ISSN 1535-7821
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Vol. 23 No. 1 2007

Link to ArticleAnnual Meeting Update

Link to Article CAPHIS Programs at MLA Conference

Link to Article The MLA's Leadership and Management Section: Helping to Create New and Better Leaders

Link to Article Health Information Literacy Session

Link to ArticleMLA CE Course Announcement

Link to Article Planning and Managing the Consumer Health Library

Link to ArticleArticles

Link to ArticleNo external links allowed? Web content providers are an option.

Link to Article Update from the National Library of Medicine, Division of Specialized Information Services

Link to ArticleBook Reviews

Link to Article Take Charge of Your Child's Eating Disorder: A Physicians Step-by-Step Guide to Defeating Anorexia and Bulimia.

Link to Article Every Woman's Guide to Diabetes:What You Need to Know to Lower Your Risk and Beat the Odds.

Link to Article The Metabolic Syndrome Program: How to Lose Weight, Beat Heart Disease, Stop Insulin Resistance and More

Link to Article Surviving a Health Crisis: How to Live Through a Life-Threatening Health Emergency.

Link to ArticleLASIK: A Guide to Laser Vision Correction.

Link to Article Making Sense of IBS: A Physician Answers Your Questions about Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Link to Article Multiple Sclerosis Understanding the Cognitive Challenges.

Link to Article Your Complete Guide to Breast Augmentation and Body Contouring.

Link to Article Oncolink Patient Guide: Breast Cancer.

Link to Article Understanding Your Living Will: What You Need to Know Before a Medical Emergency.

Link to Article Internet Guide to Herbal Remedies.

Link to ArticleThe Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough: Overcoming Sexual and Hormonal Problems at Every Age.

Link to Article Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body.

Link to Article Teenagers with ADD and ADHD : a parents' guide.


Link to ArticlePublication Information

Link to ArticleSubmissions

Link to ArticleAdvertising

Link to Article Annual Meeting Update

CAPHIS Programs at MLA Conference

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

CAPHIS is sponsoring two excellent programs at the MLA conference in Philadelphia. On Sunday, May 20th from 4:30 to 6:00, we are co-sponsoring the Cancer Librarians Section program, Patient as Expert: Revolutionary Changes in Medical Decision Making. This will feature cancer patients, some of whom are librarians, talking about the importance of information when making decision about medical care.

Our main program is on Monday, May 21st from 3:00 to 4:30. Power to the People: Serving the Underserved is co-sponsored by the Hospital Libraries, Chiropractic Libraries, and Relevant Issues Sections as well as the African American Medical Librarians Alliance and the Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Science Librarians, and Mental Health SIGS. We have five dynamic speakers who will discuss techniques for getting information to underserved populations. They will tell you what works and what does not work, and talk about establishing effective collaborations and partnerships with other libraries and community organizations. The panel members are Margaret "Peg" Allen, coordinator of the Hmong Health Education Network; Ysabel Bertolucci, Health Sciences Librarian at Kaiser Permanent Medical Center in Oakland; Gail Dutcher, National Library of Medicine Office of Special Projects; Andrea Kenyon, Director of the Mutter Museum, College of Physicians of Philadelphia (Philly Health Project); and Mark Scully, Bay Area Medical Center, Marinette, WI.

Come and learn how to get your information to those who need it most.

The MLA's Leadership and Management Section: Helping to Create New and Better Leaders

Submitted by: Brian Bunnett, Chair, LMS Membership Committee.

"Leaders are born, not made." We've all heard this hackneyed expression at some point or other. Is there some inborn, indefinable quality that sets leaders apart from the common run of humanity?

It is safe to assume that the many members of the Leadership and Management Section (LMS) do not think so. Or, rather, they believe that there is such a quality but it is neither inborn nor indefinable. This quality is called application, or assiduity, or preparation. Its distinguishing characteristics are hard work, lifelong learning, and good mentoring.

This view of leadership is, on some level, discouraging. It suggests that we must exert ourselves, that we put forth an effort. We can't just lead effortlessly and naturally, as we might have liked to imagine previously.

If leadership is something that has to be worked at then at least there is the LMS to make this task a little less burdensome. The LMS exists in order to provide opportunities for its members to learn the skills they will need to become, or remain, effective leaders and managers. Membership in the section is open to all MLA members. If you do not work as a manager or administrator, but think that your career will take you in this direction, then you are certainly encouraged to join the LMS.

Doing so is sure to be of benefit. The LMS allows its members to network with colleagues interested in leadership and management by promoting research and professional development activities. It accomplishes this goal through programs and symposia held at MLA annual meetings, through The Leading Edge - its excellent newsletter, through its listserv, and through social events and business meetings.

More information about the LMS is available on its web page at:
An application form is available at:

Health Information Literacy Session

Submitted by: Judy Burnham.

Medical librarians often serve two roles. One role is as a member of healthcare teams providing quality patient information, and the other is working with patients and their families to understand the information provided. There is often a disconnect between the two groups. Often? According to the recently reported National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) data only 33% of people with graduate degrees and 4% of high school graduates were health literate in 2003. To see the full report, go to What does this mean for members of the healthcare teams? What does this mean for the patient population?

MLA 2007 in Philadelphia offers a look at the role of the medical librarian in improving health information literacy, providing resources created for people who need help with health information, developing new roles and partnerships to meet these literacy needs, and helping to assure that patient education resources are culturally and linguistically appropriate. The Health Information Literacy: Evolution in Roles session will be held on Wednesday, May 23rd from 10:30 am to 1 pm.

Janet Ohene-Frempong, the session's keynote speaker and a founding member of the Partnership for Clear Health Communication, and a panel of librarians, moderated by Amy Frey from the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, CT, will talk about their experiences in the field. Panel members are Micki McIntyre, developer of the HealthyNJ website ( and partners with Newark Public Library and La Sala Hispanoamericana; Andrea Kenyon, who works with the Philly Health Info project (; Dr. Lynda Baker, PhD, a faculty member at Wayne State University specializing in health information; and Marge Kars, manager of the Bronson Health Sciences Library, HealthAnswers (, and the Bronson Referral and Information Center at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, MI.

Come to the session early, or stay a little longer, and see a group of posters highlighting exciting an innovative health information literacy projects from around the country. Also, before and during the sessions, short video vignettes will present even more ideas. After the session, Beth Wescott will be offering CE 3127 Easy to Read Health and Wellness Material for Consumers: Recognizing It, Finding It, Writing It, and Rewriting It. Sign up early!

MLA is also inviting public librarians to join us. There's more, but you will have to join us in Philadelphia to find out everything!

Link to Article MLA CE Course Announcement

Planning and Managing the Consumer Health Library

Michele Spatz, M.S., Director of Planetree Health Resource Center, is offering her MLA CE course, Planning and Managing the Consumer Health Library on the Internet beginning April 30th. The course will run for 7 weeks, ending on June 17th. The course covers all aspects of planning and managing either a consumer health library or consumer health information service from a veteran in the field. The class is interactive and because it is offered online, you can do it from the convenience of any desktop. The course is approved for 6.0 MLA CE contact hours and the registration fee is $150.

Here's the blurb from the MLA website: If you are just beginning a consumer health service or you have been providing service and feel something is missing, this course is for you. Focus on planning and managing issues related to providing consumer health services or operating a consumer health library. Learn about needs assessment, costs and funding, business plans, volunteer and paid staffing, collection development, policy development, and public relations.

Offered: April 30–June 17, 2007.
MLA CE Contact Hours: 6
Fee: $150
Registration: email Michele for registration instructions

Link to Article Articles 

No external links allowed? Web content providers are an option.

Submitted by: Kelly Klinke, Liberty Hospital, Liberty, MO.

What constitutes good content and design for the healthcare institution's web site? Priorities and criteria may differ within one's organization.

While there is consensus among medical librarians that MEDLINEplus and the "CAPHIS Top 100 Web Sites" are ideal sources to which to direct consumers, often web site design reflects an administrative directive to keep prospective customers at the organization's web site for as long as possible. Prevalent in today's competitive healthcare market is a design strategy to discourage visitors from wandering beyond the confines of the organization's web site for credible consumer health information.

To meet this demand vendors sell consumer health and patient education content for re-packaging, and sometimes re-branding, by the purchasing organization. This content may be produced by the vendor, or in some cases it may be information originally published by the National Institutes of Health.

The library professional involved in evaluating health content providers for the purpose of repackaging information into his or her organization's web site will want to employ the usual criteria for determining the value of the information.

My impression is that most of the products available meet at least minimum criteria for readability and coverage. As with any patient education information product, there will be some instances when clinical practice varies locally from that specified in the pre-packaged content.

The list below includes only those vendors mentioned by librarians in response to an inquiry posted January, 2007 to the MEDLIB-L and CAPHIS discussion lists. The inquiry solicited positive and negative evaluations. Evaluative comments were not provided with each response received, but all evaluative comments received are summarized in the below list. Comments from vendor representatives are also included and are identified as such. Some of the example URLs included in the list were provided upon my request by the vendor.

The following list is not comprehensive of all available products. Product evaluations were not conducted with any specific methodology. The comments included here serve as a quick snapshot of sorts because these were brief and from approximately ten librarians.

Librarian-suggested vendors of consumer health or patient education content available for re-packaging and/or re-branding within a healthcare organization’s web site: 
§          "[We] recently purchased the health content from We trialed 3 other products, and Adam came up as our first choice.  We really liked the illustrations best--they actually employ full-time and trained medical illustrators.”

American Academy of Family Physicians
§          "[AAFP] is happy to open a dialogue [with your organization] about licensing the content." Comment is from Susanna Guzman, Assistant Director, Online & Custom Publishing, AAFP.

Cleveland Clinic

Diseases Explained
§          "Greystone was quite a bit cheaper..."
§          "Our [organization's] website seems to index the Greystone content well because a basic search on a topic always retrieves something. I think it’s a fine product."

Health Advisor

Health Library (formerly Healthgate) from Ebsco (formerly Laurus Health)
§          "I thought it was a pretty nice product... Healthvision can make it look seamless on your web page...people don't know it isn't from [your organization].... We just dropped the contract however, not because of problems but because it was a cost reduction issue."
§          "I am impressed with the Healthwise Knowledgebase. They currently supply content to about 40% of the industry, have a rigorous review process, and are a non-profit organization as well."
§          "We use Healthwise as our provider at Kaiser, and their content is integrated into our members' website,
Click on the Health Advice tab, and choose Health Encyclopedia."
§          "I think they provide some excellent information but [the product is expensive].  Marketing likes their look... Some of our nurses don't like some of the advice presented which they feel is different in some cases from our practices and recommendations."

Krames Online

§          "They have several modules, including a Pediatric Advisor, Behavior Advisor, Adult Health Advisor, a Cardiology Advisor, etc.  They don’t have a lot of pretty pictures, and the reading level might be a little higher than most of the Krames stuff, but they do have lots of good information, and some of it is also available in Spanish." 

Thomson Gale
Examples provided by the company sales representative are not included here because this information may be proprietary (i.e. Thomson Gale authorship is not cited within the example web site provided to me).
§          "Over the past few decades, Gale’s consumer health content has been licensed to many respected web sites and other services..." This comment is from a company representative.

Thomson Micromedex
The option to repackage the licensed content from this suggested vendor is unverified at time of submission of this article.

My gratitude and appreciation go to the librarians who contributed their valuable insights, thus facilitating the compilation of this list.

Update from the National Library of Medicine, Division of Specialized Information Services

Submitted by: Colette Hochstein, D.M.D., MLS, Division of Specialized Information Services, NLM. (

The Division of Specialized Information Services (SIS, at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) creates information resources and services in toxicology, environmental health, chemistry, and HIV/AIDS. Another component of SIS, the Office of Outreach and Special Populations, seeks to improve access to quality and accurate health information by underserved and special populations. Many SIS products help to address the toxicology and environmental health information needs of the general public.

New Look for NLM's TOXNET Search Results Page
The “Search All (TOXNET) Databases” results page has a new look. References from the National Library of Medicine's TOXLINE (Toxicology Literature Online) and DART (Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology) are displayed first, followed by records from the other TOXNET resources (Chemical, Toxicological, and Environmental Health data).
For each resource, the database abbreviation, full name, and number of records found are displayed; click on any one to go to its results page.
Radiation Event Medical Management (REMM) ( Released
The Department of Health and Human Services has developed its first comprehensive web site to assist health care professionals, primarily physicians, who may have to provide medical care during a radiation mass casualty incident.

Radiation Event Medical Management (REMM) ( provides easy to follow algorithms for diagnosis and management of radiation contamination and exposure, guidance for the use of radiation countermeasures, and a variety of other features to facilitate medical responses.
Guidance on diagnosis and treatment will help health care providers by describing:
§          types of radiation emergencies they may face
§          initial medical actions at the incident site and or medical facility
§          specific issues that apply to care in radiation mass casualty events.
Critical information is presented in a format that will quickly and efficiently orient and guide health care providers during a potential mass casualty radiation event. Federal, state and local medical response teams will be able to download REMM files to computers so that the documents are available without internet access. Users can also register for automatic e-mail updates whenever key material is changed or added to REMM.
Future plans include formatting REMM for use on Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices, additional multimedia graphics, and more topic areas such as follow-up patient care.

Subject matter experts from the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Library of Medicine (NLM), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated on the content for REMM. HHS teamed with NLM's Division of Specialized Information Services to develop the site.

DIRLINE: A to Z list
The National Library of Medicine's DIRLINE (Directory of Health Organizations) now offers an A to Z list of 8,500+ organizations concerned with health and biomedicine:

DIRLINE can also be searched for specific topics:

The National Library of Medicine's (NLM) Haz-Map has been updated. 226 new agents in the categories of metals, solvents, pesticides, mineral dusts, toxic gases and vapors, plastics and rubber, nitrogen compounds, and other compounds were added.
Haz-Map is an occupational health database designed for health and safety professionals and for consumers seeking information about the health effects of exposure to chemicals and biologicals at work. Haz-Map links jobs and hazardous tasks with occupational diseases and their symptoms.
More information about Haz-Map can be obtained at

Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed)
The National Library of Medicine's Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) has added 51 substances, including 14 topical antibacterial and antifungal agents, 13 X-ray and 8 MRI contrast agents, 8 acne/skin care agents, and 8 other drugs. 36 records have been updated.

More specific information about this update can be found by selecting the "LactMed 3/2007" link at
LactMed is part of the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET®). It is a peer-reviewed and fully referenced database of drugs to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed. LactMed includes information on the levels of such substances in breast milk and infant blood, and the possible adverse effects in the nursing infant. It provides statements of the American Academy of Pediatrics concerning a drug’s compatibility with breastfeeding and suggested therapeutic alternatives to those drugs where appropriate.

More information about LactMed can be found at

TOXNET Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)
The 2005 Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) ( was released by the EPA on March 22, 2007 and on NLM's TOXNET ( on March 23, 2007. TRI 2005 contains 89,325 records.

The EPA's TRI ( provides information on the releases of over 600 specific chemicals into the environment as reported annually by industrial facilities around the United States. NLM's TOXNET ( is a group of databases on hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases.

TRI can also be visually explored with NLM's TOXMAP (, a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Enhanced ToxSeek Meta-Search Engine and Clustering Tool
An updated version of ToxSeek is now available ( ToxSeek is an NLM metasearch engine and clustering tool that enables the simultaneous searching of many different toxicology and environmental health information databases and web sites.
ToxSeek enhancements include:

  • a new spell checker with English and medical dictionaries
  • the automatic inclusion of medical subject headings (MeSH) in the subject clusters
  • the addition of TOXMAP (environmental health e-maps) and ToxTown (an interactive guide to commonly encountered toxic substances)
  • refinements to the search strategies of the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) sites
  • the addition of WHO (World Health Organization).
    ToxSeek is available at

Link to Article Book Reviews 

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Carlton, Pamela and Deborah Ashin. Take Charge of Your Child's Eating Disorder: A Physician's Step-by-Step Guide to Defeating Anorexia and Bulimia. New York: Marlowe & Company, 2007. 218p. ISBN 1-56924-263-1. $15.95.

When their child is diagnosed with an eating disorder, parents are likely to need just the sort of information found in this guide.  Dr Carlton, a physician specializing in adolescent eating disorders, addresses parents because she believes they are critical participants in the child’s treatment and recovery.  The book is based on the curriculum of the parent education and support program that Carlton created at Stanford University. 

The authors' presentation encourages parents to take control of their child's illness by learning about different forms of the illness, different treatments, misconceptions of how the illness presents, how other children have felt about having an eating disorder, and how other parents have dealt with their child's diagnosis and treatment. The specificity of what a parent might say to their child in various situations should be especially helpful. Similarly, the chapter on dealing with insurance companies is thorough and letters that are often needed in dealing with the companies are found in an appendix.

Carlton feels that the real test of beating the disorder is when the child is recovering at home. She is sympathetic with how difficult this part psychiatric/part medical illness is on parents and urges them to take care of themselves. In spite of the difficulties parents are being introduced to, the authors have managed to convey a feeling throughout the book that the situation is under control.  Several writing techniques maintain the reader’s interest.  Speaking directly to the reader encourages them to read on as does the use of a final sentence or two at the end of a chapter to introduce the one that follows.

Reviewed by: Susan Roosth, Science & Engineering Library, University of Texas at Arlington.

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Eisenstat, Stephanie A. and David M. Nathan. Every Woman's Guide to Diabetes: What You Need to Know to Lower Your Risk and Beat the Odds. Harvard University Press, 2007. 296p. index. ISBN-13: 9780674023048. $24.95.

There's a diabetes epidemic occurring in our nation. Women have unique issues with diabetes. If you're a woman, are you at risk? Do you know how to find out or what to do about it? Here is thorough, concise information on who's at risk, how to avoid or prolong avoidance of diabetes and, if diagnosed, how to manage it. The book discusses cardiovascular, circulatory, vision and other medical problems that can be complications of diabetes. It differentiates between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in adults and in children and explains gestational diabetes, which affects pregnant women. The book advocates lifestyle changes that can help women reduce their diabetes risk or, if already diagnosed, gives suggestions on minimizing or preventing complications. It states: "The most important thing you can do to reduce the development and progression of to control blood glucose levels, blood pressure and lipid [cholesterol] levels" and follow a diet and exercise plan---and this book tells you how. Normal life processes such as sexuality, preparation for and pregnancy, menopause, and psychosocial impact are discussed from the standpoint of a diabetic or a person at risk of diabetes. Charts are included on carbohydrate counts in foods, a sample grocery list for healthy eating, insulin, over-the-counter medications and complementary (alternative medicine) treatments. This book, written by two physicians, one a woman with diabetes, is easy to understand and informative. It's a must read for woman seeking to avoid or deal with diabetes---and isn't that all of us?

Reviewed by: Donna Zimmer, Community Health Library, Good Samaritan Hospital, Kearney, NE.

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Karst, Karlene. The Metabolic Syndrome Program: How to Lose Weight, Beat Heart Disease, Stop Insulin Resistance and More. Wiley, 2006. 287 p. index. ISBN 0-470-83826-4. $15.95.

According to information from "metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes." The conditions include elevated insulin levels, increased blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Not everyone agrees on the definition of metabolic syndrome, but it has been discussed for many years and has been called by many names, including syndrome X, insulin resistance syndrome, and MSX. Regardless of name or definition, one certainty is that this complex collection of risk factors is becoming more prevalent. According to statistics quoted by the American Heart Association, an estimated 47 million U.S. residents have these risk factors. Twenty-five percent of the adult U.S. population is now estimated to have metabolic syndrome, with the rate approaching 50% in the elderly.

Karlene Karst, author of The Metabolic Syndrome Program, is a leading health specialist in nutrition and natural medicine. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and is a registered dietitian. Hers is one of the first books to address this condition, offering a realistic plan of treatment. Consumer oriented information is well-documented, providing citations to research published in well-respected medical journals.

Karst first discusses the concept of the metabolic syndrome and explains how the reader can assess their risk. Three chapters are devoted to fats, carbohydrates and proteins, helping the reader to understand the positive and negative aspects of each and how they interact to form a balanced diet. Choosing the right foods can lead to a healthy lifestyle, while the wrong choices can lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Since obesity plays a major role in metabolic syndrome, Karst discusses the various causes of and problems associated with being overweight. She provides a clear, scientific explanation of the complex relationship between food, blood sugar, insulin, and fat. Karst states that 90% of the products in our supermarkets are highly processed foods rich in unhealthy fats, loaded with sugar, and stripped of beneficial fiber. A steady diet of these foods, coupled with a lifestyle marked by inactivity, stress, and sleep deprivation, can create many of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome.

The importance of losing weight sensibly and avoiding fad diets is stressed. Other hints include eating smaller more frequent meals, following the USDA Eating Right Pyramid, paying attention to portion size, reading nutrition information on packaged foods, and increasing physical activity.

Detailed information on an extensive list of natural supplements that can be used to prevent insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome by altering blood lipid levels, improving blood sugar levels and/or help to lose weight is provided. Included are omega-3, garlic, CoQ 10, hydroxyl citric acid, conjugated linoleic acid and green tea.

The final chapter contains a five-day menu and numerous recipes that allow the reader to incorporate the principles that were presented throughout the book. Cornerstones of the metabolic syndrome program include planning meals in advance; choosing easy, inexpensive recipes; eating five or six small meals a day; and taking nutritional supplements. Emphasis is placed on the consumption of whole grains, low-GI carbohydrates, wild fish and seafood rich in omega-3s, whey protein powder, and protein with each meal or snack.

Each chapter ends with a concise summary of several important facts presented in that chapter. Appendices include a listing of foods grouped according to their glycemic index value; a resource guide listing informational websites and recommended reading; and a glossary of terms. Detailed citations for the journal articles discussed in the book are provided for readers who wish to access the complete research.

The Metabolic Syndrome Program is written for the consumer, with content that is current, authoritative, and well-documented. Pertinent charts, quizzes and illustrations help to reinforce the information presented in the text. A solid choice for consumer health collections in all types of libraries, as well as for the individual who wants to understand this complex syndrome.

Reviewed by: Dee Jones, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Medical Library, Shreveport, LA.

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Kolb, Felix. Surviving a Health Crisis: How to Live Through a Life-Threatening Health Emergency. RDR Books, 2006. 224p. index. ISBN:1-57143-157-8. $17.95.

Felix Kolb is a Clinical Professor Medicine, Emeritus at the University of California School of Medicine. Dr. Kolb was prompted to write Surviving a Health Crisis after experiencing his own health crisis, emergency surgery for an aneurysm as well as additional surgical procedures.

Dr. Kolb does offer some good advice: keep a personal health file and a list of current medications, interview a physician before you decide to become a patient of the practice, look for affordable health insurance.

There is also information that doesn't seem to fit, unless, like Dr. Kolb, you have spent many years as part of the medical establishment. The author's advice for finding a specialist is "seeking the top surgeons in your nearest medical school or medical center." For complicated procedures "your local university medical center should be consulted first. These statements seem to contradict the requirement from many specialists that a physician refer a patient to a specialist. He also suggests trying to register at the hospital of your choice as a "potential future patient."

There is a small discussion about whether the Canadian health care system would work for the U.S., and extensive information on Dr. Kolb's personal health crisis.

"The 10 Commandments for Surviving a Critical Illness" on page 220 is the best part of this book, a succinct review of the previous 20 chapters.

I would not recommend this book for any library collection.

Reviewed by: Marge Kars, Bronson Methodist Hospital.

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Kornmehl, Ernest W., M.D.; Robert K. Maloney, M.D. and Jonathan M. Davidorf, M.D. LASIK: A Guide to Laser Vision Correction. Second edition. Addicus Books, 2006 (uncorrected proof). 130p. ISBN: 1-8860-3979-8. $14.95.

LASIK: A Guide to Laser Vision Correction provides an excellent overview of the pros and cons of LASIK (Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) surgery. Written by three highly trained surgeons, this book begins with an introduction to the anatomy of the eye, an explanation of how vision works, and a brief history of laser vision correction. The authors then explain how consumers can determine whether they might be good candidates for this procedure, offering sample questions consumers could pose when consulting with surgeons about undergoing LASIK surgery.

The authors also discuss qualifications that prospective patients should consider when selecting a surgeon to perform LASIK surgery. They mention asking for referrals from other patients or eye care practitioners, locating board-certified ophthalmologists, checking surgeons' credentials via the Internet, considering the number of times a specific surgeon has performed the procedure, and checking into the surgeon's level of expertise in the use of up-to-date equipment for this type of surgery. The authors do acknowledge that information obtained from the Internet may be inaccurate or incomplete, so the consumer must be cautious when relying upon Internet resources.

In the last several chapters, the authors describe the LASIK procedure in detail, what to expect after the surgery, the chances for success, the risks and complications, and additional resources that may be helpful. The "Risks and Complications" chapter provides an invaluable analysis of the potential risks as well as the benefits of this procedure so that the consumer can make an informed decision.

Highly recommended for consumer health and public libraries.

Reviewed by: Donna Timm, MLS, Head of User Education, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Medical Library, Shreveport, LA.

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Lacy, Brian E. Making Sense of IBS: A Physician Answers Your Questions about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. 305p. index. ISBN 080188456X. 18.95

Dr. Lacy reveals that up to 20% of Americans suffer with irritable bowel syndrome and unveils the difficulty sufferers often have at getting a correct diagnosis and treatment. History, case studies, symptoms, diagnosis, and all possible therapies are covered with honest straight forward explanations as to what has been clinically proven and what is based on patient/doctor experience. Sound advice is offered on what to ask your doctor, what type of doctor to go to, and information to provide. A chapter on I.B.S. in children makes it a useful guide for parents of children who suffer from this disorder.

This is a very clear book, appropriate for medium to advanced reading levels. With the exception of some areas, the text is generally is light on medical language and all medical terms are clearly explained. Diagrams and illustrations are used and a section on Patient Resources is provided.

Dr. Brian Lacy, Ph.D., M.D. is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology and currently the director of the G.I. Motility Laboratory at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He has focused his research on gastro paresis, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux disease, visceral pain, and constipation.

Reviewed by: Susan Fowler, Medical Librarian, SLCH Medical Staff Library, St. Louis Children's Hospital in partnership with Washington University School of Medicine, MO.

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LaRocca, Nicholas and Rosalind Kalb. Multiple Sclerosis Understanding the Cognitive Challenges. Demos, 2006. 129p. glossary. index. ISBN-10 1-932603-31-X. $19.95.

Cognitive symptoms of multiple sclerosis have been suspected, alluded to, and mentioned off-hand for a number of years. Drs. LaRocca and Kalb with their new book bring this scary aspect of the disease out in the open and provide patients hope for developing strategies for dealing with them. The authors are psychologists who have developed their expertise through years of working through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and have published numerous articles about the psychological and neuropsychological effects the disease can have.

The information in this book could be helpful to anybody who deals in any form with this disease, patients, family, and clinicians of all levels. The text is written at a high reading level (it might be difficult going for any of the minority of patients that are suffering from severe cognitive symptoms). The high reading level is somewhat compensated for by an excellent glossary at the end of the book (entry terms are highlighted in the text). It also contains extensive references for those who might want further information.

The book details the many different types of cognitive problems that can be present. The part of the book that people with MS will find most beneficial is the section that gives personal examples of problems that individuals have had and the strategies that were used to cope with those specific problems.

I found two major omissions in the information provided. First, wide varieties of drugs are used to treat the various multiple sclerosis symptoms. It would be helpful to know which ones either alone, or in combination with other drugs, can affect cognition. Second, there has been a lot recently written on things people can do to keep their minds sharp as they age (exercise, puzzles, etc.). Might these be proactive steps people with MS could take to prevent or lessen the cognitive deterioration?

This book should be in any health resource center that serves a MS community.

Reviewed by: Laura Brown, Loma Linda University Libraries, Loma Linda, CA.

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McNemar, Thomas, MD; Andrew Salazberg, MD and Steven Seidel, MD. Your Complete Guide to Breast Augmentation and Body Contouring. Addicus Books, 2006. 140p. color illustrations. resources. glossary. index. ISBN: 1-889039-74-4. $21.95.

Are you a woman wanting to improve your appearance and boost you self-confidence? Many women feel the need to have breast augmentation surgery. This guide is for women who feel their breasts are too small, and are seriously considering breast augmentation. This book provides women with an understanding of what is involved with breast surgery and other body contouring surgeries.

The authors of Your Complete Guide to Breast Augmentation & Body Contouring are plastic surgeons and have performed thousands of cosmetic procedures. The authors have web sites which provide additional information. They have consulted with women and understand the issues that are important to them. Questions women should ask themselves and their doctors are posed. The authors also cover other common body contouring procedures, including tummy tucks, and liposuction of the stomach, hips, buttocks, highs, and knees. Dozens of before and after color photos help further envision the potential results of cosmetic breast surgery.

This book is written in an easy-to-understand style and will help you make an informed decision. A glossary helps with the more technical terms. There is a great resource section with high quality web sources. This is an informative and sensitive guide for every woman considering cosmetic breast surgery.

Reviewed by: Julie Johansen, MLIS, Midtronic, Inc., Shoreview, MN.

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Metz, James M., M.D. and Margaret K. Hampshire, RN. BSN, OCN. Eds. Oncolink Patient Guide: Breast Cancer. Saunders, 2007. 256p. index. ISBN: 0702028665. $29.95.

Oncolink is the oldest, largest, and most trusted resources for cancer information resources on the Web. Oncolink Patient Guide: Breast Cancer is the second book of a planned series. Its content is based on a compilation of patient's questions and answers gathered at the Oncolink site. The contributors list is impeccable and this virtually guarantees that the content will be up to date and medically accurate.

I wanted to like this book. But, I found the publication disappointing, in both format and content and inappropriate for most clients coming through my library door who want a more general coverage.

First gripe - It printed in pink! And I found it hard to read!

More important however is the content. The information is laid out in a question and answer style like a web site. Although there is a very brief introduction and a resources section at the back, there is almost no other narrative. So if you need a broader view of the disease because you are just starting the breast cancer journey, this will feel more like a lucky dip than a comprehensive resource. My discomfort with the book was seconded by my oncologists and oncology nurses who were kind enough to offer an opinion. They felt the material covered would most likely to be useful to a selection of clients who demand complete information control over their cancer and were using the resources of a large teaching or research organization.

For patient resources, I would still prefer either "Susan Loves' Breast Book," 2005, $14.95 or "Breast cancer: Real answers, real questions" by David Chan, 2006, $11.

Reviewed by: Elyse Pike, Health Sciences Librarian, Grey Bruce Health Services, Ontario, Canada.

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Mirarchi, Ferdinando L. Understanding Your Living Will: What You Need to Know Before a Medical Emergency. Addicus Books, 2006. 120p. Index. ISBN 1-886039-77-1. $12.95.

Living wills receive renewed attention whenever a controversial case involving a patient's right to die with dignity arises, it seems. However, as this author, an osteopathic emergency care physician, points out, living wills themselves are often confusing, arcane legal documents that can cause serious misunderstandings among patients, families and healthcare workers, thereby contributing to rather than lessening the problem. Dr. Mirarchi's goal is to provide information about various procedures and their uses and usefulness for different types of patients - for example, hospice care patients. In doing so particularly in the first few chapters readers may end up even more confused due to the complexity of the topic and the attempt to cover it in a few brief chapters. However, the work is redeemed once Mirarchi begins to lay out his "Medical Living Will with Code Status" in Chapter 5. At this point, with the proposed living will document appended to go by and step-by-step instructions to follow, the book finally realizes its aim of providing a means of enabling physicians and family members to proceed with confidence about the patient's wishes during life-threatening emergencies. The "Medical Living Will with Code Status" is a valuable tool, and a glossary helps to explain the inevitable medical and legal terminology. There is also a bibliography and a list of resources for further information, including referrals to legal aid resources for those unable to afford a private attorney. Despite its missteps (including a disconcerting tendency by the author to quote himself in third person), Understanding Your Living Will would be a valuable addition to any consumer health collection.

Reviewed by: Kay Hogan Smith, UAB Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, Birmingham, AL.

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Owen, David. Internet Guide to Herbal Remedies. Haworth Press, 2006. 119p. $24.95. ISBN 10: 0-7890-2230-3. ISBN 13: 978-0-7890-2230-1; pap. ISBN 10: 0-7890-2231-1. ISBN 13 978-0-7890-2231-8.

As more people turn to herbal remedies, the need for accurate information about these drugs increases. David Owen, education coordinator at the Library and Center for Knowledge Management at the University of California, San Francisco, is also an assistant clinical professor at the School of Pharmacy there. He provides a useful guide for finding reliable information about herbs online. Owen begins with a brief introduction to searching the Web and using chat rooms, blogs, and instant messaging. He then tells readers how to evaluate the huge mass of information that they will find on the Web so that they will be able to select reliable sites. He discusses searching the medical literature, explaining why PubMed is better than Google and then provides an annotated list of sites with information about herbs used to treat specific diseases and conditions, herbs for specific population groups (women, children, seniors), and even herbs for pets. A glossary and index complete the work. This is a very useful work for consumer health collections because it includes information about the safety and efficacy of herbs as well. The only caveat is the fact that the Web changes rapidly, so URLs may change and sites may disappear.

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

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Shomon, Mary J. The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough: Overcoming Sexual and Hormonal Problems at Every Age. Collins, 2006. 432p. index. ISBN 978-0-06-079865-9. $14.95.

Thyroid hormones are implicated in a wide variety of women's health concerns, from delayed puberty, miscarriage, sexual dysfunction, pre-eclampsia, postpartum depression, and breastfeeding difficulties, to menopause symptoms. With The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough, consumers are armed with information to seek diagnosis and treatment.

Part 1 presents a thorough overview of the thyroid and the hormonal feedback mechanisms it is involved in, so that previous knowledge of thyroid physiology is unnecessary to understand the rest of the book. Part 2 covers reproductive health concerns, presenting facts, explanations and personal narratives; this section also provides information about how to minimize health complications when one has thyroid disease, such as tips on how to have a healthy pregnancy after radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment. Part 3 provides guidelines for developing a plan to address concerns about thyroid health. The appendix provides tools and an extensive listing of resources. The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough has a complimentary and alternative medicine emphasis and encourages patients to advocate for testing and treatment. College reading level is a potential drawback.

Mary J. Shomon, author of Living Well with Hypothyroidism and The Thyroid Diet, and the webmaster/editor of's Thyroid Disease site and, is no stranger to thyroid disease - in fact, she turned a personal struggle with hypothyroidism into a career as a nationally recognized patient advocate.

Overall, an accessible, comprehensive text that meets an unfilled need in consumer health literature. Recommended addition to women's health collections.

Reviewed by: Dana Haff, MLS/MS student, Texas Woman's University.

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Weschler, Toni. Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body. Collins, 2006. 205p. ISBN 0-06-082964-8. $14.95.

Cycle Savvy is a smart, empowering book for teens, teaching them the ins and outs of the female reproductive system and menstrual cycle. Written at a high school reading level, with a target audience of girls age 14-18, this book assumes that the reader is already familiar with the basics of menstruation and does not provide any general "what to expect" information. Weschler, who is the author of the popular fertility awareness book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, teaches girls how to chart their waking body temperature and read other body signs to determine when they will get their next period.

Teens will appreciate the authors' fun, conversational tone, which makes this book feel like having a chat with an older sister. The amusing graphics and the end of chapter quizzes also help to keep the book light. In addition to the in depth biology lesson, Weschler takes the mystery out what to expect at the gynecologist and discusses the importance of breast self-exams. She also touches briefly on larger issues of female empowerment such as avoiding negative stereotypes and peer pressure.

The discussion of sex is unavoidable, although it is limited within the context of helping teens to clarify their personal values and goals. Weschler, who never preaches, uses first-person narratives from women of all ages talking about their first sexual experience to present a variety of viewpoints.

Includes several appendixes, a glossary and index. This excellent book fills a niche and is recommended for larger public libraries.

Reviewed by: Guinevere Forshey, Crandall Public Library, Glens Falls, NY.

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Zeigler Dendy, Chris A. Teenagers with ADD and ADHD : a parents' guide. 2nd ed. Woodbine House, 2006. 424p. index. ISBN-10: 1890627313. $24.95.

This is a well-written, comprehensive, and well-organized book. The 8.5" x11" workbook-size format, appealing graphic design, and layout add to the user-friendliness and create an excellent quick reference guide for parents. Chapters are divided into short sections and are made easier to navigate with the use of a variety of design elements including bullet points, pull-out quotes, tables, charts, lists, and appendices.

The reading level is high school and above, especially in the sections addressing medications. Dendy does a wonderful job of summarizing for the consumer in an understandable way the most current and important research. Each chapter is a balanced blend of common sense advice, succinct summaries of research, and quotes from parents as well as pre-eminent ADHD researchers and clinicians such as Dr. Patricia Quinn and Dr. Russell Barkley, among others.

It would be nice to see a section (or sections within each chapter) devoted to the unique, gender-related issues and needs of girls with ADHD because research shows this population has distinct, often unrecognized characteristics and overlooked needs. The book is none the less an excellent educational resource for caregivers of newly diagnosed teens, families who seek proven and practical coping and management strategies, and anyone seeking a synthesis of the latest research about treating ADHD in adolescents.

Dendy, M.S., is a former educator, school psychologist, and mental health professional. She is the mother of three grown children with ADHD. She currently serves on the national CHADD President's Council, and the Professional Advisory Board for ADDA-SR. In 2006 she was inducted into the CHADD Hall of Fame. Her other books include Teaching Teens with ADD and ADHD (Woodbine House, 2000) and A Bird's-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD (coauthored with her son, Alex).

Submitted by Kelly Klinke, Liberty Hospital, Liberty, MO.

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Publication Information

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Consumer Connections (ISSN 1535-7821) is the newsletter of the Consumer and Patient Information Section of the Medical Library Association 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.


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Vol. 23 No. 1 2007 
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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