ISSN 1535-7821
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 Vol. 21 No. 2 2005 

Link to ArticleArticles

Link to ArticleCAPHIS Kudos

Link to ArticleNew Consumer Health Award from NCLIS

Link to ArticleMLA 2005

Link to ArticleCAPHIS Business Meeting

Link to ArticleProgram Reviews

Link to ArticleUpcoming Meetings

Link to ArticleBook Reviews

Link to ArticleIncentives for Change: Motivating People with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Learn and Gain Independence

Link to ArticleSelling Sickness (video).

Link to ArticleThe Johns Hopkins Complete Guide to Symptoms and Remedies

Link to ArticleA Guide to Survivorship for Women with Ovarian Cancer. 

Link to ArticleHuman Body Systems

Link to ArticleInternet Guide to Cosmetic Surgery for Women

Link to ArticlePublication Information

Link to ArticleSubmissions

Link to ArticleAdvertising




Congratulations to our own Roz Dudden. She was one of six candidates recently elected by the Section Council for the MLA Nominating Committee. The new members of the nominating committee are:

Nancy Allee, Public Health/HA

Peg Allen, NAHRS

Rosalind Dudden, CAPHIS

Gale Dutcher, Medical Library Education

Terry Ann Jankowski, Public Services

Jett McCann, Leadership & Management

New Consumer Health Award from NCLIS

The U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) has announced the first nationwide award for libraries with exemplary consumer health information programs.  In May 2006, 52 state winners will be selected, and of them 9 libraries will get a cash prize of $1,000, and one library will receive a $20,000 cash prize.  The application due date is January 31, 2006.

Click here for more information:

MLA 2005

Annual Business Meeting

Twenty-nine CAPHIS members attended the section’s annual business meeting, held in San Antonio on May 18, 2005. Minutes of the meeting can be found at :

Program Reviews

Interesting C.E. Classes at MLA

Among the continuing education classes offered at this year’s MLA conference were two that are useful for consumer health librarians.

An Evidence-based Approach to Complementary and Alternative Medicine, taught by Stephanie Weldon from the University of Colorado, provided an overview of the history and growth in popularity of alternative medicine in the United States. From there, we moved on to an introduction to evidence-based practice, using the PICO format to evaluate information. This consists of Patient population, Intervention or interest, Comparison, and Outcome. We examined a variety of free and fee-based online sources to see what they offered in terms of evidence-based literature on alternative therapies. Among those were PubMed, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Cochrane, HerbMed, Infopoems, and StatRef. Although most consumer health libraries do not have funds for these expensive databases, it is nice to be familiar with them. It is also nice to know that one can find good, evidence-based information free on PubMed, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and InformedHealth Online, the free version of Cochrane. We also prepared a plan for a class and outreach for the public which included choosing a topic and preparing marketing and evaluation tools. The course information is online at

Data Detective: Finding the Jewels of Public Health Datasets provided an introduction to basic statistics and an overview of online resources for locating them. The instructor, Hongjie Wang, is at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He explained the elements of data and demonstrated a variety of online resources for learning about and locating statistics. These included the CDC Wonder, WISQARS, the census, and Cancer Query Systems. It was “quick and dirty”. We covered lots of material fast. It would have been better as a longer, hands-on class, but it provided useful information that will help with reference questions. This course material is online at

If you are interested in these topics and did not have a chance to take the classes, visit the websites for some independent study.

Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA.

Upcoming MLA Conference Locations

Looking ahead, here are the dates and locations of upcoming MLA meetings:

2006    Phoenix, AZ

2007    Philadelphia, PA

2008    Chicago, IL

2009    Hawaii

2010    Washington, D.C.

Book Reviews

Delmolino, Lara and Harris, Sandra L.  Incentives for Change: Motivating People with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Learn and Gain Independence. 1st ed.  Woodbine House, 2004. 145p. (Topics in Autism) Illus. Index. $17.95 U.S. ISBN 1-890627-60-7.

Knowing the importance of motivation in the lives of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and the challenge facing parents and teachers involved with such children and adults, Lara Delmolino and Sandra Harris draw upon their years of experience with autistic people of all ages to produce this invaluable guide.  The authors lead the reader logically, step by step, through identifying reinforcing behaviors to using various techniques/methods to help children and adults with ASD be motivated to learn, communicate basic needs, make choices, and master as many basic self-management skills as possible.

Each chapter begins with a case study about a family with a child or young adult with ASD. A discussion follows with new concepts and techniques explained in an easy-to understand way.  Practical tips and implementation strategies are included and instructions, examples, and checklists are given in tabular form or as figures.  Each chapter ends with a summary and references.

There are 13 tables and 18 figures throughout the book.  Printed against a gray background, they stand out and are easy to find.  However, I am disappointed that there is no separate listing of them following the Table of Contents.

Also worthy of note are the “troubleshooting” sections that offer practical suggestions for potential problems, and the illustrations that help clarify points and reinforce ideas.

Incentives for Change is an excellent resource guide for parents, teachers, and anyone involved with people who have Autism Spectrum Disorders.  It offers practical instruction and hope.  Highly recommended for consumer health collections.

Reviewed by:  Glynis Sheppard, Consumer Health Information Service, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, ON

Selling Sickness. Video. 52 min. color. First Run/Icarus Films, 2004. VHS and DVD $390; rental $75.

The creation of new of diseases earns $20 billion annually for drug companies. Called “condition branding”, advertising agencies take a common condition such as shyness and turn it into a disease called “Social Anxiety Disorder”. With infomercials packaged as news releases and aggressive marketing of prescription drugs to physicians and the public, there is an unhealthy relationship between society, medical science, and the pharmaceutical industry. This Australian documentary, co-written by Dr. David Healy, a psychiatrist, and Ray Moynihan, a health journalist and guest editor for The British Medical Journal, examines this state of affairs. Using commentary from drug company consultants, patients, researchers, patient advocates, advertisers, and attorneys, the film shows how drug companies promote their products. They visit trade shows and continuing education conferences, speak with patients, and attend FDA hearings on Capitol Hill to look at SSRI anti-depressants, marketed as safe, non-addictive medications for anxiety and shyness as well as depression. Commentary from patients who found themselves addicted and parents who lost children to suicide provides a stark contrast to the slick advertisements in medical journals and on television. The film also looks at the role of pharmaceutical manufacturers in clinical trials.

This video raises important questions at a time when we are questioning the relationship of drug companies and regulatory agencies. It would be useful as part of a program about advertising prescription drugs. It is also a good companion to Marcia Angell’s book, The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What To Do About It (Random House, 2004. $24.95. ISBN 0375508465).

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

Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., Simeon, (ed). The Johns Hopkins Complete Guide to Symptoms & Remedies. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2004. 736p. illus. index. $19.95. ISBN 1-57912-402-X.

Questions about symptoms and their meaning are common at the reference desk. Although librarians cannot diagnose, they can offer patrons information to share with their physicians. This book from Johns Hopkins has two parts. The first is a series of charts covering specific symptoms, arranged alphabetically from abdominal pain through wheezing. The charts are color coded with columns for associated symptoms, possible diagnosis, and distinguishing features. The information here is vague, so users will want to consult the second part of the book. This is an alphabetical catalogue of diseases and conditions. The one-page entries include a brief description, causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and when to call a doctor. There are some illustrations. A box at the bottom of the page lists symptoms. Although patrons need more extensive information from sources such as the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine to understand an illness, this is a good introduction for those who insist on looking at a book about symptoms.

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

Montz, F.J., Bristow, Robert E., Anastasia, Paula J.  A Guide to Survivorship for Women with Ovarian Cancer.  BaltimoreJohns Hopkins University Press, 2005.  x, 209p.  ISBN 0-8018-8091-2.  pbk.  $15.95 

The authors, two physicians and a nurse, emphasize learning about cancer so patients can be in control of decisions affecting their care, treatment, and subsequent life.  About 30% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will be cured, but for many it becomes a chronic disease.  Thus, setting individualized goals and maintaining a positive attitude are parts of survivorship.

This “Guide” first defines types of ovarian cancer, risk factors, and symptoms, then details surgery, chemotherapy and “comprehensive care.”  Surgical information includes cancer staging, extent of surgery (debulking), second-look laparoscopy, secondary debulking for recurrence, and palliative surgery.

Chemotherapy for epithelial and non-epithelial ovarian cancers is described: drugs, catheter access, and coping mechanisms.  Other possible treatments are mentioned, such as hormonal and gene therapy, anticancer antibodies, immunotherapy, and research trials.  One of the best chapters is on the side effects of chemotherapy, which covers prevention of infection while immunosuppressed, anemia, nausea and anti-nausea drugs, diarrhea, fatigue, neuropathies, “chemo brain” (memory changes), etc.  

The authors summarize complementary therapies that their patients have found helpful – aromatherapy, yoga, acupuncture, diet supplements, and others.  Separate chapters cover nutrition, pain control, “image recovery,” and social needs of the patient and her family.  Guidelines for recurrent disease (55% of cases) are explained, and moving yet realistic sections discuss end-of-life decisions and dealing with loss. 

This book is written at a high school level and would be a good first choice for one newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  It is very readable and includes comments from the authors and some of their patients. A short list of resource organizations and an index are included.   Readers may supplement this with titles such as Conner and Langford’s Ovarian Cancer, Your Guide to Taking Control (2003), that provide more technical details on disease process, clinical trials, and legal issues. 

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

Windelspecht, Michael, (ed.) Human Body Systems. 10v. Greenwood , 2004. illus. index. $399.95 set; $65.00/volume. ISBN 0-313-33119-7.            

Patrons often want information about how the body works to help them understand or prevent illness. This ten-volume set from Greenwood provides a good introduction. With volumes covering the nervous system and sense organs, the reproductive system, the endocrine system, the lymphatic system, the circulatory system, the muscular system, the skeletal system, the digestive system, the urinary system, and the respiratory system, it offers a complete tour of the body. Each volume contains an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the organs and system, coverage of common malfunction and diseases, diagnosis and treatment of these conditions, and fascinating facts about the system. It also has details about the history and medical discoveries related to the system and the researchers involved and about current research in progress. Each volume has a glossary, a list of organizations and Web sites, a bibliography, and an index. Illustrations, diagrams, and tables help readers understand the text. These volumes will appeal to students doing reports as well as patients and families who want to understand a disease process. The literacy level is high-school. Librarians may purchase individual volumes or the entire set. Although this makes a nice reference set, it is published as a series, so there is no comprehensive index. This is a minor inconvenience since the volumes are clearly labeled. The set is a good addition to consumer health and public library collections.

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

Wood, M. Sandra. Internet Guide to Cosmetic Surgery for Women. Haworth Press, 2005. ISBN 0-7890-1066-6; paper 0-7890-1067-4.            

As cosmetic surgery becomes acceptable and even chic in mainstream society, more women consider it as an option to improve their appearance or fight the signs of aging. Since all surgical procedures have risks, women thinking about an operation that may radically alter the way they look will want to make sure that they fully understand the procedure. M. Sandra Wood, an experienced medical librarian, has written a guide that will help women make informed decisions about cosmetic surgical procedures.

Since the Internet has become a major source of medical information, Ms. Wood teaches women how to use it. She explains the structure of the World Wide Web, the use of browsers, search engines, and mega-sites, along with basic search strategies. She also shows them how to evaluate the quality of the information that they find and recommends specific sites with reliable information about cosmetic surgery. These include MedlinePlus, sites from professional medical specialty boards, a few sites created by patients who describe their experiences. She covers choosing a physician, general information about surgery, and specific procedures such as liposuction, rhinoplasty, and breast surgery as well as hair transplantation, cosmetic dentistry, scar and tattoo removal, and Botox injections. Ms. Wood even includes information cosmetic surgeons in other countries. This comprehensive guide to online information about cosmetic surgery is a valuable resource for any woman considering a procedure. It belongs in all medical, consumer health, and public libraries.

Reviewed by: Barbara M. Bibel, M.A., M.L.S., consumer health information specialist, Oakland Public Library, Oakland, CA.


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 newsletter For publication newsletter 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



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 Vol. 21 No. 2 2005 
ISSN 1535-7821

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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.

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