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Health Matters

Illustration by Jim Ludke
Illustration: Jim Ludtke
When you research medical topics, who do you trust? These sites have earned their reputations for trustworthiness.

Physicians: Grab basic information about doctors in your area at the American Medical Association's Physician Select, which allows you to research U.S. doctors (almost 700,000 of them) by name, specialty, and location. Consult the site's medical library, or read information supplied by the doctors about their practices (some provide more information than others).

Medical conditions and drugs: The Merck Manual (see FIGURE 6

Figure 6: Find fast--and trustworthy--answers to all of your medicine-related questions at the Merck Manual site.
), a service of the pharmaceutical giant, is a concise and useful starting guide for all things medicinal. stockpiles current, expert information on diseases and drugs, interactive tools to help you make health decisions, and question-and-answer material from specialists. I prefer both of these sites to the often-cited WebMD, which at times gives too much information (about possible symptoms, for example) without providing enough context, almost convincing me that I have a problem when I don't. The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research enables you to compare prescription, over-the-counter, and even discontinued drugs by brand name and active ingredient.

Medical research: (free to consumers after registration) lets you search sources including the Medline database (the best-known of its kind in the United States) for information on diseases and conditions, related organizations, current news and articles, and research and trials.

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