Periodic Clinical Alerts are issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to expedite the release of findings from NIH-funded clinical trials in cases where these findings could significantly affect patient morbidity and mortality. Clinical Alerts cover a range of topics and research areas. For example, the two most recent Clinical Alert, issued on March 17, 2000 and March 8, 2000 respectively, are called: Enbrel Shown Safe, Effective in Children and Teenagers with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), and NHLBI Stops Part of Study -- High Blood Pressure Drug Performs No Better Than Standard Treatment, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
In 1991, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) made arrangements with the NIH to distribute Web-based Clinical Alerts as they are issued. NLM links to the Alerts from its Web site at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/alerts/clinical_alerts.html. Links to Clinical Alerts are provided on the Alumni Medical Library's "Clinical Trials" Web site at http://www.medlib.bu.edu/webcollections/subject.cfm?id=20. The NLM's PubMed and Internet Grateful Med search systems also provide links to Clinical Alerts.
In addition to checking for recent Clinical Alerts, busy clinicians can subscribe to the HHSPRESS list which sends NIH press releases directly to you via electronic mail. Users can also subscribe to the NIH LISTSERV at http://list.nih.gov/. The NIH LISTSERV is an e-mail-based server that allows users to create, manage, and control electronic mailing lists on a network. LISTSERV manages list subscriptions, maintains archives of posted messages, optimizes mass mail delivery, and so forth. LISTSERV allows any networked user to subscribe to lists, receive list postings, query LISTSERV, set up a new list, access list archives, etc. In addition, the NIH Listserv provides a forum for health care professionals to share information and receive news and information directly from the NIH.