March 2005 MedBytes: Demographics on the Web

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This month's cover story discusses state demographer Steve Murdock's predictions for the future population of Texas. Below is a sample of sites on the World Wide Web that can provide additional information about the state's changing population.

Texas State Data Center and Office of the State Demographer
The Texas State Data Center and Office of the State Demographer functions as a focal point for the distribution of census information for Texas. The center also disseminates population estimates and projections for Texas, as well as information from the federal government, state government, and other sources. The site,, provides slides from previous presentations, access to publications and reports (including The Texas Challenge in the Twenty-First Century: Implications of Population Change for the Future of Texas ), and press releases. Also included is a listing of services and contact information.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report ( MMWR ) is prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Reports can be accessed online at The data in the weekly MMWR are provisional, based on weekly reports to CDC by state health departments. The reporting week concludes at the close of business on Friday; compiled data on a national basis are officially released to the public on the following Friday. The MMWR site provides a search engine that assists visitors in researching specific topics and finding particular reports.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM)
A nonprofit organization created for science-based advice on matters of biomedical science, medicine, and health, the IOM was chartered in 1970 as a component of the National Academy of Sciences. The institute's site,, provides unbiased, evidence-based, and authoritative information and advice concerning health and science policy to policymakers, professionals, and the public at large. Categories of interest are organized on the home page and include such topics as Aging, Healthcare and Quality, Public Health and Prevention, and Minority Health. The site also provides information about current IOM projects and provides visitors with the chance to subscribe to IOM News , a free, bimonthly e-mail newsletter.

Alliance for Aging Research
Founded in 1986, the nonprofit Alliance for Aging Research is a citizen advocacy organization that strives to improve the health and independence of Americans as they age. The alliance advocates for more research dollars to go to age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and Parkinson's disease, as well as better scientific understanding of the aging process. It also sponsors the Paul Beeson Physical Faculty Scholars in Aging Research Program, the largest nongovernmental fellowship award to stimulate research, teaching, and practice of geriatric medicine in the United States. The alliance's site,, provides information about the latest aging research, links to health topics that affect the elderly, an opportunity to sign up for the alliance's free quarterly webzine, and links to other aging-related resources on the Internet. The alliance also has brochures specifically for health professionals and online special reports.

Border Health Commission
Based in El Paso, the United States-Mexico Border Health Commission was formed as a result of efforts by the Texas Medical Association and other groups to improve health conditions along the four states that border Mexico. Located at, the commission's Web site hasinformation about the commission, its members, and its efforts to provide international leadership to optimize health and the quality of life along the United States-Mexico border. The site offers links to partners and other agencies working to improve the health conditions on the border, and information regarding events and opportunities relating to border health. It also has the latest information on advancements in the Healthy Border 2010 and Border Models of Excellence programs, as well as news about border health legislation.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site. If you know of some interesting medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email Erin Prather. Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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