Sunday, September 26, 2010

Medical Spoken Here

Alerted by a Twitter feed I occasionally look at, I checked out this nifty tutorial on medical words, produced by my favorite consumer health information site, MedlinePlus.

It approaches medical language like, well, a language, giving root words for various parts of the body, and breaking large words into beginning, middle and end to show how one long word (say, echocardiogram) is based on three smaller parts, so that if you know that echo involves sound waves, cardio means heart, and gram means a picture, you can figure out what the word means.

I'm pretty good with basic medical language just from reading stuff, but I did learn that 'myo' refers to muscle, leading me to think "Aha! Myocardial = heart muscle!"

The things you never bother to look up despite having the internet right to hand 10 hours a day. Or, I guess, the things you never bother to wonder about, that's the interesting part. I can read 'myocardial' 100 times, and not even think about the fact that I don't completely know what it means.

It has something to do with the heart. If someone comes to the reference desk interested in it, I can look for it. Need there be more?

Anyway, for someone who doesn't read a lot of medical terms while finding papers for medical students and so forth, I think this tutorial could be pretty helpful.

Nice one, MedlinePlus.



brian said...

A'Llyn thanks. I've been to that site, but it just didn't stick that it was so rich with information. I passed it along to my medical faculty. My question is, would you like a cigar or a gold star? :-)

A'Llyn said...

Hmm...smoking is bad for you, so I'm going to take the gold star.

Consuming small amounts of gold is harmless, after all. :)