ISSN 1535-7821
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Vol. 23 No. 2 2007

Link to ArticleKudos

Link to ArticleInaugural Consumer Health Information Service Award

Link to ArticleALA-RUSA Isadore Gilbert Mudge-R.R. Bowker Award

Link to ArticleCAPHIS Programs at MLA '07 Philadelphia

Link to Article Power to the People: Serving the Underserved

Link to Article Patient as Expert: Revolutionary Changes in Medical Decision-Making

Link to ArticleArticles

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

Link to ArticleBook Reviews

Link to Article The Asperger's Answer Book: The Top 300 Questions Parents Ask.

Link to Article Celiac Disease: A Guide to Living with Gluten Intolerance.

Link to Article Internet Resources on Weight Loss and Obesity.

Link to Article Consumer's Guide to Dietary Supplements and Alternative Medicines: Servings of Hope.

Link to ArticleThe Medicare Part D Drug Program: Making the Most of the Benefit.

Link to Article Stem Cell Wars: Inside Stories from the Frontlines.

Link to Article From the Heart: A Woman's Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease.

Link to Article A Woman's Guide to Men's Health: What You Need to Know about Male Health, Happiness, Vigor, and Sexuality.

Link to Article Married with Special Needs Children: A Couple's Guide to Keeping Connected.

Link to Article The Cancer Treatment Revolution.

Link to ArticleGuillain-Barré Syndrome: From Diagnosis to Recovery.

Link to Article Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide for Making Informed Decisions and Avoiding Fraud and Useless Treatments.

Link to Article Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine.

Link to Article Bottom Line Medicine: A Layman's Guide to Evidence-Based Medicine.

Link to Article Your Complete Guide to Facial Rejuventaion.

Link to Article Your Complete Guide to Nose Reshaping.

Link to Article The Medical Library Association Guide to Cancer Information: Authoritative, Patient-Friendly Print and Electronic Resources.

Link to Article Parkinson's Disease: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families. 2nd edition.

Link to Article Feed Your Family Right! How to Make Smart Food and Fitness Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle.

Link to ArticlePublication Information

Link to ArticleSubmissions

Link to ArticleAdvertising

Link to Article Kudos

Inaugural Consumer Health Information Service Award

The CAPHIS Awards Committee was formed in 2005 and began with a desire to establish the creation of an award to formally recognize and promote the accomplishments of consumer health librarians to encourage leadership, and to recognize outstanding quality of service to consumers and a strong commitment to serving the public. The committee was thrilled with the quality of the nominations received for the inaugural award, and proud to be associated with so many fine librarians dedicated to the work of bringing quality health information resources and services to health care consumers.

On behalf of CAPHIS, the Awards Committee presented Andrea Kenyon the first Consumer Health Information Service Award at the annual meeting of the Medical Library Association in Philadelphia. Among her many accomplishments, Andrea has been a CAPHIS member for over twenty years, serving in various roles including CAPHIS chair and membership chair. She created and managed the CAPHIS listserv, which currently has over 400 participants. According to nominator, Ms. Chastain-Warheit, Andrea tirelessly worked with colleagues during the 1990’s to position CAPHIS as the consumer health information authority for MLA and information professionals at large. She emphasized that this task was particularly challenging since there was little focus on the delivery of health information to consumers and in fact, many questioned the role for medical librarians in this capacity. In the concluding paragraph, she stressed the many contributions of Ms. Kenyon by relaying that “throughout her career, Andrea has not only been hands-on, but has directed and inspired others to see the value of empowering consumers by providing them with access to credible, understandable health information”.

Congratulations Andrea Kenyon!

Submitted by: Terri Ottosen, University of Maryland, Baltimore.

ALA-RUSA Isadore Gilbert Mudge-R.R. Bowker Award

Barbara M. Bibel, our own current chair and reference librarian at the Oakland Public Library (CA), received this year’s Isadore Gilbert Mudge-R.R. Bowker Award, which is given for distinguished contributions for reference librarianship. While many MLA members are familiar with her CE classes at the annual meetings and her contributions to CAPHIS, she does so much more. She was cited for her "contributions in providing training for other professionals and working with local health providers to establish multi-lingual health education programs for the community." She received the $5,000 award from the Reference and User Services Association a division of the American Library Association (ALA) at a ceremony in Washington DC during the ALA Annual Conference at the end of June.

Congratulations Barbara! Keep up the great work!

Submitted by: Joey Nicholson, New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY.

Link to Article CAPHIS Programs at MLA '07 Philadelphia

Power to the People: Serving the Underserved

CAPHIS sponsored two excellent programs at the annual meeting in Philadelphia. Power to the People: Serving the Underserved was co-sponsored by the Chiropractic Libraries, Hospital Libraries, and Relevant Issues sections along with the African-American, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered, and Mental Health SIGS. The program offered ideas for outreach involving collaboration between public and medical libraries (both academic and hospital). Gale Dutcher, head of National Library of Medicine’s Office of Outreach and Special Populations explained the resources available from NLM to support outreach programs. Mark Scully of the Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette Wisconsin talked about a program that provides online resources for rural clinics. Peg Allen, AHIP, coordinator of the Hmong Health Project discussed this outreach program for an immigrant group with a unique culture. Ysabel Bertolucci, AHIP, health sciences librarian at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, CA collaborates with the Oakland Public Library and the California Health Care Foundation to train both library staff and the public. Andrea Kenyon, director, Public Services, Library Administration, College of Physicians of Philadelphia, coordinates Philly Health, a health education project for underserved areas of Philadelphia. All of the speakers emphasized the importance of involving the target communities when planning and implementing outreach programs.

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

Patient as Expert: Revolutionary Changes in Medical Decision-Making

The Cancer Librarians Section partnered with the Consumer Health and Information Section at this year’s Medical Library Association conference, Information Revolution: Change is in the Air, to present Patient as Expert: Revolutionary Changes in Medical Decision-Making. The program explored the kinds of information cancer patients need to support decision-making through the continuum of cancer care, and discussed the expanded definition of “expert patient” based on their research findings. This was a very personal program with three of the four presenters speaking from a dual perspective as cancer patient and librarian about how the experience impacts information seeking behavior and professional practice.

Invited speaker, Gale Hannigan, is a breast cancer survivor and shared her personal perspective about the kinds of decisions cancer patients face and commented on the role information plays in enhancing and supporting those decisions. Teresa Hartman and Dr. Diane Johnson discussed their research about traditional and non-traditional health seeking behaviors that form an expanded definition of “expert patient.” Finally, Michele Spatz gave a practical and insightful talk about the lessons she learned from her and her family’s cancer journey and how it has influenced her practice as a consumer health librarian. The program was very well-attended and audience members continue to comment on the inspiring talks and the practical advice they received about supporting patients’ cancer information needs.

Submitted by: Gail Y. Hendler, Chair, Cancer Librarians Section.

Link to Article Articles 

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

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.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM)'s TOXMAP® ( now includes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s 2005 Toxics Release Inventory data (TRI)  ( 2005 TRI was released by the EPA on March 22, 2007. TRI 2005 contains 89,325 records.

TOXMAP maps the TRI chemicals reported to the EPA, as required by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).

A complete list of TRI chemicals required to be reported to the EPA can be found at

New Look for NLM's ChemIDplus
ChemIDplus has a new banner which highlights useful links to information in both ChemIDplus Lite and Advanced, and that provides one-click access to the NLM homepage.

InChI and SMILES Structure Notations Now Available
The structure notations InChI and SMILES have been added to ChemIDplus Lite and Advanced. InChI (International Chemical Identifier) ( was developed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). SMILES is the Simple Molecular Input Line Entry System.

This structure notation information now appears below the structure image on both ChemIDplus's Full Record and Structure pages (these pages are accessed via buttons on the left side of ChemID's search results pages).  InChI and SMILES notation appear in over 270,000 records.

New Database Locators
Several database locators have been added to ChemIDplus:

  • DailyMed – Provides access to label and other information about  approximately 2788 approved prescription drugs
  • DrugDigest – Noncommercial, evidence-based, consumer health and drug information site
  • Drugs@FDA – Provides official information about United States (US) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved brand name and generic drugs
  • EPA HPVIS – US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s High Production Volume Information System (HPVIS) provides access to select health and environmental effect information on chemicals that are manufactured in exceptionally large amounts
  • EPA PPIS – The EPA's Pesticide Product Information System (PPIS) contains information concerning all pesticide products registered in the United States
  • LactMed – NLM database of drugs and other chemicals to which breastfeeding mothers may be exposed
  • PubChem – NLM resource providing information on the biological activities of small molecules
  • – Official information and services from the US government related to ChemIDplus searches
  • WebWISER – NLM's Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER), designed to assist first responders in hazardous material incidents. Originally developed for the Palm PDA, WebWISER provides WISER information on the Web.

AIDSinfo Launches Comprehensive Spanish-language Web Site, infoSIDA

infoSIDA (, a comprehensive Spanish-language companion to AIDSinfo was launched on April 18, 2007, featuring information about HIV treatment and clinical trials (

The AIDSinfo Web site, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) project, offers the latest federally approved information on HIV/AIDS clinical research, treatment and prevention, and medical practice guidelines.

infoSIDA enables Spanish-speaking visitors to access many of the materials provided by AIDSinfo without having to navigate through the English site. infoSIDA features a customized home page and a search engine that locates Spanish-language resources within the site.

Resources available in Spanish on infoSIDA include:

  • Consumer-based fact sheets about HIV treatment and clinical trials
  • Fact sheets on approved and investigational anti-HIV medications
  • Links to currently recruiting HIV clinical trials of new treatments and vaccines
  • Links to other Web sites and publications about HIV treatment
  • Interactive Web-based tools, including Live Help and the Glossary Translation Tool
  • Specialty pages that highlight important topics and observances
  • A Web-based publications ordering page.

Bilingual health information specialists are available by telephone (1-800-448-0440) to assist visitors in locating resources and navigating infoSIDA ( and AIDSinfo ( Monday through Friday from 12 P.M. to 5 P.M., Eastern Standard Time (EST). Visitors can also communicate with infoSIDA and AIDSinfo staff by logging into Live Help through either Web site Monday through Friday between the hours of 12 P.M. and 4 P.M., EST. Inquiries can also be sent via email to

AIDSinfo and infoSIDA are sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine (NLM), the Office of AIDS Research (OAR), and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This program is managed by the National Library of Medicine.

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

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Link to Article Book Reviews 

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Ashley, Susan.The Asperger's Answer Book: The Top 300 Questions Parents Ask. Sourcebooks, 2007. 309 p. Index. 1-4022-0807-3. $14.95.

It is estimated that two of every 10,000 children have Asperger's Disorder (or Asperger's Syndrome), a pervasive developmental disorder. Asperger's causes "significant problems in many areas of the child's development, including socialization, communication, behavior, thinking, and activities."

The Asperger's Answer Book is a basic guide for parents, written in a Q&A format. The information is organized into chapters which discuss the signs and symptoms of Asperger's, the diagnostic process, co-existing disorders, social skills, emotional intelligence, school success, self-esteem, and the challenges of growing up with Asperger's. The straight-forward, honest information prepares parents for the many challenges they are likely to face over the years in raising a child with Asperger's.

Informative appendices include a list of questions to ask the child's doctor, what to tell the child's teacher, what parenting techniques might be useful, and what co-existing disorders the doctor should investigate. An extensive chart details symptoms, skills, and characteristics of Asperger's Disorder that should be helpful when seeking accommodations and modifications provided for by the section 504 federal law.

Just a few of the 300 questions that Dr. Ashley capably answers are "How is Asperger's Disorder different from autism?", "How can I help my child improve play skills?", "What are reasonable accommodations under Section 504?", and "Nothing I do makes any difference – now what?"

Author Susan Ashley holds a Ph.D. in psychology and has 16 years experience working with children diagnosed with Asperger's. She is founder and director of Ashley Children's Psychology Center and is the author of The ADD and ADHD Answer Book, published in 2005.

The Asperger's Answer Book would be a valuable addition to consumer health collections in all types of libraries, as well as being an authoritative and reliable resource for parents and teachers.

Reviewed by: Dee Jones, Head, Cataloging at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA.

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Bower, Sylvia Llewellyn. Celiac Disease: A Guide to Living with Gluten Intolerance. Demos Medical Publishing, 2007. 160p. Index. ISBN 1-932603-25-5. $16.95.

Celiac Disease, triggered by intolerance to gluten (a protein found in wheat and many grains) is an increasingly diagnosed condition that affects approximately 2 million Americans. The health and lifestyle implications of this disease are all-encompassing; every meal, every medication and every hygiene product must be 100% gluten-free for the rest of the Celiac Disease (CD) patient’s life.

Bower’s book addresses the information needs of CD patients, especially those of the newly-diagnosed. As one who suffers from the disease (and a nurse), the author addresses the whole of the patient, including emotional issues and strategies for day-to-day living. Like many autoimmune diseases, the cause of Celiac remains a mystery. The symptoms vary from person to person and it is often overlooked or dismissed by physicians. Bower walks the reader through the frustration of the diagnostic process and provides guidance for seeking medical treatment and assembling a care team.

In addition to chapters about diagnosis, complications and disease management, the book also includes a chapter on special nutritional needs of CD patients written by a clinical dietician, a guide to gluten in drugs written by a pharmacist, tactics on how to share a kitchen and remain healthy, as well as an extensive list of recipes and cooking tips.

The book weaves factual information with first-hand accounts from CD patients, humanizing the clinical issues and providing a sympathetic voice for the emotional issues. If there is one criticism of the book, it is that it does not flow in a logical order. The third chapter is a long section on a related skin condition that more appropriately belongs with the complications section, and all of the sections on nutrition, food preparation and eating out would be better grouped together.

Overall, this book is a valuable addition to a health collection as most books on Celiac Disease are primarily gluten-free cooking guides. Appropriate for consumer health and public libraries.

Reviewed by: Stephanie Harris, Clifford E. Graese Community Health Library, Orlando Regional Healthcare, Orlando, FL

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Brazin, Lillian R. Internet Resources on Weight Loss and Obesity. Haworth Information Press, 2007. 89p. Index. ISBN 0-7890-2650-3. $9.95.

Lillian R. Brazin, author of Internet Resources on Weight Loss and Obesity, has an MS and is a member of AHIP, a prestigious program of MLA. Ms. Brazin has worked as a Medical Librarian and Director, and has published two other works through Haworth Information Press: The Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine on the Internet and Internet Guide to Medical Diets and Nutrition. This book contains a guide on internet resources related to weight loss and obesity. There are explicit warnings from this Librarian, explaining that some of these sites are just out to sell books, items, etc. or to misdirect a searcher. These sites will occasionally be pointed out within this book, but there is a clear description on what a searcher should look for when searching a site for accuracy, authority and accountability to help avoid scams. There is also a warning by the author and the publisher that some of the sites, their links and/or titles, may have changed since the conception of this book. There were only two sites that I found with changed URLs, and one that was non-existent. This guide is clearly for the uninformed searcher. Reading level is late teen to older adults. The guide is very easy to read, short, and interesting. There are a few black and white screen shots of the websites that will show the searcher what the site will look like. Overall, this book is informative, teaching the every day searcher how to search like a librarian for the information they need. The wonderful thing about Ms. Brazin’s book is that the advice can be carried over and used when evaluating other websites.

Reviewed by: Alysha Sapp, MLIS, Children's Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

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Davis, W. Marvin. Consumer’s Guide to Dietary Supplements and Alternative Medicines: Servings of Hope. Haworth Press. 532p. Index. ISBN 0-7890-3041-1. $49.95

The purpose of this book is to present information about dietary supplements and alternative medicines from the perspective of evidence based information. W. Marvin Davis, PhD has 48 years of classroom teaching in schools of pharmacy, and has done research investigating the way that drugs affect the brain and behavior. His biography does not show significant background in complementary or alternative medicines.

This book has some very strong features: the sections on scientific principles and the uncertainty principle in medicine are very well explained. The information presented on assumptions about supplements and nutrition is in-depth and often enlightening.

The author makes an effort to balance the viewpoints of conventional with alternative health care practitioners in a way that is both interesting and entertaining. However, the author is less than thorough when discussing the difficulties associated with comparing the research methods of conventional and alternative medicines. The author’s bias against most complementary and alternative medicine is clear from the one-sidedness of his arguments and his choice of words.

The reading level is quite high for a consumer level book. It is a very large volume, and the author makes the assumption that the reader is reading from the beginning of the book to the end. Therefore, a reader who starts by looking up a particular supplement or therapy (a common way a book with the title “Consumer’s Guide” would be used) will find medical terms and difficult concepts not explained, because they were explained many chapters before.

Aside from a certain amount of bias against alternative medicines, the evidence-based content is very in-depth and interesting, and it is recommended for large public and consumer health libraries that already have an assortment of books on complementary and alternative therapies.

Reviewed by: Karen J. Vargas, Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, Houston, TX.

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Fincham, Jack E. The Medicare Part D Drug Program: Making the Most of the Benefit. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007. 206p. Index. Glossary. ISBN-13: 978-0-7637-4967-5; ISBN-10: 0-7637-4967-2. $19.95.

Mystified by the Medicare Part D Drug Program? This book will help you use the new Medicare Part D drug benefit to your best advantage. The major changes are explained, as well as: What is the Medicare Part D Drug Benefit? How does it work? Am I eligible? How can I apply? This practical guidebook offers the answers to these questions and much more! Whether you're a senior, caregiver, or practicing healthcare professional, The Medicare Part D Drug Program: Making the Most of the Benefit clearly and concisely explains how the Medicare Part D Drug Benefit works, where to obtain clarification and further information about the Program, how and when to apply, and how to use the Benefit to help seniors. In an easy-to-use format featuring simple terminology, this book explains how the Medicare Part D Drug Program works with other insurance programs and offers essential information on the program and its components. This book contains quality websites, and a glossary that prove very helpful as well.

One of key messages is how important it is to partner with your pharmacist. This is a very crucial part of the program. The pharmacist will be your guide in helping you make the most of the benefit.

This book together with Medicare for the Clueless: The Complete Guide to This Federal Program (The Clueless Guides) by Joan H. Conklin, would be a great addition to your book shelf or to the consumer health shelf at the public library.

Jack Fincham, PhD, RPh, shows his care and concern for patients and this is evident through his book. He is involved in the study of prescription and over-the-counter drug (medication) use in patients. He has also studied the mechanisms of how health care is paid for in the U.S., and specifically how the new Medicare Drug Discount Card benefit is set-up, how it is working, and what needs to be done to make the program better.

Reviewed by: Julie Johansen, Medtronic, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Herold, Eve. Stem Cell Wars: Inside Stories from the Frontlines. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. 229p. ISBN 1403974993. $24.95 US.

Eve Herold is the Director of Public Policy Research and Education for Genetics Policy Institute, a leading non-profit research institute with a mandate to advance stem cell medicine. Her stated purpose in writing Stem Cell Wars is to provide an understanding of the basic science behind stem cells and the promise this technology holds for regenerative medicine. Using stories and information gathered from many patients and from scientific and medical literature, the author tries to make a case for the “just over the horizon” cures which will be facilitated by stem cell medicine.

Despite the stated purpose, much of the book is taken up with the history of the stem cell movement and a chronicle of US government attempts to regulate such research. The stem cell debate in the US has been, by turns, intensely political, religious, and as a result, confusing to many people. The book quickly degenerates into a polemic on the lines of “Stem cells good -- Bush Bad!”

Buy this book – not for its science, but for its value as a political and social study of US stem cell funding and development as influenced by the current religious climate. For a more balanced look at the science and potential of stem cells in medicine please refer your readers to Essentials of Stem Cell Biology by Robert Lanza. This book is designed for students and interested lay people, but it comes to your shelf at a pricy ($105 US) for two volumes.

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

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Kastan, Kathy. From the Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease. Da Capo Press, 2007. 263p. Index. ISBN 0-7382-1093-5. $25.00.

Kastan, a licensed clinical social worker, is the President of the Board of Directors for WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease (, as well as the chair of the board of the Memphis American Heart Association. Kastan was prompted to write From the Heart after experiencing emergency bypass surgery at age 42 and finding that her world had unexpectedly shifted.

From the Heart addresses the emotional and physical repercussions of women living with heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, resulting in approximately 1/2 million deaths annually. Kastan offers an empowered guide on how women can gradually regain their strength and thrive with heart disease. The advice provided is insightful and laid out in concise and realistic terms for the reader. The chapter on "Negotiating the Healthcare System" is a memorable one, for Kastan’s husband and father are physicians.

Although, it was disappointing to note that Kastan did not recommend librarians and/or libraries as a resource for finding health information. The testimonials by other women with heart disease are an additional bonus to the book.

The book is recommended for large public libraries and/or consumer health libraries.

Reviewed by: Lisa Huang, MLS, MS, Consumer Health Information Center at Central Park Campus Library, Collin College, McKinney, TX.

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Kryger, Abraham. A Woman's Guide to Men’s Health: What You Need to Know about Male Health, Happiness, Vigor, and Sexuality. RDR Books, 2006. 336p. Index. ISBN-13: 9781571431561. $17.95.

Kryger, author of Listen to Your Hormones: A Doctor's Guide to Sex, Love and Long Life (, is a family practitioner and preventive medicine specialist in Monterey, CA. In A Woman’s Guide to Men’s Health, Kryger argues that hormonal imbalances in men are directly connected to a host of maladies including diabetes, depression, heart disease, obesity and impotence. Kryger takes the approach of educating women and the men in their lives about correcting one’s hormonal balance. Kryger advocates a vegetarian diet, increase of the hormone testosterone, particularly testosterone replacement therapy, and smoking cessation.

The book is not easily accessible to those without a solid understanding of hormone replacement therapy or to the average reader. The glossary and suggested resources in the back are valuable for those exploring this subject further.

The book is not recommended as a “core” selection for libraries. The book is more suited for large public libraries or libraries with a focus on complementary and alternative medicine.

Reviewed by: Lisa Huang, MLS, MS, Consumer Health Information Center at Central Park Campus Library, Collin College, McKinney, TX.

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Marshak, Ph.D, Laura E. and Fran Pollock Prezant, M.Ed., CCC-SLP. Married with Special Needs Children: A Couple’s Guide to Keeping Connected. Woodbine House, 2007. 290p. Index. ISBN-13: 978-1-890627-10-2. $24.95.

Written by a practicing psychologist and a parent trainer and program director for a program for special needs children, the focus of this book is on maintaining and building strong relationships among couples who have special needs children. Written in a chapter format, the reader may read only those chapters which meet their needs at a given point in time during the adjustment process that often accompanies special needs children. Written in a conversant style at the 6th to 8th grade reading level, the book focuses initially on the foundations of relationships and the impact of parenting special needs children. The text is accompanied by vignettes of actual conversations and comments of special needs parents. Strategies are included to help the reader explore options for preventing, handling and strengthening relationships among couples. Topics covered are the foundations of strong relationships, stages of adjustment, communication, romance and sexual intimacy, coping strategies, and community resources. Also addressed are relationship issues that lead to divorce, step-parenting for special needs children, and specific coping strategies voiced by parents and caregivers. In addition, included is a section on poetry written by parents to describe their experiences; resources, references and suggested reading, and a comprehensive index of topics. Unlike other first person narratives on coping, this book, written by professionals, incorporates not only professional guidance but also the journeys of others who have walked the path with special needs children.

Reviewed by: Carol Ann Attwood, MLS, MPH, RN-C, Patient and Health Education Library, Mayo Clinic Arizona, Scottsdale, Arizona

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Nathan, David, MD. The Cancer Treatment Revolution. Wiley, 2007. Index. Gloss. ISBN: 9780471946540. $24.95.

The goal of The Cancer Treatment Revolution, written by the past president of the Dana Farber Institute, is to explain the evolutionary development of “smart drugs” to target cancer at the genetic level. Somewhat autobiographical, this book reveals Dr. Nathan’s frustration with the limitations of cancer therapy setting the stage for his eager championship of new drug therapies. Entwined within the stories of two adults and one child being treated for invasive types of cancer are the results of clinical research and the drug pharmacology of the “smart drugs” received by these patients. Although the author suggests one can read the book for the stories or the science, the two are interdependently written making this a difficult book to read.

A more useful book for consumers on this topic would be Living Time by Bernadine Healy, MD. An ex-administrator of an equally prestigious organization, the National Institute of Health, Dr. Healy is also a cancer survivor. Her interpretation of the “new face of cancer’ is multifaceted and it extends beyond the pharmacy door. Although her description of “smart drugs” is equally difficult to follow, she gives the reader leads on other ways to fight cancer, touching on nutrition, exercise and spirituality.

Reviewed by: Janis Leird, Patient Resource Librarian, Cancer Center, Middlesex Hospital, Middletown, CT.

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Parry, Gareth J. and Joel S. Steinberg. Guillain-Barré Syndrome: From Diagnosis to Recovery. (American Academy of Neurology (AAN) quality of life guides) New York: Demos, 2007. 264p. ISBN-13: 978-1-932603-56-9. $19.95.

Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is a type of peripheral neuropathy and the most common cause of acute paralysis, affecting 2 in 100,000 people annually. No one knows the cause of this rare and frightening disorder where the immune system attacks the body itself, nor why GBS strikes some people and not others.

The authors have a unique combination of expertise. Parry is a Professor of neurology with a particular interest in GBS and related diseases; Steinberg is a physician who had GBS and author of Guillain-Barré Syndrome: An Overview for the Layperson (1983). Guillain-Barré Syndrome: From Diagnosis to Recovery is written for a consumer audience and brings together the new scientific evidence on GBS, as well offering a wealth of practical advice. The book provides a good overview of diagnosis, causation and treatment, including rehabilitation, caregiver guidelines and workplace adjustment.

The majority of patients with GBS recover, but this can be a slow process. The chapter on “Life after Guillain-Barré Syndrome” discusses pain management, sexual function, complementary therapies, and in the case of an incomplete recovery, caring for a severely disabled patient at home.

In addition to GBS, there is a chapter on chronic immune-mediated neuropathies, the most common being chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP).

This patient-centered book is a welcome addition to the mainly professional level books on GBS and is highly recommended for consumer health information collections. It provides solid information and focuses on the positive steps for someone with GBS to work towards a complete recovery. An extensive glossary and resources for families are listed, notably the GBS/CIDP Foundation International (

Reviewed by: Susan Murray, Consumer Health Information Service, Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, Canada.

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Perry, Arthur W. Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide for Making Informed Decisions and Avoiding Fraud and Useless Treatments. Yale University Press, 2007. xviii, 348p. ISBN 978-0-300-12104-9.

Dr. Perry is a board certified plastic surgeon with over twenty years of experience and the author of a 1997 consumer health book on plastic surgery. Besides being a practicing plastic surgeon, Dr. Perry is a clinical associate professor of plastic surgery at the Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine.

Since the publication of Dr. Perry’s earlier book, the demand for plastic surgery has more than doubled. Part of this increase can be attributed to the many new options that are available. This book covers everything from botox and tattoo removal to face lifts and tummy tucks. Before and after photos throughout the book illustrate the positive results of cosmetic plastic surgery. Selecting a skilled plastic surgeon is critical for safely achieving the desired results and the introductory chapters fully detail the process of selecting a physician and what to expect in the initial consultation. Each procedure has its own illustrated chapter, and the author explains in depth the process and risks associated with the procedure. Dr. Perry warns repeatedly about the health consequences of not using a board certified plastic surgeon and warns about the fraudulent claims that are advertised.

The book does not have an index and the average costs of the procedures and other statistics given in the book refer to 2005. However, it is comprehensive in its scope reducing the need for a library to buy several books on this subject. The reading level is high school and above.

Reviewed by: Rene L. Brown, Planetree Health Resource Center Library, Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center, Williamsburg, Virginia.

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Premila, M. S., PhD. Ayurvedic Herbs: A Clinical Guide to the Healing Plants of Traditional Indian Medicine. 368p. Illus. Index. ISBN 13: 9780-7890-1768-0. $34.95 soft, $59.95 hard.

What a wonderful bargain for an authoritative reference book on traditional Indian medicinal herbs! The book belongs in every alternative and complementary medicine library collection and in clinical center libraries where East-West Medicine and Integrative Medicine is practiced. Dr. Premila, a dedicated scientific investigator with over 30 years experience in natural products at pharmaceutical institutes and societies, examines over 60 Ayurvedic herbs in fourteen chapters that include a history of Ayurveda, results of scientific investigation, reports on clinical studies, and safety findings. The plants are grouped by body systems of therapeutic use, such as gastrointestinal agents, respiratory tract agents, cardiovascular drugs, urinary tract drugs, gynecological agents, and others. Each herb is described with chemical constituent, pharmacological data, clinical studies, and safety information, plus each plant agent includes important reference sources. The reporting pattern includes descriptions, studies and findings, an evidenced-based medicine approach with valuable documentation for physicians and practitioners practicing alternative and adjunct therapies. Similar works lack scientific investigation of this depth. It is a clearly written, extremely thorough, well-documented sourcebook with extensive notes and bibliographic references in each chapter plus cross-references when a plant has more indications. The color illustrations of major herbs are useful for identifying plants by species names. The book is recommended for medical libraries serving users practicing or researching East-West Medicine therapies.

Reviewed by: Naomi C. Broering, MLS, MA, AHIP, Dean of Libraries, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego, CA.

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Stanzak, Richard K. Bottom Line Medicine: A Layman's Guide to Evidence-Based Medicine. Algora Publishing, 2006. 334p. Index. ISBN 0-7868-8500-9.

The premise of Stanzak's book is to better inform laypersons about an alleged discrepancy between what physicians and healthcare professionals practice conventionally and what published medical literature indicates are the best evidence-based practices. His challenge to the medical sector about whether practitioners make clinical decisions based on the results of proven scientific studies or based on less evidence-oriented forces (e.g. pharmaceutical companies, potential profits) takes a broad focus. Topics covered include: detrimental pharmaceutical industry influence, prescription errors, hospital-induced illness and mortality, and a profit-driven healthcare industry. The author's bio notes that he has worked as a nurse and also as a molecular biologist for a major pharmaceutical company.

Stanzak's book is heavy on alarming statistics about dangers lurking in hospitals, prescriptions, and procedures, but light on contextualizing that information in terms of what it means to the average patient, or how patients can use the results of evidence-based medicine to empower themselves as healthcare consumers. The text is laden with footnotes, with some paragraphs citing every sentence. This makes for well-documented, but potentially distracting reading. Sentences are short and direct but often switch over to technical language, in a move that may confound the average layperson. One of the book's strengths is its many references to regulatory and consumer watchdog groups, giving readers resources for further investigation. This book is recommended for libraries with large consumer health collections.

Reviewed by: Susan LaValley, MA, MLS, Consumer Health Librarian, Delaware Academy of Medicine.

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Truswell, William, et al. Your Complete Guide to Facial Rejuvenation. Addicus Books, 2006. 147p. Index. ISBN 1-886039-20-8. $21.95.

Five plastic surgeons collaborate on a consumer guide to facelifts, brow lifts, eyelid lifts, skin resurfacing and injectable fillers. The authors practice throughout the US and Canada, and serve as medical directors, fellows and clinical faculty members of medical institutions. Members of the team have published related consumer health books on non-surgical facelifts and nose reshaping. Each author includes a biography and an interview answering questions like, “What do you find most rewarding about your work?” The book includes many before-and-after photos showing realistic results for people of all ages and backgrounds – one achieves a concrete sense of how facial procedures can create a more attractive, youthful appearance through the images. Technical illustrations demonstrate how various surgical techniques are accomplished. The writing style is informative, clear and direct. People may not be aware of the many options available today for facial plastic surgery; chapters on special procedures like deep-plane lifts and midface lifts explain who may be the best candidate for each. Everything a patient needs to know to make an informed decision is included, from how to check the qualifications of a cosmetic surgeon to types of anesthesia that may be administered. Potential side effects and complications are described in a truthful and pragmatic manner, and information is provided on factors affecting how long typical results may last. Helpful sidebars contain important questions to ask one’s surgeon, such as, “When can I go back to work?” A glossary and annotated resource list round out this authoritative and comprehensive guide.

Reviewed by: Cara Helfner, MSLIS, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA.

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Truswell, William, Paul S. Nassif, Jon Mendelsohn, David A. F. Ellis, and Harrison C. Putnam. Your Complete Guide to Nose Reshaping. Addicus Books, 2007. 104p. Illus. Index. Glossary. ISBN 978-1-886039-19-3. $21.95.

People considering a “nose job” (as it is generally known), whether for cosmetic or functional purposes, will do well to review this brief but thorough guide to rhinoplasty prior to surgery. Written by experienced facial plastic surgeons from across the United States and Canada, the aim is to address the questions a patient may have as well as those the patient should ask his or her physicians prior to undergoing the procedure. They discuss frankly such topics as type of surgery (open or closed rhinoplasty and revision rhinoplasty), realistic expectations and limitations of “nose reshaping,” finding the right surgeon and anesthesiologist, paying for the surgery and what to expect before, during and after surgery. Numerous photographs of patients before and after rhinoplasty surgeries demonstrate the improvements patients can expect to see. The cost of the surgery – which is one topic that might have been more fully addressed by the authors – and the unwillingness of insurance companies to pay for it will naturally limit the demand for this type of guide, and the reading level is not easy (although the organization of the chapters and the glossary provided lessen this problem). Still, this is a worthwhile purchase for those consumer health libraries where interest in plastic surgery is high.

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

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Volk, Ruti Malis. The Medical Library Association Guide to Cancer Information: Authoritative, Patient-Friendly Print and Electronic Resources. Neal-Schuman, 2007. 331p. ISBN-13: 978-1-55570-585-5; ISBN-10 1-55570-585-5. $85.

Cancer is one of the leading killers of Americans. Over 1.5 million people receive a cancer diagnosis every year. They need information that they can understand to make decisions about treatment, obtain support, and live with their disease. This book by Ruti Volk, a medical librarian who lost a daughter to cancer, will help librarians meet the information needs of cancer patients. Ms. Volk is the librarian at the Patient Education Resource Center of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The book has three parts. Part 1 explains the key concepts and terminology involved in providing cancer information. The author discusses the cancer reference interview and the major resources for both adult and pediatric cancers. Part two covers 25 adult and 10 childhood cancers with a brief overview of each disease (anatomy, terminology, special characteristics, and information needs), an annotated list of print, audiovisual, and electronic resources, and a list of support organizations (when they are available). Part three covers general cancer-related information about prevention, treatment methods, and quality-of-life issues. It has a similar structure with an introduction, an annotated resource list, and a list of support organizations. A full resource list and an index complete the work.

This is a valuable resource for librarians, providing both practical advice for serving cancer patients and their families and collection development information. Cancer patients, caregivers, and those providing support will also find it useful. It is an excellent tool for consumer health collections and public libraries.

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

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Weiner, William J. 2nd edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007. 278p. Index. ISBN 0-8018-8546-9. $17.95.

As progress in the management of Parkinson’s Disease growsParkinson’s Disease: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families., so grows the demand for authoritative consumer health information. This demand is more than adequately met in the new edition of Parkinson’s Disease: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families by William Weiner, Lisa Shulman and Anthony E. Lang. Written by leading experts in the field of Neurology in general and Parkinson’s Disease in particular, this book belongs on the shelf of all consumer health collections.

The authors cover all the basics: What is PD? What are the Symptoms? How is PD diagnosed? What treatments are available? Of particular note is Part IV, dealing with treatment strategies. This updated edition includes information about medications, diet, exercise, complementary therapies and surgery, and contains new information about fetal cell transplants, nutritional supplements, and deep brain stimulation. The authors offer suggestions for questions that patients and families will want to ask when pursuing treatment options.

One of the nicest features of this book is the Q and A chapter which addresses important patient and family concerns. The writing style can be technical, but explanations are always provided, making for a readable experience. A list of resources is provided.

Parkinson’s Disease: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families is just what its title promises: a comprehensive, affordable, up-to-date book to support readers moving through the stages of this disease. The authors are straightforward and honest, but the tone is at all times compassionate. Readers will benefit from the information and the encouragement to participate in the management of their disease, while making the necessary adjustments and decisions about their care.

Reviewed by: Lyn H. Crispino, MLS, AHIP, Tremaine Library & Resource Center, Gaylord Hospital, Wallingford, CT.

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Zied, Elisa and Winter, Ruth. Feed Your Family Right! How to Make Smart Food and Fitness Choices for a Healthy Lifestyle. John Wiley & Sons, 2007. 277p. Index. ISBN: 978-0-471-77894-3. $16.95.

Elisa Zied is a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and a contributor to magazines, such as Redbook and Weight Watchers. Ruth Winter is a prolific, award-winning science journalist. In 2006, the authors collaborated on, So What Can I Eat?

Diet books are numerous and often faddish. Feed Your Family Right presents useful and evidence-based information for families trying to incorporate a sensible nutrition philosophy into their daily lives. The authors hope this book will empower parents to help their families make “informed choices, feel good about their bodies and grow into healthy eaters who enjoy food, fitness and life”.

Chapter topics include a look at how our genetic makeup affects our weight, the importance of fitness in the family and overcoming food fights with picky eaters, food pushers, sneaky snackers and food cops. The authors stress the importance of parents modeling good food choices for their children. They look at caloric needs and diet issues within age groups from children to seniors. They also present basic nutritional information for the diet-related conditions of high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, cancer and osteoporosis. Surviving the grocery aisles is one of the best chapters, complete with shopping lists. Meal plans and recipes are included, as well as appendices for BMI, nutrient lists, suggested websites and references.

The authors cannot be faulted for the quality of their information. They quote recent research studies throughout the book. While not groundbreaking, their information is sound and sensible, the mantra of the American Dietetic Association. But, this book would only be read by motivated parents with moderately high literacy levels and time to sit and read. This valuable information could have been published to make it more visually appealing to busy parents and those with low literacy (such as Howard Shapiro’s Picture Perfect Weight Loss). More callout boxes, pictures and graphics would make this book interesting to view and learn from.

While Feed Your Family Right has received many positive reviews, I recommend it as an optional purchase for highly literate clientele.

Reviewed by: Christine Allen, MSLS, AHIP, Munson Healthcare Community Health Library, Traverse City, MI.


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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. 20 No. 1 2004
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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