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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Health and Spirituality Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I'd like to do my own research on fibromyalgia. Do you know of any online resources I might use?

Answer

In addition to the many search engines such as Alta Vista and Lycos, I'd suggest you search the National Library of Medicine's Medline database. On the World Wide Web you can go to either http://www.nlm.nih.gov/databases/freemedl.html or http://www.medscape.com/and start from there, using as the key words fibromyalgia and any of its accompanying symptoms, such as migraine (the singular will yield better results than the plural), or depression. Medline is free on the WWW.

You can also subscribe to Medline directly, and have access to several other medical databases as well. The modem phone number is reached by a toll-free number in the USA, but there is a small charge for downloading abstracts. To get the most benefit from this rich information source, you will want to purchase Grateful Med software for $29.95. It runs under DOS. A Windows version is to be released shortly. To obtain access codes and Grateful Med, phone the National Library of Medicine, 800-638-8480.

There is also an online discussion group dedicated to fibromyalgia. You can receive it by e-mail by writing to LISTSERV@MITVMA.MIT.EDU with the message subscribe FIBROM-L Your Name. You can also read it in newsgroup format at alt-med.fibromyalgia. Messages sent to one are automatically echoed to the other, The volume is very heavy (typically more than 100 messages a day), and some of the discussion is in the nature of chat and emotional support, but it is an excellent way to learn about fibromyalgia from the "owner's" point of view.

03/14/98

Miryam Williamson, a contributing editor to SelfhelpMagazine, is a technical journalist and author of "Fibromyalgia: A Comprehensive Approach What You Can Do About Chronic Pain and Fatigue," published by Walker and Company, New York, 1996, ISBN 0-8027-7484-9. At bookstores in early June, or from the publisher at 800-289-2553.

 

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