ISSN 1535-7821
current issue    archives
      2001, Vol. 17 No. 1

Link to ArticleArticles

Link to ArticleFrom the Chair
Link to ArticleHEALTHINFOQUEST Updated

Link to ArticleGuidelines for Libraries for MEDLINEplus

Link to ArticleBook Reviews

Tyler's Tips: The Shoppers Guide for Herbal Remedies
Children with Autism: A Parents' Guide
Babyface: A Story of Heart and Bones
American College of Physicians Home Medical Guide: Epilepsy
The Heart: The Kids' Question & Answer Book
The Poisons and Antidotes Sourcebook
Surviving Leukemia: A Practical Guide.
Lung Cancer: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment.
The Lupus Book: A Guide for Patients and Their Families
Pharmacist's Guide to Over-the-Counter and Natural Remedies
The AIDS Movie: Representing a Pandemic in Film and Television.
Encyclopedic Dictionary of AIDS-Related Terminology
Cancers of the Mouth & Throat: A Patient's Guide to Treatment.
Childhood Cancer: A Handbook from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Cleveland Clinic Heart Book.
Mayo Clinic Heart Book.
Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Finding a Diagnosis and Getting Help
My Mom Has Hepatitis C.
Coping with Psoriasis: A Patient's Guide to Treatment.
Sexual Health for Men: The Complete Guide.

Link to ArticleNews

Link to ArticleIn Every Issue

Link to ArticlePublication Information


From the Chair

Dear CAPHIS Members,

It has been a privilege to serve you as chair this past year. I've been deeply moved by your professionalism, by your commitment to each other and to the people you serve in your daily work, and by the camaraderie and support you have extended to me as your chair. Together we've accomplished much this past 12 months!

Perhaps one of our biggest achievements is our new CAPHIS website at reflecting both our members' needs and our leadership role in the provision of consumer health information to individuals. The new website was rebuilt by incorporating your feedback from last year's MLA CAPHIS business meeting, and by addressing what was good and what needed improvement on our "old" website. In addition, several of you responded on the CAPHIS listserv to requests for ideas on how to improve our website. The task force reviewed each of your comments, and used your suggestions to restructure the website content and to improve website navigation. Our new look is much like we are - both polished and professional. Content-wise, it delivers! Members of the Website Task Force are Roz Dudden, Jane Fisher, Sharon Gilbert, Dolores Judkins, Andrea Kenyon, Sharon Lezotte, Heidi Sandstrom, and Michele Spatz, chair. Roz Dudden, our webmaster, and Boyd Jacobson, the web designer CAPHIS hired, did the lion's share of the work by making our ideas a reality. Roz and Boyd win the tough hide award, because the task force was quite "honest" in its review of the beta-test site. (There were six versions before the site was revealed to the membership!) Even so, the new website is still considered a work in progress--a fluid medium for our members to gain help and support in their work and also to contribute important resources and information. The website also offers the public a place to go for direction on finding reliable health information. My experience this past year as chair has made it clear to me that others outside our library profession value our expertise. We have much to offer.

In March, our CAPHIS website received the distinction of being named a USA TodayHot Site for our "Top 100 Health Links"--and that was before our new look! A new committee is being formed as a subcommittee of the Website Task Force to review and possibly modify this list. If you are interested in serving on this subcommittee, please contact Roz Dudden or Michele Spatz.

CAPHIS successfully approached the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and requested a thorough review of consumer health serial titles for expanded coverage and inclusion in the PubMed database. NLM's long-range plan includes "providing consumers greater access to health information" and staff responded to our request by setting up a review panel to look at consumer health serials and determine which ones NLM could index and add to the database. CAPHIS members were invited to make suggestions to the panel and you sure did! A master list was compiled and sent to NLM on March 1st. At NLM, Sheldon Kotzin and Amy Seif, NLM Fellow, are leading the consumer health serials review. Inclusion of more consumer health titles in PubMed will enhance this tool for use by consumer health librarians, and will provide a valuable service to the general public.

In another project, CAPHIS members provided input to MLA in the development of its Consumer Health Credential Program. To earn the credential, participants must take MLA-approved consumer health continuing education (CE) courses. Improving health information services for consumers, and creating partners in the delivery of consumer health information are two of the program's goals. Our section members have an important role to play in the credentialing program, as they share their expertise by developing and teaching relevant courses that sharpen the skills of librarians, and others who work with patients and the public to provide health information. Visit: learn more about the MLA Consumer Health Credential Program.

Another highlight was CAPHIS' involvement in the first joint conference of MLA, NLM and the Public Library Association (PLA): "The Public Library and Consumer Health: Meeting Community Needs Through Resource Identification and Collaboration," held in Washington, D.C., on January 10-11, 2001 (just prior to ALA's Mid-Winter meeting). Our members played a key role in the conference by teaching five MLA-approved CE courses focusing on consumer health. CAPHIS members were also prominent as speakers at this conference. Heidi Sandstrom delivered a plenary presentation, "Consumer Health Information Overview: What is it? What drives it? And why is it important to public libraries?" Jane Fisher and Bernie Todd Smith presented on the panel, "Promoting Health Literacy through NLM/Public Library Partnerships." Joanne Gard Marshall moderated Dr. Tom Ferguson's session, "The Empowered Medical Consumer."

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) also approached CAPHIS about the Healthy People 2010 Public Library Initiative. Through a collaborative effort, CAPHIS members will evaluate seven plain language booklets to be developed by AAAS in response to a grant from the National Institutes of Health. The purpose of the plain language booklets is to advance the goals of Healthy People 2010. Once again, our members are sought after and valued for their expertise in appraising the accuracy and clarity of consumer health materials.

Our By-Laws Committee, under the leadership of David Duggar, worked diligently to review our by-laws and to recommend changes that will bring our section by-laws into conformity with MLA's organizational restructure. We will vote on acceptance of these changes at our CAPHIS business meeting in Orlando.

Our Program Chair, Susan Murray, has worked tirelessly to bring a multitude of consumer health related programs to the annual meeting in Orlando. CAPHIS sponsored programs are:

  • Cross Cultural Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Speaking Plainly: Meeting the Health Information Needs of Low-Literate Consumers
CAPHIS co-sponsored programs include:
  • "From Idea to a Research Plan: How to Get Started" with the History of Health Sciences Section
  • "Gene Therapy and Genetics" with the Molecular Biology SIG
  • "User-Oriented Collection Management" with the Collection Development Section, Hospital Libraries Section, Technical Services Section, and Public Services Section
  • "Consumer Health Information: Special Needs for Mental Health Populations" with the Mental Health SIG, and Nursing and Allied Health Section
  • "Terminology and Reliable Resources in Alternative Medicine" with the Chiropractic Libraries Section, Hospital Libraries Section, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine SIG
  • "Travel Medicine" with the Lesbian/Gay/Transgender SIG

CAPHIS is also co-sponsoring, along with NLM, MLA and its Public Health/Health Administration Section, International Cooperation Section, and the Outreach SIG, a Symposium at the MLA Annual Meeting in Orlando: "Library Partnerships - Powerful Connections." This symposium will be held on Wednesday, May 30, from 1 P.M. to 5:30 P.M.; it includes an outstanding panel of presenters who have much to share about building successful partnerships. Kathleen de la Pena McCook, Professor at USF School of Library and Information Science, and award winning author of A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building, will be on hand to work with individuals in the small group sessions at the symposium.

Now that we have a new section logo, Sharon Lezotte is hard at work on a new brochure for our section. As more of us form partnerships with individuals from other health agencies, organizations, and public libraries, the need for a brochure, informing these individuals about our section and our new website, has become greater. This brochure may become available in the future on our website as a printable, PDF document.

We held a successful election of officers and can thank Janie Grosman and Jane Fisher for their dedication in making this happen. Your new officers are:

Susan Murray, Chair 2001-2002 Lucy Thomas, Chair-elect/Program Chair 2001-2002 Erica Burnham, Secretary 2001-2003 Denise Corliss, Treasurer 2001-2003 Sharon Lezotte, Section Council Representative Elect 2001-2003 Michele Spatz, Nominating Committee (Past-Chair) 2001-2002

As the gavel is passed at the close of the MLA annual meeting, I know I will feel both a bit of regret and whole lot of gratitude. I regret that this fantastic year is drawing to a close and I am grateful for the warmth and encouragement you have shared with me throughout these busy months. It truly was an honor to be your chair. I am proud of you as my colleagues and of our section as a whole. As Winston Churchill said, "You make a life by what you give." Each of you has renewed my faith in the value of our work, and has given me a deep appreciation for our contribution to the people we serve.

All the best,
Michele Spatz, Chair, CAPHIS

Planetree Health Resource Center
200 E. 4th St.
The Dalles, OR 97058
Phone: 541-296-8444 Fax: 541-296-6054


By Nancy Press

The original developers of HEALTHINFOQUEST have revised and refreshed all of HEALTHINFOQUEST. Frequent revision is necessary because HEALTHINFOQUEST leads to real time web pages and many such web pages have changed significantly, including MEDLINEplus and PubMed.

If you are not familiar with HEALTHINFOQUEST, take a few minutes to check it out. If you have used this web-based tutorial, take a few minutes to promote the site to others who are providing health information to the public. You can send out a message like this:

Do you worry about answering health questions in your library? Are you concerned about finding GOOD health information sources on the net?

Try the FREE web-based tutorial for librarians and others who provide information on consumer health questions: HEALTHINFOQUEST

HEALTHINFOQUEST pathfinders encourage users to practice finding answers to common consumer health and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) questions. Pathfinders are provided for examples of the most common kinds of health questions: cancer, complementary and alternative medicine, diseases or conditions, health care providers, statistics, homework, assistive devices, news, parenting, drugs/dietary supplements, procedures/therapies, support groups, terminology, and tests.

HEALTHINFOQUEST, funded by the National Library of Medicine, was developed by Maureen Carleton (King County Public Library), Jane Saxton (Bastyr University of the Natural Health Sciences), and Barb MacFadden (Scientific Instructional Designer, University of Washington).

Guidelines for Libraries

By Naomi Miller
Systems Librarian
Public Services Division
National Library of Medicine

Libraries will be included on the MEDLINEplus "Libraries" page if:

  1. The consumer health information services and resources are brought together on a web page and are described as a distinct service.
    • A description of services includes mission and goals, services offered, such as reference services, methods of access to a collection, ILL, computer access; this can also include information about staff
    • A Description of service levels indicates who can use these services and whether services are fee-based or free services;
    • Contact information is provided and includes: hours of service, location, street address (and sometimes a map); phone, fax numbers and email address
    • Description of resources and collections available for use by consumers and links to these resources; this section often includes annotated links to reviewed web sites

  2. The consumer health service is accessible from the library's main web page and ideally has its own page.
    • The link to the Consumer health service is clearly linked from the Library's main web page and is labeled "consumer health information"

  3. The Web page provided by the library should be that which provides information described above, and includes access to services and resources.
  4. Examples of organizations who follow these guidelines:
    • Lyman Maynard Stowe Library (University of Connecticut Health Center)
    • Healthnet
    • Library and Resource Center, Saint Francis Medical Center

    Libraries will not be included in the MEDLINEplus Libraries page if:

    1. Web page provided by the library provides only a list of links to consumer health sites under the headings "Internet Resources" or "Electronic Resources." Although this list of links is often labeled "consumer health information service," this list of links alone does not usually constitute a consumer health information service.
    2. Web page provided by the library does not include description of services for consumer health information consumers

(Editor's note: To get to the "Libraries" page, link from "Other Resources" on the home page of MEDLINEplus at

Book Reviews:

Tyler's Tips: The Shoppers Guide for Herbal Remedies. By George H. Constantine. Binghampton, NY: Haworth Press, 2000. 129p. ISBN 0-7890-0948-X (Hardcover) $39.95. ISBN 0-7890-0949-8 (Softcover) $14.95.

At first glance, this seems a lightweight book for a library collection; it is small and the information presented on each herb is very condensed. But on further examination, it is actually a mine of succinct information, which is well-organized and very easy to use. This book targets consumers who wish to use herbal products and may not be aware of all the products available. The author's stated purpose is to help consumers "locate accurate and precise summaries of information on a wide variety of herbs that have been evaluated and shown to have positive results by appropriate scientific and clinical studies." Herein lies its value.

The information in Tyler's Tips has been drawn from a variety of sources, but principally from Tyler's Herbs of Choice and The Honest Herbal, both by Varro E. Tyler - hence the title. Information is divided into twelve therapeutic categories of herbs: those used for mental health; the immune system; tonics; menopause and menstrual problems; prostate health; weight loss; headaches/pain; constipation; liver dysfunction; bladder problems; ulcers and intestinal problems; and skin problems and external sores. Within each category, information on herbs is presented in a standardized form, using the following headings: condensed facts, conditions, plants/standard, what to look for, traditional dosing/dosage forms, actions/usage, precautions, and typical price. All this information is conveyed in about a page and a half for each herb. This is an ideal book for home use. While not essential for a library collection, it is a book that librarians could easily recommend to consumers interested in purchasing a "ready reference" resource for their own use.

Review by:
Kate Kelly
Treadwell Library
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA

Children with Autism: A Parents' Guide. 2nd ed. Ed. by Michael D. Powers. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2000. 427p. pbk. ISBN 1-890627-04-6 $17.95.

Parents faced with raising an autistic child often feel overwhelmed and alone. This new edition of Children with Autism will provide them with the help and encouragement that they need. The editors and contributors are researchers, educators, attorneys, clinicians, and parents who work with and/or are raising children with one of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders.

The book explains autism, its diagnosis, treatment, and the adjustments that the families of these children must make. It also discusses the medical, developmental, educational, and daily living problems that autistic children and their families face. The authors provide sound, practical advice based on the latest research. They encourage early intervention and a structured environment. Parents are also told what to look for when evaluating medical practitioners and educational programs. The chapters dealing with educational options and with the laws that provide assistance for autistic children are very useful. Pictures of children and quotations from parents talking about their experiences make the book very "real" and very supportive. A glossary, a large bibliography, and an extensive resource guide listing organizations and Web sites offer further assistance.

Children with Autism: A Parents' Guide provides tools that empower parents with realistic information about raising autistic children. Introductions are by Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who holds a doctorate and designs livestock facilities, and by opera singer Beverly Sills, the mother of an adult autistic son who lives and works in a sheltered community. These introductions show that autism varies widely but that early intervention will help children develop and lead meaningful lives. This outstanding resource belongs in all consumer health collections.

Review by:
Barbara M. Bibel
Oakland Public Library
Oakland, CA

Babyface: A Story of Heart and Bones. By McDermott, Jeanne. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House, 2000. 261p. Hardcover. ISBN 1-890627-15-1 $22.95.

"What is in a face...I did not grasp the power of a baby's face until Nathaniel joined our family." So begins Babyface: A Story of Heart and Bones. Science writer and teacher Jeanne McDermott presents an inspiring account, based on the journals she kept throughout the first year of her son's life. Nathaniel was born with Apert Syndrome, a rare genetic craniofacial condition that results in facial abnormalities and webbed hands and feet.

Nathaniel spends much of his first year of life in the neonatal intensive care unit and undergoes four appearance-altering surgeries. McDermott describes her family's initial sense of loneliness, her own attempts to determine what caused the genetic mutation, and her motivation to become an expert about Apert Syndrome.

"If illness is another country then a rare birth defect feels at first like a place from which there will be no return," McDermott writes. In addition to exploring the emotional and psychological aspects of parenting a child with a birth defect, McDermott's skills as a science writer shine. She explains Apert Syndrome in detail, provides readers with sources for additional information about craniofacial conditions, and includes a chapter about recent research on Apert Syndrome. At the end of the book Nathaniel is a happy third-grader; McDermott ponders whether society's pursuit of perfection and its ideals of beauty will ever be altered.

Babyface: A Story of Heart and Bones will be a source of comfort and valuable information for parents and friends of children born visibly different than others. McDermott's courageous memoir will assure parents in similar situations that they are not alone. Consumer health libraries looking to broaden the scope of their collections with personal narratives should consider adding this inspiring memoir.

Review by:
Jane Fisher
New York Public Library

American College of Physicians Home Medical Guide: Epilepsy. Ed. by David R. Goldman and David Horowitz. New York, NY: Dorling-Kindersley, 2000. 88p. pbk. ISBN 0-7894-4170-5 $6.95.

This book is one in the American College of Physicians Home Medical Guides series. The series purports to give "straight answers to all your medical and health questions." Indeed, the book is written in a straightforward, honest style, dealing factually and quite comprehensively with the following aspects of this disorder:

  • definition of epilepsy, brain structure and function, types of seizures
  • differential diagnoses, diagnostic tests, causes of epilepsy
  • what to do during a seizure, triggers, medications used, side effects of medications, monitoring, surgical treatment
  • special situations such as status epilepticus, pregnancy and breastfeeding in women with epilepsy
  • social implications including driving, relationships, schooling, and parenting
  • overall outlook, with comments on life expectancy, sudden death

Each chapter concludes with color-blocked "Key Points." A list of useful addresses (organizations and some medical facilities with epilepsy units), a glossary, an index, and a Summary section are found at the end of the book.

The layout of the book is attractive, with plenty of white space. Photos, rather than drawings of people, enhance the text. Many pastel, color-blocked tables are used to display information. For example, one table displays the two main categories of seizures, partial and generalized, and the corresponding subcategories for each type. Another table lists all the types of seizures, the drugs most often tried first, and then other drugs that may be used to control the seizures. Presenting the information in this way makes it easier to compare data.

One concern with the book is the reading level. According to the SMOG readability scale, it is written at 12th grade level. While the material deals with types and causes of epilepsy for both children and adults, the vocabulary might preclude it as the book of choice even for some adults. This book would be a valuable resource on epilepsy for a consumer health library, but plan on supplementing it with another publication or video.

Review by:
Claire LaForce
Rutland Regional Medical Center
Rutland, VT

The Heart: The Kids' Question & Answer Book. By J. Willis Hurst and Stuart D. Hurst. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1999. 30p. pbk. ISBN 0-07-031829-8 $8.95.

While the title leads one to believe that this book is about the heart, it covers so much more. It provides a detailed description of the entire circulatory system. The book was written by J. Willis Hurst, M.D., and his ten-year-old grandson, Stuart. Dr. Hurst was editor of several editions of The Heart: Arteries and Veins (McGraw-Hill), a Brandon-Hill selection.

The book does a nice job of explaining where blood comes from, how the heart pumps blood, how the circulatory system works, how to keep your heart healthy, and more. The authors make good use of analogies that kids will understand (and grown-ups, too). For example, the heart is compared to a house-rooms represent chambers, and doors represent heart valves. The book is filled with colorful and easy-to-understand illustrations.

Although the jacket states that the book "will fascinate readers of every age...from 8 to 80," it might be too difficult for most eight-year-olds. It is written at about the sixth-grade reading level and uses technical terms, such as pulmonic valve, hemoglobin, and macrophage, although a glossary is included. In addition, some of the examples used might be frightening to younger children. For example, "Blood is under such pressure when it leaves the left side of your heart that if the aorta were cut, blood would spurt out higher than your head." A twelve-year-old might think that's "cool," but an eight-year-old might not.

The Heart: The Kids' Question & Answer Book would be a good addition to your consumer health collection. This is a book that parents and children can read together--both will learn something new.

Review by:
Anita Kirk Cleary
Providence Yakima Medical Center
Yakima, WA

The Poisons and Antidotes Sourcebook. 2nd Ed. By Carol Turkington. New York, NY: Checkmark Books, 1999. 408 p. ISBN 0-8160-3959-3 $16.95.

The Poisons and Antidotes Sourcebook is a guide to toxic substances, including household items, plants and wildlife, and food poisons. Author Carol Turkington covers aspects such as poisoning emergencies; protecting children and pets from poisoning; and poisons, organized by symptom, followed by a list of substances with brief overviews.

The book is well-organized, with a table of contents, index, glossary, and extensive references. Useful appendices include information on obtaining home testing kits, Poison Control Center hotlines, newsletters, and related organizations. In addition, the book includes a list of available educational brochures that may be of interest to consumer health librarians.

What makes this book less than ideal is the information it fails to provide. In the chapter "What to do in a Poisoning Emergency," Turkington advises the reader to monitor the vital signs of poisoning victims but fails to mention what all the vital signs are and how to monitor them. Similarly, she suggests that victims be treated for shock but does not discuss the signs of shock. These oversights, present throughout the book, indicate that the author assumes the reader has a broad knowledge base and is medically savvy.

Overall, the book is a useful guide, but be on the lookout for a more comprehensive text that appeals to a wider audience.

Review by:
Jennifer Byrnes
Hospital Library Services Program
Western New York Library Resources Council

Surviving Leukemia: A Practical Guide. By Dr. Robert Patenaude. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books, 1999. 248 p. pbk. ISBN: 1-55209-354-9 $19.95.

"Leukemia" is a broad term for a group of four complex diseases (with subvariants) of differing evolution and etiology. As all consumer health librarians know, leukemia in all its forms, treatments, and consequences presents complex issues for the consumer. Dr. Robert Patenaude has not only written a clear and concise book about leukemia and other malignant blood diseases, but he writes from experience. While in medical school he was diagnosed with leukemia and went through chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation. As a patient, he suffered the anguish and uncertainty of the leukemia patient. As a physician, he consequently believes in giving patients clear, accurate, and complete information.

The book begins with a description of Dr. Patenaude's own diagnosis, bone marrow transplantation and chemotherapy. He writes about his own shock, anger, denial, fear, and depression--reactions, which are common among cancer patients. He then describes the complexities of the circulatory system, blood cells, bone marrow, blood clot formation, and the relation of the blood to the body's main systems. This part of the book is useful for anyone who wants a good introduction to human physiology. The various tests used to diagnosis leukemia--blood tests, bone marrow puncture and bone biopsy, lumbar puncture, x-rays, nuclear medicine, and certain surgical procedures-- are described succinctly.

In the chapter "Malignant Blood Diseases," Dr. Patenaude provides an overview of cancer and its causes. He then discusses in detail the different classifications of leukemia, other malignant blood diseases, malignant diseases of the immune system, and congenital diseases of the blood. He concludes with a chapter on the treatment of blood diseases and a chapter on practical advice for patients confronted with the horrific side effects of leukemia treatments.

Dr. Patenaude writes clearly, but this is still not a book you can sit down and breeze through. It is most useful as a reference so I am purchasing two copies, one for library use and one to circulate. A weakness of the book is its lack of an index, but there is a very good table of contents and the book is well organized, so the lack of an index is a minimal problem. Strong points include 16 color plates, two of which show normal blood and bone marrow. These are useful for purposes of comparison with the other photos, which show the effects on the blood of the various malignant diseases. An excellent glossary is also included. Overall, Surviving Leukemia is an excellent resource for consumer health libraries.

Review by:
Daniel C. Horne
Coastal Consumer Health Library
New Hanover Health Network
Wilmington, NC 28402-9000

Lung Cancer: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment. By Walter J. Scott. Omaha, NE: Addicus Books, 2000. 160 p. pbk. ISBN: 1-886039-43-7 $14.95.

Dr. Scott is a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon at Creighton University School of Medicine, specializing in the surgical treatment of lung cancer. He starts his book with a statement that sets the tone for the entire publication:

"My wish is that this book will help you seek the best possible treatment so that you can improve your chance of becoming one of the lung cancer survivors."

In a clear, well-organized manner, Dr. Scott provides information people need in order to make informed decisions about their personal battles with lung cancer. He does not pull any punches, but he is tactful in the way he introduces a potentially frightening topic. He demonstrates an understanding of his audience as well as his topic. This is evident in the layout of the book-ample white space, large fonts, and short chapters make the book easy-to-read.

The book covers the gamut, from basic information on how the lungs work and the causes, risk factors and types of lung cancer, to symptoms, diagnosis and staging. Chapters are devoted to each of the common treatment methods (surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy), as well as to multimodality therapy, clinical trials, complementary and alternative medicine, coping emotionally, end of life care, and the issue of smoking. A descriptive table of contents, glossary, descriptions of common chemotherapy agents, a list of resources for additional information, and an inclusive index round out the book.

Dr. Scott is very clearly a patient advocate who empowers patients-providing them with the information they need and encouraging them to take an active role in the determination of their future health. He emphasizes the importance of multimodality therapy and clinical trials, in the chapters devoted to these topics.

The chapter on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, discusses psychological, spiritual, physical, and traditional Chinese medicine approaches. Dr. Scott clearly states that these modalities-if they are of interest to a patient-should be considered for use in addition to mainstream medicine, not as a replacement for it. Psychological approaches include relaxation techniques, imagery, hypnotherapy and affirmations. Exercise, massage, chiropractic and yoga are discussed as alternative physical approaches to lung cancer treatment. Acupuncture, Qi Gong, and herbals are discussed in the section on Chinese medicine. Although the discussions of these treatments are relatively brief, they are informative summaries and usually provide suggestions for obtaining further information in areas of interest.

Of particular note is the inclusion of suggestions for identifying optimal lung cancer treatment (Treatment for Stages of Lung Cancer chapter) and of questions to ask regarding clinical trials (Clinical Trials chapter). Very down-to-earth, practical advice is provided in both of these areas. The chapter on "Smoking: It's Never Too Late To Quit," provides good answers to the "I already have lung cancer, why should I quit smoking?" questions that many readers may have.

Finally, Dr. Scott clearly states that the information in this book reflects the current state of lung cancer care, but that new developments may change these recommendations. This acknowledgment from an author makes what he has to say all the more credible.

The book does have some minor annoyances. The quotes from cancer survivors and health professionals that pepper the book are wonderful additions and bring a personal touch to the book. However, they could have been placed more judiciously. For example, the very first quote has a rather depressing, negative tone about people with lung cancer often not being offered the support that those with other types of cancer receive. Also, I am not sure why information on diet and nutrition is included in the chapter "Coping Emotionally." In addition, there are no references in the book to the professional literature. Even though many consumers will not follow up and actually look at such references, they would lend more credibility to the publication. And alas, the URL gremlin strikes again-at the end of Chapter 9, "Treatment for Stages of Cancer," there is an error in the URL for Cancernet. It says "CIH" instead of "NIH." Luckily the URL is correct in the list or resources in the Appendix.

Despite these minor distractions, the book is an excellent resource. At $14.95, this is a "must have" for a consumer health/patient education collection.

Review by:
Jane Bryant, MSLS
Patient Education Librarian
Medical Center Library
University of Kentucky

The Lupus Book: A Guide for Patients and Their Families. Rev. ed. By Wallace, Daniel. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000. 271p. ISBN 0-19-513281-5 $25.00.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms - fever, joint pain, fatigue - are very common. Dr. Wallace, a clinical professor of medicine at UCLA and president of the Lupus Foundation, is one of the world's leading experts on this disease and wrote the first edition of The Lupus Book in 1995. This revision incorporates the new developments and changes in treating lupus that have occurred during the past five years.

The book begins with a definition and history of lupus. A description of the immune system and its function makes it easy for readers to understand how the disease disrupts various organ systems. New information about genetics, and about the effects of the disease on specific organs helps patients and their families comprehend the need for tests and treatments. The author has added a section about new drugs and therapies, and a discussion of herbs and their possible uses to this edition. The latest data on pregnancy and prognosis are also included. A glossary and a list of resource materials complete the text.

The Lupus Book is an excellent source for patients, their families, and for health care providers who are unfamiliar with this disease. It provides clear explanations and encourages patients to take an active role in their treatment. The book offers practical advice that enables lupus patients to lead productive lives while managing their disease. The Lupus Book belongs in all public and consumer health libraries.

Review by:
Barbara M. Bibel
Oakland Public Library
Oakland, CA

Pharmacist's Guide to Over-the-Counter and Natural Remedies. By Robert Garrison, Jr., R.Ph. and Michael Mannion. Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing Group, 1999. 368p. pbk. ISBN 0-89529-850-3 $6.95.

Garrison and Mannion have pooled their pharmaceutical and medical writing talents in authoring this consumer-focused guide to remedies. The book is a straightforward introduction to daily applications of over-the-counter (OTC) and natural products. The first section of the book explains the benefits of self-care and instructs the reader in how to choose OTC or natural remedies responsibly. The complexity of some terms in this book makes it unsuitable for someone with lower-than-average reading skills. The authors have made effective use of tables throughout the book. The best examples of this in the first section are "Table 1.1 Vitamin and Mineral Intakes" and "Table 1.2 Fifty Common Herbs and Their Potential Interactions With Regular Drugs.". This section concludes with tips on remedy use for children, on personal medical records, and on medicine cabinet essentials.

The second section is the practical application portion of the guide, titled "An A-To-Z Guide To Common Conditions." Here, the health condition entries are arranged alphabetically. Each entry includes a definition of the condition; and OTC and natural remedies used. Both the OTC and natural remedies sections have tables outlining the most common remedies, dosages, and comments. The average length of an entry is five pages, but some entries, such as Indigestion, are as many as eight pages long. Extensive "See" and "See also" references are found under condition titles. One print error was found on page 323--where it should read "OTC Remedies," "Natural Remedies" is printed.

The final section of the book includes two appendices and an index. Appendix A is an organizational resources list for readers wanting more information. Appendix B is a Personal Medical Form that allows tracking of information discussed in the first section of the book. The book closes with an eight-page index that also contains "See" and "See also" references.

This book would be a welcome addition to public and consumer health libraries. Its unique value is that it presents a balanced approach to both types of remedies. The authors provide cautionary advice and emphasize the consumer's need to approach self-care responsibly.

Review by:
Patte Weathers-Parry
John Vinton Dahlgren Memorial Library
Georgetown University Medical Center
Washington, DC

The AIDS Movie: Representing a Pandemic in Film and Television. By Kylo-Patrick R. Hart. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2000. 120p. pbk. ISBN 0-7890-1108-5 $17.95 U.S. $22.00 Canada.

Encyclopedic Dictionary of AIDS-Related Terminology. By Jeffery T. Huber and Mary L. Gillaspy. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 2000. 246p. pbk. ISBN 0-7890-1027-3 $24.95 U.S. $30.00 Canada.

In The AIDS Movie, Kylo-Patrick Hart, a Ph.D. with an interest in film and mass communications, has attempted to analyze representations of AIDS in American movies, including examples of stereotyping and social stigmatization, representations of AIDS as metaphor, and representations in some AIDS documentaries. One of the author's conclusions is that most of these films are "ignoring the changing demographics of the AIDS pandemic and reinforcing the stigma associated with homosexuality in American society...." The book ends with a plea for more accurate portrayals of HIV/AIDS, since portrayals in the popular media have profound effects on public perception of both the disease and the issues surrounding it. This book would not be a first choice for most consumer health libraries, but is a convenient place to find lists and thought-provoking analyses of AIDS-related films.

The Encyclopedic Dictionary is in, unfortunately, one of my least favorite formats - the small, subject-oriented dictionary. Compiled by two librarians, the entries include acronyms, drugs, medical terms, and AIDS organizations; some include bits of statistical or historical information along with the definitions. The authors do suggest several standard medical dictionaries and other resources as supplements to this book and include a 16-page finding list of government agencies as an appendix. The title may be appropriate for larger libraries or those with extensive HIV/AIDS collections, but health collections with a few good medical dictionaries and current materials on the medical and social aspects of the disease could skip it.

Review by:
Nancy Crossfield
Saint Agnes Medical Library
Fresno, CA

Cancers of the Mouth & Throat: A Patient's Guide to Treatment. William M. Lydiatt, M.D. and Perry J. Johnson, M.D. Omaha, NE: Addicus Books, 2001. 172 p. pbk. ISBN 1-886039-44-5 $14.95.

This book is written in a clear, direct, and appropriately detailed manner. The tone of the book is one of encouragement and hope. The content is divided into three main sections:

  • Understanding cancers of the mouth and throat, including causes, basic anatomy, various types of cancers, staging, and the emotional aspects of the disease
  • Therapies, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy; and chapters on clinical trials and pain management
  • Follow-up care, lifestyle changes, and end-of-life issues (This is the shortest section.)

The appendix includes a brief listing of the surgical procedures most often performed for specific types of cancer. Diagrams, a useful glossary, a resource guide, and an index aid the reader.

I would recommend the book without hesitation for any patient or family dealing with these types of cancer.

Review by:
Claire LaForce,M.L.S.
Health Sciences Library
Rutland Regional Health Services
Rutland, VT 05701

Childhood Cancer: A Handbook from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Ed. by R. Grant Steen and Joseph Mirro, Jr. M.D. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2000. 640p. illus. ISBN 0-7382-0277-0 $27.50.

Finally, an authoritative reference has been published on pediatric cancer, written for the patient, the family member or the caregiver. Like any classic medical text, this guide is organized and arranged around the major topics and key issues of childhood cancer, to comprehensively cover the disease's biological, physical, emotional and social implications. Subject specialists from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital author each of the 56 chapters. Here, difficult to understand information is clearly and intelligently presented, and hard to find information is included. In addition to the cutting-edge medical data, readers will find practical tips and compassionate advice on a wide array of issues, ranging from the pros and cons of experimental treatments to the educational concerns of a child with cancer. Suggestions for web-based information resources are included, as are lists of additional reading and support resources. The well-written and informative chapter on finding medical information on the web is worth mentioning, as it is authored by two St. Jude librarians. Also noteworthy are the sections on cancer genetics, the late effects of cancer treatments, and tumor pathology. The combination of lucid and intelligent writing, and accurate and current information from a highly respected source, makes this title an outstanding contribution to the consumer health literature. Highly recommended as an essential purchase for all patient collections.

Review by:
Gail Hendler
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

Cleveland Clinic Heart Book. Eric J. Topol, Editor-in-chief. New York: Hyperion, 2000. 365 p. Hardcover. ISBN 0-7868-6495-8 $25.00.

Mayo Clinic Heart Book. 2nd ed. Bernard J. Gersh, Editor-in-chief. New York: William Morrow, 2000. 406p. Hardcover. ISBN 0-6881-7642-9 $30.00.

With so many "healthy heart" books out there that you could stay fit just by carrying them around, how do these two new entries stack up? Both are edited by physicians from reputable cardiology centers and include standard topics: the heart and circulatory system, risk reduction and healthy living, heart diseases, diagnostic modalities, and heart surgery and recuperation. Sections cover coronary artery disease, heart valve diseases, rhythm disorders, heart failure, blood vessel diseases, and congenital conditions. Both books are indexed and have red-tipped emergency pages with heart attack warning signs and illustrated basics of CPR.

Special features in the Cleveland Clinic Heart Book include a helpful section on how to select a doctor for an adult or pediatric patient (with questions to ask about your doctor and hospital), and a very nice chapter titled "Recuperation and Rehabilitation after Heart Surgery," describing postop care in the ICU and step-down units, wound care, and the return to daily living. Emphasis in the "heart-healthy household" portion is on lifestyle change and family support, with the usual dietary information, plus tips for healthier grocery shopping, cooking, and travel planning. This book includes 3-color illustrations, a short medication directory explaining classes of heart drugs, and a glossary. However, this is not an easy book to read. Text is denser than expected for a consumer health book, and the literacy level is high. Sections explaining cholesterol-lowering drugs, and bradycardias and tachycardias (slow and fast heart rhythms), for example, were real forehead-wrinklers. Explanations of blood pressure and cholesterol would have benefited from simple charts showing risks and target levels. A final chapter on cardiac research in the future did not seem to fit in or to be very useful.

The Mayo Clinic Heart Book features a very lengthy and well-illustrated chapter on common heart tests (including the new coronary artery calcification imaging), a chapter on women and heart disease, an excellent rehabilitation timeline, and a 14-page chart of heart medications, including names, uses, and side effects. Literacy level is high school level; lower than that of the previous title. However, the best features of this book are its excellent illustrations and layout. I loved the squeeze bottle illustration of ejection fraction. The first chapter included a 16-page, full-color section showing the heart, arteries, and some surgeries and procedures. Simple diagrams in each chapter are supplemented with gray and white human-interest sketches, some photos, and red and blue "Healthy Heart Tip" boxes. Useful charts explain nutrition components, body mass index and obesity, target heart rates, and blood pressure. Pages are appealing and encourage browsing. A separate glossary would have been helpful. Neither the Mayo Clinic nor Cleveland Clinic book includes a section of print or Internet resources for further study or for patient support.

Recommendation: The Cleveland Clinic Heart Book is a solid book that would provide depth to a large consumer health collection, but it breaks no new ground and would not be my first choice for text, diagrams, or readability. The Mayo Clinic Heart Book covers similar topics, but in a more understandable manner, with eye-catching charts, boxes, and illustrations. Make mine Mayo.

Review by:
Nancy Crossfield
Saint Agnes Medical Library
Fresno, CA

Pervasive Developmental Disorders: Finding a Diagnosis and Getting Help(Patient Centered Guides). By Mitzi Waltz. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly, 1999. 400p. pbk. ISBN 1-56592-530-0 $24.95.

It is estimated that one out of every 1000 children in the US has a Pervasive Developmental Disorder or PDD, a label that includes autism and a range of other neurological conditions. A significant number of children (and adults) do not meet the diagnostic criteria for autism and a diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is reached by ruling out known, specific PDDs such as Asperger's Syndrome, Fragile X and Rett Syndrome. Paying specific attention to PDD-NOS and atypical PDD, this thirteen-chapter guide covers facts about PDDs, including a broad overview of the entire PDD spectrum, how a diagnosis is reached, drug and non-drug treatments, insurance, school, family issues, finances, and support systems.

Waltz, the mother of an 11-year-old diagnosed with PDD-NOS, weaves together throughout the text her own experiences, those of other parents of PDD children, and those of adults diagnosed with PDDs. For the parent of a child diagnosed with PDD, this book offers not just well researched information but practical advice on coping, and a wealth of additional resources. Waltz doesn't just describe various therapies; she tells us which ones are reliable and have documented results, and which ones to avoid and why. She gives tips for daily life - from bathing and toe clipping, to sexuality and relationships, to employment and school. In the final chapter, she lets adults and children with PDDs describe their own experiences and in so doing, provides a unique insight into their world.

While most of the information contained in the book is intended for a US audience, Waltz has also provided information from other countries, especially Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition to providing comprehensive information in the main body of the text, the author also provides six comprehensive appendices. These include an annotated list of print and electronic resources (with advice on which are general and which ones may be good for one thing only); addresses and contact information for support and advocacy groups; a list of research and testing facilities; an extensive, annotated list of medications (mainstream and alternative) and their use, side effects and actions; and reprints of 2 diagnostic tests used in autistic spectrum disorders. Bibliographic references, a glossary and index complete this text.

Waltz has produced a highly informative and clearly written guide. She far exceeds her aim of bringing together "basic information needed by parents of a child diagnosed with PDD, adults with PDDs and professionals working with individuals with PDDs." Highly recommended.

Review by:
Kate Kelly
Treadwell Library
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston MA

My Mom Has Hepatitis C. By Hedy Weinberg and Shira Shump. New York, N.Y.: Hatherleigh Press/W.W. Norton, 2000. 32 p. ISBN: 1578260752 $15.95.

Over 3.9 million Americans have hepatitis C, and over two-thirds of them are of childbearing age. This book was written so affected parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles could explain the disease to the children in their lives. It explains what a virus is, what the liver does in the body, how hepatitis C is transmitted, and why the person with it is sometimes very tired. Chronic illness affects the entire family and this book sensitively addresses the child's grief, anger, fears, and questions. Its two-pronged purpose is to provide information that children can understand and to help them talk to adults about their concerns. It does a very good job.

The story follows a family over about a year. At the beginning of the story, Mom has to have a liver biopsy; the procedure and recovery are covered nicely. Part of the time Mom feels just fine and can do all the family activities, but there are times when she is too tired to do everything, or the drugs make her feel ill. The children are sometimes hurt and upset that Mom cannot do fun family things or even make lunches some days. At a support group Christmas party, the family meets Mr. Gomez, who is not doing well on medications. By the end of the book, Mr. Gomez has had a liver transplant and is doing better; thus the authors cover the entire range of treatment options in this book.

One of the authors is an early childhood special education teacher and both have done a fine job of writing for the preschool and early elementary age child. Older children would also find the title helpful. Illustrations are in color and quite appealing. The book is upbeat but realistic about the changes and emotions associated with chronic disease in a parent. A glossary of terms and a list of resource organizations are included. Recommended.

Review by:
Kate Smith
Family Health Library
The Children's Hospital
Denver, CO 80218

Coping with Psoriasis: A Patient's Guide to Treatment. By David L. Cram. Omaha, NE: Addicus Books, 2000. 132p. pbk. ISBN 1-886039-47-X $14.95.

This is an information-packed book that I would recommend for a consumer health collection. Dr. David L. Cram is a dermatologist credited with starting the first psoriasis day-care center in the United States. Dr. Cram has also written Understanding Parkinson's Disease: A Self-Help Guide and The Healing Touch: Keeping the Doctor-Patient Relationship Alive Under Managed Care.

The book includes ten chapters as well as a resource section, glossary of terms, bibliography for each chapter, and an index. The first chapter, "What is Psoriasis," is a short but very complete explanation of this incurable disease from its first description in 1808, with explanations of how psoriasis is diagnosed, how it progresses, and how it is treated.

Chapter Two, "The Emotional Side of Psoriasis," is one that makes this book important as part of any consumer health collection. This chapter incorporates the stories of real people living with the disease; it includes interviews of four people who have psoriasis and discusses common emotional symptoms and ways to cope effectively with the disease in order to regain self-esteem. This chapter moves the book beyond just an abstract discussion of the disease. Another chapter, about choosing a doctor, also includes a discussion of insurance companies and of the importance of good communication with your doctor. The remaining chapters focus on specific therapies, with the last chapter devoted to the future of the disease, and possibilities for a cure.

The format of the book makes it easy to read. Typeface is at least 12 point with ample white space that is easy on the eye. Each chapter includes subheadings in bold type; important points are bulleted and indented. The resource list includes the National Psoriasis Foundation as well as the web addresses for MEDLINEplus, Healthfinder, and several other good web-based resources. A list of manufacturers of ultraviolet-B (UVB) equipment for home use is also a useful feature.

Review by:
Marge Kars
Bronson Health Sciences Library
Bronson Methodist Hospital
Kalamazoo, MI


Sexual Health for Men: The Complete Guide. Richard F. Spark. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, 2000. 440 p. pbk.. ISBN 0-7382-0206-1 $20.00 U.S. $29.95 Canada.

Sexual Health for Men: The Complete Guide addresses a condition that 30 million men in America suffer from - impotence. Author Richard F. Spark, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, aims to decrease the stigma of this condition that affects not only men but also their partners.

Significant attention has been paid to male sexual dysfunction of late, with help from high-profile people such as Senator Bob Dole, as well as the pharmaceutical industry. Impotence, says Sparks, is one of the last medical issues to "come out of the closet."

Coverage includes the basics of male sexual functioning, disruptions to the sexual response cycle, endocrinology and etiology. The treatments of impotence are thoroughly discussed, including Viagra, penile implants, penile injections, vacuum devices, and herbal remedies. Case studies are provided to reflect the diversity of those suffering from impotence as well as the different factors that contributes to its onset.

Topics are covered in depth and it may be too thorough for some readers. In addition to being dry, the language can be highly clinical at times, which could be a deterrent. The illustrations of molecular structures, diagnostic scans, and serum assays throughout the book may be somewhat overwhelming.

What is not covered is also problematic. Sparks does not address core health issues such as diet, exercise, and stress management that can play a role in male sexual dysfunction. Surprisingly, there is no section on how it affects relationships and how partners can support men with this condition.

Overall, the book would be appropriate for libraries as a reference text although it should not be the only resource on this topic. This book is appropriate for consumers with a high literacy level who are motivated to fully comprehend the medical/clinical aspects of male sexual dysfunction.

Review by:
Jennifer Byrnes, MLS
Hospital Library Services Program
Western New York Library Resources Council
Buffalo, NY


In Memoriam

Cecilia Durkin passed away on Monday, May 14, 2001, after a brief illness. Cecilia was the Consumer Health Librarian in the Network Office of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) at the National Library of Medicine. She came to NLM in January 2000. Although her tenure at NLM was short, her contributions to NLM and the NN/LM's consumer health initiative were many and remarkable.

Contributions may be made to the following organizations in Cecilia's name:

Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children
5649 Western Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015

Hospice of Northern Virginia
P.O. Box 1576
Merrifield, VA 22116-1576

MEDLINEplus Topic Update

As of May 8, MEDLINEplus has 456 health topics!


Family Resource Centers Conference

The Second Conference on Family Resource Centers will take place on June 11-12, 2001, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Additional information can be found at the conference web site:

Publication Information


Consumer Connections (ISSN 1535-7821) is the newsletter of the Consumer and Patient Information Section of the Medical LibraryAssociation and is published quarterly.

Content for each issue is cumulated online at, primarily during the first two months of the quarter; the issue is considered complete at the end of the quarter. Notification of publication is sent quarterly via the CAPHIS listserv. Newsletter articles and book reviews are copyrighted; please contact the editor for reprint permission.


Please submit items for Consumer Connections during the third quarter for publication in the following quarter.

Submit by this month:
For publication in this issue:
March April-June
June July-September
September October-December
December January-March

Please send submissions in electronic format to the editors:

Howard Fuller
E -mail:
Telephone: (650) 725-3308
Nancy Dickenson
E -mail:
Telephone: (650) 725-8100
Fax: (650) 725-1444


2001, Vol. 17 No. 1
ISSN 1535-7821

Home About CAPHISManaging a CHISContact UsFor Health Consumers

CAPHIS, the Consumer and Patient Health Information Section, is a section of the Medical Library Association, an association of health information professionals with more than 5,000 individual and institution members. MLA fosters excellence in the professional achievement and leadership of health sciences library and information professionals to enhance the quality of health care, education, and research.

© 2003 Copyright CAPHIS