Digital Diagnoses

The National Library of Medicine's huge on-line database of medical reports and articles, which physicians and medical researchers rely on to make diagnoses and to conduct research, is now available over the Internet.

At a health care conference in Washington, D.C., this month, NLM officials described how physicians, scientists, students and the public can search Medline, a database of 8 million references and abstracts of medical literature taken from 4,000 journals since 1966.

Users search the database using NLM's Grateful Med software. Since 1986 health professionals have used Grateful Med to search Medline to make diagnoses and develop treatments and to keep abreast of rapidly changing medical treatments and technologies.

By providing access over NLM's World Wide Web home page at http://nlm.nih.gov, physicians and medical researchers can access this information more easily, NLM officials said.In conducting keyword searches, Grateful Med offers users Metathesaurus, a 950M database of synonyms and names offering additional search terms that narrow users' searches in order to find reports that otherwise might be missed using a simple keyword search engine.

NLM director Dr. Donald Lindberg (left) and Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) demonstrate Internet Grateful Med at a conference sponsored by the Friends of NLM.

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