medical info 2.0
April 28, 2007 9:13 PM   Subscribe

MEDgle, a personalized medical search engine.
posted by nickyskye (19 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Hmm, OK, let's take a fairly common skin condition...

Did not find an exact match to your symptoms. Used: "enlarged clitoris" instead of "keratosis pilaris"


Can you explain exactly what the point of this thing is supposed to be? there already is a good, curated search engine for finding medical literature on very specific topics. It's called the Pubmed MeSH Database.
posted by rxrfrx at 9:18 PM on April 28, 2007

rfxrfx: Well, it does ask you to type (only) symptoms. It did give me a pretty good set of results for a couple IBS symptoms (IBS, lactose intolerance, celiac disease, IBD, dumping syndrome, colon cancer). It did a lot more poorly with ganglion cyst symptoms but it didn't let me narrow down that the bump goes inside the finger.

I give them about a month before Google gets wind of the name, though. (I guess they should have searched Legle first.)
posted by mendel at 9:43 PM on April 28, 2007

From a blog: "Essentially it is a personalized medical search engine where anyone can type in a symptom or series of symptoms, add your age and answers to a few basic questions, such as whether you smoke or not, and voila, it pulls up the likely scenarios in order of likelihood."

From the MEDgle site: "MEDgle's goal is to make medical information easily and intuitively accessible for the benefit and betterment of everybody". "MEDgle is a MEDical GLobal Electronic search."
posted by nickyskye at 9:47 PM on April 28, 2007

Websites like these have there pros and cons. While it is good for the average person to be informed on possible health risks it can cause too many people to become hypochondriacs. The fact of the matter is the average person does not have the information to make truly informed decisians on his or her health and it's not something you can get a crash course in from a website. It's a good place to start but sites like these are definetly not a good substitute for a visit to the doctor's office.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:48 PM on April 28, 2007

The hypochondriac in me is going to adore this.
posted by gummi at 9:52 PM on April 28, 2007

When my mother had cancer, my father and I were up until all hours of the night reseaching her disease, the symptoms, the various chemotherapy drugs suitable and whatnot. We never used it as our medical bible or anything like that but I felt it helped us understand a bit better what was happening and armed us with many questions to ask the doctor when we were discussing her condition. Of course, the oncologist was annoyed at us for doing this and warned us against listening to anything we read on the net, but again, I believe it pushed him to explaining to all of us what was really happening instead of keeping us partially in the dark. Which is why I can see this site as being helpful but I don't think it should be used as somewhere to self-diagnose. That is the limitation of places like these, they can't replace a real doctor, nor should they.
posted by liquorice at 9:59 PM on April 28, 2007

As someone who has had health problems that I had to research on PubMed myself after I realized the doctor didn't have time to look carefully at my chart (and sure, that's after being a managing editor of medical journals for 4 years, but even the layperson can figure out when something is not working) and have had to explain why I should stop taking a medication, I think this is wonderful. Thanks for posting it, nickyskye.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:22 PM on April 28, 2007

Can you explain exactly what the point of this thing is supposed to be? there already is a good, curated search engine for finding medical literature on very specific topics. It's called the Pubmed MeSH Database."

MeSH is not for the faints of heart
posted by zouhair at 12:57 AM on April 29, 2007

I'm having visions of future askmefi posts along the lines of:

"I entered my symptoms into MEDgle and it tells me I have {insert condition here}! What do I do now?"
posted by goshling at 12:58 AM on April 29, 2007

Actualy MDs use those kind of software to help hard diagnosis.

like Diagnosis Pro
posted by zouhair at 1:08 AM on April 29, 2007

MeSH is not for the faints of heart

Agreed. The NCBI has a lot of databases that are invaluable for medicine and science. But jesus, it's web-interface is clunky. A lot of researchers use more user-friendly, third-party software to search pubmed and other online resources.

For the purpose of identifying types of diseases for a given symptom, this looks like a pretty good resource that is easy to use.
posted by kisch mokusch at 1:25 AM on April 29, 2007

sleepy + hungry = dysthymic disorder
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:17 AM on April 29, 2007

It tells me that the on-going pain in my wrist, which restricts movement and keeps me awake at night is "not common in your age group. Not common in the general population."

So I guess I don't need to worry, and can cancel the doctor appointment. What a relief!
posted by nax at 7:09 AM on April 29, 2007

Am I the only one who thought "MEDgle" was a play on the name "Mengele" before I thought "Google"?
posted by Plutor at 8:41 AM on April 29, 2007

This would be of no use to Dr. Gregory House.
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on April 29, 2007

This is a great idea, but when I put in the symptoms of three known medical issues I've had, it offered a slew of incorrect diagnoses - all much more rare and serious than the things I actually have.

My diagnosis: better in theory than in execution.
posted by hot soup girl at 10:35 AM on April 29, 2007

I am going to add to the chorus of disappointment. I am a doctor and just for fun, I entered the symptoms of 5 patients I saw friday who had common, easily diagnosed medical problems and it missed every single one, not even providing the correct disease as a possibile diagnosis.

I have no doubt that one day something like this will replace me, fortunately that day is not today.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:49 AM on April 29, 2007

heh, possibile => possible
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:50 AM on April 29, 2007

I couldn't help but notice that they have no privacy policy. The closest thing I could find to one is this meaningless passage in their "disclaimer":

"We respect the right to privacy of all visitors to the web site. We do not collect information that would personally identify you. However, we encourage suggestions for additional content or notification of possible errors."
posted by Caviar at 1:39 PM on May 4, 2007

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