Finding Disease Information

Finding disease information that is more detailed than the general consumer information available on most health websites can be a challenge. We offer the following links to assist our families in this task.

Google Scholar Search

Google's Scholar Search "provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature. From one place, you can search across many disciplines and sources: peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. Google Scholar helps you identify the most relevant research across the world of scholarly research."

Google provides help for understanding Scholar search results. You can also specify your search result preferences (including language settings. Use the Advanced search to focus your search in a variety of ways.

National Library of Medicine (NLM)

The Hepatitis B Foundation provides an overview presentation of NLM resources that are most relevant to families searching for disease information. (Click here for a printer-friendly version.)


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) maintains MEDLINE, a database of indexed citations and abstracts to medical, nursing, dental, health care, and other sciences journal articles. PubMed is a service of NLM that provides free access to MEDLINE (other access services may charge fees).

Knowing how to effectively use PubMed can help you get more relevant search results and prevent the results from being too numerous. NLM provides this tutorial for using PubMed. Use the column on the left to navigate the tutorial (includes "previous" and "next" buttons). Pay attention to the "MeSH Vocabulary" section—using MeSH terms will help you refine your searches.

Be aware that search results obtained through PubMed provide abstracts and citations. Sometimes pthe full text (or links to it) is provided, but often, journals require that you purchase the full text of articles. One way to reduce or eliminate this cost is to locate the journal in a library near you in order to read the article.


MedlinePlus is a service of NLM that provides consumer-level health information. Any search will reveal a variety of links to reliable sites with information on your chosen topic. In addition, MedlinePlus offers multimedia presentations on a number of disease topics.


Use LocatorPlus to search for resources in the physical National Library of Medicine. This service is mainly useful only to people who intend to go to the actual NLM and check out a resource.

In the final analysis, the question of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.

Harold S. Kushner