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Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program (WWAMI)

Using MedlinePlus

The Health Topics area of the MedlinePlus website gives a summary and then more in-depth information on hundreds of health topics.  For this class, look up your research topic in MedlinePlus - Health Topics.  The four topics being researched are:

  • type 1 diabetes
  • malaria
  • cushing's disease (this is different from cushing's syndrome)
  • tuberculosis

Homework:  Create a Word/Pages document with your name, your topic, including the part you will be researching (general physiology/pathology OR prevention, treatment and diagnosis), and the Medical Dictionary definition for at least one cause and one symptom of the disease you will be researching.

Turn in a printed page of this assignment on July 14th at the beginning of the first library class OR submit in your student folder on Google Drive by 5pm on July 13th.

Medical Searching Terms

Part A

  • Etiology: the cause or causes of a disease or abnormal condition
  • Pathophysiology: the physiology of abnormal states; specifically : the functional changes that accompany a particular syndrome or disease
  • Physiology: the organic processes and phenomena of an organism or any of its parts or of a particular bodily process

Part B

  • Diagnosis: the art or act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms
  • Prevention: often used with control, such as, prevention and control of the zika virus
  • Signs (often used as signs and symptoms): an objective evidence of disease especially as observed and interpreted by the physician rather than by the patient or lay observer
  • Symptoms (or signs): subjective evidence of disease or physical disturbance observed by the patient <headache is a symptom of many diseases>
  • Therapy: common therapies include using drugs/medications, diet, or rehabilitation
  • Treatment: the action or manner of treating a patient medically or surgically


  • Disease: an impairment of the normal state of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that interrupts or modifies the performance of the vital functions, is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms, and is a response to environmental factors (as malnutrition, industrial hazards, or climate), to specific infective agents (as worms, bacteria, or viruses), to inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies), or to combinations of these factors,
  • Syndrome: a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality

Medical Encyclopedia

One of the first steps in any research endeavor is to locate and read some background information on -- or an overview of -- your topic. Encyclopedias are an excellent place to start. 

Magill's Medical Guide is a multi-volume encyclopedia in the Health Reference collection (2nd floor near research computers).  Consider reading the section on your topic.