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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

How science advances health: 09/25/2017

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

The future of science and health brightens when multidisciplinary efforts occur, the National Science Foundation's director recently told an audience of about 200 at the National Library of Medicine's annual Lindberg/King lecture.

France A. Cordova Ph.D., who has been NSF's director since 2014, praised the existing cooperation between NSF and the National Institutes of Health and cited two examples where patient and public health improved as a result of multidisciplinary scientific research.

Dr. Cordova, an astrophysicist, explained NSF's grants helped sharpen some clouded images of stars and quasars taken by NASA's Hubble space telescope and subsequently, were used to more easily detect images of tumors within the human body. Dr. Cordova noted the imaging techniques especially have assisted breast cancer diagnosis where they help detect a tumor from a mass of tissue within the human breast.

Dr. Cordova, who was the former president of Purdue University, added some ideas derived from economist Alan Roth helped change the process in which candidates are identified as compatible for kidney transplants.

Dr. Roth, who won the 2012 Nobel Prize for the application of his economic theories in kidney transplant and related areas, helped foster a change that enables patients to more easily exchange compatible kidneys with other donors.

For example, Dr. Cordova explained spouses and other household members who wish to donate a kidney occasionally discover their blood type is not compatible for transplantation even within the same family. Once a willing donor and recipient fail a crossmatch test, Roth's ideas fostered the creation of a system that finds compatible matches and encourages kidney exchanges. Dr. Cordova noted the latter process overcomes some delays that are experienced by kidney transplant patients and encourages safe kidney transplantation.

The National Center for Health Statistics notes 4.9 million Americans are diagnosed with kidney disease, which is the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S. Other statistics about kidney disease can be found within the 'statistics and research' section of MedlinePlus.gov's kidney diseases health topic page.

The National Kidney Foundation provides some background information about kidney transplant procedures within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's kidney transplantation health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov's kidney transplantation health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Clinical trials that may be occurring in your area can be found in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about kidney transplantation as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's kidney transplantation health topic page, please type 'kidney transplantation' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'kidney transplantation (National Library of Medicine).' To find MedlinePlus.gov's kidney diseases health topic page, please type 'kidney diseases' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'kidney diseases (National Library of Medicine).'

The annual Lindberg/King lecture is named after Donald A.B. Lindberg M.D., NLM's director emeritus, and Donald West King M.D., who was NLM's deputy director for research and education from 2002-2008. Dr. Cordova, who frequently gives public lectures, noted Dr. King's and Dr. Lindberg's contributions to NIH as well as NSF. Dr. Cordova expressed her delight to speak at an endowed lecture series where its progenitors also were active participants.

Dr. Cordova also recognized and thanked Francis Collins M.D., NIH's director, who was an interested attendee. In response to a question from Dr. Collins, Dr. Cordova briefly discussed NSF's pilot efforts to create knowledge networks in 70 U.S. communities. Dr. Cordova explained the overall effort encourages more sharing of science and medical research data with students as well as fosters more cultural diversity within the scientific community.

Incidentally, both Dr. Collins and Dr. Cordova originally were appointed to their respective positions by former U.S. President Barack Obama and stayed at the request of current President Donald Trump.

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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.

It was nice to be with you. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!