Doctors and medical researchers rely on a number of information sources to help patients with their conditions. Many will subscribe to journals or newsletters published by their professional associations or refer to specialized textbooks or clinical guides published for the medical profession. In this chapter, we focus on databases and Internet-based guidelines created or written for this professional audience.
For the more common diseases, The National Institutes of Health publish guidelines that are frequently consulted by physicians. Publications are typically written by one or more of the various NIH Institutes. For physician guidelines, commonly referred to as "clinical" or "professional" guidelines, you can visit the following Institutes:
• Office of the Director (OD); guidelines consolidated across agencies available at http://www.nih.gov/health/consumer/conkey.htm
• National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS); fact sheets available at http://www.nigms.nih.gov/news/facts/
• National Library of Medicine (NLM); extensive encyclopedia (A.D.A.M., Inc.) with guidelines:
• National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS); neurological disorder information pages available at
In addition to the various Institutes of Health that publish professional guidelines, the NIH has designed a number of databases for professionals.21 Physician-oriented resources provide a wide variety of information related to the biomedical and health sciences, both past and present. The format of these resources varies. Searchable databases, bibliographic citations, full text articles (when available), archival collections, and images are all available. The following are referenced by the National Library of Medicine:22
• Bioethics: Access to published literature on the ethical, legal and public policy issues surrounding healthcare and biomedical research. This information is provided in conjunction with the Kennedy Institute of Ethics located at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/databases_bioethics.html
• HIV/AIDS Resources: Describes various links and databases dedicated to HIV/AIDS research:
• NLM Online Exhibitions: Describes "Exhibitions in the History of Medicine": http://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/exhibition.html. Additional resources for historical scholarship in medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/hmd.html
• Biotechnology Information: Access to public databases. The National Center for Biotechnology Information conducts research in computational biology, develops software tools for analyzing genome data, and disseminates biomedical information for the better understanding of molecular processes affecting human health and disease: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
• Population Information: The National Library of Medicine provides access to worldwide coverage of population, family planning, and related health issues, including family planning technology and programs, fertility, and population law and policy:
• Cancer Information: Access to caner-oriented databases: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/databases_cancer.html
21 Remember, for the general public, the National Library of Medicine recommends the databases referenced in MEDLINEpZws (http://medlineplus.gov/).
• Profiles in Science: Offering the archival collections of prominent twentieth-century biomedical scientists to the public through modern digital technology: http://www.profiles.nlm.nih.gov/
• Chemical Information: Provides links to various chemical databases and references: http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/Chem/ChemMain.html
• Clinical Alerts: Reports the release of findings from the NIH-funded clinical trials where such release could significantly affect morbidity and mortality: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/alerts/clinical_alerts.html
• Space Life Sciences: Provides links and information to space-based research (including NASA):
• MEDLINE: Bibliographic database covering the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the healthcare system, and the pre-clinical sciences:
• Toxicology and Environmental Health Information (TOXNET):
Databases covering toxicology and environmental health: http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/Tox/ToxMain.html
• Visible Human Interface: Anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of normal male and female human bodies:
While all of the above references may be of interest to physicians who study and treat occipital neuralgia, the following are particularly noteworthy.
A comprehensive source of information on clinical guidelines written for professionals is the Combined Health Information Database. You will need to limit your search to "Brochure/Pamphlet," "Fact Sheet," or "Information Package" and occipital neuralgia using the "Detailed Search" option. Go to the following hyperlink: http://chid.nih.gov/detail/detail.html. To find associations, use the drop boxes at the bottom of the search page where "You may refine your search by." For the publication date, select "All Years," select your preferred language, and the format option "Fact Sheet." By making these selections and typing "occipital neuralgia" (or synonyms) into the "For these words:" box above, you will only receive results on fact sheets dealing with occipital neuralgia. The following is a sample result:
The NLM (National Library of Medicine) Gateway is a Web-based system that lets users search simultaneously in multiple retrieval systems at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). It allows users of NLM services to initiate searches from one Web interface, providing "one-stop searching" for many of NLM's information resources or databases.24 One target audience for the Gateway is the Internet user who is new to NLM's online resources and does not know what information is available or how best to search for it. This audience may include physicians and other healthcare providers, researchers, librarians, students, and, increasingly, patients, their families, and the public.25 To use the NLM Gateway, simply go to the search site at http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/gw/Cmd. Type "occipital neuralgia" (or synonyms) into the search box and click "Search." The results will be presented in a tabular form, indicating the number of references in each database category.
Books / Periodicals / Audio Visual
23 Adapted from NLM: http://gateway.nlm.nih.gov/gw/Cmd?Overview.x.
24 The NLM Gateway is currently being developed by the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
25 Other users may find the Gateway useful for an overall search of NLM's information resources. Some searchers may locate what they need immediately, while others will utilize the Gateway as an adjunct tool to other NLM search services such as PubMed® and MEDLINEplus®. The Gateway connects users with multiple NLM retrieval systems while also providing a search interface for its own collections. These collections include various types of information that do not logically belong in PubMed, LOCATORplus, or other established NLM retrieval systems (e.g., meeting announcements and pre-1966 journal citations). The Gateway will provide access to the information found in an increasing number of NLM retrieval systems in several phases.
HSTAT is a free, Web-based resource that provides access to full-text documents used in healthcare decision-making.27 HSTAT's audience includes healthcare providers, health service researchers, policy makers, insurance companies, consumers, and the information professionals who serve these groups. HSTAT provides access to a wide variety of publications, including clinical practice guidelines, quick-reference guides for clinicians, consumer health brochures, evidence reports and technology assessments from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), as well as AHRQ's Put Prevention Into Practice.28 Simply search by "occipital neuralgia" (or synonyms) at the following Web site: http://text.nlm.nih.gov.
Coffee Break: Tutorials for Biologists29
Some patients may wish to have access to a general healthcare site that takes a scientific view of the news and covers recent breakthroughs in biology that may one day assist physicians in developing treatments. To this end, we recommend "Coffee Break," a collection of short reports on recent biological discoveries. Each report incorporates interactive tutorials that demonstrate how bioinformatics tools are used as a part of the research process. Currently, all Coffee Breaks are written by NCBI staff.30 Each report is about 400 words and is usually based on a discovery reported in one or more articles from recently published, peer-reviewed literature.31 This site has new
26 Adapted from HSTAT: http;//www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/hstat.html.
27 The HSTAT URL is http://hstat.nlm.nih.gov/.
28 Other important documents in HSTAT include: the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference Reports and Technology Assessment Reports; the HIV/ AIDS Treatment Information Service (ATIS) resource documents; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (SAMHSA/ CSAT) Treatment Improvement Protocols (TIP) and Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (SAMHSA/CSAP) Prevention Enhancement Protocols System (PEPS); the Public Health Service (PHS) Preventive Services Task Force's Guide to Clinical Preventive Services; the independent, nonfederal Task Force on Community Services Guide to Community Preventive Services; and the Health Technology Advisory Committee (HTAC) of the Minnesota Health Care Commission (MHCC) health technology evaluations.
29 Adapted from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Coffeebreak/Archive/FAQ.html.
30 The figure that accompanies each article is frequently supplied by an expert external to NCBI, in which case the source of the figure is cited. The result is an interactive tutorial that tells a biological story.
31 After a brief introduction that sets the work described into a broader context, the report focuses on how a molecular understanding can provide explanations of observed biology and lead to therapies for diseases. Each vignette is accompanied by a figure and hypertext links that lead to a series of pages that interactively show how NCBI tools and resources are used in the research process.
articles every few weeks, so it can be considered an online magazine of sorts, and intended for general background information. You can access the Coffee Break Web site at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Coffeebreak/.
In addition to resources maintained by official agencies, other databases exist that are commercial ventures addressing medical professionals. Here are a few examples that may interest you:
• CliniWeb International: Index and table of contents to selected clinical information on the Internet; see http://www.ohsu.edu/cliniweb/.
• Image Engine: Multimedia electronic medical record system that integrates a wide range of digitized clinical images with textual data stored in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's MARS electronic medical record system; see the following Web site: http://www.cml.upmc.edu/cml/imageengine/imageEngine.html.
• Medical World Search: Searches full text from thousands of selected medical sites on the Internet; see http://www.mwsearch.com/.
• MedWeaver: Prototype system that allows users to search differential diagnoses for any list of signs and symptoms, to search medical literature, and to explore relevant Web sites; see http://www.med.virginia.edu/~wmd4n/medweaver.html.
• Metaphrase: Middleware component intended for use by both caregivers and medical records personnel. It converts the informal language generally used by caregivers into terms from formal, controlled vocabularies; see http://www.lexical.com/Metaphrase.html.
The following books are specialized references written for professionals interested in occipital neuralgia (sorted alphabetically by title, hyperlinks provide rankings, information, and reviews at Amazon.com):
• The Behavioral Neurology of White Matter by Christopher M. Filley; Paperback - 279 pages; 1st edition (September 15, 2001), Oxford University Press; ISBN: 019513561X;
• The Cerebellum and Its Disorders by Mario-Ubaldo Manto, Massimo Pandolfo; Hardcover - 1st edition (January 2002), Cambridge University Press; ISBN: 0521771560;
• Clinical Neurology by David A. Greenberg, et al; Paperback - 390 pages; 5th edition (February 9, 2002), Appleton & Lange; ISBN: 0071375430; http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0071375430/icongroupinterna
• Clinical Neurology for Psychiatrists by David M. Kaufman; Hardcover -670 pages, 5th edition (January 15, 2001), W. B. Saunders Co.; ISBN: 0721689957;
• Comprehensive Neurology by Roger N. Rosenberg (Editor), David E. Pleasure (Editor); 1280 pages, 2nd edition (April 1998), Wiley-Liss; ISBN: 0471169587;
• Emergent and Urgent Neurology by William J. Weiner (Editor), Lisa M. Shulman (Editor); Hardcover - 571 pages; 2nd edition (January 15, 1999), Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins Publishers; ISBN: 0397518579; http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0397518579/icongroupinterna
• Neurology in Clinical Practice: Volume I: Principles of Diagnosis and Management, Volume II: The Neurological Disorders (2-Volume Set, Includes a 12-Month Subscription to the Online Edition) by W. G.
Bradley, et al; Hardcover - 2413 pages, 3rd edition, Vol 1-2 (January 15, 2000), Butterworth-Heinemann; ISBN: 0750699736;
• Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain by Mark F. Bear, et al; Hardcover - 855 pages, 2nd edition (January 15, 2001), Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins Publishers; ISBN: 0683305964;
• Office Practice of Neurology by Martain A. Samuels, Steven F. Feske; Hardcover, Churchill Livingstone; ISBN: 0443065578; http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0443065578/icongroupinterna
• Patient-Based Approaches to Cognitive Neuroscience by Martha J. Farah (Editor), Todd E. Feinberg (Editor); Paperback - 425 pages (April 3, 2000), MIT Press; ISBN: 0262561239;
• Principles of Neural Science by Eric R. Kandel (Editor), et al; Hardcover -1414 pages, 4th edition (January 5, 2000), McGraw-Hill Professional
Publishing; ISBN: 0838577016;
• Review Manual for Neurology in Clinical Practice by Karl E. Misulis, et al; Paperback, Butterworth-Heinemann Medical; ISBN: 0750671920; http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0750671920/icongroupinterna
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