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How to do Research on a Disease

Books Databases Internet

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Dis·ease /di zeez/ n. 1. a condition that results in medically significant symptoms in a human 2. A disorder with recognizable signs and often having a known cause [Encarta World English Dictionary ©1999]

New diseases are being discovered every day. Old diseases are resurfacing. Some diseases are familiar while others sound foreign and exotic. Where does one start in learning about a specific disease?

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Search the Library Catalog

While diseases are far too numerous to name here, here are useful sources in the library. Consult them when choosing a disease. If the disease is new enough that it may not be listed here, check the Internet. Also, some of these titles are now in database format online. That site would contain more up to date information.

1) Mosbys Handbook of Diseases [Ref RT 65 .L37]

This book discusses the causes, diagnosis, treatment and possible outcome with or without treatment. The diseases listed are common or not so common to the United State. It does not list diseases located on other continents, for example Ebola.

2) Professional Guide to Diseases 6th ed. [Ref RT 65 .P69]

This book breaks the diseases down by the area of the body infected or how the body was infected (via eating or being bitten etc.). The course of the disease, causes, signs/symptoms, diagnosis/treatment and special considerations are covered. Coverage is for diseases worldwide.

3) The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy [Ref RC 55 .M4]

The Merck Manual is used by patients and doctors alike. The diseases are categorized by the area of the body affected. The history of the disease leads off the information, followed by symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Many diseases are covered.

4) Physicians Guide to Rare Diseases 2nd ed. [Ref RC 55 .P38]

Expanding on the first edition, the second edition includes more diseases, expanded introductions to the chapters, and a guide to alternative medicine. If a non-common disease is the topic, this book would be a good source to check.

Other books in the same call number area also provide information on diseases. Ask a reference librarian or check the library catalog if any questions arise.

Databases for Scholarly Literature
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  • Health Reference Center - Use this database to find articles on: Fitness, Pregnancy, Medicine, Nutrition, Diseases, Public Health, Occupational Health & Safety, Alcohol and Drug abuse, HMOs, Prescription Drugs, etc.
  • Health Source: Nursing/Academic- General health database with full-text articles, books, pamphlets, and reports
  • Medline freeaccess.gif (591 bytes)- National Library of Medicine index to medical journals, with some abstracts.
  • Merck Manual freeaccess.gif (591 bytes) - Full text of the classic medical reference book covering diseases and treatment.
  • Occupational Therapy [OT BibSys] - Index, with some abstracts.  Call 281 312-1693 for password.
  • US Pharmacopeia freeaccess.gif (591 bytes) - A guide to over 9000 prescription and over the counter drugs.

Internet   ~Yahoo ~ Excite ~ Google ~ Hotbot ~ Metacrawlerswirl.gif (728 bytes)

Here are some reputable sources that can be accessed through the Internet. There are many others, far too many to list here. Searching the Internet will aid in finding other sources. Also, ASK A LIBRARIAN if there are any questions or problems in finding the information you need.

1) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) -

The CDC uses the same pages and materials as the NCID does.

2) MedlinePlus

Multiple disease web sites can be found in the links of the National Library of Medicines web site.

3) The World Health Organization -

Searching this site can lead to more information about diseases. Click on search and type in the disease.

4) The Merck Manual Home Edition

4a) The Merck Manual Professional Edition

The latest version of the Merck Manual is searchable. The home edition is for patients to aid in their understanding of the problem. The professional edition is for the doctors in their treatment of the patient.

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281 312-1691

Content by Daniel Schwartz, Librarian.   Last updated: Jan. 31, 2003 cbg