HOW TO LOCATE CURRENT INFORMATION
ON A DISEASE OR DISORDER
Before you begin your search,
you may want to read background information on the disease
or disorder, especially if you have a recent diagnosis.
If you are looking for general information on a disease
or disorder and you want to learn about symptoms,
diagnosis, treatments, and prognosis several good
places to start are:
This database from the National
Library of Medicine contains information on over 700
diseases and medical conditions written for the consumer.
It also includes a medical dictionary, an encyclopedia,
and a drug information section. Before you use MedlinePlus,
try taking a quick tour
Merck Manual - Second Home edition
A general guide for consumers
on diseases and their treatments, women's, men's and
children's health, and accidents and injuries.
Excellent overviews of many diseases and medical conditions
and special sections on decision making, preparing for
and recovering from surgery, complementary and alternative
therapies, anatomical drawings, and travel health. Full-text
version of the print edition.
An authoritative source of
comprehensive background information for patients and
health professionals about cancer prevention, causes,
diagnosis, and treatment. Published by the National
Cancer Institute, this database includes summaries of
state of the art treatment protocols from the Physician
Data Query (PDQ) database.
You may also want to consider using
list of Internet resources .
First look at some of the sites under the categories
"Diseases,medical conditions - General" and "Diseases and
medical conditions - Specific". These are either general
sites that include information on many different diseases
or they are sites devoted to a specific disease, such as arthritis.
Finding Medical Research Articles
For the beginner,
the best place to find research related articles on a medical
topic, particularly a disease or disorder, is to use
MedlinePlus. There are over 700 health topics and a link is provided
to a related search of medical journal articles from PubMed,
the MEDLINE database published by the National Library of
Medicine. The searches are programmed to request lists of
articles on your topic of interest that are no more than six
months to two years old. Currency of available articles
varies by topic. Not all medical disorders may have
these links to Medline articles. Also, remember that
Medline is not a full-text database, so you will only get
a summary of the article, not the full-text. The majority
of the article summaries are written in technical language.
Searching the Medline Database Using PubMed
If you don't
find what you're looking for in MedlinePlus and the other
resources listed above, consider using
PubMed to search the MEDLINE database.
MEDLINE is the premier medical and scientific database
produced by the National Library of Medicine. It has references
to more than 17 million articles from 5000 medical and scientific
journals published in the United States and 80 other countries.
When you search MEDLINE you will find information on articles
on your topic (the author, title of the article, name of the
journal, date published, page numbers). Over 75% of
the listings have short summaries of the articles (abstracts).
to note that MEDLINE is not the best place to find general
information about diseases and disorders. However, it
is a invaluable resource for locating the most up to date
treatment information . Also, remember that since the
articles are written for medical doctors and researchers they
are very technical.
National Library of Medicine
PubMed tutorial is available online.
Obtaining Copies of Medical Journal Articles
several options for obtaining copies of medical journal articles:
You can visit
the Health Center Library and make a copy of the article for
a small fee. If you don't live in Connecticut, you can contact
a nearby medical center library and ask about their use policies.
For a list of medical libraries that serve consumers/patients,
look at the listing of consumer health libraries in MedlinePlus
If you live
in Connecticut, you can contact the Health Center Library's
Interlibrary Loan Department and establish an agreement
with the Library to provide you with journal articles.
This service is called Loansome Doc. When you are doing a
search in PubMed, the Order feature will allow you to order
individual articles online if you have set up a Loansome Doc
Service agreement with a medical library.There is a fee for
this service. Contact the Health Center Library Interlibrary
Loan Department at 860/679-2940 to learn the details about
Loansome Doc. You may also find details about this service
If you live outside of Connecticut
and you need assistance obtaining medical journal articles
or general assistance with your search, contact the National
Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) at 800-338-7657 or
visit their website explanation of Lonesome Doc.
You may also contact your local
public library and ask that they obtain the articles for you.
There may be a fee and/or restrictions for this service.
Finding Clinical Research Trials
A clinical trial is a research study
to answer specific questions about vaccines or new therapies
or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials (also
called medical research and research studies) are used to determine
whether new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective.
Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest
way to find treatments that work.
Sponsored by the National Institutes
of Health, this database is designed to give patients and
their families information about research studies currently
evaluating treatment for a variety of diseases. The more than
41,000 clinical trials listed are mainly ones being conducted
by the National Institutes of Health or under its sponsorship.
The database also includes trials conducted by other federal
agencies and pharmaceutical companies. Another feature
has information that explains clinical trials, the benefits
and risks of participating, and how to become a participant.
Centerwatch Clinical Trials Listing
This commercial site provides information
on clinical trials for twenty disease categories. It includes
profiles of research centers conducting clinical trials and
profiles of companies that provide a variety of contract
services to the clinical trials industry (under "Site Identification
Services"). This website also includes industry
and government sponsored clinical trials and information about
new drugs recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
organized by type of therapy.
You can complete an online form
that initiates a service that notifies you of new clinical
This site from the National Cancer
Institute allows you to search for information on 5,000 current
research studies on cancer. The website defines clinicals
trials, discusses how to search for studies, and how to participate.
It emphasizes that no single resource, including the National
Cancer Institute's PDQ (Physician Data Query) database,
lists every cancer clinical trial. PDQ, however, is the most
comprehensive resource for cancer clinical trials.
Information About Drugs
sites contain basic information about drugs that may be used
to treat diseases and medical conditions:
and over-the-counter medication information from "MedMaster",
a product of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Profiles of more than 9,000 prescription and over the counter
drugs with information on approved uses for the drug,
proper use of the drug, precautions while using the drug,
and side effects. Includes descriptive and evaluative information
about herbs and supplements from the Natural Standard database.
Prescription and over-the-counter
drug information written for the consumer from the publishers
of the popular "Physicians' Desk Reference" (PDR). Information
about herbal medicines and nutritional supplements are included.
Finding Recent Drug Approvals
Centerwatch Clinical Trials
This website includes information
on drug products currently under investigation, arranged by
disease category. Entries give brief descriptions of research
and contact information. There is a listing of FDA drug
approvals (select "Drug directories") , guidelines to help
individuals decide whether to participate in a study, and
general information on how drugs are studied. There are some
paid advertisements on the website.
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the
Food and Drug Administration
A source of reliable information about new and generic drug
Select "Drugs@FDA" for a searchable
index to approved drugs and for Drug Approval Reports by month.
Medical product safety information
is also available on the FDA website. The
website includes an Index to Drug-Specific
Finding Current Research in News Sources
Online news sources
are often one of the best ways to find information about current
research. Usually, news releases on new research are sent
to different media venues and you’ll often find the same
information reported on the evening news and published in a
newspaper article. The following are several of the best
news sources for up-to-date research information:
Medical News Sources
This list, developed
by Healthnet: Connecticut Consumer Health Information Network,
has links to several high quality and reliable sites that
offer current medical news. There are links to several
online articles with tips on understanding popular medical
information and understanding the concept of risk often discussed
in medical research articles. Several of the sites listed
offer a free service to deliver up-to-date medical news to
your email address.
A collection of health related
stories from worldwide newspapers and television stations.
Between 8 and 10 new stories appear each day. Stories remain
on the site for a year and can be searched by keyword, topic,
and category. A clinical trials update alerts readers to new
research studies recruiting participants.
A comprehensive, reliable, source
of daily medical news for the consumer (free) and for the
professional (subscription fee). Click on “More
Stories” at the bottom of each day’s article listing
to access the entire list of articles for that day. Articles
often include a citation to the medical journal article in
which the news originated. Although the site is searchable
by keyword, only paid subscribers to the professional section
of the website can view the entire text of the medical journal
TO "FINDING THE ANSWERS" PAGE
BACK TO HEALTHNET HOMEPAGE