Recommended

MedlinePlus – Genetics/Birth Defects

MedlinePlus - Genetics/Birth Defects is a good starting place for those interested seeking information about the more common birth defects and genetic disorders. The section includes a medical encyclopedia and links to a variety outside resources that discuss many of these rare disorders. This MedlinePlus section is recommended for information provided by some of the most authoritative and reputable sources in the medical field.

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Review Date: 4/15/2019

Scoring

Ease of Use

The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z topic list. 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 visually uninteresting with only a simple list of topics, without any images or other infographics to spruce it up.

Quality

Users will find adequate depth and breadth of information to provide a basic understanding of the disorders listed. Inconsistent referencing make the veracity 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 Child Health and Human Development, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and Nemours Foundation. 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 birth defects and genetic diseases
  2. Many links to a variety of reliable and up-to-date information about the more common conditions and some of the rare ones
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and supplemented with materials generated by authoritative organizations

Cons

  1. Most sources do not present enough information to truly understand the condition
  2. User-friendliness of materials vary depending on the external website referenced here
  3. Users will have to spend significant time navigating and reading in order to get helpful information

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

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