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There are a number of good starting points to find useful, credible medical information on the World Wide Web:
• http://igm.nlm.nih.gov — Internet Grateful Med is one of the popular systems used to search the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) data bases on the World Wide Web. Most notably, it provides access to MEDLINE, the NLM’s on-line database that contains millions of references to journal articles. The full text of an article can be downloaded via Loansome Doc, which requires registration and establishing an agreement with a medical library that uses DOCLINE, the NLM’s automated interlibrary loan request and referral system. Instructions on all are provided at the NLM Web site: www.nlm.nih.gov.
• www.yahoo.com — Yahoo!, one of Web’s most popular portals, provides access to health information geared more toward the layman, making it useful for patient information. To use, click on the "Health" link, choosing from among the "Medicine," "Disease," "Drugs" and "Fitness’’ categories. From there, it’s an easy, point-and-click path to the information you need. For example, a search for "hypertension" leads to the American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org), a story in the magazine Scientific American (www.sciam.com), and the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (www.phassociation. org), which provides easy-to-understand explanations of hypertension and a list of available resources for patients.
• www.spinalcord.org — The National Spinal Cord Injury Association offers explanations of terms such as spasticity, flaccidity, and palsy, special information on pediatric injuries, and fact sheets on topics ranging from reproductive function to resources for vent users.