This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Online Resources for Medical Research

How to Read and Understand Scientific Research is an article by Chris Kresser that introduces readers to the different kinds of medical research and studies that are done, as well as how to find them and help in understanding them.  Two good resources are Google Scholar and Pubmed.  These resources often don't provide access to the full text of the article (they often just have the abstract, which is essentially a summary of the research and findings, but tends to leave out details that can be important).  Full text articles can sometimes be obtained through your local library or from medical libraries, or if you are affiliated with a school or organization that has an account you may be able to use that.

There is a lot of good information in this article, but this particular question seems to be one of the most common things that misleads people:
"Absolute risk or relative risk? Sometimes, scientists like to use relative risk to make their results sound more impressive. If a treatment reduces the risk of a disease from 2% to 1%, the absolute risk reduction is 1%. Treatment or no treatment, your absolute risk of getting the disease is pretty small. However, you could also truthfully say that the treatment reduces the risk by 50%. This sounds more impressive, but it gives a skewed impression of how valuable the treatment actually is."

Here is more about reading medical research:

Introduction to Evidence Based Medicine (video by Dr. Rahul Patwari)An Introduction to Evidence Based Medicine is another very good discussion of the roles of research and evidence in medical practice.  The speaker discusses the strong and weak points of this approach.
How to Appraise a Clinical Trial   Part 1     Part 2     Part 3
For those wanting those of you wanting to go into this topic in much more depth, the book "Users' Guides to the Medical Literature: A Manual for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice, 3rd ed" is often used in medical schools to teach this concept.

Here are some additional resources that I have found helpful:

Anatomy Zone (covers much more than anatomy)
One Minute Med School
RadiopaediaAlila Medical Media
MedCram Medical Topics Explained Clearly
BioDigital interactive anatomy tool
ZygoteBody (similar to BioDigital)
University of Michigan anatomy curricula

The Brain and Nervous System:
The DANA Foundation (research and information about the brain)
Chiari & Syringomyelia Foundation

Speech and Breathing:
Bastian Medical Media Laryngopedia (info about swallowing, voice problems, upper airway problems, cough, and certain pain disorders)

Gastroenterology and Food/Eating:
Gastroenterology 101
The Oley Foundation
Bastian Medical Media Laryngopedia (info about swallowing, voice problems, upper airway      problems, cough, and certain pain disorders)

Connective Tissue:
EDS Awareness (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome)