Online sites with more health-care information

By Colleen LaMay

With a computer at home, you can link to a wealth of health information:

Cancer

Association of Cancer Online Resources features online support groups for hundreds of cancers, as well as groups dealing with sex, finances, fertility and other issues after a cancer diagnosis.
ClinicalTrials.gov provides regularly updated information about available trials, their purpose and who can participate, plus phone numbers to call for more details. You can search for trials in a particular location, such as the Treasure Valley.
OncoLink makes it easy to find updated cancer-related information at all levels, from introductory to in-depth. The home page has buttons and hypertext links.

Directories

Google Just type a condition or disease into the search box to get condition information, drug information, step-by-step guidelines on how doctors normally treat your ailment, clinical trials, alternative treatments, support groups and more all neatly organized at the top of your search results.
Hardin Meta Directory of Internet Health Sources is a list of links to sites with health information it considers high quality. Includes links to medical pictures. Note the pictures of bedbugs and their bites.
Medem's award-winning medical library has a full range of patient education information from sources it trusts. Selected as one of the top 10 most useful sites by the Medical Library Association.
MedWeb@Emory University is a catalog of thousands of biomedical and health-related Web site links maintained by the university. To be included in the catalog, sites must offer current, unbiased information that Emory considers easy to find.
URAC is an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies health-care programs. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program helps you identify the best health Web sites, it says. More than 300 sites are on the list.
Yahoo Health Directory can search categories including healthy living, diseases and conditions, a drug guide and a multimedia video gallery.

Diseases

HIV InSite offers up-to-date information on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention and policy from the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Drugs

RxList provides information about prescription drugs, including warnings and precautions, overdoses, patient information and side effects. Includes a dictionary to look up unfamiliar terms.
Drugstore.com online pharmacy board-certified in all 50 states.

General health

About.com:Health and Fitness has easy-to-read features about current health news, such as HIV tests for all, along a long menu down one side with information on alternative medicine, yoga, disabilities, conditions ranging from autism and acne to sleep disorders. Also, fitness, nutrition and a health video library.
Familydoctor.org operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians, includes sections on everything from healthy living and kids' fevers to toilet training and how to be a smart patient. It has separate listings for women, men and seniors. Recent top five popular searches were skin rashes, mono, strep throat, canker sores and vaginal yeast infections. Also includes a dictionary, symptom search and other features.
Google Coop is still in the beta, or testing phase, but is a comprehensive source of instant information. Type a condition or disease into the search box and get back condition information, drug information, step-by-step guidelines on the way doctors normally treat your ailment, clinical trials, alternative treatments, support groups and more.
Healthfinder is a federal site for finding the best government and nonprofit health and human services information.
Kosmix is a search engine still in the works that will link you up with thousands of articles divided into easy-too-digest categories that include definitions, causes, symptoms, treatments, prevention, expert information, journals, clinical trials, case studies, guidelines, support groups and tools, alternative medicine, quizzes and blogs. Need I go on?
MayoClinic.com includes voluminous information on diseases and conditions, along with features such as customized health screening guidelines, based on your age and sex. Type in the information and see what tests are recommended at your next checkup. Also includes self-assessment tools for depression and diabetes risk, a personal health scorecard, a calorie calculator, a disease risk calculator and a feature to help you make decisions about treatments ranging from birth control to back pain.
MedicineNet.com an online, health-care media publishing company, provides easy-to-read, in-depth information through a site owned by WebMD. Categories include news and views, diseases and conditions, symptoms and signs, procedures and tests, and medications.
MedlinePlus brings together authoritative information from the National Library of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies and health-related organizations. Preformulated MEDLINE searches are included in MedlinePlus and give easy access to medical journal articles. MedlinePlus also has extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials and health news
Medscape. After a required, free registration, Medscape automatically delivers you the specialty site that best fits your profile. You can change your Medscape home page to another specialty any time. Original, professional medical content, including review articles, journal commentary, experts' columns, patient education articles, book reviews and more. Selected daily professional medical news that fits your interests from Reuters, Medscape Medical News, and medical news journal publishers.
Merck Manual Medical Library is a free, online version of the widely used textbook of medicine. This one is written in plain English.
NOAH: New York Online Access to Health is a unique collection of state, local and federal resources aimed at people from underserved populations. It is a Top 10 pick of the Medical Library Association.
PDRhealth has drug information in plain English based on the Physicians' Desk Reference. Also, learn about treatment options for cancer, heart and lung disease, and women's health issues. Get a free report with questions to ask your doctor.
PubMed is the National Library of Medicine's free access to MedLine, the most powerful medical database in the world, with more than 12 million references to technical medical literature, most with abstracts or summaries of the referenced articles.
Yahoo! Health Directory includes everything from "A" for allergies to "V" vestibular disorders. Links and more links to information on disorders.

Interactive health risk assessments and quizzes

Assess your weight and your health risks from being overweight or use an interactive menu planner. From the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Obesity Education Initiative.

Explore your memory by participating in a series of fun challenges developed by experts. See if you can spot a fake smile. What disgusts you? What sex is your brain? What is your personality type? British Broadcasting Corp.

Measure your risk of invasive breast cancer, National Cancer Institute

How well is your child growing? See a children's growth chart percentiles calculator at About.com.

Drug cost calculator. Always broke? If you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use marijuana or other illicit substances, you're spending a chunk of change. If you don't believe it, try out this expense calculator and see how much money you could be spending on something else! U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Alcohol & Drug Information.

If you're trying to get a handle on your overall health, try this iVillage page. Choose one or more calculators, enter your information and get the vital statistics you need for a healthier life.

Should You Consider Surgery for Your Low Back? Find more information at Hillhealth.com.

What is your stress level? Find more information at Hillhealth.com.

Are you ssooo tired? Take this questionnaire, called the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, to see if you have a sleep disorder, from Drug Digest.

Explore treatment options for heart disease. Register for free, confidential, personalized treatment option reports from Heart Profilers. Review options, possible side effects, success rates and questions to ask your doctor. Developed in part by the American Heart Association.

Miscellaneous

DeathClock calls itself "the Internet's friendly reminder that life is slipping away... second by second." Fill out a form with your birthdate, gender and a few other health-related facts and The Death Clock will spit out your date of death. It can’t be right, can it?
Go Ask Alice! is a health question and answer service produced by Alice!, Columbia University's Health Promotion Program. Check out the seven category pages - alcohol and other drugs, fitness and nutrition; emotional health; general health; sexuality; sexual health; relationships.
Human Anatomy Online an educational Web site featuring tutorials, descriptions and animations of the human body.
ORlive lets you watch live Web casts of surgeries, with real-time discussions. E-mail a question during the surgery. See what's on surgeons' list in upcoming weeks, or check the archives.
www.sexualityandu.ca says it provides credible and up-to-date information on sexual health. Site is administered by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and has received an interactive media award. Parents can learn how to talk to their kids about sex. Contraception information includes a demonstration of how to put on a condom. You can also take quizzes and send e-cards. Separate sections for teens, adults, parents and teachers.
Johns Hopkins Medicine podcasts a discussion of the week's medical news and how it may affect you. This five to seven-minute free program features Dr. Rick Lange, chief of clinical cardiology, and Elizabeth Tracey, director of the Hopkins Health NewsFeed, a radio news service program.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Well-organized, extensive collection, part of the National Institutes of Health. Get extensive information on how to evaluate information, results of studies into the effectiveness of herbal supplements and alternative treatments. Learn where you can participate in clinical trials of natural remedies.

Vaccinations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a federal agency responsible for protecting public health and safety. Site contains extensive information on immunizations, infectious diseases, environmental health threats such as lead paint and air quality, chronic diseases and hundreds of other topics, with links to other state and federal health-related sites.
National Network for Immunization Information contains easy-to-use information on each of the recommended childhood vaccines, the childhood immunization schedule, tips on using the Web as a source of health information, links to other helpful sites and pictures of people suffering from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Vaccine Education Center, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has almost everything you would ever want to know about vaccinations and the diseases they prevent. The center says it does not receive support from pharmaceutical companies.

Wellness and family

iVillage Pregnancy & Parenting ages and stages, a "Daily Indulgence" section for moms, mom-to-mom message boards, family dynamics and more in an easy-to-read format.
KidsHealth has loads of advice for parents, including tough topics like, when is your child old enough to stay home alone? Experts' answer: In general, it's probably not good to leave a child younger than 10 years old home alone. Every child is different, but most kids that age don't have the maturity to respond to an emergency if they're alone.
WebMD on Health and Living. Whether you're looking for weight loss information, diet and nutrition tips, tasty recipes, "how-to" articles about exercise, or just general health information, this site is useful and easy to understand.

Compiled by Colleen LaMay. I culled some sites from "best of" lists all over the Internet, as well as sites recommended by the Medical Library Association, The Consumer and Patient Health Information Section (CAPHIS) of the library and other groups that scour the Internet for the good stuff. Some were favorites I have found through hours of searching the Internet for information for myself and my family and friends. Some I used in the writing of these stories and found helpful.