medical information page
Don't wait to be dead before doing something!
This page contains a short list of sources from which you can get
medical information. It does not pretend to be exhaustive, but just
a bit cynical. :-)
Caution: Although I have almost twenty years of schooling
(most of them in science), I am not an MD. In fact,
my background is in Physics and Maths and, believe me, I have much
more fun doing work in these fields than reading medicine stuff.
Nevertheless, out of necessity, because of the Quebec crisis in
health care and in education, I have, over the years, accumulated
quite a bit of medical information. I am just sharing part of it
with you here. If you are new to this process, this should give
you, at least, a starting point. For the rest, explore, learn as
much as possible, and trust your own jugment, not mine.
Remark: Quotations marks indicate that the text was taken
verbatim from the Web page itself.
I would like to thank the following visitors for sending me some
of the links listed below
Maggie Danhakl, Barbara, Chloe Pearson, Patricia Sarmiento,
Jasmine Dyoco, Cathryn Weaver, Sara, Stephanos Anastasiadis,
James Pierce, Kelly Campbell, Reese and Keri Evans,
Jessica Johnston, Rebecca Preston, Laura Pearson, Sandra Beals,
Important remark for visitors
I want to thank all visitors who send me lists of links to be
added to the Med Skull page. I need however to keep this Web
page to a manageable size.
Some of the projects I am now working on are keeping me quite
busy so I certainly no longer have the time to preriodically
recheck all the links on the Med Skull page. Furthermore, some
of the Web sites may be only temporarily unavailable so I would
need to check a link more than once to be convinced that it is
actually broken and thus needs to be removed. Given the current
number of links, this would require too much time.
I am not too keen of adding more links to the Med Skull page.
In fact, I think I should consider removing many of them. When
I started this project in the late 1990s, I did not realize
then how dynamical the Web was and how rapidly links can become
obsolete. Also, now that we have Wikipedia and Google, I am
much less certain that my Med Skull page is really that useful.
Nevertheless, if I find an exceptional Web site, I will add a
link to it.
For now, I intend to restrict the Med Skull links to Web sites
which are major sources of information. Good examples of these are
the Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center,
PatientsLikeMe.com, CureTogether, ACOR, RateMD.com, WorstPills.org.
Since each news service (BBC, CBC, ABC, ...) has its own
list of health related articles, I cannot include all of them.
If I want the Med Skull page to be a unique ressource, I need to
restrict it to sites where people have the greatest probability
of finding the information they need when they have a medical
problem and have to make some major decision.
Articles with the "health tip of the day" are great and I read
many of them to take on good habits and have a healthier life.
There are however now so common that I find links to them on
almost every Web site that I visit. Centralized medical information
in a given subject is, on the other hand, more difficult to find,
especially when it documents the dangers or inefficiencies of some
current medical practices. And this is what I now would like to
For all these reasons, I have to limit the number of new links I
will add to the Med Skull page.
Added note [2016-06-04]: The Med Skull page will remain as is for now.
No new links will be included, at least in the foreseeable future.
Good starting points
To find information, references, and links on any subject, including
health and health Web sites, the two best starting points are, as
Public Health Agency of Canada
contains various tips on how to stay healthy. This is also
where to look for health warnings and travel health notices.
The site is bilingual (English/Français).
est un site subventionné par la Fondation Lucie et André
Chagnon. On y trouve de l'information sur la nutrition,
sur la médecine conventionnelle et traditionnelle ainsi que sur
les médecines douces.
Another source of information on healthy living is the
Here is a nice summary:
10 Tips for Living a Longer, Happier Life
from Kanetix.ca Insurance.
blog of Patricia Sarmiento
on the PublicHealthCorps Web site contains short articles
giving useful advices on how to stay healthy and have an
GoodGuide for information
about safe, healthy and ethical products, based on scientific
Running is not a sport requiring expensive equipment. It is
also fun to run with friends in a neighborhood with lots of
trees and green spaces.
Runner Rescue is a
great Web site to learn how to keep in shape, avoid injuries,
and heal from previous ones. There is also information there
for joggers and walkers.
Cool Running is
another site for runners where you can find some useful info
information on why sitting too much is bad for your health
and why it is better to stand up at your desk or, even
better, to walk.
Linus Pauling Institute's Micronutrient Information Center
is a "source for scientifically accurate information regarding
the roles of vitamins, minerals, other nutrients, dietary
phytochemicals (plant chemicals that may affect health), and
some foods and beverages in preventing disease and promoting
health. All of the nutrients and phytochemicals included in the
Micronutrient Information Center may be obtained from the diet,
but many are also available as dietary supplements".
In my view, this is one of the best and most complete Web sites
on vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. You will find there
all needed important information about
Besides these informative Web pages, past issues of the
LPI Research Newsletter
(in pdf format) may also be downloaded.
- the role of each nutrient in the body
- the effects of deficiencies and their symptoms
- the effects of overdosage and their symptoms
- the possible uses of the nutrient for disease prevention
or disease treatment
- a summary of past epidemiological studies and control
- the interactions with other nutrients or with medications
Office of Dietary Supplements
of the National Institute of Health has a Web site which is
also, for health professionala, another great source of
information with very complete Dietary Ssupplement Fact
Sheets on vitamins and minerals.
- Information on herbs and supplements can also be found on the
- The United States Departmenet of Agriculture (USDA) offers an
to help you determine your daily nutritional requirements
depending on your gender, age, height, weight, and current
level of activity.
- A pdf version of the
Dietary Reference Intakes
-= The Essential Guide to Nutrient
can be downloaded from the
National Academies Press
Web page and it is free.
- For information on healthy foods, read the
Vegetarian Pages or visit the
GoVeg.com Web site.
- There are also tips for a
Cancer Prevention Diet
- The world's healthiest foods
Web site contains information on the nutrient content of foods together with
recipes on how to prepare them.
- Food is getting more expensive and, at the grocery store, vegetables are not
always fresh. So why not grow your own vegetables indoors, save money, and
eat more nutritious foods? The Greatist site tells you how on its page
The 16 Best Health, Edible Plants to Grow Indoors
Here are three important articles on food safety from the Australian
Broadcasting Corporation Website:
ABC Health & Wellbeing
From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Web site:
Foodborne Illnesses: What You Need to Know
page gives a useful chart of foodborne diseases-causing organisms, the foods in
which they are found, and the symptoms of the diseases they can cause.
For even more information, you can also download the free 292-page pdf book
Bad Bug Book
The healthy home
The following Web sites give some useful information on how to avoid
indoor pollution and contaminants in your home.
Here are also links to pages on fire prevention and safety.
The healthy environment
Sometimes, we feel full of energy and enthusiastically take on
too many responsabilities, underestimating the difficulties ahead.
Then something unexpected happens and we no longer have enough time
to fulfill our commitments. We can try to cut on sleep but then
chronic fatigue sets in, focus becomes more difficult to maintain,
intellect is no longer as sharp as it used to be, and tasks take
longer to accomplish. No gain here.
This road can lead to stress, exhaustion, burnout, and depression.
It is possible though to learn how to become more resilient while
things are still relaxed. You might want to explore the following
Web site for some advice on how to cope with the difficulties of
From the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Downloadable mp3 audio files
- The Health Report
with host Dr Norman Swan, on the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation, is one of my preferred health podcasts. It is
very critical of the medical establishment and of the current
medical practices. Audio files of past shows are available for
dowload as mp3 together with their transcripts. You also
have access to a subject index. Just click on the More past
programs at the bottom of the main page.
White Coat, Black Art
with Dr Brian Goldman is a CBC Radio One show broadcasted
each week. The Web site contains useful information on the inner
workings of medical institutions. The
is really worth reading. For some mysterious reasons, the
mp3 audio files can only be downloaded from a distinct
which works fine when acceessed with Firefox but not
with other browsers like Opera or Chrome. I have
sent an email about this to the Webmaster, some time ago, but
never got an answer. Furthermore, the size of files are
erroneously given in kB where they should be in MB. I am
surprised that, over the years, nobody has yet bothered to
Inside Health, a BBC radio programme with Dr Mark Porter,
is also a very good source of information. The way the Web
site is organized is however a bit insane. There a link
to the Inside Health
but none to the transcripts. To find to the transcripts, you
have to go to
this page and then click on a programme title. If you do not
know this, you will never suspect the existence of transcripts.
- Mayo Clinic Radio is a
weekly one-hour radio program, with hosts Dr. Tom Shives and
Tracy McCray, bringing you health and medical information from
Mayo Clinic specialists.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
has a Web page on medical errors and patient safety. Information
is available as mp3 files with their pdf transcripts.
- Podcast files are also available from the
The Linus Pauling Institute.
The audio (mp3) files are downloadable and some have
General medical information
- WebMD contains news, health
tips, and lots of medical information, including a Symptom Checker.
- Besides medical news, the
site also contains lots of useful information by medical specialty.
there is a Drug Interference Checker. I also particularly
where I could get, among other files, maps of the distinct
regions of the brain.
Wikipedia page on Medscape
mentions that "All content in Medscape is available free of
charge for professionals and consumers alike, but registration
is required". I could, however, access much information without
covers various health topics including Pet Health and Sport
Injuries & Rehab. It also offers some useful tools like
a Symptom Checker, a Drug Search, a Drug Interactions
checker, a Pill Identifier, and a Drug Comparison tool. If you
have been prescribed more than one medication, I would strongly
suggest you check their possible interactions. Each year medical
drug poisoning kill more people than all the illicit drugs combined.
- At the
Mayo Clinic, you'll find many articles on various medical
conditions, symptoms, drugs and supplements, tests and procedures,
healthy living. There's also a section on fitness.
you get access to forums and user groups, to tools and apps,
to information on various conditions and on ways to live
healthier. You can ask question to an expert and and, yes,
there is also a forum on pet health.
- eMedicine has information
presented by specialty
Better Medicine from healthgrades [??? broken link]
Web site contains information on various medical conditions,
symptoms, drugs and treatments. There is also a symptom checker.
National Guideline Clearinghouse
"for obtaining objective, detailed information on clinical practice
guidelines". You can also browse the guidelines
- Patient.co,uk is a very
good site for all information on health, medical conditions,
procedures and guidelines. You can also find out if there are
some clinical trials available in your area.
- The NICE (the National
Institute for Health and Care Excellence) provides
recommendations that are "based on the best available evidence
of the most effective care".
Better Health Channel
offers some information on conditions and treatments, including
medications, medical tests, medical procedures, first aid,
complementary medicine. There is also information on healthy
living and prevention.
University of Iowa Health Library
is a comprehensive library that "features articles and patient
guides covering common health topics ranging from special
procedures to general wellness".
offers articles on health issues plus info on various medical
conditions and drug factsheets.
- The Healthfinder.gov
is a U.S. site with medical news and other health information.
Framily Practice Notebook
is an compendium of the diagnosis and management of common
medical problems seen in Family Practice. There is a section
on Sports Medicine and even one on jokes!
- The Health News Review
gives a critical look on the medical information being broadcasted
by the media.
Web site contains more links to medical information pages
and to US govermental ressources. The site has recently been
launched and is now growing. Their aim is "Putting the Public
Back in Public Health".
- Besides general information on various health topics and diseases, the Web
site of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
also contains warnings of outbreaks.
- Here are tips from
to help you prepare for your next visit to the doctor.This is a
Web page from the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Here, from the
National Institute of Health (NIH)
is another page on how to prepare for your next visit to the
- The How Stuff Works
Web site contains some useful pages on health and medicine.
Free access to medical databases
United States National Library of Medicine
has links to Medline and to many other databases.
PubMed Central (PMC)
is a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences
journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's
National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM).
is a registry and results database of publicly and privately
supported clinical studies of human participants conducted
around the world
Diagnose Me sites
The two following are the only commercial Web sites that you will
find on this page.
gives you access to an expert system called The Analyst.
This program asks you a series of some 900 questions and, drawing
its knowledge from a database which is continually updated, it
establishes its diagnosis and recommendations. You then receive
the results by email.
For free, you can get a general health assesment and info about
your health risk factors. You can also, for a reasonable fee of
25 $ US, obtain a fully detailed computer health report. There
will be additional fees if you want this computer report to
be reviewed by a doctor. (All details about this are in their
I have never used this service but I must say that I have been
very impressed by what I have seen there. (You can look at some
of the questions being asked and download a sample report that
would be sent to a patient.) I really wish we could find the same
quality of service at the local medical clinic. Using a program
like The Analyst should be mandatory. Too many patients
are being misdiagnosed.
Note: It is important not to forget the dash when typing
"diagnose-me.com", otherwise you will end up on a totally
different Web site.
- CrowdMed uses crowdsourcing
"to help solve enven even the world's most difficult medical
cases quickly and accurately online". The crowd tackling the
problem is made not just of MDs but of other professionals and
of lay people.
"The fee to submit a case to CrowdMed is $199, which is fully
refundable if the patient does not receive accurate diagnostic
suggestions". Otherwise, part of the money is channelled to
"patients on Watsi, a non-profit
that funds life-saving medical treatments for patients in need".
- As mentioned on a
TED page, the Web site
[...] give patients control and access to their healthcare
information and compare it to others like them. Its bold
(and somewhat controversial) approach involves aggregating
users health info in order to test the effects of particular
treatments, bypassing clinical trials.".
This is where you "learn from others" and "compare treatments,
symptoms and experiences with people like you and take control
of your health".
- CureTogether is another
patient-empowering medical site. It lets you "find the best
treatments" by giving you "access to millions of ratings
comparing the real-world performance of treatments across
637 health conditions".
you will find "information provided by patients, caregivers,
and healthcare professionals [...] to help you improve your
quality of life".
- Exercising in a swimming pool might be beneficial (and fun) to those
affected by obesity or those recovering from a stoke. Information on
this can be found on the
Recovery with Pool Exercise
Web page of theSwim Swimming Pool Blog.
For military personnel
- Info on some ressources available to military personnel
returning from mission (and to their family) can be found
Military Minds Association Web site.
The following Web sites should help parents keep their children
safe and healthy.
- In the US, "choking is the fourth leading cause of
unintentional death in children under the age of 5".
It is thus important for parents, baby sitters, and
other caregivers to be aware of all chocking hazards
and know precautions to take when feeding young children.
The New York State Department of Health has created
a detailed Web page on
Choking Prevention for Children.
- Minimizing other risks of accidents is also important. The
Home Safety for Kids
gives a list of ressources to help you make your home safer
for young children.
Web site offers information on how to prevent accidents
and keep your kids safe.
Staying Safe on the School Bus
Web page gives some important school bus safety guidelines
to avoid accidents with tragic consequences.
Comprehensive Guide on Road Safety for Parents:
This guide has advice categorized by age group; from
picking the right car seat for a newborn through to how
parents can encourage their teen not to text and drive.
- Here is also, from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and
Prevention), a Web site on various aspects of
Teen Rehab Center Web site contains information and
advice for parents on how to protect their teens from
street drugs and alcohol addiction. The various aspects
of the problem are explained. There is a page on each
commonly encountered drug, on the various aspects of
rehab, and on some of the co-occurring disorders in
youths. The site is maintained by the Advanced Recovery
Systems (ARS), a compagny that owns and operates rehab
facilities in Florida, Colorado and Washington State
Rehab toward independence
In the early 1970s, I had some friends who got into the habit of
heavy drinking. I vividly remember a end-of-celibacy party in
which two of them got quite sick, one of which had to spend most
of the night kneeled on the floor, his face over a toilet bowl,
feeling miserable and vomiting from time to time. This was
definitely not my idea of having great fun.
I have never liked the effects of alcohol, so I just tried it
a few times. And I am not the kind of guy who yields to the
authority of peer pressure (or, in fact, to any authority). I
remember being called "stubborn" on various occasions (even
by my teachers) and, to be frank, I am rather proud of this.
There are times in life when you have to decide if you prefer
being by yourself learning more about what you like and doing
what you really enjoy or if you prefer following the crowd,
doing some boring stuff, just to be in the gang.
Anyway, you might have a friend who, because of booze or of
some other hard drugs, is a bit messed up and would like to
regain control and some independence. Then, the following Web
site may contain useful tips. Nothing prevent your friend from
having a look, thinking about the situation while sipping a
strong coffee, and then, maybe, deciding to take charge and
ask for advice along the way, whenever needed.
has information not only on street drug addiction but
also on alcohol addiction and on prescription addiction.
There is also information on some co-occurring conditions,
such as PTSD and depression, and help for teens.
Oncology and cancer treatment
American Cancer Society
Web site offers some tips on how to reduce your risks of
getting cancer and how to check the signs and symptoms of
Association of Cancer Online Resources Inc. (ACOR)
is a comprehensive site created by Gilles Frydman. This is
one of the very best source of information on cancer.
ACOR has a section for non-human animals:
Dealing with your pet's cancer.
It is free but you have to register.
contains cancer resources for patients and healthcare
professionals. This site is maintained by the
University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center.
How Cancer is Treated
page of the Cancer.Net site contains information on the various
cancer treatments that are currently available.
- There is also the
A to Z List of Cancer Drugs from the National Cancer Institute.
- DrugRehab.org has a page on
Addiction Prevention for Cancer Patients: The Guide to Safe Pain Management
Skin Cancer Foundation
is a great resource with information on how to identify symptoms
of a serious skin condtion and a printable sheet for recording
changes in moles or birthmarks with each
National Breast Cancer Foundation Inc
gives information on how to perform
Australian Cancer Trials
"is a free information service that displays the latest
clinical trials in cancer care, including trials that are
currently recruiting new participants. We believe that this
information should be freely available to all, and written in
a way that is easy to understand. [...] The website is updated
each day with new information from the Australian New Zealand
Clinical Trials Registry and ClinicalTrials.gov from the
- The National Cancer Institute (USA) has also its Web page on
- Statistics and facts on cancer can be obtained from the
and from the SEER
sites of the National Cancer Institute.
Rover Daily Treat blog
explains how dogs can help people with cancer cope through
tests and treatments by providing companionship, emotional
support, and even some physical assistance.
On the lymphatic system
- "Lymphedema is a swelling due to abnormal buildup of fluid in body tissues
that can occur when the lymphatic system is improperly developed or damaged
through trauma or injury." Information and resourcess can be found on the
Lymphodema Association of Quebec Web site.
Heart health and heart problems
A Guide to a Healthy Heart, from the ACLS Training Center,
contains basic information on the heart muscle plus many links
to educational material on its structure and function, on diets
and exercises to keep it healthy or to restore its health, and
on heart diseases with their symptoms.
- TheHeart.org is the
cardiology section of Medscape
- The NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
"provides science-based, plain-language information related to heart, lung,
and blood diseases and conditions and sleep disorders. The site contains
articles on diseases, conditions, tests, procedures, and other relevant
- Information on
can be found on the World Heart Federation Web site. This information include
risk factors and prevention, fact sheets, warning signs, and how to perfrom CPR.
- microBEnet stands for the
microbiology of the Built Environment
network. The aim is tthe study of the microbiology of the
built indoor environment.
Rare chromosome disorder
"is a source of information and support to families and
individuals affected by any rare chromosome disorder and
to the professionals who work with them."
American Academy of Dermatology
Web site contains lots of information on various skin conditions.
Skin Cancer Foundation
is a great resource with information on how to identify symptoms
of a serious skin condtion and a printable sheet for recording
changes in moles or birthmarks with each self-check.
Medical information for non-human animals
Avoiding medical errors
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
has a Web page on medical errors and patient safety. Did you
know that (in the US):
"In November 2000, the Institute of Medicine (IOM)
released a report estimating that as many as 98,000 patients
die as the result of medical errors in hospitals each year."
If you are a patient and you care about yourself, visiting this
Web site is a really a must. You'll even find there advices and
precautions to take to prevent medical errors. Information is
available as mp3 files with their pdf transcripts.
- The Health Report
Web site of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is very
critical of the current medical practices.
I strongly suggest you have a look on the following transcripts
They are still available, from the main page, by clicking on
More past programs.
- Drug regulation and drug safety (2006-12-25)
- Facing the evidence - part one (2007-01-15)
- Facing the evidence - part two (2007-01-22)
- The Patient from Hell (2006-08-14)
Health and health risk calculators
Evaluating medical information
HON (Health On the Net Foundation)
promotes and guides the deployment of useful and reliable
online health information and its appropriate and efficient
use. This is done through a HONcode certification which is
and also on this
- theNNT site gives
quick summaries of evidence-based medicine. The site is
maintained by a "group of physicians that have developed a
framework and rating system to evaluate therapies based on
their patient-important benefits and harms as well as a
system to evaluate diagnostics by patient sign, symptom, lab
test or study".
NNT stands for "Number Needed to Treat" (with this medication
or with procedure) for one patient to benefit.
Evaluating your health services
"goal is to provide patient reviews and ratings of their
experiences with doctors, hospitals, dentists, prescription
medicine, diet plans, chiropractors, nurses, clinics and all
healthcare professionals for the benefit of finding the best
- For a very lucid analysis on how to improve health services,
I strongly suggest a public lecture given by Dr. Atul Gawande
and broadcasted by ABC Radio National on 2007-06-03 and
rebroadcasted on 2008-01-13. In this lecture, Dr. Gawande
"discusses what makes a good doctor, how hospitals can be
improved, and what he has learnt about the imperfect science of
medicine". His analysis is lucid and shows how doctors and other
professionals could improve their practice by thinking out of
the box. A
transcript of Dr. Gawande's lecture
is available on the Background Briefing Web site. You
can also get the transcript
In my view, this text should be mandatory reading for all health
Evaluating your doctor
- RateMDs.com "allows patients
to rate and read about their doctors".
Evaluating your treatment
- Choosing Wisely
seeks to improve the conversations between doctors and patients
and to promote medical practices that are supported by evidence,
free from harm, non-duplicative, and truly necessary. I would
strongly suggest you to visit their
page and to download, for reference, the pdf of all
specialty society lists.
- NPS MedicineWise provides
the latest evidence-based information about medicines, health
conditions and medical tests. Also available, are various
decision and management tools and free publications for the
general public as well as for the health care professionals.
Some of these publications are available in pdf format
so you can copy them on your ebook and read them on the bus or
in the waiting room.
Evaluating your need for surgery
- Need a biopsy? Did you know that surgery is not
the only option? Have you heard about optical biopsy
and about optical coherence tomography (OCT)?
has a short article about optical biopsy. And you can find an
article about OCT on the
MIT News Web page. [??? broken link]
Enhanced recovery programs,
from the Health Report (2015-04-27), promotes some measures to
speed-up recovery after surgery. This includes the need for local
anesthetic even when general anesthesia is required.
Evaluating your prosthesis
- I have heard about the
Australian Orthopaedic Association Joint Replacement Registry
in one of the Health Report shows on knee problems.
(The show's transcript can be obtained
The AOA Joint Registry "compiles data on all joint
replacement surgery done in Australia, it's a comprehensive
source because all orthopaedic surgeons who do joint
replacements contribute their results to the registry. All
the data are publicly accessible on the net so it's invaluable
when it comes to choosing your prosthesis".
Evaluating your medication and your medical devices
"provides information about prescription and over-the-counter
drugs and dietary supplements, including all of the top 200
drugs sold in the United States".
This is a non-profit organization. Although there is a small
subscription fee, part of the site can be accessed without
More information on this site may be obtained from their
is "the site where people like you provide real, independent
ratings, reviews and recommendations for prescription drugs,
medications and pharmaceuticals".
- The aim of the
site is to inform "the public about all defective medical
devices and dangerous medications that are available on the
- The goal of the
Drug Dangers site
is "to keep the public educated and informed of all defective
medical devices and dangerous medications that are currently
available on the market today".
- On the
Web site you can "get the latest information on drugs and
products that have been recalled or have a safety alert".
- AllTrials spearheads
a campaign for "all clinical trials to be registered and for all
the obtained results to be reported". This is to avoid that all
"information on what was done and what was found in trials could
be lost forever, leading to bad treatment decisions, missed
opportunities for good medicine, and trials being repeated
To understand the importance of this, you can download the
mp4 video file and view the presentation of
Dr Ben Goldacre on TED.
- medicalHARM is making
public some grave mishaps that happened in the National
Health Service and in the health system of Great Britain.
This is a Web site where whistleblowers can expose the ugly
truth and spare people from more pain and misery.
Every Patient's Advocate,
Trisha Torrey explains how she dealt with medical diagnosis,
treatment decision, and health care consumerism.
- For Quebec (Canada) residents:
« Vos droits en santé »
est un guide juridique "produit par le cabinet Ménard,
Martin avocats sur les droits des usagers du système de
santé québécois". Ce guide donne "un ensemble d’informations
essentielles à connaître si vous ou vos proches devez
recevoir des soins de santé ou des services sociaux".
(An English translation of the "website is currently
underway but has yet to be completed").
Medicine of the future
Almost everyone agrees that Gene Therapy and the use of stem cells
will be the next medical revolution. But the really big medical
revolution will come after that. Serious work on the new technology
has already begun: it is called Nanomedicine.
The idea is to make nanomachines (a billionth of a meter in size)
capable of repairing cells at the molecular level. In my view, this
new technology should bring the practice of medicine out of its
Dark Ages. And for the long run: how about living over 100 years,
young and healthy? But, for now, the question is: will we still be
around when this revolution comes about? Probably not, unless we
really move ahead and push our stupid politicians and bean counters
out of the way. And now is about the time to do it. Our future starts
with the present.
If you are not immortal (yet)
If you're too far down on the medical waiting list and you really
think that you will not make it, then you might want to consider
- Cryonics is "the practice of carefully preserving very recently
clinically and legally dead people in hopes that they can be
revived in the future." The essay
Cryonics: The Issues -- (An Overview)
Cryonics Frequently Asked Question List
should be of interest to "anyone who finds the prospect of certain
- And don't wait to drop dead. For information on suspension
arrangements, you can visit the
You can also download their free pdf Long Life Magazine
and read their latest news while you are still alive.
- Alternatively, you can choose to make your future arrangements
Alcor Life Extension Foundation.
The following sites are not, strictly speaking, medical Web sites.
However, they are worth watching for scientific and medical
- KurzweilAI.net is a
great site for breaking news on science, biotechnologies,
medicine, computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics.
The Naked Scientists
is a Web site with a catchy name, just ot go viral. There,
Dr. Crish Smith (a virologist) and his collegues form
Cambridge University (UK) brings you the latest news on
science and medicine. You can download the mp3 files
and listen to them on your way to work or read the transcripts
- From the TED Web site, you
can download great mp4 video lectures from leaders in
many fields, including medicine practice and medicine reasearch.
Humour for the fearful and the depressed
If you are sick or burned out, you probably need a little something
to lift your spirit.
site contains a list of links to nursing jokes.
a) In the medical libraries
Medical library, on university campuses, are exceptionally good
sources of information, especially if you want to browse through
the current research papers. I suggest you first read their
abstracts in the Medicus, then seek the articles
you are interested in.
If you need to get acquainted with a given subject, look for the
books used by the medical students. They are easy to spot since
they usually come in many copies on the library book shelves.
They are also those you will most probably find in the university
b) In the local bookstores
You'll also find some interesting material in the local bookstores
(including university bookstores). Look in the Health
section (for humans) and in the Nature section for your
c) A few titles
Among all the books I have bought over the years, here are a few
titles which might be of some interest:
- Henry Gray
(Bounty Books, 1977)
- Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, Kathryn Bowers
-= What animals can teach us about being humans
(Doubleday Canada, 2012)
A better subtitle for this book would be, in my view
-= What physicians can learn from veterinarians on how to treat
You can find more info on the
Zoobiquity Web site.
- Richard Béliveau, Denis Gingras
Foods that fight cancer:
-= Preventing cancer through diet
(Firefly Books, 2016))
- Richard H. Pitcairn, Suzan Hubble Pitcairn
Dr. Pitcairn's complete guide to natural health for
dogs and cats
- Robert Anderson
Caring for older cats and dogs
-= Extending your pets healthy life
(Williamson Publishing, 1990)
- Ray Kurzweil, Terry Grossman
-= Live long enough to live forever
(A Plume Book, 2005)
- Ray Kurzweil, Terry Grossman
-= Nine steps for living well forever
- Randolph M. Nesse, George C. Williams
Why we get sick
-= The new science of darwinian medicine
(Random House, Vintage Books, 1994)
- Atul Gawande
The checklist manifesto
-= How to get things right
(Metropolitan Books, 2010)
- Jill Bolte Taylor
My stroke of insight
-= A brain's scientist personal journey
(Penguin, Plume Books, 2009)
- Anil Ananthaswamy
The man who wasn't there
-= Investigations into the strange new science of the self
(Penguin Random House, Dutton, 2015)
- Cathey Pinckney, Edward R. Pinckney
The patient's guide to medical tests
-= Everything you need to know about the tests your doctor
(Facs on File Publications, 1982)
- Jay A. Goldstein
Could your doctor be wrong?
(Pharos Books, 1991)
- Isadore Rosenfeld
(Simon and Schuster, 1989)
- Isadore Rosenfeld
The best treatment
(Simon and Schuster, 1991)
- American Society of Hospital Pharmacists
Consumer Drug Digest
(Facts on File, Inc., 1982)
- Russel Wild
The complete book of natural and medicinal cures
-= How to chose the most potent healing agents for over 300
(Rodale Press, 1994)
- Jean Carper
The food pharmacy
- Selene Yeager
The doctors book of food remedies
-= The newest discoveries in the power of foods to cure
(Rodale press, 1998)
- Michael Castleman
The healing herbs
-= The ultimate guide to the curative power of nature's
(Rodale Press, 1991)
- James A. Duke
The green pharmacy
-= New discoveries in herbal remedies for common diseases
(Rodale Press, 1997)
- Frank J. Domino, editor
The 5-minute clinical consult
-= 17th edition 2009
(Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008)
Note: Lots of jargon in this one. You will need a med
- Eric Topol
The creative destruction of medicine
-= How the digital revolution will create better health care
(Basic Books, 2012)
- Eric Topol
The patient will see you now
-= The future of medicine is in your hands
(Basic Books, 2015)
- Sam Parnia
-= The science that is rewriting the boundaries between life
(Harper One, 2013)
- Derek Humphry
-= Practicalities of self-deliverance and assisted suicide
for the dying
(Hemlock Society, 1991)
Some final thoughts
Many of the above suggestions also apply if you bring one of your
non-human friends to the vet.
- I know a lot of people who would go to many garages before
having a major repair job performed on their car. They would
also consult many contractors before getting some work done
on their house. Yet, they won't even ask for a second opinion
when their dentist or their GP suggests some major alterations
on their body. I really don't understand this. In my view,
it's always possible to get another car (and even another
house) but getting another body is much more difficult.
If something goes wrong with the medical procedure, you'll
have to live with the consequences the rest of your life.
Think about it.
- If you need a second opinion, don't ask your current MD
for the name of a colleague. Instead, seek someone with
a different background (e.g. someone who is part of another
community, who got his degree from another university, or
who even came from another country). This will increase your
chances of getting a different opinion and more options. In
the mid sixties, a collegue of mine went to see a dentist
who had immigrated from Germany. He got the very best dental
care (a lot better than what was available in Quebec then).
- Before going to the doctor's office, make a list of your
symptoms (or, better, keep a log) and learn as much as
possible about your condition. Make also a list of all the
questions that you want to ask. On the day of the visit,
bring both lists (symptoms and questions) with you and make
printed copies for the doctor. It will then be a lot easier
to discuss important matters and not forget anything if you
have everything written down just in front of you.
- Leave the doctor a printed copy of your symptoms and of
your questions to be included in your medical file. This
serves two purposes. First, it should save the doctor the
time it would take to jot down the information. Second, you
will both have a (legible) record of what has been discussed
during the visit.
- If you think there is something wrong going on, keep a log
book or a journal (with dates and descriptions). This will
be quite useful if, later on, you need to prosecute.
- In case of malpractice, share the information with your
friends and neighboors, just to make sure they won't go
see this doctor and get hurt.
- Some practitioners are there for the money amd want to
process as many patients as they can, in the shortest
amount of time. They might get angry if you ask too many
questions. Don't let them intimidate you. You might not
have gone to med school but, if you spent many days
reading about something, you stand on a firmer ground
than they do with the short two-minute exam they did on
- Sometimes, we have to deal with stubborn staff members of an
institution who are not listening and are, instead, trying to
impose some stupid bureacratic procedure. We can then threaten
them that, if something goes wrong, their names will be engraved
on the tombstone as the cause of death. I had to do this once
in the old age home where my mother was residing and it sure
got their attention. They could not just ignore what I was
About the Med Skull
Originally, this page was called The Red Skull medical
information page instead of Med Skull. However, a
Google search showed me later on that, out there, there were
lots of Web pages about a comic book character named Red Skull.
So, after considering various names like Red Bones,
Red Crossbones, Smiling Skull, and
Dead Serious, I have finally settled for Med Skull.
Now, maybe you're wandering why I want to use a red skull
as an icon for this Web page. This is because I just don't want
to use a red cross or any other religious symbol.
The red skull also represents someone who got badly hurt in a
car accident, waited a long time for the ambulance to arrive,
was brought to an hospital, covered with blood, had to wait more
than 24 hours in the corridor, then got lost in the emergency
room to be rediscovered many days later and to finally be given
the wrong treatment."
And, I'm sure you have noticed, the red skull also represents
the cynical and Death Metal flavor I have given to this page.
(But, hopefully, you found here some useful information and no
tainted blood. :-)
Les coupures dans les soins de santé,
Qu'on leur dise.
Et n'attendez pas d'être mort pour agir!
last update: 2017-06-10