Finding Reliable Health Information Online
T he web is a complex and complicat-
ed source of all kinds of information,
some good, some not so good, some
ments, you can ﬁnd excellent, well orga-
nized answers to your questions.This da-
tabase also includes links to other very
terribly untrustworthy. For reliable health reputable sources, such as the Mayo
information, the staff members of the Clinic and specialized health organiza-
Health Sciences Libraries recommend a tions.
few good sites.
As a one-stop-shopping source, Med-
Our ﬁrst choice is MedlinePlus (med- linePlus also contains directories (of doc-
lineplus.gov). It is authoritative, hav- tors, dentists, and hospitals), a medical
ing been produced by the librarians dictionary, a medical encyclopedia, and
at the National Library of Medicine; is a recent medical news.
free from anywhere in the world via an
Internet connection; and has no ad- MedlinePlus also encompasses a sec-
vertisements nor conﬂicts of interest. tion called “Go Local,” which can be very
helpful. By geographical location (down
If you need information about any one of to the county level), it provides lists of
750 health topics or drugs and supple- health services and programs as well as
support groups. Although still a “work in offering up-to-date medical information,
progress,” “Go Local” can lead the user tips for healthy living, and inspiring sto-
to much useful information. NIH Senior- ries.
Health (nihseniorhealth.gov), which is
readily available from the MedlinePlus Still another reliable and useful database
main site (on the right hand side of the ﬁrst
involves clinical trials (clinicaltrials.gov). A
screen), is particularly user friendly and is
registry of federally and privately support-
not just for Seniors. This easy-to-use web- ed clinical trials conducted in the United
site features health and wellness informa- States and around the world, it presents
tion. One can use the buttons at the top of information about a trial’s purpose, stage,
each page to make the text bigger, change who may participate, locations, and phone
text color, or hear the text read aloud. numbers for more details. All this informa-
tion should be used in conjunction with
I n addition to eight general topics (Bones advice from health care professionals.
and Joints; Memory and Mental Health,
etc.) there are a number of more speciﬁc
subtopics that the user can choose (listed
alphabetically from A to Z). There is also
Health Sciences Libraries
a featured topic (for example, Comple- http://www.lib.umich.edu/hsl
mentary and Alternative Medicine), exer- This project was funded in whole or in part with Federal funds
cise stories featuring older adults and the from the National of Healthof and Human National InstitutesCon-
activities they enjoy, and health videos tract # NO1-LM-6-3503 with the University of Illinois at Chicago.