Question: I am interested in learning more about recent treatment advances for a medical problem. Where should I look for this information?
Answer: As someone who frequents pubmed.com more than I read People magazine, I just might consider myself an expert on finding medical information on-line. While you can get bogged down by finding blogs and support sites, instead look for purely informative sources such as WebMD, Mayo or Cleveland Clinic, Medscape, or other more trusted sources on-line. For research information, www.pubmed.com offers a wide array of titles and abstracts, with some full text article links free of charge. Beyond pubmed, if you find a title/abstract you would like to read but are stuck behind a $40 paywall, copy and paste the info and email it to your local library, and they usually can locate that article for free if time is not of the essence. If you need an article right away, check out some pay subscription resources at deepdyve, or consider purchasing a single article from the publishing journal. If you do not understand what you are reading, but it pertains to your care and treatment options, bring the article to your next visit whether with us in physical therapy or at your doctor’s office. This will allow you to ask any questions to better understand the medical and research jargon, but also improve your conversation with your provider if you have found something that can change the course of your testing, diagnosis, or treatment plan. Never fear that your provider will be put off or offended. If they are, they are simply not a good provider, and I suggest you find someone that welcomes research questions specific to your issues. Having a healthcare provider with a continued, natural curiosity for research advances is one of the best things to look for to know that you are in good hands and receiving great care each and every visit.