MedlinePlus Health Topics – http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthtopics.html
Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:
- What are some symptoms of bladder cancer?
- What happens during an acupuncture session?
- What challenges might someone with ADHD face in enlisting in the US military?
In the beginning there was Medline, a medical indexing and abstracting service from the National Library of Medicine. It was aimed at doctors, but once it went on the Internet, patients and other laymen got hold of it and tried to make sense of the very technical medical articles. Sometimes they succeeded, more often they did not.
Enter MedlinePlus, a patient/layman oriented resource that starts with plain English resources and links out to other resources, some general and some technical. I and many of my librarian colleagues agree that MedlinePlus ought to be your first stop for medical information on the Internet. It’s authoritative information with no hidden sales agenda.
MedlinePlus has a number of different sections, each worthy of its own entry. This entry concerns their Health Topics page, where according to the website, “Read about symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention for over 900 diseases, illnesses, health conditions and wellness issues. MedlinePlus health topics are regularly reviewed, and links are updated daily.”
The page gives you a number of ways to browse health topics: Alphabetically, Body Location/System, Disorders and Conditions, Diagnosis and Therapy, Demographic Groups and, Health and Wellness.
All of the topic pages lead to a list of more specific topics, in the case of the Body Location/System pages, there will be an illustration of the Body Location/System you have chosen.
For a given disease topic, such as Gout, you’ll find a page with the following sections:
- Condition summary (in a blue box) – Will also provide opportunity to get e-mail updates to this topic page and may offer one or two starting points.
- Links to related articles in the MedlinePlus Medical Encylopedia
- Related MedlinePlus topics
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) unit with primary research responsibility
- Alternative languages, when available. The Gout page is also available in Arabic and Spanish.
- Basics (Overviews, Diagnosis/Symptoms, Treatment)
- Learn More (Nutrition, Related Issues)
- Multimedia & Cool Tools (Pictures, Tutorials, Video)
- Research (Clinical trials, Genetics, Journal Articles)
- Reference Shelf (Dictionaries [maybe this is directories?], Organizations, Statistics)
- For You (Demographic group, Patient Handouts)
Nondisease health topics will look pretty similar except the subheadings under Basics, Learn More, Multimedia & Cool Tools, Research, Reference Shelf and For You might look a little different.