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MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus was developed by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health to provide reliable health information for the consumer. It has several main components which are accessible from its main page: Health Topics, Drug Information, Medical Encyclopedia, Dictionary, News, Directory, and Other Sources. Current health news is highlighted and there are two special topic areas, one for another web site ("Featured Site") and one to highlight a particular topic ("In the Spotlight") that are changed regularly. The site offers not only print information, but also tutorials with films or slides and sound. There are quick links for NIH SeniorHealth and for information about Clinical Trials (tests of new pharmaceutical or treatment options in development). And, this is just a description of the home page! MedlinePlus covers wellness and alternative treatments as well as addressing diseases, conditions, treatment, and pharmaceutical information. Subjects are arranged alphabetically in the Health Topics section, with options to check broad categories or "Frequently Requested Topics." There are special links for easy-to-read materials, for low vision readers, and for access to a toolkit of "Health Check Tools." The site is also available in Spanish. Drugs are listed by both brand names and generic names. The sources of the information are cited and there are additional links to information about non-prescription (over the counter or OTC) medications. Another link connects to the Food and Drug Administration for recent news. Medical devices are covered as well. There are over 4,000 articles in the encyclopedia which contains diagrams, photographs, and medical illustrations. There is a board which develops the content and there is a link provided to connect to the board's site (http://www.adam.com/home/editorialexcellence/contentreview.asp). Types of directories include links to healthcare facilities and services, directories of physicians, dentists and other healthcare providers (which can be searched by specialty, geography, name, etc.) Information about approximately 6,000 hospitals is available. "Specialized Hospitals and Clinics" is yet another section. Naturally there are numerous warnings that consumers should not use the information on this site to self-diagnose, but to use the information in consultation with a health care provider. The site is a mainstay of consumer health information on the World Wide Web and should be known to every person who desires information about a disease or condition, treatment or drug.

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