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Dr Harrys Health Column
Doctor Harry

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GP, website consultant and regular columnist in NHS Magazine on the Internet, Dr Harry Brown offers his latest selection of hot health sites on the World Wide Web

Bookmark or get his page as a favourite to keep up with Dr Harry's latest recommended sites on-line...

Child protection is an important area not only for health professionals but the community at large. So great credit goes to the Lewisham (a suburb of London) area child protection committee's web site, located at http://www.idiscover.co.uk/acpc/index.htm for publicising this important issue. There is plenty of useful and informative material including a child and young person's page http://www.idiscover.co.uk/acpc/kids.htm as well as parents and carers guide-http://www.idiscover.co.uk/acpc/parents.htm. The design of the site is clear, colourful and it's easy to find your way around. This site represents an excellent contribution to demystifying some of the procedures involved in child safety and protection.

The highly respected Mayo Clinic has a substantial health orientated web site at http://www.mayohealth.org/. It contains an impressive wealth of material which is easily accessed. Read the mission to find out the aims of the site. Have a go at the health quiz section, health quizzes can be fun and yet educational. The quality of the site does justice to the prestigious name of the Mayo clinic.

Another hospital which has an associated web site, is the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland. This is host to Maggie's Centre and is a unit for patients with cancer. It was named after a patient who wanted to find out more about her condition and having a web site promotes this aim. The design and layout of the site provides a warm and friendly introduction. From the introduction page, a request for cancer information leads to http://www.maggies.ed.ac.uk/homepage.html. Thoughtfully, the reader is given a choice of choosing their level of Internet experience, from beginner through intermediate to expert. This is not a common occurrence in web site design and hopefully web designers will take note of this useful feature.

The world of medicine is full of unusual and rare disorders which most people have not heard of. Information about these conditions is hard to come by, but since the rise in popularity of the Internet, this kind of information is much easier to find. A relatively uncommon disorder is called Marfan syndrome which affects the connective tissues in our body. Abraham Lincoln was thought to be a sufferer. An excellent home made site, produced by a sufferer and brimming with links and the site has a good description of the disorder can be found here. The design is simple yet extremely effective and professional web site designers should take note. The author gives an excellent account of how the condition has affected her family. Even if you don't know anyone with this condition, it's well worth browsing through this site.

Complementary health is much more commonly used these days as interest amongst the general public and the medical profession rises. One useful site about acupuncture is the British sourced, http://www.demon.co.uk/acupuncture/index.html. This straightforwards index page acts as a gateway for the answers to questions which many prospective users would like to ask. It contains helpful material and though it may lack the whizzy graphics of other websites, it is particularly useful if you are based within the UK.

Another useful therapy is osteopathy and for more information point your browser in the direction of http://www.osteopathy.org.uk/. If you are reading this article it's likely you are viewing this from a computer screen. So you may find one part of the site particularly informative.. This particular section gives useful advice for users to improve their posture when using their computer. Every computer user should take heed of the points raised.

Osteopaths can treat people with rheumatic type conditions but yet many people don't truly understand the significance of this group of conditions. However a useful British site from the University of Birmingham, at http://rheuma.bham.ac.uk/primer.html has produced helpful material about rheumatic diseases. It's simply laid out but is easy to read and the compactness of the site means that an interested reader can cover a lot of topics very quickly. The information covered here is ideal for a sufferer from a rheumatic or muscular type of condition, their families or people just interested in the topic.

An excellent anti-smoking site can be found at http://www.ash.org.uk/ and is from the ash group-Action on Smoking and Health. There is a useful rotating fact box which nicely brings home the anti-smoking message in a serious of hard hitting facts and figures. There is also an archive of press releases and the campaigns section carries some useful information; the fact sheets are highly recommended. In addition there is a good sprinkling of links to other tobacco control sites. The site has a simple but effective two-frame design with the left-hand frame acting as an index whilst the information is displayed on the right hand frame. This makes navigating and finding the information easy and efficient. I would recommend this site not only for it's useful data on tobacco control for the UK but as a superb resource for a health educator or teacher.

Diabetes is a relatively common illness which involves not only the patient but their family. Though information direct from the team looking after your diabetes is important, it can be useful to try and supplement this. One informative web site is Dr Chuck's contribution at http://www.dr-diabetes.com/. Not only is Dr Chuck a diabetic specialist but he also has diabetes and so has a good perspective on the condition. This is reflected on the web site, there is not too much information to overload the reader and it's well written. It's also relatively easy to find your way about the site and Dr Chuck will answer questions by e-mail. For us Brits it's also worth a look at the web site of the British Diabetic Association at http://www.diabetes.org.uk/

If you want to visit a part of the world then you might consider popping in to see your local travel agent. We all like the sound of a bargain so one way to find a good deal is to check out the web site, http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/. Its self-explanatory name certainly lives up to its expectations. It's an information packed web site, giving details of potential flight bargains. There are also good links and some destinations have specific links to topics of associated interest. It might not suit the needs of all holidaymakers but even so gives a glimpse of how we will be organising our travelling arrangements in the years to come.

If you have any suggestions for sites to review in future editions of this column then we will be delighted to hear from you. E-mail drharry@nhs50.nhs.uk

No endorsement of the sites reviewed is intended by the NHS or Dr Harry and neither the NHS or Dr Harry carry any responsibility for their content.

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