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BMJ. 2008 January 12; 336(7635): 101.
PMCID: PMC2190271

Netlines

Harry Brown, general practitioner, Leeds, DrHarry@DrHarry.net

A UK based medical student has put together a useful resource at www.prader-willi-syndrome.co.uk for those wanting to know more about the rare congenital disorder Prader-Willi syndrome. Some of you may know a little about the condition, but a quick stroll through this site (and it does not take long) will make you a little wiser. It is not an in-depth review of the topic, just a basic summary. Small, easily digestible sites such as this one can sometimes be more effective than a large, complex resource.

The internet is a powerful and democratic tool, allowing the free flow of information and knowledge. The clever idea behind the news portal http://doctorworld.net/ is that it allows doctors to share news stories, websites, and sources with everyone else. A voting system allows items to gain more prominence or be buried, according to how popular they are. You can register with the site and develop your own customised page or just log on to see what is there without needing to register. If you get stuck, the site has an excellent and detailed help section.

A very useful UK site that looks at intellectual disabilities is at www.intellectualdisability.info. With input from the Down’s Syndrome Association and a mental health unit, it covers an excellent range of topics. The site comprises a large number of well written articles by health professionals and experts from other fields, covering clinical and family issues. As the site is mainly text based information, good navigation allows readers to easily drill down to an article of interest. This well produced site provides a lot of information about intellectual disabilities and is clear and easy to read on screen.

The global initiative for chronic obstructive lung disease (GOLD) has an impressive site at www.goldcopd.com, with the latest guidelines, PowerPoint presentations, the basics of spirometry, and patient oriented material, among other information. Sensibly, the number of documents is not large, meaning that users can quickly run through the publications without feeling overwhelmed by information. The site’s good navigation makes it easy to pick out relevant sections.

Sometimes the most useful ideas can be the simplest. One website demonstrating this principle comes from a UK general practitioner who has created Clinical Indications (http://clinicalindications.com/) to showcase his idea. The site gives a few simple words for a particular prescription, explaining to patients the effect of a drug they have been prescribed, such as, “One daily to alleviate pain.” The site also offers background information, frequently asked questions, and an introductory video.

Notes

We welcome suggestions for websites to be included in future Netlines. Readers should contact Harry Brown at the above email address.


Articles from BMJ : British Medical Journal are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group