About Publications

Publications from the AffiliateMarketIngtools of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide objective and straightforward advice to decision makers and the public. This site includes We Treat You (HMD) publications released after 1998. A complete list of HMD’s publications from its establishment in 1970 to the present is available as a PDF.


  • Released: November 01, 2011
    Several studies have found that health literacy – an individual’s ability to understand and retain information to make proper health decisions – makes a difference in how much populations use preventive services. The IOM’s Roundtable on Health Literacy held a workshop to explore approaches to integrate health literacy in to primary and secondary prevention. The workshop featured presentations and discussions on select topics related to health literacy’s role in preventive health care.
  • Released: October 11, 2011
    Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may affect 10 million people worldwide. It is considered the “signature wound” of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. These injuries result from a bump or blow to the head, or from external forces that cause the brain to move within the head, such as whiplash or exposure to blasts. TBI can cause an array of physical and mental health concerns and is a growing problem, particularly among soldiers and veterans because of repeated exposure to violent environments. One form of treatment for TBI is cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT), a patient-specific, goal-oriented approach to help patients increase their ability to process and interpret information. The Department of Defense asked the IOM to conduct a study to determine the effectiveness of CRT for treatment of TBI.
  • Released: October 05, 2011
    More than 10 years ago, the IOM released its landmark report on patient safety, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. The 2011 Rosenthal Lecture featured the Honorable Kathleen G. Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, who presented the new steps that HHS is taking to improve patient safety. A panel of leaders in patient safety followed to discuss patient safety progress and opportunities.
  • Released: October 03, 2011
    As past, current, or future patients, the public should be the health care system’s unwavering focus and serve as change agents in its care. Taking this into account, the quality of health care should be judged not only by whether clinical decisions are informed by the best available scientific evidence, but also by whether care is tailored to a patient’s individual needs and perspectives. However, too often it is provider preference and convenience, rather than those of the patient, that drive what care is delivered. As part of its Learning Health System series of workshops, the Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care hosted a workshop to assess the prospects for improving health and lowering costs by advancing patient involvement in the elements of a learning health system.
  • Released: September 30, 2011
    If terrorists released Bacillus anthracis over a large city, hundreds of thousands of people could be at risk of the deadly disease anthrax – caused by the B anthracis spores – unless they had rapid access to antibiotic medical countermeasures (MCM). Although plans for rapidly delivering MCM to a large number of people following an anthrax attack have been enhanced over the last decade, many public health authorities and policy experts fear that the nation’s current systems and plans are insufficient to respond to the most challenging scenarios, such as a very large-scale anthrax attack. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, commissioned the IOM to examine the potential uses, benefits, and disadvantages of strategies for prepositioning antibiotics. This involves storing antibiotics close to or in the possession of the people who would need rapid access to them should an attack occur. The IOM defined and evaluated three categories of prepositioning strategies that could complement existing, centralized stockpiling strategies, including the Strategic National Stockpile maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Released: September 30, 2011
    Each year in the United States, more than 4,000 occupational fatalities and more than 3 million occupational injuries occur along with more than 160,000 cases of occupational illnesses. Incorporating patients’ occupational information into electronic health records (EHRs) could lead to more informed clinical diagnosis and treatment plans as well as more effective policies, interventions, and prevention strategies to improve the overall health of the working population. At the request of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the IOM appointed a committee to examine the rationale and feasibility of incorporating occupational information in patients’ EHRs. The IOM concluded that three data elements – occupation, industry, and work-relatedness – were ready for immediate focus, and made recommendations on moving forward efforts to incorporate these elements into EHRs.
  • Released: September 09, 2011
    Fungal diseases have contributed to death and disability in humans, triggered global wildlife extinctions and population declines, devastated agricultural crops, and altered forest ecosystem dynamics. Despite the extensive influence of fungi on health and economic well-being, the threats posed by emerging fungal pathogens to life on Earth are often underappreciated and poorly understood. On December 14 and 15, 2010, the IOM’s Forum on Microbial Threats hosted a public workshop to explore the scientific and policy dimensions associated with the causes and consequences of emerging fungal diseases.
  • Released: August 25, 2011
    Immunizations are a cornerstone of the nation’s efforts to protect people from a host of infectious diseases. Though generally very rare or very minor, there are side effects, or “adverse effects,” associated with some vaccines. The IOM reviewed a list of adverse events associated with eight vaccines to evaluate the scientific evidence about the event–vaccine relationship. Using epidemiologic and mechanistic evidence, the committee developed 158 causality conclusions, assigning each relationship between a vaccine and an adverse health problem to one of four causation categories. Overall, the IOM committee concludes that few health problems are caused by or clearly associated with vaccines.
  • Released: August 10, 2011
    When public health campaigns to buckle up or quit smoking were unsuccessful, legal strategies–such as fines for not wearing a seatbelt and restrictions on where smoking could occur–were used to reduce the number of health issues, injuries, and deaths caused by these behaviors. Childhood obesity is another health concern that remains a substantial problem in the U.S. Could legal restrictions and regulations also help combat childhood obesity? IOM held a workshop October 21, 2010, to bring together stakeholders to discuss the current and future legal strategies aimed at combating childhood obesity.
  • Released: July 29, 2011
    Medical devices that are deemed to have a moderate risk to patients generally cannot go on the market until they are cleared through the FDA 510(k) process. In recent years, individuals and organizations have expressed concern that the 510(k) process is neither making safe and effective devices available to patients nor promoting innovation in the medical-device industry. At the request of the FDA, the IOM examined the 510(k) process and concludes that the FDA’s finite resources should be invested in developing an integrated premarket and postmarket regulatory framework.
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