Fact Checking Claims for Nutritional Products

http://www.consumerlab.com/ Has the stated mission “To identify the best quality health and nutritional products through independent testing.” If you’re familiar with Consumer Reports, the leader for decades in unbiased testing of consumer products and services, then you understand what Consumer Lab is all about. They appear mostly to focus on products such as vitamins, herbal supplements and similar products. They have no advertising on their site, similar to the approach long practiced by Consumer Reports. They have a page on their site dedicated to a long list of various press releases, news stories and testimonials related to the foundation here. Additionally they have a “Where to Buy” page that helps people find where to buy products recommended on the site. Some online vendors pay a fee to be included on this page, but they receive no proceeds from sales through Consumer Lab. Suffice it to say, consumerlab.com appears to be the gold standard of information regarding effectiveness, safety and legitimacy of these products.

Memberships may be purchased by organizations such as libraries, or for around $40 a year individuals may subscribe to all articles on the site.

Helpful Medical Links That Go Deeper

Need medical information that goes deeper than or covers areas other than those covered by WebMD.com and the like?  Here are some more specialized sites for your consideration.

Should Your Child See a Doctor?

If you’re worried about your child’s health, this site will likely help you make a decision as to what to do next.  From the site:  “These guidelines (topics) are intended to help you determine how sick your child is and if you need to call your child’s doctor. Their second purpose is to help you treat your child at home when it is safe to do so.” (Emphasis mine)

Medline Plus

You may already be familiar with Medline Plus, as it is similar to WebMd and other health portals.  The distinction with this site is it is directly funded and informed by the federal government.  From the site: “Health professionals and consumers alike can depend on it for information that is authoritative and up-to-date. MedlinePlus has extensive information from the National Institutes of Health and other trusted sources on over 975 diseases and conditions. There are directories, a medical encyclopedia and a medical dictionary, health information in Spanish, extensive information on prescription and nonprescription drugs, health information from the media, and links to thousands of clinical trials. MedlinePlus is updated daily and can be bookmarked at the URL: https://medlineplus.gov/. There is no advertising on this site, nor does MedlinePlus endorse any company or product.”

The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of John Hopkins Medical Center publishes a media center with videos and podcasts.  From the site: “Your video channel for cancer learning is a click away. Tune to the Kimmel Cancer Center’s YouTube channel to learn about the latest discoveries in cancer and education on cancer topics, including clinical trials, caregiving, finances, and social security. New videos are added periodically, so subscribe to the channel for instant updates.”

Foodborne Illness

Did you know that each year 1 in 6 of us will get sick due to contamination in something we eat or drink? Knowing how to avoid and/or treat these illnesses is important. The CDC is here to help. The CDC is a vast federal organization with a vast website, so it may be daunting for some.  The site on Foodborne Illness is full of helpful information and easy to use. From the site: “Foodborne illness (sometimes called ‘foodborne disease,’ ‘foodborne infection’, or ‘food poisoning’) is a common, costly—yet preventable—public health problem. Each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing microbes, or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so there are many different foodborne infections. In addition, poisonous chemicals, or other harmful substances can cause foodborne diseases if they are present in food.”

Anatomy Atlases

The Anatomy Atlases are no joke.  Created by Dr. Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., who has taught anatomy at eminent universities for decades, it is a comprehensive and detailed anatomy atlas for use by doctors, students and various medical professionals, that can also be perused and used by laypeople. It lists as its mission: “To educate patients, healthcare providers, and students in a free and anonymous manner; For the purpose of improving patients’ care, outcome, and lives; Using current, authoritative, trustworthy health information; While serving as a platform for research into the challenges facing world-wide information distribution.”

Further, its goals are to “Curate a comprehensive digital library of anatomy information for patients and providers, Maximize the impact of this digital library by enhancing awareness among potential users at local, national, and international levels, Ensure an optimal educational experience through simplicity and clarity in design, and Lead the way to a better understanding of digital libraries through a process of on-going evaluation.”

Despite its free status this may be the most helpful, informative site out there concerning Anatomy.

Climate Change Indicators in the United States

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-08/documents/climate_indicators_2016.pdf

The Environmental Protection Agency has put out a report detailing the effects of climate change on the nation. “Climate Change Indicators in the United States” “partners with more than 40 data contributors from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to compile a key set of indicators related to the causes and effects of climate change”, from the site. Previous editions of the report can be found here.

The report includes greenhouse gases, ocean temperature changes, weather anomalies, snow and ice melt, health effects, and ecosystem effects. Number of cases of lyme’s disease and west nile virus in the U.S. are also included. There is no index in the back of the book, but the table of contents is very inclusive.

Infotopia

http://www.infotopia.info/

From the site, “Infotopia is an academic search engine designed for “students, teachers, and especially homeschoolers.” Created by Dr. Michael Bell (former chair of the Texas Association of School Librarians) and Carole Bell (former middle school librarian and director of libraries), Infotopia uses a Google custom search to provide access to previously vetted websites selected by librarians, teachers, and educational professionals.” Infotopia provides tabs to different subject areas. These include: Arts, Biography, Games, Health, History, Images, Languages, Literature, Math, News, Reference, Sci/Tech, and Social Sciences. Under each tab, a topic can be selected from different websites, besides the Google-like search that can be done. Citation sources and search tips are also shown on the site.

American Cancer Society Cancer Statistics Center

The Cancer Statistics Center from the American Cancer Society provides a one stop source on statistics for all kinds of cancer. The number of new cancer cases per year, along with number of deaths is listed, as well as the numbers per state. Map statistics, as well as trends are shown. Cancer screening and risk factors are also covered. Many of the statistics are from the source, “Cancer Facts & Figures“, which is available from the American Cancer Society.

Bio-Image Search

https://lane.stanford.edu/bioimagesearch.html

From the site, “Bio-Image Search, developed by Lane Medical Library, serves up images and diagrams exclusively from medical and scientific organizations. It groups the results based on the degree to which their republication is restricted. The tool is available to anyone with Internet access.  It has access to more than 2 million images, and the librarians are hoping to add more.”

The website is useful to educators who need pictures or diagrams for their projects. The site will tell whether an image has re-usage rights, putting the images in four broad categories. The categories are: Maximum Reuse Rights, Broad Reuse Rights, Possible Reuse Rights, or Restrictive Reuse Rights. Each set of Rights has rules to go along with it. These are explained on the webpage. Human Anatomy and certain textbook images are also included. Searches are Google-like and can be done at the center of the page.

State Medical Marijuana Laws

http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-medical-marijuana-laws.aspx#3

There are critical differences in state medical marijuana laws. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has a simple webpage explaining these differences. The differences between federal and state laws are explained. And further down on the page are two tables with each state’s statutes and programs. The first table is called, “state medical marijuana program laws”, and shows whether each state has a patient registry, allows dispensaries, recognizes patients from other states, and if medical marijuana use is allowed for specific conditions. A second table explains the state laws for “limited access marijuana product laws”, with the same table criteria headers as above. Additional resources are provided at the end of the second table.