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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
July 2003
Web Page Potpourri: Informative Alternative Health Resources on the Internet
by Marjorie Roswell
Our July 2003 cover
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Biomedicine and Health in the News
and Health and Medicine in the News

Newspapers and magazines generally report scientific findings without providing an easy way to track down the source article.. News stories about scientific publications will often name the journal, and sometimes they'll quote the lead author. Sometimes they may even list the publication date, but they might just say "in a recent study....”

Two libraries are performing a valuable public service by providing the full citations for journal articles that appear in the news.

The Library at the University of Connecticut Health Center provides scientific and health journal literature referenced in newspaper articles appearing in the New York Times.

The University of Minnesota provides scientific references to articles appearing in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis Edition)..

These two resources are essential in bridging the split between the popular and the scientific press.

Google News

I just searched the always-awesome Google News site for the words "SARS” and "Baltimore” and discovered 327 news stories related to local suspected cases of the disease. Last month, a search for "mysterious illness” yielded 2,620 results. It sounds overwhelming, yet the site makes these results accessible and informative. Google News indicates the news source, and date or time ("Washington Post - 2 hours ago”), provides a few lines of context, groups similar articles together, and provides links to the full stories.

The site is very well-organized, yet amazingly, it is completely generated by computer algorithms. On Google News you can search and browse news from 4,500 continuously updated news sources.

Put in your favorites or your bookmarks, if it's not already there. Search Google News for any content: if it's been in the news recently, you'll find it.

Vegetarian News

The International Vegetarian Union offers an interesting news listserv. IVU-News is a repository of interesting news stories about subjects which include plant-based nutrition, health, medicine, school lunch programs, environment, veganism, cruelty-free products, spirituality, and factory farming. This listserv, unlike many which are devoted to discussion, is only for posting stories. Subscribers can select individual email format or digest format (all the stories in one email). Those who do not wish to subscribe may access the archives from the web. A typical day yields between five and fifteen news stories.

New York Times News Tracker

Although I haven't had a New York Times subscription for years, I always manage to catch the stories that interest me—through the New York Times News Tracker. I've asked the Tracker to send me an email each time my favorite topics are mentioned in the paper. Tracker options include a weekly digest, a daily digest, or a separate email per article. Up to three topics can be selected. Registration, which is free, is required to use the web-based service. Note that the News Tracker service may be accessed directly from the home page; Look under "Members Center.”



Marjorie Roswell is a web developer and a geographic information specialist at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Center for Health Program Development and Management.

Marjorie Roswell
3443 Guilford Terrace
Baltimore, Maryland 21218 USA
Phone: 410-467-3727

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May 21, 2004