News and Updates for Healthcare Professionals

Data Briefs

State of Aging and Health in America: Data Brief Series are topic-specific documents focusing on public health issues related to older adults. These briefs provide public health professionals with the most recent data available on health and aging related conditions, including the importance of brain health, the management of chronic conditions, and caregiving burdens, to help identify needs and mitigate the future effects of a growing older population.

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NIH releases strategic plan to accelerate nutrition research over next 10 years

What if each of us had individualized dietary recommendations that helped us decide what, when, why, and how to eat to optimize our health and quality of life? This precision nutrition approach — developing targeted and effective diet interventions in a diverse population — is among the ambitious goals set out by the 2020-2030 Strategic Plan for National Institutes of Health Nutrition Research.

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COVID-19 Guidance for Older Adults

Older adults, 65 years and older, are at higher risk for severe illness. COVID-19 is a new disease and we are learning more about it every day. Information is available in multiple languages.

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Are You Aware? Quick Facts About Kidney Disease

In the United States, nearly half (45%) of adults have high blood pressure, or hypertension,1 a principal or contributing cause of death for more than 472,000 people in 2017.2 Hypertension and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are closely linked. Hypertension is not only among the most important risk factors for CKD but is almost always present in people with CKD, occuring in 85% to 95% of those with advanced CKD (stages 3–5).3

Albuminuria, or protein in the urine, is associated with duration and severity of hypertension and is a risk factor for CKD and CKD progression, cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and stroke, and early death.4 Despite guidelines to screen for albuminuria in all patients with hypertension,5,6 urine albumin testing is not frequently done in clinical practice. In the Veterans Health Administration system, although the percentage of patients with urine albumin results was higher with increasing age, less than one-third of patients with hypertension were tested for albuminuria in 2018 (figure).

Laboratory tests for albuminuria are reliable, simple, and relatively inexpensive. Testing is an important step to identifying CKD and evaluating risk for cardiovascular disease and kidney disease progression. This is especially needed among patients with hypertension.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hypertension Cascade: Hypertension Prevalence, Treatment and Control Estimates Among US Adults Aged 18 Years and Older Applying the Criteria From the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association’s 2017 Hypertension Guideline—NHANES 2013–2016. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2019.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death, 1999–2017. CDC WONDER Online Database. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2018. Accessed January 7, 2019.
  3. Rao MV, Qiu Y, Wang C, Bakris G. Hypertension and CKD: Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 1999–2004. Am J Kidney Dis. 2008;51(4 suppl 2):S30–S37.
  4. Matsushita K, Ballew SH, Astor BC, et al. Cohort profile: the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium. Int J Epidemiol. 2013;42(6):1660–1668.
  5. Krammer HJ, Townsend RR, Griffin K, et al. KDOQI US Commentary on the 2017 ACC/AHA Hypertension Guideline. Am J Kidney Dis. 2019;73(4):437–458.
  6. Mancia G, De Backer G, Dominiczak A, et al. 2007 Guidelines for the Management of Arterial Hypertension: the Task Force for the Management of Arterial Hypertension of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). J Hypertens. 2007;25(6):1105–1187.

Curriculum on Alzheimer’s Disease—-NEW COVID-19 American Sign Language Videos

As Alzheimer’s disease gains more national attention as a public health crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alzheimer’s Association, and Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health have an updated, flexible resource to help prepare the future public health workforce.

A Public Health Approach to Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias is a free curricular resource created for use by university faculty. The curriculum introduces students of public health and related disciplines to information about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, as well as to public health approaches to address Alzheimer’s as a multilayered, growing public health challenge.

Module 1

NEW — Module 2

Curriculum Features:

  • Modules are peer-reviewed and ready to use.
  • Modules can be used together or individually.
  • Faculty can easily adapt and incorporate the modules into existing course content.
  • Curriculum content is linked to public health competencies.

Each module includes a faculty guide and a PowerPoint presentation with talking points, as well as selected case studies, video resources, sample test questions, and engaging learning activities for the classroom.

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COVID-19: Guidance for Older Adults

NEW: Videos in American Sign Language
Older adults are at higher risk of getting sick and having significant health complications from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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Expert U.S. panel develops NIH treatment guidelines for COVID-19

“Living document” expected to be updated often as new clinical data accrue.

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EHC Program Update: Treatments for Chronic Pain Final Reports Now Available

Systematic Reviews Now Available

Opioid Treatments for Chronic Pain
(Systematic Review, released on April 16, 2020)

The review assesses the effectiveness and harms of opioid therapy for chronic noncancer pain, alternative opioid dosing strategies, and risk mitigation strategies.

Nonopioid Pharmacologic Treatments for Chronic Pain
(Systematic Review, released on April 16, 2020)

The review evaluates the benefits and harms of nonopioid drugs in randomized controlled trials of patients with specific types of chronic pain, considering the effects on pain, function, quality of life, and adverse events.

Noninvasive Nonpharmacological Treatment for Chronic Pain
(Systematic Review, released on April 16, 2020)

The review assesses noninvasive nonpharmacological treatments for common chronic pain conditions.

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Large-scale analysis links glucose metabolism proteins in the brain to Alzheimer’s disease biology

NIH-funded research reveals protein network changes that may be druggable targets, biomarkers.

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Alzheimer’s trial screening data links high amyloid levels with early stage disease

First paper from NIH-funded “A4” study supports amyloid as target for prevention.

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NIDA Director outlines potential risks to people who smoke and use drugs during COVID-19 pandemic

The piece raises several important concerns regarding COVID-19 for specific vulnerable populations.

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The National Library of Medicine expands access to coronavirus literature through PubMed Central

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health, is working on multiple fronts to aid in the COVID-19 response through new initiatives with the global publishing community and artificial intelligence researchers. NLM is expanding access to scientific papers on coronavirus for researchers, care providers, and the public, and for text-mining research. This work makes use of NLM’s PubMed Central® (PMC), a digital archive of peer-reviewed biomedical and life sciences literature. PMC currently provides access to nearly 6 million full-text journal articles.

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CDC High Obesity Program

CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity launched a program called Programs to Reduce Obesity in High Obesity Areas, also referred to as HOP, and this collection highlights the program’s approach and describes both overarching and program-specific evaluation findings. Seven of the articles highlight the work of land-grant universities, and one describes HOP’s implementation approach, evaluation framework, and key findings.

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New coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces

SARS-CoV-2 stability similar to original SARS virus.

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Blood test method may predict Alzheimer’s protein deposits in brain

NIH-funded study reports advance in blood-based detection of ptau181, a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Study finds irregular sleep patterns double the risk of cardiovascular disease in older adults

Variability in sleep duration and timing may represent new and independent heart disease risk factor.

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NIH clinical trial of remdesivir to treat COVID-19 begins

Study enrolling hospitalized adults with COVID-19 in Nebraska.

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Opioids and Opioid Use Disorder TEP Final Report

This report considers issues related to acute and chronic pain management and substance use disorders (SUD). The guidance provided aims to achieve the application of the proper healthcare quality metrics across the U.S. healthcare system. Using the best metrics, in turn, seeks both to continue to reduce opioid deaths verifiably, to encourage the implementation of best practices of pain management, to decrease the incidence of other SUDs, and to decrease illegal drug use by those unable to obtain prescription pain medication.

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Neural Signature Identifies People Likely to Respond to Antidepressant Medication

Researchers have discovered a neural signature that predicts whether individuals with depression are likely to benefit from sertraline, a commonly prescribed antidepressant medication. The findings, published in Nature Biotechnology, suggest that new machine learning techniques can identify complex patterns in a person’s brain activity that correlate with meaningful clinical outcomes.

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AHRQ Views Blog: New Guide to Help Primary Care Practices Manage Opioid Patients

A new guide to help primary care practices manage patients taking opioids for chronic pain is highlighted in a new post by AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna, M.B.A. The new Self-Service How-To Guide helps practices implement the AHRQ-funded Six Building Blocks, a structured, systems-based approach to treating patients who use long-term opioid therapy. Clinicians and staff, quality improvement personnel, practice coaches, and clinic administrators can use the new guide to implement the Six Building Blocks in a three-stage,15-month timeline. Developing tools and resources to reduce opioid overdoses and the prevalence of opioid use disorder is a priority for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and AHRQ.

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Opioid-Benzo Co-Prescribing Continues, Despite Risks One-third of office visits with benzodiazepine prescriptions involve overlapping opioids

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The Public Health Road Map to Respond to the Growing Dementia Crisis

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Patients with newly diagnosed musculoskeletal pain are prescribed opioids more often than recommended

NIH study shows treatment recommendations impacted by patient and physician factors.

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The Federal Government Supports Health Literacy Research!

Several health literacy research tools are developed from the funding and support of the federal government. Visit our website to see how the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education and others support health literacy research.

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PCORI Statement on Congressional Reauthorization of Funding

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Improving Management of Opioids and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in Older Adults (R18)

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Culture & Health Literacy

The ideas people have about health, the languages they use and the health literacy skills they have, reflect their cultures. Organizations can increase communication effectiveness when they recognize and address cultural differences that may contribute to miscommunication. Our website has resources to help you improve your cross-cultural communications skills.

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Free Health Literacy Resources

Community organizations are incorporating health literacy strategies to contribute to the well-being of their community. Check out our website for more resources community organizations offer for your communication needs.

Also, check out the
Clear Communication Index
! A research-based tool that helps you develop and assess communication materials for your intended audience.

Side effects mild, brief with single antidepressant dose of intravenous ketamine

Safety data analyzed from five NIH inpatient clinical trials

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AHRQ Evidence-Based Practice Update

Treatment for Acute Pain: An Evidence Map

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