MedlinePlus: the go-to website for consumer health information

MedlinePlus logo

Brought to you from the National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus is a free website that offers “information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in” easy-to-understand language. Learn about the latest treatments, look up information on a drug or supplement, find out the meanings of medical words, or get links to the latest medical research on a topic.”

  • What side effects can result from taking Alka-Seltzer? – MedlinePlus has the answer.

MedlinePlus contains animated videos depicting “body parts and organ systems and how diseases affect them.” What happens during heart bypass surgery? Check out the short animated video.

My favorite part of MedlinePlus is the Videos and Cool Tools. In addition to the animated videos mentioned above, MedlinePlus provides interactive health tutorials on topics like tests and diagnostic procedures. Ever wonder how or why an amniocentesis is done? Or how about coronary angiography/angioplasty? The tutorials cover diseases and conditions¬† (like Crohn’s disease or Malaria) as well as surgical procedures (like tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy) in lay terms.

My favorite section, however, is the webpage of surgery videos. These are video recordings of actual surgeries and diagnostic procedures performed in hospitals around the country. If you do not like the site of blood or are squeamish, these are not for you. The list contains procedures like heart transplant, hip replacement, awake craniotomy, and more. As the surgeons operate, they narrate the procedure as well as provide other background explanations.

If you have a health-related question or just want to surf, check out MedlinePlus.

Jill Turner

Librarian Consultant