The IHS Library is Reopening!

The Interprofessional Health Sciences Library will reopen on Monday, August 24 at 6:30am, with modifications in place to conform with state guidance on reopening libraries.

Seating in the library has been significantly reduced to ensure physical distancing, and many of the desktop computers have been removed. Study rooms can only have one occupant at a time.

We want our library users to be aware of how we need your help to remain open and not be a source of new infections. Please see our New IHS Library Rules below.

Operating hours for the IHS Library will be limited and subject to change. Our hours will be: 

Monday – Friday, 6:30 am – 9pm
CLOSED on Saturdays and Sundays

Even though our library will look and feel a bit different, we are so excited to reopen and get to see you all soon!

Opioid Abuse in the COVID-19 Era

Somewhat lost in the worldwide COVID-19 health crisis is the continued destruction of lives through opioid abuse. Metaphorically speaking, it is as if the COVID-19 tsunami landed on a beach already flooded by the storm of the opioid abuse epidemic. One crisis does not mitigate the effects of the other; indeed, early data point to increasing opioid use, with already unacceptable consequences only looking to get worse.

Perhaps COVID-19’s effects on substance abuse was predictable – the pandemic has impacted people in numerous ways, many independent of actual viral infection. Social distancing requirements result in increased isolation and alienation. Economic turmoil has caused widespread unemployment (or reduced employment), leading many people to experience deep financial stress and anxiety. For those battling past abusive/addictive behaviors, the pandemic is a relapse catalyst – setting in motion a return to highly destructive actions, attitudes, and decisions. Opportunities to speak with healthcare professionals, therapists, faith-based counselors, or other support personnel are severely curtailed. These conditions facilitate the surge in opioid use and abuse being witnessed across the nation.

Opioids

What could possibly be done when two such health crises collide? We can only begin to attempt an answer here:

First, we must remove the stigma associated with opioid abuse. It should be recognized that opioid and related substance abuse/addiction represents a disease state – involving biological, environmental, and behavioral factors. It is not about moral failings, but neural networks; less about poor decision making, and more about limited perceived options. Individuals experiencing addiction deserve respect and an understanding of the toll of dependency; to marginalize them is demeaning and counterproductive.

COVID-19-related social distancing mandates lead to a reduction of diversions available to potential opioid users/abusers. Fewer people are around to witness and help prevent or treat potential overdoses.

In healthcare, there is an emergent consensus on the effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) as “the use of FDA-approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.”[1] MAT is not replacing one drug with another – this would be an incomplete understanding of the therapy program. The use of buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone, in combination with counseling and social support/behavioral interventions, have dramatically altered the landscape of opioid use disorder treatment. MAT works – and works well. The problem is the limited number of physicians trained and licensed to administer MAT. Physicians must receive a Drug Addiction Act of 2000 (DATA) waiver (also known as an “X” waiver) to prescribe the requisite drugs and deliver the appropriate behavioral therapies. Physicians may become waivered after 8 hours of didactic training; medical students require 8 hours of specialized training coupled with a clinical experience demonstrating MAT’s use with opioid use disorder patients. Only a small percentage (<10%) of practicing physicians in this country possess the waiver; of those, less than half actually deliver MAT. Some 40% of counties in the U.S. do not have a waivered physician. Tens of thousands of citizens die from opioid use disorder every year – we must increase the number of X waivered physicians and encourage more to practice the therapy.

If there is any silver lining to the COVID-19 crisis, it is the enabling of telemedicine. For those sheltering in place but requiring access to the health system, telemedicine offers a world of new possibilities. Every attempt must be made to promote digital literacy in vulnerable populations to maximize the impact of this technology.

Recognizing the devastation wrought by COVID-19’s impact on opioid abuse disorders, several local and state jurisdictions across the country are trying to help. As per recommendations made by the American Medical Association[2],[3], several changes are afoot. Buprenorphine may now be prescribed to patients by phone or telemedicine encounter. Methadone is being prescribed in amounts that will last almost a month. These lifesaving drugs are being delivered directly to patients in their homes. The process to have prescriptions refilled has also been streamlined – for example, no toxicology or other testing is required. These developments enable care without the risk of exposure to COVID-19 inherent in in-person visits. Finally, naloxone is being recognized as the true overdose wonder drug – and is being far more liberally distributed.

These are incredibly difficult times – with a global viral-based pandemic intersecting with a devastating substance abuse epidemic. However, as with all crises, good ideas, critical reasoning, and evidence-based decision making will chart a course for real change and true improvement. It cannot happen too quickly for all those affected by opioid use disorders.

 

SRT – July 2020

References:
[1] Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). (2020, April 30). Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment

[2] COVID-19 policy recommendations for OUD, pain, harm reduction. (2020, July 2). Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/public-health/covid-19-policy-recommendations-oud-pain-harm-reduction

[3] Taking action on opioid use disorder, pain &amp; harm reduction during COVID-19. (2020, July 2). Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/opioids/taking-action-opioid-use-disorder-pain-harm-reduction-during-covid-19

Racism is a Public Health Issue

Racism is a public health issue. Here is a selection of eBooks and other resources on race and antiracism  for the healthcare student, professional, and community at large.

eBooks on Race and Medicine

Antiracism eBooks

Videos

Other Resources

Special thanks to Brooke Duffy (Seton Hall University Libraries) and Matthew Noe (Harvard Contway Library) for their work on compiling these resources.

Call for Submissions: COVID-19 Oral History Project

COVID-19 oral history call for submissionsTo reconnect as a community during the COVID-19 pandemic, SHU University Libraries seek your stories of what this time has been like for you. We hope that sharing these stories with one another will bring us back together in a new way, through sharing our personal experiences of this moment.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

Please record a 1-3 minute narrative about your experience, using any video or audio equipment available to you, and submit the file to our e-Repository (Under “Author Corner”: Submit Contribution in the left column. If you don’t have an account, you will need to create one).  Please also submit an image that represents your narrative, which will appear next to your recording in the published archive.

Questions to guide your response:

  • What is your day to day life like? What would you want people the future to know about what life is like for us now?
  • What has been most challenging about this time? What do you miss about your life before COVID-19? Are there specific places or things on campus that you miss?
  • Essential is a word we are hearing a lot right now. What does essential mean to you? Who is essential? What are we learning about what is essential?
  • What is COVID-19 making possible that never existed before? What good do you see coming out of this moment? How can we re-frame this moment as an opportunity?
  • What is it you want to remember about this time? What have you learned?
  • After this pandemic ends, will things go back to the way they were? What kinds of changes would you like to see? How will you contribute to rebuilding the world? What will you do differently?

With thanks to the scholars and librarians who came together to create this project: Professors Angela Kariotis Kotsonis, Sharon Ince, Marta Deyrup, Lisa DeLuca, and Alan Delozier, Technical Services Archivist Sheridan Sayles and Assistant Deans Elizabeth Leonard and Sarah Ponichtera.

Information Resources on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Update (2.28.2020): We’ve migrated the below information to the Information Resources on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) toolkit. This toolkit will be updated as additional resources and information is published.

The IHS Library recommends consulting the following resources for factual, up-to-date information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Health Agency Information:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention): Contains information about what you should know about the Coronavirus, situation updates, including a list of locations of confirmed cases, and information resources for travelers and healthcare professionals.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak (World Health Organization): Contains rolling updates about the disease outbreak, as well as important myth-busters to stop the spread of false information. You may also wish to take the WHO e-learning module, Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control.

Research Resources:

2019-nCoV (PubMed): A preformulated search will bring up the latest research from the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Database.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (JAMA): JAMA Network’s updates on coronavirus diagnosis and treatment, along with recent articles.

Novel Coronavirus Information Center (Elsevier): Elsevier is providing free health and medical research on COVID-19, which includes access to the Coronavirus Research Repository.

Information for Patients:

Coronavirus Infections (MedlinePlus): MedlinePlus is a service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), which provides quality, plain-language information for patients.

New Artwork Unveiled at the IHS Library

Neuron art print
“Neuron” by Andrea P. Tóth.

Earlier this month, twelve colorful anatomy prints were permanently installed in various locations throughout the library. The mixed-media watercolor and ink designs are by Prague artist and medical doctor, Andrea P. Tóth, owner of the small-business MedPapers.

When the IHS Library opened in July 2018, the space was beautiful- but the white walls were noticeably in need of artwork. Looking for help on this huge project, the IHS Library consulted with the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine’s Art and Medicine student group for design inspiration. Toth’s prints were ultimately selected for the library for their color, creative interpretation of the human body, and tone of calmness.

So far, the prints have been a huge hit with everyone, especially IHS Library Director, Chris Duffy. “We couldn’t be happier with how these beautiful prints look in our library,” he says. “I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!”

Information Commons
Six prints adorn one wall of the Information Commons.
Neuron synapse art
“Neuron Synapse” by Andrea P. Tóth.

A new look for the IHS Library homepage

the redesigned library homepage
The redesigned library homepage

You’ve probably noticed the IHS Library homepage looks a little different than it has. We have redesigned the homepage to streamline and simplify it, giving you faster and easier access to the content you use most frequently.

Most significantly, we have reduced the number of links in the Popular Resources section of the page. The good news is that all the content that was formerly linked in this section is still available to you using the eBooks, eJournals, and Databases links.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding the new design.

 

Caenorhabditis elegans – the Quintessential Biological Model

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) has proven itself time and time again to be an organism of immense value to biomedical researchers. Important studies employing the biological model appear on a regular basis in top tier journals across a wide array of research areas. One perusing the scientific literature is reminded of the worm’s immense power quite regularly. Consider, for example, two related papers that appeared recently in the press; one regarding selective autophagy and lifespan[1], and the other focused on caloric restriction and how its anti-aging effects are elicited from a cellular/metabolic perspective[2].

C. elegans 3D model
The C. elegans 3D model. VirtualWorm project.

In the former, Kumsta and colleagues show that the (C. elegans) protein p62/SQST-1 (~p62) plays an important role in recognizing cellular proteins, macromolecular structures, and even intracellular organelles – e.g., mitochondria, earmarked for destruction. Such recognition leads to trafficking of the p62-substrate to intracellular degradative centers where the actual destruction takes place. Importantly, worms genetically engineered to overexpress p62 enjoy not only an efficiently operating “selective autophagy” pathway, but also a 25% increase in lifespan. Which proteins precisely constitute the repertoire of those recognized by p62 remains to be determined, but the idea that selective autophagy is an extant mechanism in cells suggests myriad potential applications in targeting for destruction those proteins or structures identified as toxic, and associated with human disease. Cellular quality control is critical – and surveillance systems including those mediated by p62 that help maintain proteostasis (i.e., integrity of cell proteome) are essential.

The article by Weir and colleagues suggests that the anti-aging effects of caloric restriction are elicited, at least in part, through maintenance of mitochondrial network integrity, and an interplay with functional (i.e., fatty acid metabolizing) peroxisomes. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) acts similarly to dietary restriction, eliciting many equivalent effects – including those on longevity. These studies beg the follow up question – are anti-aging therapeutics of the future those that both assure structurally sound mitochondria whose metabolic (read: fat metabolizing) functions are carefully coordinated with peroxisomes, and activate appropriate metabolic cascades – including those involving AMPK? The data generated with C. elegans and presented in this interesting (Cell Metabolism) paper certainly supports such conclusions.


A final word or two regarding C. elegans. Dr. Sydney Brenner performed pioneering work in the 1960s and 1970s establishing the organism as a powerful model for biomedical studies. Among the work done was a description of the worm’s neuronal circuitry. For these and related studies, Dr. Brenner, and Drs. H. Robert Horvitz and John Sulston were awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. C. elegans was the first multicellular eukaryote to have its genome sequenced; the developmental outcome of every one of its 959 of its cells is known; and all its neural connections are identified. The latter, known as a “connectome”, is available in no other animal at present. The worm has been used in studies involving myriad topics in cell biology, with results impacting all aspects of human health, disease, and aging.

The organism made big news when it was revealed in 2003 that nematodes brought aboard the shuttle Columbia for experimental purposes, had survived the tragic fiery crash of the spacecraft. Upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere, the creatures were exposed to astonishingly harsh temperatures, centrifugal/gravitational forces, and atmospheric conditions; yet they returned alive. If worms could survive such conditions – could other microorganisms also do so?  Over the course of time, have microorganisms hitched rides on asteroids, comets, meteors and the like and traveled across the heavens – transferring life forms? Hmm…

SRT – January 2020

References:

[1] Kumsta C, Chang JT, Lee R, et al. The autophagy receptor p62/SQST-1 promotes proteostasis and longevity in C. elegans by inducing autophagy. Nat Commun. 2019;10(1):5648. Published 2019 Dec 11. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13540-4

[2] Weir HJ, Yao P, Huynh FK, et al. Dietary Restriction and AMPK Increase Lifespan via Mitochondrial Network and Peroxisome Remodeling. Cell Metab. 2017;26(6):884–896.e5. doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2017.09.024

APA 7th Edition: What’s new?

APA 7th EditionBy Kyle Downey, Health Sciences Librarian

Back in October the American Psychological Association (APA) released the 7th edition of their APA Publication Manual.  It has been nearly a decade since the 6th edition was released and with this newest edition we see several additions and revisions.

So, what is new?

Some changes to the new publication will be immediately noticeable to the user who has used the previous 6th edition.  First, the new manual is in full color throughout the entire publication.  Some other changes include:

  • Citing of online material, with a focus on social media
  • Inclusion of bias-free language
  • Guidelines on writing without bias that addresses age, disability, gender, race and ethnicity, including the singular use of “they”
  • Using shortened URLs and shortDOIs if a URL or DOI is long and complex
  • Removal of publisher locations for books and book chapters
  • An in-text citation with 3 or more authors is to be shortened to include only the first authors name and “et al”
  • Website URLs no longer need to be preceded with “Retrieved from” unless there is also a retrieval date
  • A single space after any body-text punctuation rather than 2 spaces

To learn more about the new publication manual, check out the APA style blog.

Both the Walsh Library and the IHS Library also have permanent reference copies available for faculty and students to use.

Source: Elias, Daniel. “APA Style 7th Edition: What’s Changed?” MyBib, MyBib, 14 Sept. 2019.