Thursday, September 11, 2014

Understanding and Finding Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Each study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose or treat a disease. Clinical trials may also compare a new treatment to a treatment that is already available.

Participants in clinical trials can play a more active role in their own health care, gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available, and help others by contributing to medical research.

Every clinical trial has a protocol, or action plan, for conducting the trial. The plan describes what will be done in the study, how it will be conducted, and why each part of the study is necessary. Each study has its own rules about who can participate. Some studies need volunteers with a certain disease. Some need healthy people. Others want just men or just women.

In the United States, an independent committee of physicians, statisticians and members of the community must approve and monitor the protocol. They make sure that the risks are small and are worth the potential benefits.

[Excerpted from the links below]

About Clinical Trials

Understanding Clinical Trials

Clinical Research Trials and You
[From the National Institutes of Health]

Clinical Trials
[From MedlinePlus]

Finding Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials at UCSF Medical Center offers up-to-date information for locating federally and privately supported clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditions.

Finding Cancer Clinical Trials

Searching the hundreds of research studies on cancer treatments can be overwhelming.  Using the tools from the following resources can make it easier to find clinical trials that may be right for you.

National Cancer Institute - Clinical Trials Search

If you need more help, contact the librarian at the Patient Health Library for an individual consultation.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Health Newsletters at the Patient Health Library, August 2014

Here are highlights from recent health and wellness newsletters at the UCSF Patient Health Library.  To see the entire articles, visit the Patient Health Library.

Not all information is free and not all of it is online!

Consumer Reports on Health

September 2014
-Food-label claims that can fool you, p.10

Duke Medicine Health News

August 2014
-DASH Diet for hypertension, p.3

Harvard Health Letter

July 2014
-5 simple tricks to sharpen thinking and memory skills, pp.1,7

August 2014
-Start a walking program in 3 easy steps, p.3
-Pill-free ways to improve your sex life, p.4
-Key minerals to help control blood pressure, p.5

Harvard Heart Letter

July 2014
-For a heart-healthy diet, don't fixate on fat, pp.1,7
-Learning hands-only CPR could help save a loved one's life, p.3

August 2014
-Dietary supplements: sorting out the science, pp.1,7
-The lesser-known fat in your blood, p.3
-New guidelines for the prevention of recurrent stroke, p.6

Harvard Men's Health Watch

July 2014
-Online Alzheimer's tests: unscientific and inaccurate, p.3

Harvard Women's Health Watch

July 2014
-Foods that fight inflammation, pp.1,7
-Breast cancer screening: options beyond the mammogram, p.3
-Osteoporosis drugs: which is right for you? pp.4-5

August 2014
-Summer skin safety, pp.4-5
-What meditation can do for your mind, mood, and health, p.6

Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

July 2014
-The internet for the older set, pp.4-5

Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter

July 2014
-How much water do you really need? pp.1,4-5

August 2014
-Aerobic activity helps build bigger brains, pp.1,3

UC Berkeley Wellness Letter

July 2014
-Coconut palm sugar: a better sugar? p.3

August 2014
-Is the Pap test passe? pp.1-2

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Health Newsletters at the Patient Health Library, July 2014

Here are highlights from recent health and wellness newsletters at the UCSF Patient Health Library.  To see the entire articles, visit the Patient Health Library.

Not all information is free and not all of it is online!

Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter

April 2014
-What can you really do to feel more energetic? pp.4-5
-Make sure you're getting enough B12, p.7

June 2014
-Smart shopping for salmon, pp.4-5
-Protein plus exercise equals less muscle loss with aging, p.7
-Q: Is oat bran as good as oatmeal for nutrition value? A: "Adding oat bran to your cereal may be a quick and easy way to add fiber and other nutrients to your diet....Keep your mind open to...the original whole there are many components of food whose function or relationships we do not yet understand."

June 2014 Supplement: How safe are so-called "dietary supplements"?

Nutrition Action Newsletter

June 2014
-Don't believe everything you hear, pp.1,3-7
"It doesn't matter if the news came from the New York Times, '60 Minutes,' or Dr. Oz....The information could well be incomplete, preliminary, or downright flawed."
-Oh my GERD! A guide to heartburn and beyond, pp.9-11

Mayo Clinic Health Letter

June 2014
-Atrial fibrillation choices, pp.4-5
-Cancer-related symptoms, p.6
-Shared medical decisions, p.7

June 2014 Supplement: Highly functional foods: Eating your way to good health

Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

June 2014
-The truth about testosterone replacement therapy, pp.1-2
-Preventing complications of chronic kidney disease, pp.4-5

Harvard Heart Letter

June 2014
-Should you seek advanced cholesterol testing? p.3
-How sugar harms the heart, p.6
-Measure blood pressure in both arms, p.7

Harvard Health Letter

June 2014
-Easy exercises for healthy knees, pp.1,7
-4 fast mood boosters, p.3
-Taming irritable bowel syndrome, p.6
-Are cholesterol-lowering statin drugs for everyone? p.7

Consumer Reports on Health

June 2014
-Are supplements really safe? p.1,4-5
-Spot and fix medical billing mistakes, p.8
-The best way to stop bug bites, p.10

July 2014
-Heart disease questions and answers, pp.1,4-5

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Facts about Smoking and Help for Quitting

  • Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and compounds. Hundreds are toxic and at least 69 are known to cause cancer.
  • Damage from tobacco smoke is immediate; the chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale.
  • Low levels of smoke exposure, including exposures to secondhand tobacco smoke, lead to a rapid and sharp increase in dysfunction and inflammation of the lining of the blood vessels, which are implicated in heart attacks and stroke.
  • About 60 percent of American children ages 4-11 are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.
  • The list of diseases caused by smoking includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema), coronary heart disease, stroke, abdominal aortic aneurysm, acute myeloid leukemia, cataract, pneumonia, periodontitis, and bladder, esophageal, laryngeal, lung, oral, throat, cervical, kidney, stomach, and pancreatic cancers. Smoking is also a major factor in a variety of other conditions and disorders, including slowed healing of wounds, infertility, and peptic ulcer disease.
  • Smoking has been linked to at least one-third of all cancer-related deaths in the U.S.
  • Smoking causes more than one in five deaths in America.
  • Smokers die significantly earlier than nonsmokers: 13.2 years for men and 14.5 years for women.
  • Since 1965, more than 45 percent of adults who have ever smoked have quit.
  • Quitting at any age and at any time is beneficial. It's never too late to quit.
[Compiled from the resources below]

Smoking Facts
[Source: American Lung Association]

Smoking - The Facts
[Source: MedlinePlus]

Smoking & Tobacco Use: Fast Facts
[Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General (2010)

[Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services]

The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General (2014)
[Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services]

Smoking: Do you really know the risks?
[Source: American Heart Association]

Guide to Quitting Smoking
[Source: American Cancer Society]

Smoking Cessation Products
[Source: U.S. FDA]

How To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms and Triggers When You Decide To Quit Smoking
[Source: National Cancer Institute]

The UCSF Medical Center's Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center offers classes as well as individual consultations with doctors trained in treating tobacco addiction. They help smokers maximize the likelihood of success in their efforts to quit. Services include:
  •     Smoking Cessation Classes
  •     Relapse Prevention Program
  •     Doctor Consultation
For more information, to schedule an appointment or to enroll in a class, please contact the Fontana Tobacco Treatment Center at:

UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion
2330 Post St., Suite 420
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 885-7895

Note: The online enrollment link is tricky to find. Go to and click on Show More (above the map)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Health Newsletters at the Patient Health Library, May 2014

Here are highlights from recent health and wellness newsletters at the UCSF Patient Health Library.  To see the entire articles, visit the Patient Health Library.

Not all information is free and not all of it is online!

Consumer Reports on Health

May 2014
-How to sharpen your memory now, pp.1,4-5
"The same steps you take to promote your overall health and well-being should help protect your brain as well."
-You can survive allergy season, pp.6-7
-Do drug ads tell the truth? p.9

Harvard Health Letter
May 2014
-5 steps to adapt your home as you age, pp.1,7
-Boost your thinking skills with exercise, p.3
-Relief dos and don'ts for that nagging neck pain, p.4
-Caffeine: how much is too much? p.5

Harvard Heart Letter

May 2014
-Eat more fiber-rich foods to foster heart health, p.3
-When very high cholesterol runs in the family, p.4
"The standard advice...still applies: cut back on foods rich in cholesterol and saturated fat, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, and eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and fish."

Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50

May 2014
-The toll of untreated depression, pp.1-2
-A guide to new prostate cancer tests, pp.4-5

Special spring/summer 2014 issue
-Options for different types of neck pain, pp.1-2
-Improving range of motion in arthritic joins, pp.4-5
-Back spasms, p.6
-Getting the right support when you sleep, p.8

Mayo Clinic Health Letter

May 2014
-Cataract surgery, pp.1-3

UC Berkeley Wellness Letter

May 2014
-Should you still take that multi? pp.1-2
-Clearing the air: Pollutants in the home, p.5

Spring/summer 2014: All about allergies