June 2000 MedBytes: PubMed

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You open the door to the examining room to find your first patient of the day. The patient's regular checkup seems to be going well until he asks: "What about this new drug I saw advertised on TV the other day?" or "Did you see that new treatment for sleeping disorders on 20/20 last night?" or "Have you read about the latest prostate cancer research on the XYZ Web site?"

Your patients are getting smarter, but you don't have the time to hit the library to do the research needed to answer some of their questions. Luckily, PubMed brings the library to you for free.

At www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed , you can search the National Library of Medicine's MEDLINE, an index to the world's most extensive collection of published medical information. PubMed provides access to 10 million references to articles published in more than 4,000 biomedical journals. It contains records dating back to 1966 on medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and preclinical sciences. You can easily find PubMed through the " Knowledge Center " section or the " Internet Gateway to Health Resource Links " on the TMA Web site at www.texmed.org.

Once you reach PubMed, you may be baffled by the numerous ways to search the site for information. To solve this problem, the TMA Library has devised a continuing medical education (CME) course on PubMed's search features, display/save/print options, and Loansome Doc, which enables users to request full-text articles from the library. But until you can attend one of these courses, here are some tips to assist you in your PubMed searches:

  • The "Limits" button allows you to search specific fields using pull-down menus for publication type, language, subsets, ages, human or animal, gender, entrez date (the date when the item was added to the database), and publication date. Once you have selected your limits, hit the "Go" button. You can click on the word "Limits" at any point during your search to apply, drop, or change your limits.
  • The "Index" button allows you to select search terms. You may browse the index and place items in the search box by highlighting them and selecting which connector word (and, or, not) to use in adding them to your search.
  • The "History" button keeps track of searches and numbers them, allowing you to go back to earlier searches and combine or modify them.
  • The "Clipboard" button allows you to group selected citations from one or more searches for printing, saving, or ordering.

PubMed allows bibliographies and article abstracts to be printed or saved. But if you want more, you may order copies of full-text articles from the TMA Knowledge Center.

For more information or to ask TMA librarians to provide free online searching and reference work, please contact the TMA Knowledge Center Librarian, Barbara Tims at (512) 370-1548 or at Barbara Tims

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest to Texas physicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site at www.texmed.org. If you know of some cool medical sites or have questions about how to use the TMA Web site, email  Crystal Conde . Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the Texas Medical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.  

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