The Library's Science, Technology and Business Division has published several additional subject bibliographies in its "Tracer Bullet" series. Not intended to be comprehensive, these compilations are designed—as the name of the series implies—to put the reader "on target."
Diabetes Mellitus updates the division's previous diabetes bibliography (1986) and emphasizes patient information. Diabetes mellitus is a disease characterized by the body's inability to produce or use insulin properly, resulting in high levels of blood glucose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15.7 million Americans have diabetes. Of these, 5.4 million are not aware that they are diabetic.
There are four types of diabetes mellitus. Type 1 is caused by autoimmune, genetic and environmental factors; the body produces no or extremely low levels of insulin. In Type 2, the body cannot produce enough insulin; Type 2 is associated with several risk factors, including family history, obesity, age and ethnicity. The third type occurs during some pregnancies, but disappears once the pregnancy is over; women who have had "gestational" diabetes in the past are more likely to repeat with subsequent pregnancies. Type 4 has surgery, drugs, malnutrition or infection among the causal factors. Complications of diabetes include hypertension, heart attack, stroke, circulation problems, kidney failure and blindness.
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are important components of human nutrition. Although specific vitamins were not discovered until the 20th century, the effects of nutritional deficiencies were recognized much earlier. The term "vitamine" was first proposed in 1912 by Polish chemist Casimir Funk; it was shortened to "vitamin," and as vitamins were identified over the following decades, they came to be viewed as essential elements in maintaining good health and in treating diseases of deficiency.
Synthesized vitamins became widely available and were increasingly added to foods and sold as tablets and capsules. The one-a-day vitamin and mineral supplement, introduced in 1940, quickly gained widespread popularity, especially in the United States, where by 1997 an estimated half of all Americans were taking a supplement on a regular basis. Today we recognize approximately 13 vitamins or vitamin groups, as well as seven major minerals and 10 trace elements.
Interest in sports has expanded and changed since the first Tracer Bullet on sports medicine was published in 1979. Sports medicine is no longer limited to treating the professional athlete. Today, children start playing sports at a very early age and with greater intensity than their parents did. Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1965 has encouraged participation in sports by girls and women. More people are physically active throughout their lives, and there is increasing interest in recreational sports at all ages.
The bibliography covers a broad range of topics, from prevention to the assessment and treatment of injuries, from physical therapy and alternative medicine to nutrition, drug use and the psychological aspects of injury. Sports medicine information can be specific for the age of the athlete (youth, adolescent, adult) as well as for gender. Publications are available for professional clinicians, trainers, coaches, parents of athletes and for athletes themselves.
These new publications are free and may be obtained by writing to the Science, Technology and Business Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540, or by telephoning (202) 707-5664. A list is available of many other Tracer Bullets on timely subjects in science and technology.
For those with Internet access, all Tracer Bullets published from 1989 until several years ago, as well as selected older Tracer Bullets, can be read on a Web-mounted full-text database, SCTB Online, which can be reached at memory.loc.gov/sctb or from under the Science Reading Room home page at www.loc.gov/rr/scitech. The three items announced here will be added to the database in a short while.