Looking for basic - or background - information on a topic is best done in textbooks or other resources that compile the known and standard information into a single resource. For example, if you need to know more about what Graves' disease is or what the usuall treatment is, an article search probably will not help as much looking it up in a textbook (either print or our online books) or some of our synthesized resources (First Consult, UptoDate).
Symptoms and differential diagnositic information is often buried in a number of our resources. However, a few tools (both online and for your smart phone/PDA) have special tools to help with this process.
The books we have include one that helps explain the thinking process (Symptom to Diagnosis) with topics that include a variety of non-specific complaints from low back pain to weight loss to GI bleeding, to abdominal pain. One book has a list of mnemonics (Collins' book) as well as the symptom info. Another book (Syed & Rasul's book) is organized by body areas and the last one (DDX of Common Complaints) focuses on the most common symptions and presents the way a doctor might pursue to diagnosis (images & tests).
Also listed below are some of the interactive DDX tools and their advantages.
Online Look-up Tools
In most cases, when searching in these resources one word or phrase is better than a long question or multiple concepts.
Looking up information about the results of lab tests are mostly background questions. The following resources are easy to use tools to find very reliable information about the normal values, reference ranges, and more.
Free Resources to Know for Life Beyond UCSD
The following resources are available to everyone without a subscription and for the most part have been developed with government funding. These tools will be available to you even when you graduate and move on from UCSD.