eResource spotlight – Consumer Health Complete

Don’t ask Dr Google…

Many of us have searched frantically on Google to answer our burning health questions. Maybe you have had a diagnosis from your doctor recently and want to find out more. It can be incredibly difficult to take in all the information from your doctor or health professional and equally hard to think of questions you need to ask when put on the spot. As tempting as it is to go home and ask Dr Google, it is important that the information we find is accurate and up to date. While it doesn’t replace your health professional, it is a great tool for increasing your understanding.

We have some excellent health eResources available through our website that you can access from home as well as at any of our libraries. These are authoritative and you can feel confident that you are getting the right information. Consumer Health Complete is one such resource. You can find it by selecting the e-resource tab at the top of our website and then selecting Health and Medicine. You will find other e-resources here you may like to explore too.

consumerhealthcomplete

Consumer Health Complete covers a huge range of subjects on both conventional and alternative medicine, surgical procedures and has a handy medical dictionary. Use the search box to find information on what you are looking for. You can then look at your results in a variety of formats: journals, reference books, encyclopaedias, magazines, medical images, diagrams and videos.

You also have the ability to create an account, should you wish to save your research. It is very user friendly but if you do need some help don’t forget you can contact us for assistance over the phone or you can pop into any one of our libraries.

Lauren
The Library at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity

CoverForgiveness is in short supply in this world. It’s a nice idea but it’s hard to be forgiving. I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity is a gentle memoir about forgiveness and perseverance, set in arguably one of the most unforgiving and hostile environments in the world – Israel. Or Palestine. Depending on your views.

The author, Palestinian Muslim and medical doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish, knows loss and hardship. He lost his three teenage daughters when a tank shell hit their home during a Israeli military offensive targeting their neighbourhood in the Occupied Territories.

Somehow, he’s managed to reject any bitter and wrathful feelings toward the Israeli military and the state of Israel in general, and maintain a hopeful vision for the future. Izzeldin is a medical professional who’s worked in Israeli hospitals, alongside loyal Israeli colleagues, who share common concern for reproductive health and children’s well-being.

Written chronologically, Dr Abuelaish recounts his early years beginning with his birth in a Gaza refugee camp. Then the story moves us along the road to studying medicine in Egypt, London and Harvard. A path which was paved with ongoing hardship, hard work, and sometimes, sheer luck. Almost every aspect of daily life was hampered – and this made his attempts at educational and economic mobility almost impossible.

Palestinians are used to negotiating labyrinthine checkpoints, bizarre and ever-changing regulations, and regular bureaucratic barrages. And it was no different for Mr Abuelaish during his academic pursuits. Somehow he managed to maintain his composure and sanity, and come out the other end as a highly regarded medical professional and the first Palestinian to work in an Israeli hospital treating Christian, Jewish and Muslim children. Really quite miraculous.

The military assault on his family home comes in a sort of looming climax that you anticipate as you begin reading from the start (after reading the synopsis on the back of the book!).

Despite the seemingly insurmountable hardships, its not a bitter or angry recollection and commentary, but a book which seeks a realistic and progressive (not aggressive) future in Palestinian/Israeli relations. Naturally the narrative is infused with personal impressions, experiences and details of family and community life which is written in such a way that makes you feel like you connect somehow. This animates his story and the stories of other Palestinians and Israelis.

Some might say he’s a dreamer, but so far it seems to be working for him as a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and highly regarded medical professional. You decide.

Quite the tear jerker. Check it out.

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Everybody hurts! – Online health resources

Consumer Health CompleteOne day I was at my doctors whinging about my suffering when she looked me straight in the eye and said “No one goes through life without pain”. She was right. We are complicated biological organisms and sometimes we break!

With the advent of the internet, we tend to look here for all our health information needs when we are unwell. Look hard enough and before you know it you have the plague rather than a common cold. The library has numerous online resources to help in your health inquiries. They have been reviewed by health experts (rather than just those with basic web page construction skills). Have a look at:

  • Consumer Health Complete: (new!) This covers all areas of health and wellness from mainstream medicine to complementary, holistic and integrated medicine.
  • Health and Wellness Resource Center:  Authoritative information on health issues. Includes  professional level material.
  • Health Reference Center Academic:  Personal health information sources that offer reliable health information to researchers, students and practitioners.
  • Health Source: Access to two electronic health resources. Health Source: Consumer for general health information and Health Source: Nursing/Academic for practitioners.

Please don’t let Google diagnose your rashes, excretions and scabs for you! Let your doctor do this for you and let these online resources support you.

When science goes bad

badscienceBen Goldacre is a man on a mission.  This doctor and journalist has made a career out of getting to the guts of sloppy, inaccurate, or misleading media reports on topics medical or scientific.  In his book Bad science, he attempts to give the reader the tools, language, and general wherewithal to be able to recognise that just because “sciencey” words are being thrown at us doesn’t mean that everything being said is credible. 

Admittedly, this might not sound like a fun read but that’s where you’d be wrong.  Goldacre’s conversational and often sarcastic style is very readable.  His enthusiasm for the topic is clear, as is his sense of irony (he once bought a membership to the American Association of Nutritional Consultants in the name of his dead cat to prove that the qualifications of a well-known television nutritionist weren’t worth the paper they were printed on.  Some time later she had to stop using the honorific “Dr” – you know, since she wasn’t one.)

As well as being pretty damn funny Goldacre does a great job of informing the reader.  I now know a lot more about how medical research is conducted and published, just how astonishing and important the placebo effect is, how misleading statistics can be, and what to look out for when reading or watching a story on “the latest medical breakthrough” (just because someone uses the phrase “research has shown…” doesn’t mean that the research has actually shown that) .  I”ll never hear or read the words “scientifically proven” again without immediately getting a “ping” on my BS radar.

In fact, I feel so empowered with this new knowledge I’d go as far to say that everyone should know this stuff, but I’ll concede that I have neither the power nor the persuasive skills to make the entire population of the country read a book so, assuming that many of you reading this post won’t get that far, I might just leave you with Goldacre’s oft-repeated catchphrase that can be applied to just about every soundbite ever uttered by a scientific “expert” – “I think you’ll find it’s a bit more complicated than that.”  Indeed.

If you’re after more revelatory stuff of a scientific nature then check out the following –