Searching the Web for Medical Advice? Doctor's Book Is a Travel Guide for You
Posted January 25, 2008 12:45 p.m. EST
Updated January 25, 2008 10:36 p.m. EST
Millions turn to the Internet for medical advice. Susan Lafer describes it as her lifeline, but a typical search can leave her overwhelmed.
“I would refer to myself as a cyber-condriac,” she said. “There are so many Web sites. You never know which ones are giving you correct and accurate information.”
Dr. Harlan Weinberg, with Northern Westchester Hospital in New York state, heard that same complaint.
“The biggest concern that patients brought up was that there was too much material to go through,” he said.
So Weinberg whittled it down. After more than three years of examining countless Web sites, he published a book, “A Guide to the Best Health Resources on the Web.”
It includede “well-respected sites with reliable information,” he said.
The book lists conditions from A to Z and gives Web sites for each. While there are commercial sites, Weinberg said he found some of the best information on government sites.
With cancer, for example, there's the National Cancer Institute. For general questions, the National Institutes of Health has several sites, including MedlinePlus.gov, which includes just about any ailment.
“I think that MedlinePlus Web site is very user-friendly,” Weinberg said.
The National Library of Medicine is the world's largest medical library, and the Centers for Disease Control covers countless conditions.
“The Internet is an information resource. It doesn't take the place of your physician,” Weinberg said.
The book is designed to help people use that resource wisely, he said.