Crest of the Wave--Cool New Health Information Resources for Consumers."
Sunday, May 4th, at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting
in San Diego, CAPHIS co-sponsored a series of Contributed Papers
and Invited Speakers focusing on Health Information Resources for
Consumers. Provided here are reviews from two CAPHIS members.
access to the wave -- cool new health information resources for consumers"
by Angela Ruffin.
Review by Gail Kouame.
first of the four speakers was Angela Ruffin, head of the National
Network of Libraries of Medicine’s (NN/LM) National Network Office
in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Ruffin presented results of NN/LM’s 53
funded projects in 2000-2001. The analysis revealed funding for the
projects across 36 states totaled $1,635,699. The projects focused
on under-served populations and partnerships with third-party organizations,
content involved education, technology infrastructure, and web site
development. Many project participants stated they could have used
more time to implement their project - the grants were for 18 months.
Some of the positive outcomes cited by grant participants included
project impact in terms of developing new resources and increasing
the visibility of partnering agencies. The experience reminded participants
of the need to get out into the community, to dedicate time for planning
and outreach, to customize training, and the value of using a train-the-trainer
approach. New insights gained included the need for greater cultural
competency and relationship building.
bringing evidence to patients"
by Tamara M. Rader and Andrea K. Lane.
Review by Brenda R. Pfannenstiel
provides evidence-based information via the web to consumers and to
health care practitioners on more than sixty chronic conditions.
Although provided by the BMJ Publishing Group, it is written in "American"
language and uses American drug names. The consumer health section
describes conditions, personal experiences of patients, treatment
decisions including drugs, surgery, and alternative medicine. Treatments
are classified as: treatments that work, treatments that are likely
to work, treatments that work but their harms may outweigh their benefits,
treatments that need further study to determine whether they work,
treatments that are unlikely to work, and treatments that are likely
to be ineffective or harmful. These classifications are based on
a "thorough literature search" of the journal "Clinical
is a subscription service; for temporary access to evaluate this service,
bringing evidence to patient"
by Tamara M. Rader and Andrea K. Lane.
Review by Gail Kouame
Rader and Andrea Lane, of the BMJ Publishing Group, discussed BestTreatments.org,
an evidence-based consumer health resource based BMJ’s "Clinical
Evidence" model. The BestTreatments.org site provides the current
state of knowledge about treating a wide range of clinical conditions.
What makes the site unique is its compilation of treatment options
based on clinical evidence from the literature combined with its focus
on the consumer/patient. It also contains resources for both the
patient and physician, and users can choose between them. Thus far,
the site has been well received. The site is a subscription service.
do consumers really want? Planning for a regional consumer health
by Julia F. Sollenberger and Bernie L. Todd Smith.
Review by Brenda R. Pfannenstiel
well presented, well-organized Power Point slide show described the
process of developing the CLIC-on-Health website, beginning with a
forum of community librarians and health care organizations to focus
ideas and to recruit supporters and collaborators. This was followed
by market research on consumers to determine what they most needed
from a community consumer health website, and benchmarking. Market
research revealed that consumers were interested in how to stay healthy
(exercise, nutrition) even more than in specific disorders. There
was also interest in medical terms, drugs and natural remedies, aging
health issues, and a calendar of local events and support group meetings.
See the results of all this planning at http://cliconhealth.org/.
do consumers really want? Planning for a regional consumer health
by Julia Sollenberger and Bernie L. Todd Smith.
Review by Gail Kouame
Sollenberger, of the Health Sciences Libraries and Technologies at
the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Bernie L. Todd Smith,
of the Werner Library at ViaHealth in Rochester, presented information
on Clic-on-Health, a regional consumer health website in Rochester,
New York. Planning for Clic-on-Health was funded by the NNLM. They
garnered input from multiple community agencies and conducted benchmarking
to learn about the background and development process. They also
conducted telephone interviews to suvery the needs of the general
public. Project staff found many households in the Rochester area
have access to the Internet and people do use it to locate information
about health. About one third of those interviewed found there to
be to much information on the Internet and therefore have trouble
finding what they need. Consumers also were concerned about the accuracy
of what they find on the Internet. Training of local public librarians
was included as part of the project. The site is a web portal containing
information specific to Rochester and includes training material in
the use of health information on the Internet. The project coordinators
discovered a calendar of local events and a list of support groups
were a high priority and filled an information gap that was missing
in the community. Because of the publics great concern about website
accuracy and trustworthiness, it is hoped that this resource can become
a widely recognized health information choice among Rochester residents.
information Hispanic outreach: new resources along the Rio Grande"
by Virginia M. Bowden, et al.
Review by Brenda R. Pfannenstiel
presentation described four pilot projects to bring health information
to Hispanics in southern Texas. One project used highly motivated
high school students as peer tutors to help their community learn
to use such resources as MEDLINEplus in Español. This was highly
successful, as four students reached 2000 people. Next year there
will be fourteen peer tutors. Less successful was the attempt to
put computers in a rural health clinic serving migrant workers. Staff
stated they were too busy to help and the patients would not use the
computers on their own. A computer was similarly put in the Texas
Department of Health clinic for patients' use. The fourth project
trained women called "promotoras" to help residents of a
colonia near Brownsville, TX to use MEDLINEplus at the Community Technology
Center. Evaluations of these projects revealed the use of MEDLINEplus
spread beyond the people trained by project staff, and the health
information the users acquired were more likely to be shared among
friends and family than between health professionals and patients.
Predictably, many adults were reluctant to use computers, women were
more likely to ask for help finding information than men, high turnover
and high workload of clinic staff made them less useful as MEDLINEplus
facilitators, language and cultural barriers between project staff
and the targeted population had to be overcome.
information Hispanic outreach: new resources along the Rio Grande
by Virginia M. Bowden, et al.
Reviewed by Gail Kouame
Bowden, of the University of Texas at San Antonio Health Science Center,
described an outreach program targeting four communities in the Lower
Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The intent of the project was to better
understand the health information-seeking behavior and needs of the
Hispanic population and the current and potential role of community
organizations and intermediaries in meeting those needs. The four
major parts of the project involved community assessment, including
interviews with individuals about health information needs; a review
of a circuit librarian program; a survey of physicians; and development
of curriculum at the Regional Academic Health Center, including feedback
to the National Library of Medicine on MEDLINEplus en Español by facilitating
focus groups in Spanish. The most successful portion of the project
to date involved using peer tutors at South Texas High School for
Health Professions (Med High). Four students were selected as peer
tutors to train others to use MEDLINEplus. Through various activities,
it is estimated that more than 2000 people were reached. Another
project which focused on MEDLINEplus en Español included training
staff in area clinics to use the database who then refer patients
to a computer workstation for further research/information. Project
coordinators found that patients were more likely to use the information
when it was located for them. Patients were reluctant to use the computers
on their own. Project participants plan to experiment with additional
ways MEDLINEplus can be promoted at clinic workstations and track
the use when project staff are not present. The fourth portion of
this project took place at a community resource center near Brownsville
known as a "colonia," an unincorporated community with minimal
government support. There is a Community Technology Center in the
neighborhood where "promotoras," women who provide community-based
services, were trained on MEDLINEplus en Español so that they could
teach others how to use it. At the time this paper was presented,
this portion of the project was still in an early stage, but it success
looks promising. Some of the barriers to success were noted. They
were: adults in clinics are often reluctant to use computers, women
are more likely to ask for assistance than men; health professionals
are usually not available for assistance; and language and cultural
factors. Factors leading to Successes included: the need for health
information; familiarity with computers; peer relationships; communication
skills; and fluency in Spanish. Select project observations and trends
included: MEDLINEplus usage spread beyond persons trained by project
staff; MEDLINEplus information was more likely to be shared among
friends and family rather than between health professionals and patients:
and MEDLINEplus was used to cope with personal health problems and
to provide support to family and friends with health concerns.
Tempests and Storms: Vaccines, Biologicals, Patient Education, and
Monday, May 5th, at the Medical Library Association Annual Meeting
in San Diego, CAPHIS co-sponsored a series of Contributed Papers
and Invited Speakers focusing on vaccines, biological, patient education
and environmental health. Provided here are program reviews
written by Brenda R. Pfannenstiel.
the environment hazardous to our health? Toxics where we work, in
our neighborhoods, and in our homes." Presented by Ruth M. Heifetz.
Heifetz gave a brief overview of the many ways toxic exposures can
affect our health, and of the history of our understanding that our
environment can harm us, dating back to Hippocrates in 400 B.C. She
emphasized the importance of informed citizens in identifying environmental
hazards, and pointed out that only 7% of 3,000 high production volume
chemicals currently used have been adequately tested for environmental
health effects. Dr. Heifetz pointed to childhood lead poisoning as
a case example, and displayed some shocking ads in which canned milk
sealed with lead solder or interior house paint made with lead was
promoted as safe for children. Dr. Heifetz was an engaging and thought-provoking
conservation, and utilization: patient empowerment"
by Marian Hicks
general message of this presentation appeared to be that biodiversity
is necessary to maintain plant life that may one day produce drug
therapies. The speech was so unfocussed and muddled (concerning the
wild yam, Hicks said: "this plant is also extinct and is only
grown in certain areas") the overall message was unpersuasive,
confusing herbal medicine with the more general concept of biodiversity,
without mentioning the many other reasons for conserving genetic variety
and the complexity of ecosystems beyond merely conserving plant life.
Rather than a formal presentation, this session felt more like a dramatic
influenza vaccine: the eternal battle"
by Jennifer Lyon
excellent presentation explained the medicine behind the influenza
vaccine. Lyons drew upon her own biomedical experience to discuss
influenza as the leading viral cause of death in humans. She described
the virus and the history of the disease, how prediction and surveillance
are used to develop an influenza vaccine each season, the nomenclature
for each vaccine, and how influenza can move from birds to pigs to
humans. Questions from the audience inevitably brought up SARS.
or cutting edge? Consumer and practitioner interest in public health
information" Presented by Kristine M. Alpi
talk was more closely related to library science and practice than
the other presentations, focussing on the recurring interest in such
public health questions as anthrax, smallpox, tuberculosis, lead poisoning,
and fluoridation of drinking water. Noting that health practitioners
often asked for material from the older literature when researching
these questions, Alpi hypothesized that consumers would also be drawing
upon this literature for these questions. Upon tracking consumer
requests, she discovered that her hypothesis is wrong, and now hypothesizes
that media coverage and websites provide consumers with all the information
they require on these "hot topics."
in Health Sciences and Consumer Health Librarianship
Dixie A. Jones
CE 174 (4 hours)
San Diego, CA
May 3, 2003
course reviewed the deontological and teleological schools of ethical
thought and some general definitions, then briefly reviewed ethical
codes from library organizations and organizations concerned with
health information on the internet. The class examined scenarios
that might occur in a library setting, and determined whether they
represented true ethical dilemmas (in which competing systems of values
were in conflict) or were merely uncomfortable situations. Such dilemmas
may arise between institutional and professional values, between the
competing value systems of two librarians, or between competing values
within a librarian's own mind. Once the ethical dilemmas had been
identified, the class went on to discuss decision-making and resolution
finding to these problems in a way that was consistent with personal,
institutional, and professional values.
class benefited from its diversity, as the group was multi-ethnic
and international, and included librarians from various job categories
within public, academic, hospital and consumer libraries. The instructor
was knowledgeable, well prepared, and provided an extensive bibliography
concerning ethics in health librarianship. Ms. Jones is an effective
presenter and is responsive to questions.
Librarian "On the Street"--Managing and Leading
unscientific but hopefully interesting look at issues of interest
to consumer health librarians.
by Howard Fuller, editor
leadership often relies on the application of tried and true management
principles. In this second installment of Health Librarian "On
the Street," we queried managers at several Consumer Health Libraries
to find out the ways in which they provide leadership. Topics covered
included long range planning, the use of user surveys and focus groups
for marketing, attendance at professional meetings, product development
responsibilities and outsourcing.
responding were mixed on their use of long range planning. According
to Carol Galganski, manager of the Library and Resource Center, OSF
Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, IL, planning is done annually,
based on the hospital’s strategic goals and operating budget. At Rutland
Regional Health Services Health Sciences Library, Rutland, Vermont,
Claire La Force reports that a three-year plan was completed about
three years ago. Molly Foley, director of library services for less
than a year at Boston’s Faulkner Hospital, is not aware of one for
her consumer health library. Planning is done on an annual or semi-annual
basis at Nebraska Methodist College Consumer Health Library in Omaha.
Coordinator Angela Arner anticipates changes as they begin the AQIP
process with NCA.
surveys are conducted in a variety of ways. Asked whether they had
conducted a user survey in the past five years, only Faulkner responded
with an unequivocal "yes." Open for only two years, St.
Francis Medical Center’s Library and Resource Center surveys users
by including an evaluation form with all information packets. Rutland
Regional Health Library has not conducted a large survey, but they
did query customers to determine the format in which they preferred
to receive health information (i.e. video, books, web, etc.).
directors, with input from library staff, are responsible for product
management decisions at both Faulkner and St. Francis. As coordinator
for consumer health library services, Angela Armer calls the shots
at her library. Claire LaForce is a solo librarian at Rutland Regional
and she makes the product decisions there.
at professional meetings appears to be universal. At Nebraska Methodist,
Angela Armer is generally able to attend regional meetings. Conference
funding is limited and priority is given to those making presentations.
She did complete the MLA Consumer Health Library Service credential
this year with full financial support of the college. Claire LaForce
at Rutland has a travel budget that she uses at her own discretion.
She says that her institution’s administration is generally supportive
of continuing education in all forms. MLA was the destination of
choice for St. Francis’ Carol Galganski, while Faulkner’s Molly Foley
of the questions posed in the surveys gathered negative responses
from the participants. None of the libraries have conducted focus
groups in the past five years and none of them are currently outsourcing
any library functions.
of the above consumer health libraries, and many others, can be found
in the MEDLINEplus "Other Resources" section.
Naomi Miller and Joyce Backus
National Library of Medicine
past six months have been a busy time for MEDLINEplus. Here are details
on some of the changes.
Search Engine: We implemented a new search engine for the entire NLM
web site last fall. The first site to use it was the main NLM site--next
came MEDLINEplus en español, and finally MEDLINEplus. We needed a
new search engine in order to be able to handle Spanish diacritics,
we also wanted to be able to separate the different types of search
results in MEDLINEplus.
new search engine is called Recommind and it is a concept-based system.
That means that if you type in "occupational lung diseases,"
the search engine retrieves information on the exact words and also
on the concept of "occupational lung diseases." The result
may include articles with information on occupational asthma, occupational
cancer, and specific types of lung hazards.
search engine has undergone several iterations since it was first
released. We’ve made improvements based on your feedback. Keep letting
us know when it doesn’t produce expected results.
We added a new dictionary in February. The Merriam-Webster Medical
Dictionary is the one that we pointed to on Intelihealth, but now
it’s within MEDLINEplus. We learned from the first MEDLINEplus user
survey that people really wanted a dictionary on the site, and now
they have it. The other dictionaries are still on MEDLINEplus topic
page: We now build the libraries page using data from Docuser! This
feature first appeared on April 22 and already lists over 500 libraries..
For more information about the Docuser data expected, go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/docline/consumer_health_lib.html.
MEDLINEplus updates the page every week.
this page/email this page to a friend: MEDLINEplus now enables users
to produce printer-friendly versions or email pages to family, friends
and colleagues. Links to printer-friendly versions of MEDLINEplus
health topic pages, drug information, news items, and medical encyclopedia
content pages are now included at the top of those pages. These versions
do not include tables of contents, headers, or footers. The print
versions of Health Topic pages include the URLs of the links on the
page. Encyclopedia print versions do not include graphics or links.
Email this page allows users to email either the URL or in most cases
the content of health topic pages, drug information, encyclopedia
text pages, and news items to a recipient.
listserv: For Spanish speaking clientele, there is now a biweekly
Spanish listserv telling users about new sites and topics on MEDLINEplus
to Healthy Web Surfing: The MEDLINEplus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing
gives consumers tips on evaluating health web sites. Government information
is not copyrighted, so you are welcome to reproduce it. We welcome
Home Reference (GHR): This new site, produced by the Lister Hill
National Center for Biomedical Communications, became available on
April 29th. GHR is automatically linked on MEDLINEplus pages about
genetics. Right now there are links on 19 pages but eventually there
should be over 100 pages on which this information will appear. You
can visit it directly at ghr.nlm.nih.gov.
next? Here is a preview of coming attractions.
Local expansion: NC Health Info is the first go-local participant
and they’ve been doing a brisk business. They’ve mapped their information
to MEDLINEplus, and in one case we created a health topic for one
of their local issues, on Pfiesteria infections (a protozoan infection
that primarily affects fish but can also infect people.)
been a lot of interest in participating in the go-local project, and
there will be more links coming. There are two models--MEDLINEplus
will link to linking with existing sites, for sites that already have
well-developed local web sites, and a central content management system
at NLM, for states that haven’t yet developed collected extensive
Senior Health is also going to expand and change. For one thing, it’s
going to talk. For another, it’s going to an enlarged font sizes
for seniors. We expect to release six topics in late June: breast
cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, arthritis,
and hearing/balance disorders. NLM built a content management system
for NIH institutes to add content to NIH Senior Health, and more topics
are in the works.
drug information: Translations of the American Society of Health-System
Pharmacists’ MedMaster drug monographs will be coming later this year.
They will be added to MEDLINEplus in 200 monograph increments. By
this time next year, we should have all of them.
topic name changes: We’ve wanted to refine the names of health topics
for a long time, but since the topic name currently generates the
URL of the page, if we change the name, the URL changes and the links
break. We’ve now figured out a way to change the name of a health
topic but keep the URL. We’ll clean up the vocabulary to make it more
consumer friendly, to the search engine, and to facilitate getting
the MEDLINEplus vocabulary into the UMLS.
page: Many of you have asked us to organize all of the Easy-to-Read
materials into one place, and we’re going to do that in a release
later this year. The page will include self-identified easy to read
materials as well as the Patient Education Institute interactive health
new current awareness services: We’re going to be able to email the
daily news headlines to you. This will be convenient for people who
don’t want to visit MEDLINEplus daily, but want to see the news. We’ll
also be creating announcement lists for topics. There won’t be a list
for every topic but for broad topics, and we’d welcome suggestions
use continues to grow. Last month we had over 20 million page views
by 2.3 million unique users. Thank you for your outreach, training,
and support. And, as always, we welcome your feedback and comments.
Please use the "Contact Us" button on every MEDLINEplus
librarian goes to MLA-San Diego
Milya Jacobson, M.A., San Jose State University SLIS Student Library
Assistant, Redwood Health Library, Petaluma, CA
first MLA conference in San Diego this year was a wonderful experience.
I had a chance to meet with others in the field, to learn about the
types of jobs they do and the places they work, to talk to some of
our vendors and learn about new ones, to learn about the types of
opportunities and positions (though limited) available, and to generally
have a good time.
MLA membership committee has found a way to make new members and first-time
attendees feel welcome at the conference. First, they hosted a breakfast
before the opening session of the conference, where the president
of MLA and several of its board members officially welcomed everyone.
They asked each new member to stand up and introduce themselves (and
there were well over 100 of us!). I appreciated the chance to ‘be
heard’, even briefly, and I appreciated knowing something about the
other new people -- many were from interesting places, some very far
away, and it was nice to be able to go up to a few people afterwards
and talk about what they do.
next thing the membership committee had planned for us newbies was
something I’d never experienced at a conference -- we all left the
breakfast area together and walked in to the opening session together,
led by the membership chair who carried a flag. There were seats
reserved for us right in the front and center section so we all had
great seats. During MLA president Linda Watson’s welcoming speech,
we were asked to stand up so the others could applaud us. What a
great way to be introduced to both the organization and the conference!
found the conference to be a great place to get inspired and to generate
new ideas for our library. For instance, should we start offering
coffee service in our library? Can we better promote our web site
and expand current web offerings? Should we add a link to the American
Psychological Association web site? Are there any other new resources
we can offer our consumers? Can our library play a role in advocating
for better quality health care? Some of these ideas will work for
our particular library and some won’t, but all gave food-for-thought.
also had the opportunity to learn about MLA as an organization and
to find out more about its activities in the last year and about what
Linda Watson and others have accomplished. For instance, a new professional
recruitment committee was started, efforts to promote the value of
medical librarians have been made at various conferences, a task force
was started to promote and plan for continuing education, and a consumer
health teleconference is planned for fall of 2003.
plenary sessions consisted of some excellent speakers who offered
views of some of the broader issues that affect librarians. Stanford
University Law Professor, Lawrence Lessig, provided an interesting
view of current copyright issues, demonstrating the unintended consequence
of copyright law has been a monopoly of very few owners controlling
most of the content. One solution to this issue is the creation of
an organization called "Creative Commons" that offers limited
copyright protection to creators of original works. Its website is:
Weise also gave an excellent lecture focusing on the library as place.
Libraries should be seen as more than repositories of information.
As we head into the virtual future, librarians should not forget the
place-centered functions of libraries, that libraries are meeting
places and places for social interaction and for personalized, interactive
services. In remembering that the library is a place it’s important
to view the library as a service organization, one that reflects the
mission of the institution of which it is a part as well as the values
of our culture and of our profession.
event which I especially enjoyed was the Consumer Health roundtable
luncheon. After meeting many people who work in the larger field of
medical librarianship it was nice to finally meet a few of my colleagues
in consumer health libraries and have a chance to discuss some of
the issues that are important to us. Discussion focused on ideas
for marketing our libraries, as that seemed to be an area of interest
for all of us. It was interesting to hear about the different types
of settings in which consumer health librarians work -- some were
from public libraries, some were in academic libraries and some were
in hospitals or other organizations. Each librarian faces issues
that are unique to their settings.
was a great experience that I would highly recommend to anyone new
in the field, or to anyone who has never been!
for CAPHIS Connection Book Reviews
When you receive a copy of a book for review, you will also receive
a deadline date, usually about two months after the book is mailed.
If you cannot meet this deadline, please inform the editor immediately.
CAPHIS Connection book reviews should be approximately 250 words (one
typed page, double-spaced) long. They may be shorter. Please e-mail
finished reviews to Barbara Bibel, book review editor- email@example.com-
as Word attachments or copied and pasted into the body of an e-mail
The review should convey a clear sense of the work’s content and scope.
Please evaluate the writing style, accuracy, reading level, etc. It
is helpful to compare it to other works on the same subject. Note
the author’s qualifications, credentials, affiliations, and other
Cite the book that you are reviewing at the head of the article using
the following model:
Sharon L. Our Daughters’ Health: Practical and Invaluable Advice for
Raising Confident Girls Ages Six to Sixteen. Hyperion, 2001. 416p.
index. ISBN 0-7868-8500-9. $14.95.
Put your name, name of your institution, city, and state at the end
of the review.
Reviewers are responsible for the accuracy of the statements included.
Reviews will be edited for grammar, length and style.
Thomas, D.D.S. et al. A
Patient’s Guide to Dental Implants,
114p. Addicus Books, 2003. paper. $14.95. ISBN 1-886039-65-8.
congenital defects, gum disease, and poor oral hygiene may lead to
tooth loss. Replacing missing teeth with permanent implants offers
a more natural appearance and greater comfort than bridges or dentures.
The authors of this book, all board- certified dentists specializing
in implant surgery, provide a thorough explanation of the various
options available to patients who need teeth replaced. They discuss
choosing a practitioner, the clinical evaluation process, the surgical
procedures and follow-up, and the care of implants. They also provide
a resource list and a glossary for further information. This small,
reasonably priced book contains a great deal of useful information
about a topic that is rarely discussed in the consumer health literature.
It is a valuable addition to all collections. Reviewed by
Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA
Darshak, M.D. A
Map of the Child: A Pediatrician’s Tour of the Body.
305p. Holt, 2003. $24.00.
books about children’s health are dry recitations of facts about developmental
stages, diseases, and immunizations. Dr. Sanghavi, a pediatric cardiologist
with a background in public health, takes a different route. Organizing
his work by organ systems, he takes readers on a journey that explains
the anatomy and physiology of the growing child. He also shows them
what can happen when things go wrong. He uses clinical examples to
illustrate: a premature infant whose lungs are not fully developed,
a bone marrow transplant that restores a non-functional immune system.
He also covers common problems such as diaper rash, explains how broken
bones heal, and examines controversial issues such as circumcision,
child abuse, and alternative medicine. In the process, he adds personal
reflections that give the material depth and humanity. This beautifully
written book will answer parents’ questions while encouraging them
to appreciate the intricacies of the body and the delights and responsibilities
if raising children. Reviewed by Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland
Public Library, Oakland, CA.
Merck Manual of Medical Information: Second Home Edition. Mark H. Beers, M.D., Editor-in-Chief.
Merck Research Laboratories, 2003. 1946p. $37.50. (0-911910-35-2).
Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Treatment, now in it seventeenth edition,
has been a standard medical reference source for over 100 years. The
first Home Edition, published in 1997 and translated into twelve languages,
was a welcome addition to consumer health reference collections. Just
as librarians begin to worry about its age, Merck has released a second
Home Edition. The editors have completely revised and rewritten the
manual, adding a great deal of new material in the process. All of
the editors, contributors, and editorial board members are physicians
or academics with doctorates.
The format of the book has not changed. A detailed table of contents
lists 25 sections divided into chapters. The first, Fundamentals,
explains basic anatomy and physiology, the aging process, fitness,
communicating with health professionals, and legal and ethical issues.
The others cover specific organs, systems, diseases and disorders,
drugs, and first aid. The sections dealing with organs and systems
begin with the biology of the system and then explain the symptoms,
diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of diseases that may affect it.
There are color diagrams of relevant anatomy as well as an eight-page
insert of anatomical charts. This new edition has added material on
violence against women, sexual dysfunction, chromosomal and genetic
abnormalities in children, and travel health. The drug section now
includes information about medicinal herbs and nutraceuticals and
their interactions with other drugs. A new section called Special
Subjects covers medical decision making, surgery, complementary and
alternative medicine, amyloidosis, familial Mediterranean fever, and
diseases of unknown origin. A series of appendixes contains information
on weights and measures, common tests, generic and trade names of
drugs, and resources for referrals.
Although it has fewer, less colorful illustrations than The American
College of Physicians Complete Home Medical Guide (DK, 1999) and lacks
the flow charts of The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide
(Simon & Schuster, 1999), The Merck Manual of Medical Information:
Second Home Edition continues to provide the most current, detailed
medical information in a format and language that lay readers will
understand at a reasonable price. Libraries owning the 1997 edition
will want to update and the others will want to add this excellent
resource to their consumer health reference collections.