Read About Your Condition
You want to know the latest about research about your condition, but you don’t have access to a medical library and a Web search produces hundreds of results, many of which may be questionable. Fortunately, there are many good sources of medical studies on the Web – some written for professionals, others written in language the rest of us can understand.
Look over the resources listed below and be sure to read our article on Evaluating Health Information before you dig in too deeply into the studies you find.
National Institutes of Health
An agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health (http://www.nih.gov/) is the world’s foremost biomedical research facility, conducting both its own research and providing major funding for research through its Extramural Research Program. You will find health and information you can trust on the website of any of its 27 different institutes and centers. Much of it is written for consumers.
Most medical journals have their own websites where you can view the tables of contents for the current and past issues as well as abstracts for all studies published in the journal. Often sites will allow you to read the full text of one or two selected articles for free, while offering the opportunity to purchase any of the rest.
Most medical specialties have at least one journal devoted to the diseases they treat. For example: Arthritis & Rheumatism and the Journal of Rheumatology for arthritis and musculoskeletal disease specialists; the Journal of Dermatology and the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology for doctors who treat diseases of the skin, hair and nails; and Chest and Annals of Thoracic Medicine for doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating lung disease.
There also journals devoted entirely to pain research and the diagnosis and treatment of pain conditions including Pain, Journal of Pain, Pain Medicine, Journal of Pain Research and the Clinical Journal of Pain.
You can find listings of medical journals on the Web. Here are some to check out:
A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed (www.pubmed.gov) comprises more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. A search feature allows you to search for studies by author or key words. Most citations include links to abstracts, or in some cases, the full text of the study. Although PubMed is available for use by both medical professionals and lay people, the studies are written for professionals.
Online magazines and services
There are a number of online magazines and services that report medical research news based on studies published in reputable medical journals. Some offer free newsfeed subscriptions so you have the latest news delivered directly to your inbox. A few to check out: