|Finding accurate and appropriate
health information on the web is difficult. Information at sites for
the layperson is not consistently reliable, studies have shown. And
Consumer WebWatch project has found that advertisements on commercial web
sites, such as Health-Central.com, aren’t always clearly labeled and that
ads often creep into editorial content.
To find dependable information, follow these
from: Consumer Reports, January
2002 issue, page 61
- Avoid general search engines such as Yahoo! or
Google, which often yield excessive or questionable information.
- Start at respected general-health sites.
The best is MEDLINEplus (www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/),
the National Library of Medicine's consumer-health site. It has numerous
tools--including a medical encyclopedia and a drug-reference guide--produced
by reliable government or nonprofit groups. Other good starting points:
Healthweb (www.healthweb.org), which
has links to sites chosen by medical librarians; and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) which
has information about public-health issues, including bioterrorism.
- For more detailed information, look for a reliable,
noncommercial organization that specializes in your particular concern. MEDLINEplus
has a comprehensive list of such organizations, as does the Directory of
Health Organizations (dirline.nlm.nih.gov).
- Other reliable sites that can get you started
include Oncolink (www.oncolink.upenn.edu)
for cancer information; Clinical-Trials.gov (www.clinicaltrials.gov) for ongoing
trials; and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (www.fda.gov/cder/drug) for latest
information on new drugs and recently identified risks.