National Library of Medicine Medline Provides Vital Health Information


Health professionals have used it to make diagnoses, develop treatments and keep abreast of rapidly changing medical treatments and technologies since 1971. Medical students have used it in their studies. Now, the general public has access to eight million references and abstracts of medical literature taken from 4,000 journals since 1966 -- the world's largest medical reference database.

Users can search this up-to-date source, known as Medline, by visiting the Internet Grateful Med web page at http://igm.nlm.nih.gov. The page is based on the popular Grateful Med software from the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Ever since Medline was introduced by the NLM, physicians and other health professionals have relied on it to keep up-to-date and track down rare diseases. It has been a much-used information source in most medical libraries.

Today, a growing number of consumers are taking advantage of the opportunities the database has to offer. The result? Many physicians are finding their patients increasingly well-informed by the medical materials they can so easily access.

Baby Sam

Jean Hoffman-Anuta, a mother from Millersville, Maryland, recently told a medical audience in Washington, D.C., how Grateful Med helped her and her husband find the appropriate treatment that resulted in a successful pregnancy and the birth of a healthy son.

After having one healthy child, the couple experienced six consecutive first trimester pregnancy losses. Using Grateful Med to search Medline, they found several pertinent articles that provided information that ultimately led to a pregnancy carried to successful term.

As she told the audience, "To everyone responsible for Grateful Med, we would just like to let you know that our family will be eternally '‘Grateful' for Sam!"

Dr. Donald A. B. Lindberg, the Library's director, notes that a recent Ann Landers column that highlighted the Internet Grateful Med has resulted in hundreds of new users. "The modest fees we must charge to recover costs don't seem to be an obstacle," he said. The average cost of a search is about $2.

In the past, users of Medline had to purchase and install specially designed software and send away for a password. The technical terms used to navigate the system also proved to be an obstacle.

Things changed when the NLM announced in April 1996 that anyone with access to the Internet and the World Wide Web could sign up online and have direct access. The Internet Grateful Med also has built-in help with the medical vocabulary.

The National Library of Medicine is part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. For more information visit the NLM web site at http://www.nlm.nih.gov. or send an e-mail to publicinfo@nlm.nih.gov.

Medical librarians are an important source of information about Medline. For the location of a medical library in your area, call 1-800-338-7657.(NAPSI)


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