Recommended

MedlinePlus – Immune System

MedlinePlus - Immune System provides access to a confusing array of information about allergic & immune diseases, including blood cancers, auto-inflammatory diseases, asthma & hay fever, autoimmune disorders, and immune deficiency diseases. The section contains a medical encyclopedia and links to a variety of sources of information about these disorders, although some of the information lacks breadth. This MedlinePlus section is recommended for information provided by some of the most authoritative and reputable sources in the medical field.

Visit their website

Review Date: 4/15/2019

Scoring

Ease of Use

The section has intuitive navigation by A-Z topic list or body system. 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 plain, having only a list of topics & systems along with a simple illustration of the lymphatic system

Quality

Users will find a comprehensive list of topics, although some are lacking depth. 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 American Cancer Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. 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 allergic and immune diseases
  2. Links to a comprehensive collection of reliable and up-to-date information for anyone seeking information about these conditions
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and relying on materials generated by authoritative organizations

Cons

  1. Users will have to spend significant time navigating back & forth and reading in order to get helpful information
  2. Combining allergic, autoimmune, auto-inflammatory, and immunodeficiency disorders is confusing, since there are more differences than common characteristics among them
  3. Some of the conditions are only briefly covered and a few topics seem out of place, for example animal bites

Profile

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

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, relevant journal articles, doctor finder, links to research, medical encyclopedia with helpful descriptions of related conditions

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov