These days, it seems like there's a medical breakthrough every day, every hour, every minute. Someone told your sister's friend that some doctors might have found a cure for AIDS. Or was it cancer? Maybe it was hair loss? With so much information, and even more misinformation, it's hard to know what's really going on in the medical world.
When you need up-to-the-minute answers, turn to the World Wide Web. To make your search a little easier, here are some of the top medical websites for current and helpful information.
This site is a one-stop shop for everything health related. On the easy-to-navigate homepage, there are a lot of links to different areas of this vast site. There's updated-daily medical and health news, mainly from Canada, but U.S and international news is covered here as well. There is in-depth information on alphabetically listed health conditions from allergies to the West Nile virus. For each topic, a whole new page full of links appears with a variety of issues relating to diagnosing, managing, treating and controlling whatever is ailing you. Keeping up with the ever-expanding and improving Web, Medbroadcast.com also has health videos online, answering questions on everything from being overweight to finding relief for Parkinson's disease. If you need a lot of information on a particular medical issue, this is a great site to visit.
This website is a collaborative effort between Web- and medical professionals, designed to give people the tools they need to manage their health. The best part about this site is that, because Web writers compose articles, there's not that "In English, please" feeling you often get when dealing with medical terms. The language is plain and easy to understand. There are a lot of health features on this site, ranging in topics from the merits of medical marijuana to C-sections. The stories aren't being constantly updated, but the topics are timeless so you'll find lots of useful information. There is also an alphabetical list of prescription- and over-the-counter drugs, and by clicking on the drug name you're interested in, you'll find more information such as how to use the medicine properly and what kinds of side effects you may experience. Click on health tools and you'll find calculators for tabulating everything from your pregnancy due date to your skin type. There are over 2,000 people behind this site and it shows.
3. CBC Health
While you won't be able to ask a specialist or search for your symptoms on this site, there is still a lot to learn here. CBC Health focuses on news, so if you need to know if the rumours about a malaria alert in the Dominican Republic are true, this is the place to find out the truth. The site is updated several times a day so if the story broke this morning, you may not even have to wait until the afternoon before it shows up on this website. The in-depth features, on such topics as fighting the flu and banning trans fats, are timely and laid out well. There is a lot of information in each feature but articles are concise and easy to find so you won't feel overwhelmed as you attempt to get through it all.
4. New England Journal of Medicine
When straight-up, plain talk won't do, head to the New England Journal of Medicine site for the detailed doctor-language version of health reports and news. The best thing about this site is that it's very current, and the information comes straight from the doctor's mouth. This site is essentially a journal for medical professionals so keeping it simple doesn't really apply here. Current concepts and clinical implications of basic research are full of medical terms, but if you can weave through them, you'll find lots of important information. And the perspective pieces have a different outlook on topics making news, like debates about umbilical cord blood banks as a result of the increased popularity of stem-cell research.
5. Canadian Health Network
For a Canadian perspective on health-related issues, head here. The site is set up like an online magazine with feature stories covering a range of compelling subjects. Health topics are handily divided by group -- men, women, elderly, people with disabilities, aboriginal peoples, children and youth. This is particularly helpful because each group often faces different health issues and reacts in different ways. Click on the site map for easier access to the information you need and access four different methods for finding resources on the site. The Canadian Health Network is a Public Health site, working in collaboration with Health Canada and other health organizations at provincial and national levels. The site is completely bilingual and it offers links to more than 17,000 English and French-Canadian health resources on the Web.