Mayo Health O@sis
While the site depends exclusively on practitioners from the Mayo Clinic, that's not a bad talent pool to dive into. A solid starting place to seek information on diseases, treatments and drugs.
Despite its principals' backgrounds in conventional medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, the informative and eclectic site makes a diligent, largely successful effort to integrate information from "conventional" and "complementary" or "alternative" types.
Ask Dr. Weil
If your tastes run to the fringe, you'll dig the Doc, a Harvard M.D. who is nonetheless one of the more responsible and energetic voices from the world of alternative medicine. Much of the material is presented in Q & A format, featuring frank opinions about a variety of herbal, homeopathic and other alternative therapies.
The federal government's new and ambitious culling of thousands of useful and responsible health and medical sites by government agencies, nonprofits, support groups and others.
-- Craig Stoltz
DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS
Includes an interactive nutritional profile, tips on shopping for and eating fast food, integrating exercise into your life. Best feature: a daily food planner that lets you analyze your daily intake.
Ask the Dietitian
Joane Larsen, a Minnesota registered dietitian, is your "personal" consultant. Report your height, weight, frame size and other facts; her body calculator reports your ideal weight and current proportion of body fat. She'll also let you know how many calories you need each day to lose half a pound or more per week. Yes, she's also hawking her book, but the online tools come free.
Computer Hacker's Diet
Who could resist a little diet guidance from a middle-aged screen slave? "I was as fat as a hawg [sic]," reports John Walker, a former software executive now retired in Switzerland. Looking at weight loss as an "engineering problem," he writes that he "studied the human body the way [he'd] tackle a misbehaving electronic circuit... it worked." The value of the site lies in its nearly obsessive spreadsheet approach (admittedly, it's not for everyone), plus his common-sense diet tips, embossed in epic prose.
Meta-Site: American Dietetic Assn.
An authoritative beacon in a sea of come-ons, the ADA provides links to dozens of major health organizations, including such treasures as C. Everett Koop's Shape Up America, and healthy recipe sites.
-- Barbara J. Saffir
Unlike quitter sites that provide boilerplate tips and advice, this one offers three interactive questionnaires that analyze your smoking habits and offer personalized recommendations. It also offers the expected library, links and news. Forums let quitters share experiences, with help from Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program counselors.
Casual and empathetic, this site isn't the prettiest, but no one will feel alone here. Lots of chatter with successful quitters; a library of classic articles; news and research summaries. Counselor Larry provides a stepped approach with pep talks leading up to "Quit Day" and the tough times that follow.
Foundation for a Smoke-Free America
Much of the upfront info at this Web site -- run by a nonprofit group founded by Patrick Reynolds, grandson of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds and a former smoker himself -- is in-your-face activism. Go to the "Quitting Tips" link for Reynolds's insightful soliloquy on how he quit -- and how others might follow.
Meta-Site: Tobacco-related resources
The biggest list of tobacco and stop-smoking sites we found.
-- Don Oldenburg
The Whole Nine Months
Bookstore shelves are loaded with guides on what to expect when you're expecting, but interactive sources can help. This one, from Heart's Corp.'s HomeArts site, looks like a glossy magazine but is loaded with useful info. Learn to create a diary of your pregnancy, to distinguish between "baby blues" and "postpartum depression" and try your skill at guessing the true costs of child-rearing.
Ask NOAH about: Pregnancy
A searchable repository of questions and answers on all aspects of pregnancy (in English or Spanish). New York Online Access to Health, a project of several public and medical groups, takes on all sorts of medical topics, but its pregnancy area is particularly rich.
Parents Place Pregnancy and Birth Center
This focuses on moms who've been here and done this. Chat rooms feature moms and midwives instead of medical experts. Start with pre-pregnancy issues and work through postpartum care and preparing siblings for the new arrival. Plus: freezer-friendly recipes to make during nesting and defrost in the first few weeks when there's no time to cook. The parent site is good too.
-- Hope Katz Gibbs
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