Recommended

MedlinePlus – Brain and Nerves

MedlinePlus - Brain and Nerves leads users to a collection of information about many of the more common conditions and diseases affecting the brain and nervous system, including cancer, infections, and birth defects. The section includes a medical encyclopedia and links to a variety outside resources providing more detailed information about many neurological disorders. This MedlinePlus section is recommended for information provided by some of the most authoritative and reputable sources in the medical field, but additional resources would be needed to acquire information about less common disorders.

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Review Date: 4/15/2019

Scoring

Ease of Use

The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z topic list or body system. There are more topics available when browsing by anatomy than by topic. Each listed topic leads to a page with a brief summary of the disease and numerous links to additional information. There are also right-hand lists that allow access to the medical encyclopedia and other topics related to the condition. Because the unique nature of MedlinePlus, with its many links to outside resources, users must constantly jump from this site to others and then back again; the resulting navigation can be tedious.

Visual Design

The home page is very mundane, having only a list of topics & systems along with a simple illustration of the nervous system

Quality

Users will predominately find material about the more common neurological conditions, although a few less common ones are covered. Inconsistent referencing make the reliability of each MedlinePlus page for a disease or condition variable. Topics found in the medical encyclopedia are well referenced, while this is inconsistent for disease summaries and information from linked sites. However, most links go to respected federal or specialty organization sites.

Credibility

MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for the content, which include the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and American Academy of Neurology. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability by listing reviewers and date of last review. Although MedlinePlus does a great job updating it's pages regularly, the currency of linked sites varies, and individual authors/editors of each topic page are not identified & only occasionally on the linked sites.

Pros

  1. Extensive Medical Encyclopedia with information about and related to disorders affecting the brain & nerves
  2. Large subsections on "Cerebellar Disorders," "Neurodegenerative Diseases," and "Autonomic Nerve Disorders" have good breadth and depth, with links to topics on categories of disease, such as cerebellar disorders and neurodegenerative diseases
  3. Multiple links to reliable and up-to-date, and adequately detailed information about nervous system diseases

Cons

  1. A few topics seem out of place, for example craniofacial abnormalities and pituitary disorders
  2. The site has a limited breadth of topics
  3. User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external website linked to

Profile

Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine, The National Institutes of Health

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, relevant journal articles, specialist finder, links to research, health check tools, clinical trials

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov