News in Brief: Week of April 27-May 1

May 01, 2015 04:13 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

HHS Releases "Pathways to Safer Opioid Use" Tool

HHS has released its "Pathways to Safer Opioid Use" tool,( which is an immersive, interactive training resource designed using the opioid-related recommendations outlined in the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention. The training uses the principles of health literacy and a multimodal, team-based approach to promote the appropriate, safe and effective use of opioids to manage chronic pain.

This Web-based training tool allows trainees to assume the role of four playable characters who respond to a given scenario by making decisions intended to prevent opioid-related adverse drug events based on varying circumstances. The characters represent a primary care physician, nurse, pharmacist and patient.

Free CME credits are available for training completed by Feb. 16, 2017. The AAFP also offers a number of pain management CME activities.

Final Recommendation for Community Water Fluoridation Issued

On April 27, HHS released its final Public Health Service recommendation( for the optimal fluoride level in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The new recommendation calls for a single level of 0.7 mg of fluoride per liter. It updates and replaces the previous recommended range (0.7 to 1.2 mg per liter) issued in 1962, according to a news release.

The change was recommended because Americans now have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, than they did when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United States. As a result, there has been an increase in fluorosis, which, in most cases, manifests as barely visible lacy white marking or spots on the tooth enamel. The new recommended level will maintain the protective decay prevention benefits of water fluoridation and reduce the occurrence of dental fluorosis.

Find out more about community water fluoridation on the CDC website.(

Campaign Offers Sarcoidosis Patients Tools to Manage Their Disease

The CHEST Foundation of the American College of Chest Physicians has partnered with the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research to launch a yearlong campaign encouraging people living with sarcoidosis to take a proactive role in their treatment plan.

"Sarcoidosis is a multisystem disorder that can be perplexing to patients -- and doctors. The exact cause is unknown, and symptoms can mimic those of other diseases," said Doreen Addrizzo-Harris, M.D., co-director of the Pulmonary/Critical Care Faculty Group Practice at New York University's Langone Medical Center and trustee of the CHEST Foundation Board, in a press release.( "Because each case of sarcoidosis is unique, it is vital to ask questions to determine the best course of action."

When treatment for sarcoidosis is needed, it is important for patients to weigh all options with their physician.

To facilitate this discussion, the Sarcoidosis: Seek Answers. Inspire Results. campaign offers people living with sarcoidosis and their caregivers simple, easy-to-use resources( to understand and manage their unique condition. In particular, the "Sarcoid Five," a list of five questions designed to start proactive patient-physician conversations, helps people living with sarcoidosis understand treatment options and create a personalized plan to control their individual condition.

July 1 Will Mark Name Change for Institute of Medicine

On April 28, at its 152nd annual meeting, members of the Washington-based National Academy of Sciences voted to make a name change. The Institute of Medicine will officially be known as the National Academy of Medicine effective July 1.

According to a news release,( the change was made as part of broad internal reorganization aimed at better integrating the work of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

National Academy of Sciences President Ralph Cicerone called the establishment of the National Academy of Medicine "a significant milestone in our history," adding that the change was "an acknowledgement of the importance of medicine and related health sciences to today's global research enterprises."

"It will also better align us to take a more integrated, multidisciplinary approach to our work, reflecting how science is best done today," said Cicerone.

African Union and CDC Partner to Launch African CDC

Leaders from the United States and the African Union Commission have signed a memorandum of cooperation to create the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (African CDC).

"The West African Ebola epidemic reaffirmed the need for a public health institute to support African ministries of health and other health agencies in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to any disease outbreak," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., in a press release.( "This memorandum solidifies the commitment by the United States to advance public health across Africa and global health security."

The African CDC is slated to launch later this year with the establishment of an African Surveillance and Response Unit, which will include an Emergency Operations Center and provide technical expertise and response coordination during emergencies.