|June 17, 2003 [posted]|
|Genetics Home Reference: A New Consumer Guide to Genetic Conditions|
The Genetics Home Reference (GHR) is a new online resource developed at the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications (LHNCBC) at the National Library of Medicine (NLM). As one of NLM's latest resources to offer health information designed for consumers, GHR provides information in understandable language about genetic conditions and the genes related to those conditions. From the Home Page (see Figure 1), users can perform a search, browse for information on conditions and genes, or find out more about the GHR Web site. This resource is available at: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov. MedlinePlus also provides links to GHR on the health topic pages for particular genetic conditions.
GHR currently includes summaries on 74 genetic conditions and more than 58 genes related to those conditions. Additional summaries are being developed, and new content will be released to the site on a regular basis. Each condition and gene summary provides a basic discussion of that particular topic and links to outside resources for more information (see Figure 2), including a number of resources developed by NLM's National Center for Biotechnology Information. In addition, each genetic condition links to summaries for genes that are related to the condition; each gene also links back to conditions associated with that gene. At the bottom of each summary page, a list of glossary terms links to definitions of technical terms found in the summary.
For users who would like more general information about genetics, Help Me Understand Genetics provides a basic explanation of how genes work and how mutations cause genetic conditions (see Figure 3). It also includes current information about genetic counseling, genetic testing, gene therapy, and the Human Genome Project. This resource can be accessed from the home page, from the left side of every condition and gene summary, and from the "Help" link in the main toolbar at the top of every page.
The GHR web site provides aids to help users effectively navigate the site and find relevant information. The browse feature allows users to view a list of genetic conditions and genes organized alphabetically or by category. Users can also perform a search using the search box on the home page or by clicking "Search" in the main toolbar. Additional tips for navigating the Web site, including a tour of the site directed at specific audiences (such as patients, students, and health professionals) are available by clicking on "Help" in the main toolbar.
Other GHR features include a searchable glossary of medical and genetics terms and a list of general genetics resources on the web. Links to the glossary and resources are available on the main toolbar. GHR also provides links to information in MedlinePlus designed to help consumers evaluate medical information that they find online. These resources are listed under "Help" on the main toolbar.
For more information about GHR, please refer to the NLM fact sheet about this resource at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/ghr.html. "Frequently Asked Questions" about the site can be found at http://ghr/ghr/template/FAQ.vm or from the Home Page -- click on "About" and select Frequently Asked Questions. Please e-mail questions or suggestions about GHR to email@example.com.
May Cheh and
Cheh M. Genetics Home Reference: A New Consumer Guide to Genetic Conditions. NLM Tech Bull. 2003 May-Jun;(332):e4.