by Yvona Fast
Your government brings medical information to you
Are you looking for up to date, accurate medical facts and data?
Medline Plus (www.medlineplus.gov) is your source. Brought to you by our government's National Library of Medicine and National Institute's of Health, it's by far the best resource for general medical information. The site is updated daily, and reviewed continually. Best of all, there are no ads to confuse the user—all that you see is real medical information.
Included are health topics, a medical encyclopedia, directories, organizations, and the latest medical news. You can access information about various diseases and conditions as well as pharmaceutical drugs. There are also good, user-friendly tutorials on a variety of topics, which are written at a 5th grade reading level, bringing medical knowledge within reach of almost any user.
The site is updated daily, and reviewed continually. Best of all, there are no ads to confuse the user—all that you see is real medical information.
The Current Health News section lists news from the last two months. You can find older news items by going to "More News" and choosing a topic from the alphabetical list (for example, asthma, headaches, cancer, etc.) or doing a search.
Medline's online Medical Encyclopedia, with over 4,000 entries, gives nice brief overviews of a variety of medical topics. There is much valuable information here, with great color illustrations and photos.
The Dictionary portion includes links to a variety of medical dictionaries available on the Web. It even includes a kid friendly medical dictionary!
Medline's Interactive Health Tutorials are another excellent source of information. These movies and other resources are found under Health Topics.
The Drug Information section in Medline is the weakest area of the site. There is good information here, but it can be confusing.
There is more than one way to do research at this site. Using the Health Topics is preferable to the search box. Health Topics alphabetical index or the broad group feature is the best way to locate the subject you're searching for. Just click on the letter of your health topic, then look for it in the alphabetical list. Using the search box often gives too many results, which can be overwhelming and confusing.
Healthfinder, (www.healthfinder.gov), sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, is an excellent gateway to health information. A "gateway" means that the site is a directory of agencies and organizations, (more than 1800) and will direct you to selected, targeted sites. Included are online e-zines, databases, medical journals, and support groups—all checked for credibility.