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Problem-based Learning & Finding the Evidence: Current Case


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Not Finding What You Need? Just Ask:

Not finding what you need?  Having trouble using one of our resources?  Please let us know.

Ask Karen - you can reach me at 858-534-1199 or at

Ask a Librarian - check out all the ways to reach one of us at the Biomed Library

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Alma Carlsson -- Oh no, not again!

Dealing with abbreviations - search with them or spell it out?  For example, h pylori or helicobacter pylori; MALT or mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue?  Abbreviations like these two, because they are so well known, will give you pretty good results, but often, searches will be better with the full phrases than the abbreviations.  Be prepared to search again with a the full term whenever you search with abbreviations and the results seem limited.


Textbooks (look left)

 PubMed Search Tip --  Finding Articles with Title Searches

ACCESSSS - an EBM federated search tool

DDX & Symptom Checkers (reminder)

National Organizations    

MedlinePlus -- Fruit & Veggie Resources


ACCESSSS - Search Across Multiple Clinical Resources

Ever wish there was something like Access Medicine for some of those clinical tools?  Well, we have partnered with the people at McMaster to use their search tool called ACCESSSS.  Give it a shot this week and let me know how you liked it.  You will need to create an account to use this tool.

Need an example?  Try dyspepsia and see what you get.

DX Resources

Perhaps your questions this week deal with understanding the different symptoms the patient mentioned.  What do they indicate?  Without some good hunches it is hard to move forward.  There are a number of differential diagnositc tools to help with the process.

DDX & Symptom Checker Resources

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.

Dr. Gates has found a very helpful text within Access Medicine - Symptoms to Diagnosis: An Evidence Based Guide.  Presented through a series of cases of patients complaining of a specific issue, then walks you through buiding the DDX and prioritizing it, and making the diagnosis.  Unlike the interactive tools that give you list, this text helps explain the thinking process. Topics include a variety of non-specific complaints from low back pain to weight loss to GI bleeding, to abdominal pain.  Check out Chapter 1 as an overview of the diagnostic 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

National Organizations

MedlinePlus: Information Tool for Patients

MedlinePlus is a great place to find consumer-friendly materials along with directories, a dictionary & encyclopedia, and more.  These week, if you have a look up for fruits & vegetables, the consumer info might be very helpful.  Take a look and see what you find - try fruits vegetables.

Search MedlinePlus:

PubMed Search Tip

PubMed -- Quick Search with Terms in Title

You have seen this tip before, but depending upon your look up topic, a title search in PubMed can help you target the article that are highly relevant.  Caveat, as you get more focused like this, you might miss something, so know what you primary objective is - a handful of very relevant resources or you want to find everything on your topic.  

You have 2 ways to run a search where terms are in the title.  

  1. Use the Advanced Search form.  You will find the link to it under the search box.

    Once on the Advanced Search form, enter the term you want in the title and change the search option to Title.

    When ready - click search and see what you might find.

  2. If you want, you can skip the form and just add in the code PubMed uses to specify searching the title field [title] or even shorter [ti].