Department Blog

Health Sciences Libraries

2014 West Virginia Elk River Chemical Release: Information Resources

February 3rd, 2014 by Amy Studer

Adapted from NLM Tech Bull. 2014 Jan-Feb;(396):b5.:

You may be aware from multiple news sources that little information was available about 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol at the time of the spill in West Virginia’s Elk River in early January 2014.

Since the spill, government and private sector scientists have contributed to collecting and verifying information about the chemical.

Here are some new resources about the chemical and the government response:

Please note that in some social media and early news reports, the chemical was MISIDENTIFIED as Methylcyclohexanol (CASRN: 25639-42-3). This is NOT the correct chemical.

In chemical incidents, it is unusual for little online information to be available about a substance. Chemicals can often be readily identified using online resources such as TOXNET and WISER. In the absence of published information, local and state officials request consultation with local, state, federal and industry experts. Typically, following such an incident there is immediate, ongoing, extensive consultation and communication among responders and experts to determine appropriate actions.

When planning for providing health information following chemical incidents, it is critical for institutions and government agencies to know who to contact in uncommon situations as well as knowing the authoritative published sources of chemical information.


Wildfire smoke effects

October 25th, 2013 by Mary Wood

In light of yesterday’s release of the NRDC report, Wildfire Smoke Affects Communities Distant from Deadly Flames,

and the ongoing wildfires in Australia,

and as an addendum to the US Forest Service site Effects of Smoke Exposure on Firefighter Health,

linked here are PubMed citations to current research on the topic of wildland fire smoke and health:

wildland firefighters  ;  firefighter smoke exposure  ;  wildfire smoke adverse effects


Whitewater-Baldy, Gila National Forest, NM
(AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service, Mark Pater)



Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Product, NOAA

Related UC research

UCD Air Quality Research Center
UC Davis experts: Wildfires
UC Cooperative Extension
UC Forest research and outreach: wildfire




Previous blog posts
Fields and Forests in Flames
Wildland Fire Air Quality & Health
Wildland Fire Season


2 Library drop-off bins are closing; 3 still available

July 9th, 2013 by Mary Wood

The Library is closing the book drop bins at the Hutchinson Drive and Bioletti Way locations on July 15, 2013.
These bins are being closed due to decreased usage.

Book drop bins are still available at:
1.  A Street
2.  La Rue
3.  California Ave

Map of book drop bins

For more information

New NIH funding for two Autism Centers of Excellence

April 2nd, 2013 by Mary Wood

A total of 11 centers now funded for up to five years

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5.3 million in initial one-year funding to the latest two recipients of the Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) program. With these awards, announced on World Autism Awareness Day, these and nine other ACE centers around the country are now being funded for up to five years. The program was created in 2007 to launch an intense and coordinated research effort aimed at identifying the causes of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and finding new treatments.

The new ACE awards will fund two research networks:

  • Sally J. Rogers, Ph.D., University of California, Davis MIND Institute. The UC Davis network will conduct multi-site randomized clinical trials to provide information on what effects the style of early intervention for young children with autism, and the intensity of treatment, have on children’s development.  A second study aims to determine whether toddlers who received early intervention in a previous clinical trial show long-term benefits from the intervention.  Centers participating with UC Davis are the McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass.; the University of Washington, Seattle; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville
  • Daniel Geschwind, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles. The UCLA ACE will build on the network’s earlier work identifying genetic variants associated with autism susceptibility, with an important new emphasis: the network aims to recruit at least 600 African-American families with a child with an ASD.  The work will also include an evaluation of disparities in diagnosis and access to care. Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City; Emory University, Atlanta; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; Washington University, St. Louis; and Yale University, New Haven, Conn., will carry out this study with UCLA.

RWJF County Health Rankings for 2013 released

March 27th, 2013 by Ferguson Mitchell

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has posted its U.S. county health rankings for 2013. The data reflects 25 health factors, including high school graduation rates, obesity, smoking, family and social support, and other factors affecting health.

Included are videos and tweets, like the following. “People in unhealthy counties are dying too young w/ premature death rates twice that of the healthiest. #HealthRankings”

For more information, see the RWJF website.

Image courtesy DonkeyHotey via Flickr.

Animal testing and cosmetics

March 12th, 2013 by Mary Wood

On March 11, 2013, the European Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg announced that   “… Today the last deadline to phase out animal testing for cosmetic products in Europe enters into force. As of today, cosmetics tested on animals cannot be marketed any more in the EU…”

With commentary abundant the day after its announcement – including  New York Times, Huffington Post, Agence France-Presse, and Canadian Press – the following press releases offer a bit of clarity.

Questions and Answers: Animal Testing and Cosmetics Reference: MEMO/13/188 Event Date: 11/03/2013

Full EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics enters into force Europa Press Release

and related links

Directive 76/768/EEC to be replaced as of July 2013 by Regulation 1223/2009/EU

The Impact Assessment is available on European Commission, Health and Consumers website

Library adds SMS service!

March 7th, 2013 by Ferguson Mitchell

Get your Library notices via text messages!

Library patrons may sign up to receive SMS (text) notifications in addition to email when books arrive, are overdue or recalled. (excluding items arriving from Interlibrary loan and 2hr loans from Reserves)

SMS messages are sent in addition to standard email messages. You cannot opt to receive SMS messages instead of email. SMS messages may incur carrier charges to patron cellular accounts.

Current library users can sign up for SMS through My Account and new users through Activate My Library Card, both via Harvest. If a user wishes to update her SMS contact number or wishes to drop the SMS service, she can opt out via My Account.

Current Library Users

  1. Log into My Accounts/Renew books via Harvest
  2. Click on Address Update Form link
  3. Enter the telephone number where you want to receive text messages in the SMS number field
  4. Check Receive SMS box to enroll and uncheck Receive SMS box to stop receiving text messages
  5. Click on Update to finish the process

New Library Users

  1. Click on Activate Your Library Card link and follow instructions
  2. Enter the phone number where you want to receive text messages in the SMS number field and check the Receive SMS box

Image courtesy JonJon2k8 via Flickr.

FASTR: Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act

February 19th, 2013 by Mary Wood

Legislation introduced to US Congress 14 February 2013

The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act was introduced in both houses of Congress on February 14 by a bipartisan team of sponsors.

From Scholarly Kitchen‘s Nick Anderson:

FASTR would require federal agencies that fund $100 million or more of extramural research each year to ensure that funded authors’ final peer-reviewed manuscripts are made publicly available within six months of publication. Furthermore, the articles are to be made available to the public “in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”


The Association of American Publishers (AAP), predictably enough, characterizes FASTR as a “different name” for the “same boondoggle” (as FRPAA), calling the proposal “unnecessary and a waste of federal resources.” Equally predictable is the response by the Association of College & Research Libraries, whose president expressed his pleasure at the bill’s introduction and emphasized the importance in particular of its provisions for “greater reuse through open licensing.”

The Library Journal InfoDocket (Gary Price) provides access to the ongoing discussion, including comment/analysis from Peter Jerram, PLOS and from Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons

NLM announces new Twitter feed for HIV/AIDS

February 11th, 2013 by Ferguson Mitchell

The National Libraries of Medicine have announced that their Specialized Information Services (SIS) will feature a new Twitter feed aimed at those suffering from HIV/AIDS that are over the age of 50. Found at, this feed will provide a useful information source for victims of the virus:

NLM HIVplus50 ‏@NLM_HIVplus50

Depression is a major condition of those 50 and over affected by #HIV. Info from MedlinePlus: #HIV50

See more at the NLM_HIVplus50 Twitter feed.

Transparent Pricing Doesn’t Curb Doctors’ Use of High-Cost Hospital Imaging Tests

January 30th, 2013 by Ferguson Mitchell

MRI Machine

Johns Hopkins Medicine released a study last week, examining “if doctors who are told the exact price of expensive medical tests like MRIs in advance would order fewer of them.”

From Johns Hopkins Medicine:

In a report published online in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, the researchers found that revealing the costs of MRIs and other imaging tests up front had no impact on the number of tests doctors ordered for their hospitalized patients.

“Cost alone does not seem to be the determining factor in deciding to go ahead with an expensive radiographic test,” says the study’s senior author, Daniel J. Brotman, M.D… “There is definitely an over-ordering of tests in this country, and we can make better decisions about whether our patients truly need each test we order for them. But when it comes to big-ticket tests like MRI, it appears the doctors have already decided they need to know the information, regardless of the cost of the test.”

Read more over at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Image courtesy thomas23 via Flickr.