Consumer Health Information Pathfinder

The purpose of the Consumer Health Pathfinder is to provide resources to allow you to find medical and health information.  We have included both print reference materials available for use at the library and a number of websites that provide information on specific diseases, medications, preventive health, and alternative medicine. There are many other sources for health information available online, however, not all are reliable.  In order to assist you, the Medical Library Association provides a step-by-step guideline for making sure the health information you find on the internet is reliable at the Find and Evaluate Health Information.

Find out more about specific resources below by type.
General Health DatabasesAlternative HealthDiseases and ConditionsDrugs & Diet SupplementsEnvironmental HealthAcademic ResourcesReference BooksMagazines

General Health Databases

MedlinePlus  – This National Institutes of Health site “brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand“

National Library of Medicine Directories –  Start your search for a doctor, dentist, facility or service here.

The Health Care Division –  A gateway to information on Massachusetts health care advocacy, enforcement, and consumer protection.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Covers “Diseases & Conditions,” “Healthy Living,” “Traveler’s Health” and more.

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Alternative Health

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine– An “A to Z” list of topics,

Mother Earth News Natural Health page –  Information and advice on a healthy diet and natural medicine

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Diseases and Conditions

Mayo Clinic Diseases and Conditions page – Comprehensive guides on hundreds of conditions.

National Association of Rare Diseases  – A brief description of, and more importantly, links to organizations addressing rare diseases and conditions.

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Drug and Diet Supplement Information

Drug Information Portal  – Quick access to quality drug information from the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.  Search by medical or common name or by category.

DailyMed  – Information on over 46,000 marketed drugs including FDA labels and package inserts.

Dietary Supplements Labels Database  – Information on label ingredients for more than 7,000 selected brands of dietary supplements, including a tool for comparing labels of different brands.

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Environmental Health Information

Healthy Homes  – This site from the Centers for Disease Control will help you prevent injury and disease and help you prepare for disasters and emergencies

Household Products Database  – Health and safety information on household products including Auto, Arts & Crafts, Personal Care (including make-up), and Pet Care.

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Academic Resources  –An excellent place to find out information on what clinical trials are, what to expect if you participate in one, and to find the results of clinical trials across the nation.

Health Reference Center Academic   – This award-winning, multi-source database provides access to the full text of nursing and allied health journals, plus a wide variety of personal health information seems to work with library card off-site

PubMed – For academic information, use this U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health citation database of professional articles.

The library also has a number of databases primarily intended for medical care professionals.  You may find these resources by using this link: Medicine & Health Databases

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Reference Books

American Medical Association Family Medical Guide – Although this guide is ten years old, the first aid and “Health Issues Through Life” sections and the overviews of diseases and disorders is still helpful. REF 613 Ame 2004

Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment –Although it’s rather technical, this book provides useful information on medical tests REF 616.075 Cur 2013

Physician’s Desk Reference Prescription Drugs 2014 – This classic will tell you more than you need to know about any drug that you’ve been prescribed REF 615.1 Phy 2012

PDR Nonprescription Drugs 2014 – Over-the-counter drugs get the PDR treatment REF 615.105 PDR 2014

Surgery Sourcebook – Clearly written and easily understood information on a wide range of surgeries with descriptions of the most common procedures and frequently asked questions. REF 617 Sur, e-book (available through catalog) 2013

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The following magazines are available in the library.  You can also find specific articles of interest by using the Health and Wellness Resource Center  database:

Fit Pregnancy


Herb Quarterly*

Men’s Health

Natural Health


Web MD

Yoga Journal*

*May contain health information, but do not have a health focus.

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