How to research your medical problem


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The Patient Community @ HELP – Meeting held on 9th July, 2011.Patient Story: Mr.Hosi Daruwala shared his experience on helping poor and needy cancer patients. Funding for cancer treatment is a major constraint in getting good treatment. He explained the procedure needed to be followed when applying to charitable trusts.
The patient story session was followed by a presentation by HELP Library on How To Research Your Medical Problem.

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How to research your medical problem

  1. 1. How to Research Your Medical Problem Patient Community Meeting@HELP 9 th July 2011
  2. 2. Most Valuable Source of Information <ul><li>Books </li></ul><ul><li>Libraries </li></ul><ul><li>CDs and </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet. </li></ul>Knowledge builds up trust! Doing your homework will also allow you to make more constructive use of your doctor's valuable time, so that you can ask him focused questions, relevant to your particular problem.
  3. 3. BOOKS <ul><li>Medical Encyclopedia </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>British Medical Association Family Guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penguin India has also brought out a Family Medicine Guide meant specifically for an Indian audience. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Medical Dictionary </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stedman’s Medical Desk Dictionary </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Medical Library
  5. 5. CDs
  6. 6. Internet <ul><li>'Nothing is so difficult that it cannot be understood!' – Albert Einstein </li></ul><ul><li>How does one go about finding this information? </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engines: eg. Google – type in the keywords </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic mailing lists available on many diseases </li></ul><ul><li>Ask a Health Query eg. HELP Library </li></ul><ul><li>Such information simply serves as an aid which can further guide you in your search for the best medical care! </li></ul><ul><li>Be aware of the fact that not all the medical information available on the Net is reliable; you need to assess it critically. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Process Your Information Understand Your Treatment Options Take The Advise of Your Doctor Or Friend Who Is a Doctor You Then Need To Decide Which Treatment is Best For You
  8. 8. Your Choices <ul><li>(1) What would be the costs involved (for each option)? </li></ul><ul><li>(2) What benefits would accrue? </li></ul><ul><li>(3) What are the risks involved? </li></ul><ul><li>(4) What are the alternatives available? </li></ul>
  9. 9. What to do now….? <ul><li>Too much information can also often leave you feeling confused. </li></ul><ul><li>It is far better to be confused because you know too much, rather than because you don't know enough. The ultimate rewards of doing your homework will be your peace of mind that you did the best you could! </li></ul>
  10. 10. How to research medical literature? <ul><li>Obtain some basic information on your diagnosis. (Make sure you get the spellings right). </li></ul><ul><li>Spend a little time thinking about exactly what kind of questions you want answered </li></ul><ul><li>Your doctor certainly should be your first source of information. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Researching…. <ul><li>Is more like a cycle – questions lead to references to further questions to references…. till you zero in on information most valuable to you. </li></ul><ul><li>References, abstracts and papers </li></ul>
  12. 12. References <ul><li>References eg. </li></ul><ul><li>The Positive Effect of Targeted Marketing on an Existing Uterine Fibroid Embolization Practice </li></ul><ul><li>Howard B. Chrisman, MD, MBA, Pat Auveek Basu, MD, MBA, and Reed A. Omary, MD Journal of Vascular Interventional Radiology March 2006; 17:577-581 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Abstracts… Pubmed <ul><li>Reduced dietary salt for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. </li></ul><ul><li>Taylor RS , Ashton KE , Moxham T , Hooper L , Ebrahim S . </li></ul><ul><li>Source </li></ul><ul><li>Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Universities of Exeter & Plymouth, Veysey Building, Salmon Pool Lane, Exeter, UK, EX2 4SG. </li></ul><ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>BACKGROUND: </li></ul><ul><li>An earlier Cochrane review of dietary advice identified insufficient evidence to assess effects of reduced salt intake on mortality or cardiovascular events. </li></ul><ul><li>OBJECTIVES: </li></ul><ul><li>1. To assess the long term effects of interventions aimed at reducing dietary salt on mortality and cardiovascular morbidity.2. To investigate whether blood pressure reduction is an explanatory factor in any effect of such dietary interventions on mortality and cardiovascular outcomes. </li></ul><ul><li>SEARCH STRATEGY: </li></ul><ul><li>The Cochrane Library (CENTRAL, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effect (DARE)), MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsycInfo were searched through to October 2008. References of included studies and reviews were also checked. No language restrictions were applied. </li></ul><ul><li>SELECTION CRITERIA: </li></ul><ul><li>Trials fulfilled the following criteria: (1) randomised with follow up of at least six-months, (2) intervention was reduced dietary salt (restricted salt dietary intervention or advice to reduce salt intake), (3) adults, (4) mortality or cardiovascular morbidity data was available. Two reviewers independently assessed whether studies met these criteria. </li></ul><ul><li>DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: </li></ul><ul><li>Data extraction and study validity were compiled by a single reviewer, and checked by a second. Authors were contacted where possible to obtain missing information. Events were extracted and relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs calculated. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Papers <ul><li>A paper could be an article published in a journal or proceedings of a seminar or conference. </li></ul><ul><li>The paper is the actual report of the work, and contains all of the details on the background, methods, results, and conclusions. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Other papers… <ul><li>Every paper in the medical literature contains a list of references at the end. </li></ul><ul><li>Databases such as MedLine </li></ul>
  16. 16. Well Informed Patient <ul><li>You need to form a partnership with your doctor, but such a partnership should be one between well-informed equals, which is why you need to do your homework thoroughly first ! </li></ul>