Medical Reference

As someone without medical training, assessing the validity of a medical reference is an important task. You should begin by determining who wrote the medical reference text you are considering using. Find out if the people who wrote it have medical degrees and also if they have specialties in the topics about which they are writing. This issue is key online as many medical reference websites do not have doctors or other medical professionals writing.

While you may be tempted to trust the first information you find, one way to verify the validity of a specific reference site or text is to try to determine whether or not the text under consideration has information that you can find replicated. You want to have the same general information available in other places. If the text you are considering varies widely from the accepted standards on a certain medical issue, then you should make sure that the writer explains that this opinion is unorthodox and why. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics holds that ear infections and teething are not related. Many pediatricians disagree with this opinion, but you should make sure the person to whom you are listening can explain to you why he or she feels differently.

Any medical reference also should have clear information. Some texts simply are not meant for people without medical training. Be sure that you are reading information intended for a non-medical reader. Otherwise, you could be looking at information that will not make sense to you. Another potential problem is giving yourself an amateur diagnosis because you do not understand fine distinctions. Seeking out a text intended for you should help to make sure that you are reading information that is geared toward a general audience that gives you succinct and easy to understand information.

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