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Problem-based Learning & Finding the Evidence: Background Info Resources


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.

A Couple of Key Textbooks

Don't forget Pubmed

PubMed can also give you background information that expands your background understanding.

Online Books & Textbook Collections

In most cases, when searching in these resources one word or phrase is better than a long question or multiple concepts. 

Synthesized Resources

These resources are more clinically focused but can be used also like an encyclopedia about some topics.

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.

Passing along a Tip from Dr. Gates regarding a DDX & Symptom Checker 

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

Lab Tests Info

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.