Tag Archives: Consumer Health

We Want to Show (Off!) Our Health Resources

It’s been awhile since we’ve shared details about the resources available in the library and online for staying informed about health topics.  Since we’re always adding new titles — books, magazines, databases, ebooks — now’s a good time to make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest CADL offers.

  • New books — print and electronic – are ordered frequently and our online catalog contains 8 different lists of new items to check out or place on hold.
  • CADL offers electronic reference (eReference) books.  They can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any internet enabled device.
  • The Gale Virtual Reference Library  provides information in 16 subjects including Medicine, Environment and Multicultural Studies.
  • In terms of magazines we have titles such as  Consumer Reports on Health, Men’s Health, Prevention, Yoga Journal, Cure and Diabetes Forecast.
  • For anyone doing research – personal or professional, and needing current journal or newspaper articles, our databases are the best option.  Click Research Tools on our homepage then select Magazine Articles or News & Newspapers.  These databases are fantastic resources.  Many of them are updated every 24 hours and some contain millions of articles dating back to 1980.

Not sure how to use these resources or which ones may best fit your information need? Just ask a staff person.  We’d be happy to show (off!) these resources.

-Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

Compare Hospital Care

Flickr user: Jose Goulao

When you or a family member need medical attention, you of course want the very best you can find – a facility or doctor who specializes in the exact problem you’re dealing with. Wouldn’t it be helpful if there was a resource for comparing hospitals and doctors and other medical service providers to objectively assess their effectiveness and reliability?

Fortunately, there is just such a tool available from the U.S. government through the Health & Human Services Department and  Medicare.gov websites. This interactive site enables you to search for a facility or person by name or have the system develop a list of possibilities for you based on criteria you specify.  For hospital comparisons, the search begins with a location – zip code or city, state and the search type – general, medical conditions, or surgical procedures.  From the results, you can pick up to 3 hospitals to compare in the areas of general information, quality of care, medicare payment and volume data.

Although this tool is located on the Medicare site, it’s for everyone – not just Medicare eligible individuals.  In addition to the hospital comparison feature, you can also compare drug and health plans, nursing homes, dialysis facilities, and home health care.  Each of these compare options include search refinements unique to the service.  For example, under the nursing home compare you can refine your search to include nursing homes within a continuing care retirement community or located within a hospital.

- Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

Walking Works!

Have you signed up yet for the 2012 annual Winter Warm-Up Challenge?  This is the 9th year that local communities are invited to participate in this free, 8-week long walking program, sponsored by Community Partners in Health.  Participants register online at www.walkingworks.com and then return regularly to log in the number of miles or steps they accomplish each day. Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan is awarding grants to all participating teams, with larger rewards earmarked for communities with the most logged miles and most active participants. The grants will be used to support public health and wellness projects in each community.

This year’s participating communities are:  Lansing Township, Delta Township, Delhi Township, Lansing, Williamston, Grand Ledge, Charlotte, St. Johns and East Lansing.

Go to www.walkingworks.com to sign up.  Choose Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield, then 2012 Winter Warm Up Blues Community Challenge, then select your team from the list, enter the required information, and click submit.  You’re now registered with a personal tracking page that links to your overall team page.

Weekly health themes will be discussed  in a single-page newsletter. Newsletters will be e-mailed weekly and paper copies will be available at the Lansing Mall information desk and during the Lansing Mall weekly program. If you would like to receive the newsletter by mail, contact Alicia Armstrong, Playmakers at 517-282-5035.

Community sponsores include: American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Barry-Eaton District Health Department, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, Capital Area District Library, Delta Township Parks and Recreation, Capital Area Health Alliance, City of Lansing, City of St. Johns, East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts, Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital, Ingham County Health Department, Ingham County Parks, Ingham Regional Medical Center, Lansing Community College, Lansing Mall, Meridian Township Parks and Recreation, Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance, MSU Health4U Program, Playmakers, Sparrow Health System, and YMCA of Lansing.

- Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

Keeping Up with Health News

Flickr user: takomabibelot

Are you interested in keeping up to date with the latest trends and news in health care?  Do you wonder what the latest research shows is the most effective treatment for various diseases?  Would you like to be more informed the next time you discuss a concern with your doctor?  While there certainly is no lack of information available from the internet, media, books, and magazines, determining which sources are credible and accurate can be tricky.  So, here are a few resources CADL offers that you can trust:

Medical newsletters:


We can also recommend the New York Times Health section and the FDA Consumer Updates.  You can subscribe to their RSS feeds or read them online.

- Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian


Flickr user: akk_rus

Living in mid-Michigan is, overall, wonderful.  We have easy access to major educational and cultural instutions, we’re only a few hours from several of the great lakes, farmers’ markets offer many locally grown items, and our weather is not too severe.  But, for many people, the winter days bring challenges beyond just cold temperatures, snow and ice.  They suffer from S.A.D. – Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a reaction to changes in environmental light brought about during the shortened daylight hours of northern winters.  Characteristics of S.A.D. can include depression, oversleeping, daytime fatigue, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain.  Symptoms can be mild and not interfere too much with day-to-day activities or cause major problems.

The first-line treatment of choice?  Light therapy.  Research has shown that bright white flourescent light reverses the winter depression symptoms of S.A.D. and benefits may be realized within just a few days. You might also see references to “full-spectrum” bulbs but these don’t offer any particular advantage. Three factors must be considered when designing light therapy to achieve maximum benefit and address the specific needs of the individual - light intensity, light duration, and time of day of exposure.  Your family doctor or a mental health professional can discuss options with you.

To learn more about S.A.D. you can read a document prepared by the National Alliance on Mental IllnessCADL and the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) have some resources that might be useful too.

- Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

Healthy Holiday Eating

November through January 1 has to be the worst time each year for maintaining healthy eating.  And even though I vow that I’ll be prepared and not succumb to temptations each season, it still happens!  So this year, I have new resolve and have decided to arm myself with all the tips and tricks I can find.  Online resourses are plentiful.  Here are a few you might find useful:

And, don’t forget the great collection of resources available at CADL.  We have books, magazines, DVDs, and databases that can help you get and stay healthy.  Subjects include:  holiday cooking, low-fat recipes, diabetes cooking, gluten-free cooking, and many more.  Enjoy the holidays season.

-Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

Could You Live to be 100?

Flickr user: muammerokumus

Here’s an interesting statistic:  according to the United Nations, the United States is in a 3-way tie (with Denmark and Cuba) at #36 for overall average life expectancy for its citizens among the world’s countries.  78.3 years is the overall number, while 75.6 years is for men and 80.8 years is for women.  Besides the (maybe) obvious countries ahead of us like Japan, Sweden, and Norway, there is also South Korea, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico.  So, what do they know and are doing that we’re not?  Could it be that we’re not as well versed in healthy living and eating as we should be?

We all know that what constitutes healthy eating depends on the age of the person doing the eating!  Babies need nutrients that help develop a healthy immune system; young children are building bones and need calcium and vitamin D; teens need the right mix of foods to fuel their boundless energy; adults need to balance the right amount of calories and physical exercise to reduce the chances of chronic disease ; seniors need to accomodate lifestyle changes and reduce the chance of disease.  So, how do we find this kind of information and keep up with the latest nutrition information? 

One resource is the USDA National Agricultural Library which offers many helpful resources through their Food and Nutrition Information Center.  In the “Consumer Corner”, they provide suggestions and guidelines for every stage of lifelong healthy eating – from infants & toddlers through seniors.

Here at CADL we offer books, magazines, DVDs, and presentations.  On October 5, 2011 at 11 a.m., CADL Williamston is sponsoring a program, Cooking Resources for Healthy Aging presented by Wynn Esterline, owner of Home Instead Senior Care.  In our collection, we have items on nutrition, nutrition and genetics (have you got the “fat” gene?), nutrition magazines,  DVDs, healthy cooking, and many others.   We can help you find what you need to live a long, healthy life!

Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

hmm, what was I just saying?

flickr user: dierk shaefer

The prospect of losing one’s memory is scary and something that affects people of all ages, whether it is your own memory or that of a parent or loved one. Memory loss doesn’t always indicate dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it can be caused by any number of things - trauma, aging, medications, disease, alcohol or drug addiction, or surgery.  It can be the inability to remember words, faces, places, even how to perform physical tasks or activities.  It can be short term, gradual, permanent, immediate or temporary.   Fortunately, there are several reliable sources of information for learning about memory loss.  MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health has a thorough overview.  Mayo Clinic offers a list of 7 tips to improve memory.   The National Institute on Aging (part of the National Institutes of Health) has a publication available, NIH Publication No. 10-5442 September 2010, Understanding Memory Loss.  For copies of this booklet, contact:  Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center, P.O. Box 8250, Silver Spring, MD 20907-8250Phone: 1-800-438-4380 www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers.

Saturday, September 17 at 2pm, the Downtown Lansing Library will feature a presentation on the Basics of Memory Loss by  Wynn Esterline, owner of Home Instead Senior Care.  The presentation will include advice on recognizing and coping with memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

CADL has several resources on memory loss, dementia, and alzheimer’s disease in our collection including books and DVDs.

Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

Gluten what?

Living Gluten-Free – Sparrow Hospital’s Marge Pestka, MS, RD, and members of the Michigan Capital Celiac/DH Group will present information on living a happy, healthy life without glutens. Topics include medical information, recipes and resources and will be held  Monday, Sept. 12, 6:30 p.m. at the Mason Library and Tuesday, October 11, 7 p.m. at the Okemos Library.

flickr user:joefoodie

It’s in the news a lot lately and so you’ve probably heard the term “gluten-free”.  But, do you know what it is and why it’s important?  If you’re one of the millions of people who have celiac disease, you know that gluten is protein that occurs naturally in wheat.  It is also in rye, barley and crossbreeds of these grains.  Practically speaking, it’s in obvious foods like wheat bread or whole wheat pasta, but it’s also to be found in milk flavored with malt and is added to products to improve baking quality, texture and flavor.

People with a sensitivity/allergy to gluten develop Celiac disease which damages the lining of the small intestine – the place where we absorb nutrients – which results in malabsorption of nutrients and other complications.  There is no cure and the effective treatment is a life-long gluten-free diet.  Scientists don’t know what causes celiac disease nor why it seems to have become more prevalent.   Fortunately, modern technology and dedicated food scientists, dieticians and food processors have become quite successful at developing tasty, healthy recipes and food items that don’t contain gluten.

Currently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working to define “gluten-free” to ensure uniformity in how producers label their products and to assure consumers that products labelled “gluten-free” truly are and have met strict standards.  The FDA is accepting comments on the new labelling guidelines.  You can go to their site to read more and comment online.

There are many resources available for those interested in learning more about celiac disease and gluten-free eating.  Locally, there is the Michigan Capital Celiac/DH Group.  National organizations include Celiac Sprue Association and the Celiac Disease Foundation and within the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).

The Capital Area District Library has several books on celiac disease and gluten-free cooking.

- Eunice B., CADL Reference Librarian

Hot Health Books

Flickr user: Vassil Tzvetanov

You just never know where or when you’ll find information on good books.  I recently picked up a copy of the July, 2011TasteforLife publication at Foods for Living in East Lansing and found four interesting titles.  All four are available at CADL.

The Healthy Gut Workbook by Victor S. Sierpina, MD. This  offers holistic solutions for gastrointestinal problems presented in an evidence-based approach.

HomeMade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English. This explains everything about making cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.  Recipes and troubleshooting tips included.

How We Age:  a doctor’s journey into the heart of growing old by Marc E. Agronin, MD.  Working in a nursing home, Dr. Agronin has come to understand not only the negative changes associated with growing old but also the positive found in mental, emotional, and spiritual changes.

Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff, MD.  A practicing psychiatrist, Orloff blends traditional and alternative medicine to provide insight into how to use positive forces in one’s life.

Summer time and the reading is easy…

Eunice B., Reference Librarian