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Science and Health

Science and Health
•Index for Health•
•DermNet   •Discovery Medicine   Hindawi Journals   •Johns Hopkins   Johns Hopkins Lupus Center   •LupusUK   •Mayo Clinic   •NAMI  NIH   •Project C.U.R.E.   •Spondylitis Association   •SUN1   •The Lupie Bin   •Thesearethefacesoflupus.com

I love the Internet.  In the few years I have been surfing through it’s Wild West culture, I have seen an expansion of resources available to the unskilled and unschooled.  This is especially true in the field of health.  While this expansion offers a much broader array of information than was available even just a few years ago, it has also opened the door to opportunists.  Among these I include commercial health sites that hawk one product or another.  Also included are sites that offer information that is not the product of reliable scientific research. This is why I value the NIH.  This site is not compromised by a commercial agenda; usually, for a research paper to make it onto the NIH site, it has to go through a rigorous peer review process.  Not that the peers who review can’t be wrong, but at least they answer to a method and to each other’s scrutiny.

When I am looking for information on any health issue, I go first to the NIH and look up the subject in their search box.  Sometimes I put a search term in the Google search box and look for the NIH address under the results before I click on an item.

Be forewarned, this stuff can get technical.  But it’s what your doctor is reading.  It’s the information your medical providers rely on when they make decisions about your care.  Isn’t it worth taking the trouble to understand what they’re talking about?

Mayo Clinic,  Health Information
:Reliable information, though sometimes a bit general, which I find patronizing but others may find reassuring.  No conflict of interest here with drug sponsors, etc.

DermNet  NZ:A great resource from New Zealand for any question about skin issues.

Hindawi Journals 
I am really grateful to this publishing organization for offering excellent, open access medical journals.  Often, when I am researching a topic, this publishing house  will have information from parts of the world not  commonly found in other sources.  More importantly, this stuff is free.  Hindawi never asks me to pay for an article.  So I say, Kudos to Hindawi Journals for helping to get out the kind of information that may be essential to someone’s good health.

These Are The Faces of Lupus.com  For those interested in lupus, the content on this site is written by someone who has lupus.  Information is backed up by reference to reliable sources and is presented in a reader-friendly manner.

“Pain” by Adriaen Brouwer
In the Public Domain on Wikimeda Commons

Johns Hopkins  :  A great site to search for information about a specific health issue.  No commercial conflict

Johns Hopkins Lupus Center 
I am listing the Hopkins Lupus Center separately because I have found that this to be an excellent resource for information on lupus.  While going to the Hopkins site listed above will eventually get you to the same page, this is a more direct route.  Hopkins is rated very high in rheumatology;  I have found that the information on their page is readable, though sometimes I like to get my medical news undigested–that is I like the raw data so that I can interpret it for myself.

NAMI :  The acronym stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness.  Great place to get reliable information about mental illness

SUN1  :
This site gets five stars for a few reasons: it addresses a problem that seriously affects only a small minority of people; it is incompromised by commercial interests; its moderators are very motivated to help members of the group.  Anyone can surf and get information on this site.  In order to contribute, you have to join.

Spondylitis Association of America 
Charity Navigator, which rates charities based on effectiveness, transparency and other criteria, gives this non-profit 4 stars.  It is often through organizations such as this that patients receive valuable information which helps them deal with their disease.

This site has the feel about it of almost being a club–anyone who has lupus is likely to find a sympathetic voice here.  My experience has been that the site has pretty reliable information.  Of course, Internet sources cannot substitute for the counsel of a doctor.  People who are ill, or who suspect they may be ill, should never rely on self-diagnosis and treatment.  However, that said, this site is a good place to read about the experiences of others who have lupus and to learn what some of the most current thinking about the disease is.

Project C.U.R.E. 

A Street Scene in Chennai, India, During Monsoon–Project C.U.R.E is sceduled to conduct a clinic there in December, 2104
Photo by: MacKay Savage
on Wikimedia Commons on Creative Commons Attribution license

The Idea for Project C.U.R.E. originated with one man who saw a need and figured out a way to meet it.  In 1987, James W. Jackson was in Brazil on business when he wintessed people going without appropriate medical care because of a lack of medicine and equipment.  When Jackson went back to the U.S., he collected surplus medical supplies and paid for them to be shipped back to Brazil.  Thus began an organization that would grow to be one of the largest non-profits in the world.

Today Project C.U.R.E. distributes medical supplies to a 120 countries across the globe.  It spends 99% of its budget on program expenses (according to Charity Navigator).   It would be impossible to guess how many lives James Jackson’s vision has improved or saved.  I think Mr. Jackson and his organization deserved Kudos and double Kudos.

The Lupie Bin 
This site is the project of one person; the site offers information about  lupus and provides an opportunity for people who have the disease to connect with others in the lupus community.  There is a link to lupus information in Spanish; also a link to  information specifically geared toward men (who represent of minority of lupus patients).  This is not the sum total the Lupie Bin’s offerings:  included in its features are resources for people with disabilities, links to health organizations, personal stories from visitors to the site.

Kudos to the Lupie Bin for its upbeat, generous message.

Discovery Medicine 
I was referred to this site by a family member who asked me to read an article.  I was impressed with the quality of the material–whenever I’m looking for information on health issues, I confine myself to sources that have peer reviewed articles and are associated with respected  institutions.  That’s the case here.  When you go to the home page you’ll see that Johns Hopkins has a little blurb on the side.  This blurb explains that certain articles are “certified” by the university.  As you scroll down the home page you will see abstracts from research papers.  Even if you don’t access the whole paper, an abstract gives good information.  It also can offer clues as to where to look further on a particular topic.

Science Daily  This is an overall great source for breaking science news.  Also has references to good science books, articles about science.  Covers animals, health and just about any other aspect of science that might come to mind.

wikisky.org    An interactive tour of the sky.  Doesn’t matter if you’re into astronomy or not.  This site is amazing.

Halley’s Comet and the Milky Way
Image from NASA

NASA Science/Astrophysics
Do  you wonder about the mysteries of the physical universe?  Do you ever contemplate the vast reaches of space?  If so, this website might be a cool place for you to hang out for a while.  The Astrophysics page of NASA addresses  big questions--and some that are more down-to-earth.  Whether you are a realist or a star-gazer, there is likely to be something of interest to you on this site.

Kudos to NASA Science/Astrophysics for being one really neat website.

Melt Ponds in the Arctic Ocean
A NASA Photo  uploaded by PD Tillman
On Wikimedia Commons, Share-Alike License

Paleontology Portal 
If you, like me, have never outgrown your fascination with dinosaurs and the story of our planet before recorded history, then this portal might interest you.  On this site is a gallery of images from different geological eras.  There are neat, interactive maps that show  how the earth may have looked in these early epochs.

Even if you’re not interested in a virtual journey back through time, there might be a child you know who is interested. One of the “portals” on this site is entitled K-12.  From here the child can link to a number of resources that may entrance and stimulate an interest in the field of paleontology.

Geologic Time Scale   Source: US Geological Survey
Uploaded from Wikimedia Commons, Public domain

Science  This is a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The magazine publishes a variety of articles on different aspects of science. Tends to be research oriented and very reliably sourced.

Nova Beta This site has a popular orientation and is tied to the PBS program Nova.  Convenient search engine, conversational tone.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Columbia University 
This site tracks earthquake activity along the Northeast Coast of the U. S.  The reader can click on a location and recent seismic activity for that area will be displayed.  This information is intended only to entertain.  I know I find it a fascinating place to spend a few minutes.

Photo From NASA, Public Domain on Wikimedia Commons

U. S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program 
On the subject of earthquakes (see the citation above)…  The U. S. Department of the Interior has a section of its official website dedicated to disseminating information about earthquakes.  This material is easy to navigate and includes sub directories such as:  man-made earthquakes and recent seismic activity.  There is also a section describing programs for earthquake monitoring.

All in all, a unique site, one you might like to spend some time poking around in if you are fascinated by the science of earthquakes.

Recorded Earthquakes in Yellowstone Park, U.S.
Graph by Veryhuman on Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain

Environmental Sciences Europe  Research oriented science articles.  Has a search engine.  States that its article are oriented toward Europe.  But, science is science and what affects Europe affects the world.

Science.gc.ca. This site is supported by the government of Canada.  There is a search engine which allows the reader to look up various subjects.  Besides referrals to science resources for adults, also has a kid-friendly section which encourages children to explore science.

Tundra, Baffin Island, Canada

Photo by Ansgar Walk

Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

I love this site–I love the idea of it.  Free, topnotch education available to anyone who has a computer.  Videotaped lectures, the same that were delivered at one time to real MIT students.  I started watching a lecture for a course called Principles of Chemical Science.  After my brief preview, I decided to definitely “take” this course.  Why not?  As the professor walked in front of the room, I felt as though I was back in college.  My undergraduate college was large; its chief charm for me was that it let me do what I wanted.  Maybe my course selection process wasn’t efficient, but the idiosyncratic sampling certainly exposed me to a wide variety of ideas.

Watching the MIT lecture on video gave me the same feeling of intellectual freedom I’d had back in college. Today going to college is mostly about preparing for a job and making money–and I understand that.  MIT’s open course program helps to soften this reality a little bit.  It reminds us that some people, teachers and students alike, appreciate the intrinsic worth of learning.

There are many course offerings on the MIT site.  I sampled the Priniciples of Chemical Science because I don’t know much about chemistry and this course looked pretty basic.  Another course, Energy, Environment and Society,  also caught my eye.  The part of my brain that processes technical has never received the kind of stimulation it deserves.  Maybe MIT’s open courseware will  change that.

Sucrose Structure Formula
By Don A. Carlson
From Wikimedia Commons Under Attribution Share-Alike License

Featured Topics on Discover.com Go straight to this page and skip the other pages on discovery if you want to avoid the sales pitches. This page offers a rather unsophisticated search engine but still some interesting reading if you’re in the mood for science surfing. Great photos for the young, budding scientist.

Scientific American This is the online version of the print magazine.  Has a search engine and featured articles.

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