Diving Deeper Into the Research Pool

I'll admit, I'm an amateur when it comes to researching age-related macular degeneration. But I think it is important for us, the patients, to get a little savvier on how to go about researching our disease. Follow along, as I take you on a short journey through the jungles of research that are free for the taking. Don't be afraid, I won't be too hard to follow, as it is all still very new to me too. You won't be following a racehorse; I'm more of a plow horse, so you'll be able to keep pace, not to worry.

What if I don't like technical mumbo-jumbo?

Don't worry! I don't like ”med speak,” or technical mumbo-jumbo either. But enlightenment is free and it's really only a few clicks away! In this article, my hope is to give you a brief and rudimentary insight into how to better use some very powerful tools. Again, this won't be hard to follow, it'll be kind of like a plumber trying to explain brain surgery. And I'm not even a good plumber!

What are some of these tools, you ask?

OK, here is an example:

We are all familiar with Google, it's a terrific search engine and is widely used around the world. Go ahead...type in Google, then on the search bar where you type in words you want to search, type Google Scholar. Voila! You've just entered a whole new world! This a portal to a vast array of information, it's so vast you can get lost in it, but that's what the back arrow is for. If you get too lost, just back out until you find your original path and proceed again from there.

More on Google Scholar

As soon as you enter this amazing place you will see a current example right below the search bar, the topic is COVID-19.

Below it you will find:

  • CDC (Center for Disease Control)
  • NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine)
  • JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)
  • LANCET
  • OXFORD
  • And many other search engine reservoirs of knowledge

You can click on these and enter, for example, age-related macular degeneration, and find deep pools of info relating to your search.

Yeah, but it's too ”sciencey” and written in gibberish!

Maybe much of the content is written by scientists for scientists, but with trial and error and back arrow navigation, you can find a plethora of information. And by filtering it further with terms like ”since 2019” and ”articles,” you can meander around and find some amazing stuff!

Why would I do this, you ask?
Well, there is what is considered reputable sources and sources that are not so reputable. And after all, we are seeking truth here. We’re in it for all the marbles, we don't want no stinking bad info, do we?

Reputable sources may include:

  • Academic publications (eg, New England Journal of Medicine)
  • Medscape
  • NIH, CDC, FDA
  • Other government websites- .gov sites
  • Condition-specific foundation websites (eg, Macular-Degneration.org sites)

Not so reputable sources may include:

  • Blogs
  • EverydayHealth
  • Healio
  • Health line (Medical News Today)
  • Verywell
  • WebMD
  • Wikipedia

Trekking through the research jungle

So you get my drift, don't you? It's a jungle out there and we can easily get lost in the myriad of misinformation. My hope is for us to become our own best advocates! I think slowly and methodically we can get more savvy on how and where we seek the latest and best information on our disease. So don your pith helmet and apply some bug spray and let's get started on our trek through the jungle of information available to us!

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