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Showing posts from March, 2011

Finding Reliable Health Information Online

While going through an old blog of mine, I found this summary of a presentation I gave in late 2006 on finding reliable health information online. Surprisingly most of it is at least somewhat relevant today. Since I'm trying to relive the days when I used to research medical information for a living, this wasn't a bad way to jog my memory.
Finding Reliable Health Information Online
MedlinePlus: This site is put together by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) as a comprehensive consumer health resource. It is relatively easy to use and requires little or no knowledge of medical terminology. Use it like a search engine and simply type your term into the search box, or explore one of MedlinePlus’ specific resources, including drug information, dictionary, and medical encyclopedia.
Quackwatch: A great site for checking out “too good to be true” medical claims. This non-profit corporation is dedicated to combating “health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies…

Why Hiding Information Grinds My Gears

I know this is old news, but I was flabbergasted by yet another attempt to limit the availability of information. The Tennessee legislature has introduced a bill to ban discussions of homosexuality in elementary and middle schools. The claim is that talk of homosexuality is not age-appropriate. Of course lengthy discussion of sex acts either homosexual or heterosexual is not age-appropriate for elementary school students. But banning the words "gay," "lesbian," and "homosexual" from classrooms also means that we can't explain why some kids have two moms, two dads, or a mom and a dad, which is an age appropriate discussion of sexuality.

This is just another one of those news events that confirms my belief that freedom of information is essential for free societies like ours. No matter what my beliefs on homosexuality or any other hot button issue are, the way to support and defend those beliefs is not doing everything I can to hide all information to t…

Friday Reads Uncut

Ever since my friends got together for our very long delayed Christmas celebration I've been powering through Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. Basically our hot young heroine goes to Dublin to discover who killed her sister, only she finds out that fairies are real and on the verge of destroying our world. Definitely better than your average paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I generally don't read the genre because it's either too sleazy or too twilight-y. In this one the heroine is believable despite the fact that she's a 22-year-old blonde who's lived a charmed life right up until her sister's murder. She ends being surprisingly gritty and resilient and while there does end up being a lot of sex, it's not what you think. Definitely on the dark side, but worth the read. Right now I'm on #4 of a the 5 book series. Hopefully I'll finish it all this weekend because it's been impossible to focus on much other than reading these books.

I had t…

The Biggest Hurdle In Researching Health Issues ...

... is kind of obvious. Sick people are sick. They want to spend their time in bed, not feverishly researching strange medical terms or wrangling with complicated insurance guidelines. When you're sick you just want to trust that your doctors will get you better and that insurance will cover the costs. Unfortunately when you're really sick or have ongoing issues, or, as in my case, have these health problems occur away from your regular doctor, you have to work harder to make sure that your treatment is accomplished in an efficient and effective manner.

The key to handling the overwhelming nature of a major medical event is getting organized. First of all, make sure you have the contact information for all of your doctors and health insurance carriers somewhere easy to find. That way when questions come up you don't have the excuse of needing to look up the doctor's phone number to keep you from taking care of this issue quickly. When my husband broke his ankle a few m…

Librarians Make the Worst Patrons

Have you ever heard the saying "doctors make the worst patients"? Well, something similar can be said for librarians. For two years I worked in a medical library in a position where I had ample time to play with the expensive and extensive medical databases we subscribed to. I would browse the drug database in AccessMedicine to discover the funky side effects of drugs I'd never heard of. I felt like a ninja learning the intricacies of MeSH to effectively search PubMed for hard to find research articles. But did I bother researching conditions I personally suffer from or anything relevant to me?

Part of the reason I've been trying to get into posting here more often is because I've been dealing with some nagging health issues and blogging can be done whenever I happen to feel less yucky, so I can feel involved in librarianship even if working a 9 to 5 job has been a little challenging. I've been trying to avoid bringing it up here, but I've realized that p…