For my take home assignment I took a look at the web sites of the Food and Drug Administration (web) and the National Institute of Health (web).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a government agency whose job is to regulate food, drugs, medical devices and vaccines. It also regulates Animal Feeds and Drugs, cosmetics and things that emit radiation like cell phones, microwaves and lasers. The NIH is not a government agency like the FDA, for it is part of the Department of the Health and Human Services branch of the government. While the FDA is mostly concerned with regulations of drugs and food the NIH does research to help prevent, detect and treat diseases and disabilities. It does research in its own laboratories and also sponsors research in universities, medical schools, hospitals and other research institutions across the country.
Overall I though the web sites were informative with their own strengths and weakness. I found that the NIH web site was more organized and easier to find desired information. It had a search feature which was useful in finding information on the site. It also had clearly labeled headings, making it even more easier to find needed information. The web site however was presented a in very bland fashion and seemed to be targeted at researchers and scientists who usually come for information. The FDA’s site on the other hand was presented in a more colorful way and seemed to be directed toward the general public.
The Internet has emerged as the most rapidity adopted communication medium in history. The Internet by design is de-centralized, inexpensive, uncensored, and accessible from anywhere in the globe. Bill Gates contends that the Internet is first step along the "Information Superhighway", which will ultimately create a "global village" that will allow for a more symmetrically distribution of ...
This maybe because the FDA is in the news quite often and is more well known, while the NIH is little known, except among people in the fields of science and medicine. At the FDA’s site there seemed to be more news items and press releases than scientific data It did have good information about current drugs and even included a small section devoted to kids. The two sites offered various different types of research. Most of the research date shown on the FDA’s site had to do with various types of drugs, foods, treatments and medical devices. It also had consumer affairs issues such as what brands of foods have been determined by the FDA to be bad for human consumption and what drugs have potentially harmful side effects to them.
The NIH’s site had a more extensive research section devoted to scientific research, rather than general information like the FDA’s. It provided articles from scientific journals data from laboratory tests and data on tests on laboratory animals and microorganisms. It also as a specific section devoted to microbiology and molecular biology. The FDA’s site discussed more issues than the NIH.
One the front page of the FDA’s site it had articles devoted to recent issues that the FDA was concerned about. Some of the issues that were being addressed on the FDA’s site were effects on radiation emitted by cellular phones, certain health risks associated with silicone breast implants, the nationwide shortage of the flu vaccine and a more recent issue addressed by the FDA was trying to remove a harmful ingredient found in many over- the counter and prescription cold and cough medicines phenylpropanolamine (PPA).
The NIH deals with issues discovered in laboratory research. Some of the items that I came across was a discovery that people with Common Masculinizing Disorder also lack adrenaline.
This can be useful in treatment and prevention of such a disorder. Another key discovery that the NIH made was the discovery that adolescent smoking led to anxiety disorders in early adulthood. This information can be used in anti- smoking campaigns. Neither of the web sites had a specific section devoted to biology, but both has science sections which contained some things related to biology. In the FDA’s site most of the science information was contained in the Science@FDA part of the web page.
After visiting and examining the PBS Web site, I was able to conclude that it is an extremely successful entertainment and educational site. The Web site has won many substantial awards, including the prestigious 'Web bie Award' in 1998 and 1999. According to a recent survey, fifty-six percent of users at the PBS Web site are male and sixty percent are between the ages of eighteen and forty-four. ...
In that section I found some interesting items related to human biology. One article said that FDA researchers discovered that a protein known as CD 26, which is present on the surface of white blood cells influences the chemokines, which direct the traffic of the immune cells. They found out that CD 26 can disable or activate chemokines. This can be useful in treating certain diseases where chemokines are important. The NIH’s site covered far more topics related to biology. It had data from tests on laboratory animals, data from other lab tests and a section on molecular biology, which was somewhat interesting.
In the molecular biology section, I found that it had some really neat things on proteins, such as a list of most proteins found in the human body, complete with their molecular structures and formulas. It also had information on how the protein is used and how it effects the body. This could be useful if you were to do a research paper on proteins. Overall I liked the two web sites. I found them informative and interesting. I learned several new things about biology, medicine and other fields of science.
The FDA’s web site had a lot more facts and news items, while the NIH’s site had more data. I could use both of these site for future research further into biology.