Online health resources can help lower confusion levels and cholesterol counts

Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013, 9:11 am

Whether you're aiming to lose a few pounds, lower your cholesterol or look into alternative therapies, let the Library help!

If you have questions about alternative medicine— and who doesn't?— Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database is the place to check out the safety and efficacy of a particular medicine or treatment, or you might learn that there isn't enough information available to make a judgment. For instance, does homeopathy work? Could your herbal supplement interact with your other medications? Does green coffee bean extract really help you lose weight? Is the detox regimen your sister keeps urging you to try likely to have any good (or bad!) effects? Are there are any effective alternative treatments for a condition that plagues you? Importantly, if there is not enough evidence to draw a conclusion, it tells you that. You can search or browse your interests and know that what you find is based on real research and evidence rather than stories and wishful thinking.

Along more conventional lines, try ConsumerReportsHealth.org, a special section of ConsumerReports.org. (Look for the "Health" link in the navigation on the left side of the screen.) Unbiased coverage of health-related products, services and practices helps you be a smart consumer by telling you what to watch— and watch out!— for. Free from the influence of commercial or other special interests, the advice, research and ratings provided here can guide you to informed decisions on, for instance, which diets, exercises, treatments, insurance plans and hospitals are the best. Search its contents or browse topics such as Healthy Living, Conditions and Treatments, Drugs, Natural Health, Doctors and Hospitals and Insurance.

Still more in-depth information may be found in Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, which contains full-text articles from more than 500 medical journals and other resources covering the health sciences. You can find the latest reports on conditions, illnesses and treatments from the Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet and many more. It also offers a medical dictionary, an in-depth guide to prescription drugs and other professional-quality health information.

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