Thursday, November 23, 2006

For the Scholarly

Feed your inner geek! is the best thing since sliced bread. OK, maybe sliced bread is nicer, but pubmed is still very handy if you are interested in checking out some claim or other that you saw on the tube.

Despite sounding like some kind of vacation resort, pubmed is a kind of search engine for health-related studies. Thousands of articles are available through this service, which is run by the US gov but is available to anyone with a web browser and a net connection.

As I have previously blogged (see 9.8m/s/s), I tend to be skeptical of results from "new studies." One of the problems with research is that, even in the best of situations, it can be hard to interpret results. When you have a study dealing with human beings, it can become very difficult due to bias, etc. This being the case, it is important for the results of a study to be replicated across different countries over several years to determine what is really significant and what isn't.

That's where pubmed comes in. Using it, you can quickly find studies that have been performed on a particular topic. Want to know what the mortality rate for the "morning after pill" is? You can find it in pubmed. How clear are the benefits of fish oil? You can find the relevant studies with the click of a button.

While many of the articles are only available as "abstracts," this is often times as much of the article that I can understand. Older articles will often be available in full, and pubmed will have the link right there.

OK, not everyone's cup of tea, but for those among you who actually want to see the evidence behind some claim, this is the place to go.

Tags: , , , . Images: the pubmed graphic is from

1 comment:

Canuckistani said...

Sounds like a good source for documentation in backing up an argument, or as just a place to go for valuable information.