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Reliable health info available online

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Recently the Deseret Morning News published a frightening article titled, "Do Americans get outdated medical data online?" referring to a Pew Internet & American Life Project report.

More than 80 percent of those using the Internet go online frequently to access health information, but, disturbingly, they do not check the reliability of the resources they access. Since anyone can publish on the Web, this is truly alarming as critical decisions are being made based on erroneous health information.

But this does not have to be the case in Utah. As part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Library of Medicine is federally funded to provide free, reliable, timely, evidence-based health information for all. Even if you do not have a computer at home, resources are available online at each of Utah's public libraries through high-speed Internet access and the assistance of your librarian. MedlinePlus (medlineplus.gov/) is NLM's user-friendly consumer health resource worldwide.

Utah residents are fortunate that the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library is always available to provide accurate health infor- mation to everyone statewide regardless of university affiliation. It is part of our outreach mission, and we take it very seriously. The library sponsors the NLM-funded statewide consumer health gateway, Utahealthnet, specifically for Utah-based health resources and services. Classes are available, and help is always provided via a phone call to the library's reference desk, 801-581-5534, or in-state toll free number 866-581-5534.

Become well informed in order to safeguard your family's health.

You have all the reliable resources you need right here in Utah!


Sally M. Patrick is the project director for Utahealthnet.