventable Disease

Immunize for a healthy future – Know. Check. Protect.

This week marks World Immunication Week 2014.  World Immunization Week is designed to remind people about the effectiveness of vaccination.

According to the World Health Organization:

  •  2 – 3 million deaths are avoided through immunization
  • vaccine preventable diseases include: anthrax, measles, rubella, tetanus, mumps, rubella, rabies and more…
  • measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2012 worldwide

The World Health Organization has assembled a list of Myths and Facts about Vaccination that include information like:

Myth or Fact?
Better hygiene and sanitation will make diseases disappear – vaccines are not necessary. – MYTH

FACT: Diseases we vaccinate against will return if we stop vaccination programs. While better hygiene, hand washing and clean water help protect people from infectious diseases, many infections can spread regardless of how clean we are. If people are not vaccinated, diseases that have become uncommon, such as polio and measles, will quickly reappear.


World Immunization Week is marked every year on the last week of April.  For more information, visit the World Health Organization World Immunization Week website at:

Open Access and those Omnibus Bills


So last week, the Senate approved a Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill that will fund the government to October, and maybe that should make me happy enough, given how difficult it seems to have the government “do” anything these days.  But what you may not have known is that within this bill, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services is requiring that publications resulting from these agencies federal funds need to be made available online to the public no later than one year after its release in a peer-reviewed journal.  Similar to the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy (NIHPAP), this act is a huge step in making information more available to the public.  NIHPAP was included in a December 2007 Omnibus bill and has made an incredible impact on making the full-text articles of NIH funded research available to the public.  Have you checked out PubMed Central recently?  While the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations Act does not clearly state where these articles should be made available, researchers who use federal funds from these agencies should talk with their librarians in order to ensure that they are complying with these new mandates.

It’s a great time to be a part of the Open Access Movement as we have seen really great strides in the past year toward information being available equitably.   Last year, we saw the introduction of the  Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) bill, the OSTP Directive, and the Public Access to Public Science (PAPS) bill.  And I know these are not “technically” open access, but the fact that information is being required to be made available is still a great thing.

(In case you missed it, we had some great events for Open Access Week 2013 in October.  Here is the link to our closing keynote presentation, Redefining Impact, from Michael Buschman of Plum Analytics.)

So, I can honestly say that I’m happy with the government’s ability to “do” this past week.  I really hope this is a sign of things to come rather than a glitch.

Want to Learn or Teach a Bioinformatics or Genomics Resource? Use OpenHelix

openhelixWhat’s new in 2014?  The Taubman Health Sciences Library now has a subscription to OpenHelix, an excellent web-based resource that provides over 100 tutorial suites on the most powerful and popular bioinformatics and genomics databases and tools.  Each suite contains a video tutorial, downloadable slides and handouts, and exercises to help you learn how to effectively and efficiently use the resource.  Training materials and resources are searchable by keyword.   This resource can be used for teaching oneself how to use specific resources and/or to get ideas and materials for teaching others.

To use OpenHelix, simply go to

What are some of the resources that have tutorial suites in OpenHelix? A few examples are:

  • Allen Mouse Brain Atlas
  • Cytoscape
  • dbSNP
  • FlyBase
  • Galaxy
  • KEGG
  • UCSC Genome Browser

Please note that the above list is just a small sampling of the resources that have tutorials available in OpenHelix.

Request for Information for NIH

Even though the government is currently shut down, there are some outstanding Request for Information (RFI) notices out there for which the National Institutes of Health are seeking public comments.  These RFIs provide opportunities for you to have your comments and thoughts heard on specific topics, so let your voice be heard.  Here are some current RFIs still seeking comments:

Request for Information: Input on the Draft NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy
Notice Number: NOT-OD-13-119

Deadline for comments: November 20, 2013

Background: NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability. The draft GDS Policy supports this mission by promoting the sharing of genomic research data, which maximizes the knowledge gained. Not only does data sharing allow data generated from one research study to be used to explore a wide range of additional research questions, it also enables data from multiple projects to be combined, amplifying the scientific value of data many times. Broad research use of the data enhances public benefit by helping to speed discoveries that increase the understanding of biological processes that affect human health and the development of better ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease….  Read the full notice for more information.

Request for Information on Proposed NCI Policy Ensuring Public Availability of Results from NCI-Supported Clinical Trials
Notice Number: NOT-CA-13-019

Deadine for comments: November 20, 2013

Background: NCI, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is dedicated to improving the health of Americans by conducting and funding biomedical research through an extensive portfolio of clinical trials and clinical trials-related research. A fundamental premise of all NIH-funded research is that the results of such work must be shared in order to contribute to the general body of science and ultimately, to the public health. Grantee institutions are expected to make the results and accomplishments of their activities available to the research community and to the public at large.

NIH funding recipients ensure the timely disclosure of their scientists’ research findings through publications, presentations at scientific meetings as well as by sharing research tools, depositing information into databases and materials into repositories and through other means. NIH has many policies in place to educate funding recipients about their responsibility to share the results of NIH-funded work, and to facilitate such sharing…. Read the full notice for more information.

Mental Health and Mass Murder

After the mass shooting at The Navy Yard earlier this week, the majority of the press has been in regard to Aaron Alexis’ security clearance like this article from the New York Times. Yet there is very little talk about his transition from military to civilian life and how mental health and wellness are addressed in these circumstances. While there are multiple reports about violent and non-violent run-ins with authorities, there doesn’t seem to be any ties between those incidents and his treatment at the VA. These barriers between law enforcement and public health can be breached, but in this case they weren’t because it didn’t seem severe enough apparently.

On top of that, the press coverage is not yet talking about how Aaron may have been better served in his transition out of the military or in his health care. I don’t have the answer on how best to make changes in these systems that can support further cooperation or information sharing, but it is certainly a question that should be entertained. I was disappointed that the Public Health website for the VA has a section about violence prevention just one click from the landing page, but information for TBI and PTSD are several clicks away from the main page. If you could make any change to the VA website, what would it be?

Who Should receive a Transplant Organ?

numsMy father-in-law received a liver transplant over 10 years ago.  He was fortunate.  Not just because he was generally asymptomatic and never felt like a person who was in liver failure, but also because he actually received one.  I often think about this life changing event in his life because I was pregnant with my first child when he went into surgery.  In fact, one of my favorite pictures is one where me and my husband are standing next to my father-in-law post-surgery.  I have a ginormous belly leaning into his gurney, and he has his hospital gown open to display the huge “Y” incision across his abdominal area.  It reminds me of how precious life is.

There are so many ethical questions surrounding the transplant list.  I used to work at the Public Health Library at the School of Public Health which has since been incorporated into the Taubman Health Sciences Library, and  Dr. Myron Wegman, Dean Emeritus, used to “pop” in regularly so that we could help him make changes to his family website.  He told me that he had received a heart transplant in his 70’s and had posed the ethical questions to the medical students that he taught about giving a 70 year old man another heart.  Dr. Wegman, at the time I knew him, was in his late 80’s and swam everyday at the NCRB.  He died in 2004 at the age of 95.  In my lifetime, I could never accomplish what he had done in one year of his life…

So this NPR story on Who Should Be First In Line To Receive A Transplant Organ? is one to really think about…

Who Should Be First In Line To Receive A Transplant Organ?

September 04, 2013

Organ transplants have become a viable option for a growing number of patients. That has brought increased attention to legal, medical and ethical questions about who should be first in line for organs. Undocumented immigrants and others say they are left off waiting list due to lack of funds and inability to access government health care programs…

Read the full transcript here.

3D Printing Saves Lives

header_logo_um3dI had the privilege of attending a demonstration at the UM3D Lab at the Digital Media Commons earlier in the year.  It’s an amazing place that does amazing things.  We printed out these rather simple coins with the Michigan block “M” printed on them, but the explanation that they provided about the other projects that they have undertaken are extraordinary.  Plus, they have some cool samples on display.  Oh and what will really blow your mind?…  The actual printing.

So to say that 3D printing is revolutionary is probably an understatement, but this recent post in Mashable about some UM doctors saving the life of a baby using the technology?  Like I said…  AMAZING.

Reposted from Mashable

3D Printing Is a Matter of Life and Death

By Matt Petronzio

When Kaiba Gionfriddo was born prematurely on Oct. 28, 2011, everything seemed relatively normal. At 35 weeks, his doctors’ main concern was lung development, but Kaiba was breathing just fine. Doctors deemed him healthy enough to send him home within a few days.

Six weeks later, while the Gionfriddo family — parents April and Bryan, and two older siblings — were eating dinner at a restaurant, Kaiba stopped breathing and turned blue. After 10 days in the hospital and another incident, physicians diagnosed the infant with severe tracheobronchomalacia; his windpipe was so weak that his trachea and left bronchus collapsed, preventing crucial airflow from reaching his lungs. So Kaiba underwent a tracheostomy and was put on a ventilator, the typical treatment for his condition.

It didn’t work. Almost daily, Kaiba would stop breathing and his heart would stop. The prognosis wasn’t good. So his doctors tried something revolutionary: a 3D-printed lung splint that could save his life.

Glenn Green, MD, associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, and colleague Scott Hollister, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering and associate professor of surgery, used 3D printing technology to create a bioresorbable device that instantly helped Kaiba breathe. It’s a prime example of how 3D printing is transforming healthcare as we know it…

Read the full story here.

Center for Statistical Consultation And Research

The Center for Statistical Consultation and Research (CSCAR) provides free statistical consulting to all UM researchers with the design, planning, analysis, and presentation of research studies.

CSCAR also presents workshops on data analysis methods and statistical software. Fall, Winter and Spring workshop offerings include Statistics Review, SAS, SPSS, Stata, SEM and Analysis with R. There is a registration fee that varies by workshop.  Visit the CSCAR web page for current offerings and for additional information.

Center for Statistical Consultation and Research (CSCAR)
3550 Rackham Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Information, appointments and workshop registration (734)764-7828 or

Julia Child Was Wrong…

So I just heard on NPR, that you shouldn’t wash your chicken before you cook it.  I think I’ve kinda done this and not done this.  I like to cook poultry.  In case you didn’t already know, Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday.  Why?  Food, football and no presents.  What more could you ask for?  I think I haven’t “rinsed” my poultry mainly because I’m lazy, but I have to say, I have had a certain amount of guilt about it.  A lot of my cookbooks say I should.  So maybe I have occasionally and maybe I haven’t.  But this post about washing poultry spreading more germs…nice.  Please watch the 14 second Germ-vision video because that was enough to make me go wash my hands – immediately.

Reposted from The Salt


August 23, 2013 8:48 AM

Julia Child Was Wrong: Don’t Wash Your Raw Chicken, Folks

It seems almost sacrilegious to question the wisdom of Julia Child.

First with her opus Mastering the Art of French Cooking and later with her PBS cooking show, the unflappably cheerful Child helped rescue home cookery from the clutches of convenience food. She taught us how to love — and take pride in — making something from scratch.

And yet, in at least one important kitchen skill, Child got it dead wrong: rinsing raw poultry.

“I just think it’s a safer thing to do,” Child tells viewers in one clip from The French Chef in which she shows us the ins and outs of roasting chicken.

“Oh, no!” says Drexel University food safety researcher Jennifer Quinlan when I inform her that Child was in the pro-bird-washing camp. “I don’t want to take on that.”

Yet take on the doyenne of TV chefs she must. For Quinlan is on a mission to get America’s home cooks to drop this widespread habit of washing poultry before cooking.

“There’s no reason, from a scientific point of view, to think you’re making it any safer,” she says, “and in fact, you’re making it less safe.”

That’s because washing increases the chances that you’ll spread the foodborne pathogens that are almost certainly on your bird all over the rest of your kitchen too, food safety experts say. We’re talking nasty stuff like salmonella and Campylobacter, which together are estimated to cause nearly 1.9 million cases of foodborne illness in the U.S. each year.

Some studies suggest bacteria can fly up to 3 feet away from where your meat is rinsed — though you can’t necessarily see it. If that thought alone doesn’t give you pause, perhaps this slimy “germ vision” animation will do the trick:…

Read the full post here.

Too Much Coffee?

LicenseAttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by @Doug88888 on flickr

“Coffee cup” by @Doug88888 (2008) CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

So, I’m a relatively new coffee drinker.  I decided to make a switch from my beverage of choice, Diet Pepsi, in order to get that caffeine kick without artificial sweetener in the hopes that perhaps I am embracing a more healthy lifestyle (yeah, right…).  And while I’m new to the coffee arena, I have many friends who are avid drinkers, so I find this post from NPR interesting that describes a study that shows there are limits to how much coffee you should drink.  Of course, you know everything about limitations of studies and the ever useful phrase “it depends”, but in this post, it appears that the upper limit if you are under age 55 is 28 cups a week.  Huh.  Still seems like a pretty high cap to me, but of course, I’m a novice coffee drinker!

How Many Cups Of Coffee Per Day Are Too Many?
reposted from “The Salt

That morning cup of Joe is a daily, practically sacred ritual for many of us. A large body of research has confirmed that a coffee habit is perfectly fine for most people, and may even have some health benefits – from fighting depression in women to lowering the risk of stroke and prostate cancer.

But is there too much of a good thing?

study published this week in Mayo Clinic Proceedingssuggests that when it comes to coffee, too much appears to be more than 28 cups per week, at least if you are under 55….

Read the full blog post here.