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Professional News
Web Seem Overwhelming? Here’s Some Navigation Aid
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 6 page 7-44
Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpIn an effort to help Web surfers navigate the astounding number of Internet sites devoted to Alzheimer’s disease and panic disorder, psychiatrists and mental health experts interviewed for this article shared their recommendations on sites that offer useful insights into the latest scientific and clinical thinking and into the information their patients are reading on the Internet.
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Gary Small, M.D., recommended three sites on Alzheimer’s disease. Small is the director of the UCLA Memory and Aging Research Center and the Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine.

The site for UCLA’s Memory and Aging Research Center at www.memory.ucla.edu features news articles on the center’s research projects, links selected by the center’s staff, and an easy-to-understand FAQ (frequently asked questions) section for patients.

The Alzheimer Research Forum, a nonprofit organization, has created the gargantuan but well-organized site at www.alzforum.org. The site is divided into three sections: "Researcher’s Homepage," "Physician’s Homepage," and "General Information for the Public."

The general information section includes the following subsections: "Alzheimer Associations," with links to associations’ sites; "Patient Care," with links to sites covering topics such as feeding tubes, driving, and weight loss; and "News and Information," with summaries of the latest articles geared toward the public, a diagnosis and treatment guide, and information on nonpharmacologic management of behavioral disturbances.

On the researchers’ and physicians’ homepages, users can perform searches and, on the left side of the screen, they can sign up to receive the forum’s e-mail newsletter and read what’s new on the site. The "Physician’s Homepage" features a section called "Online Tools for Physicians," with links that include information on weight loss, clinical trials, and full-text journal articles.

Next, Small recommended a site that he said psychiatrists may find amazing: Harvard Medical School’s The Whole Brain Atlas at www.med.harvard.edu/AANLIB/home.html.

This site contains dozens of MRI and PET images, including those of brain structures, the normal aging process, and vascular anatomy. There are four categories of diseased structures, and under each category heading, such as "Degenerative Disease," is a series of links. Each link contains images of a particular patient and pertinent clinical information. Viewers can click on the sagittal image in the lower left corner to select a different slice of the brain to view. Also, these images can be viewed as an MPEG movie by clicking on "CINE." To see how a particular slice changed over time, Web visitors can click on the yellow arrows on the lower right side.

Under the "Degenerative Disease" category, users can take two "tours" of the brain of an Alzheimer’s disease patient. The tours offer information and images on the brain’s shrinkage and hypoperfusion.

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Bruce Lydiard, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina, recommended three sites on panic disorder.

The NIMH page at www.nimh.nih.gov/anxiety/upd.cfm provides an informative and easy-to-understand 15-page report on panic disorder geared toward patients and family members that has been reviewed by leading panic disorder experts.

Lydiard also recommended a Web page on panic disorder at www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-an01.html, which is part of the site Internet Mental Health. Psychiatrist Phillip Long, M.D., runs this site, which can be translated into several languages.

This page offers summaries of research articles, links to booklets from various organizations and agencies including APA, and links to other sites, ranked by popularity.

The "Treatment" section contains a link to the "APA Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Panic Disorder" and a link to the section on treatment of anxiety disorders in the Surgeon General’s landmark report on mental health.

Finally, this page (and the entire site) has an innovative and easy-to-use mechanism to search for journal articles. Click on "Research" and then in the left-hand frame select a "Panic Disorder Research Topic," such as "Genetics" or "Physiology." Articles are displayed on the right side.

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) site at www.adaa.org/aboutanxietydisorders/panicdisorder offers a clear and concise description of panic disorder. The bottom of that page has links to a "Panic Disorder Self-Test" and a section on the treatment of anxiety disorders, which is called "Finding Help." The latter offers information on medications, locating a therapist, and self-help groups.

The "Consumer Resources" section on anxiety disorders features links to information on ADAA conferences, FAQs, and transcripts of the association’s online chats with experts. To interact with other visitors, click on "Message Boards" or "Chats."

In the "For Professionals" section, psychiatrists can participate in a message board (for professionals and the public) and read highlights of the ADAA’s 2000 National Conference. ▪

Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpIn an effort to help Web surfers navigate the astounding number of Internet sites devoted to Alzheimer’s disease and panic disorder, psychiatrists and mental health experts interviewed for this article shared their recommendations on sites that offer useful insights into the latest scientific and clinical thinking and into the information their patients are reading on the Internet.

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