If you don't live near a leading medical center, a
new kind of company can help. Medical research services
hunt for the most successful treatments for a client's
disease. Some distill reams of information into a report
on what works best. Others point clients directly to the
most credible, most relevant clinical studies. "Patients
want therapies that give them the best shot at survival,
and we give them the best evidence-based options," says
Todd Feinman, M.D., head of Doctor
Evidence, a medical research service in Los Angeles
There are at least half a dozen such services,
charging from $50 to $1,000 per report. Some, such as The Moss
Reports (800-980-1234), specialize in cancer.
Others, such as the Health and
Healing Library at California Pacific Medical Center
(415-600-3681), are geared more toward alternative
treatments. A few even locate doctors, clinical trials,
or innovative therapies being done abroad.
Of course, a report is no substitute for a physician.
But it can get you and your doctor up to speed so you
can make the best decisions. "Medical research is
advancing so fast that it's difficult for doctors to
keep up with their fields," says Anne Beattie,
coordinator of The Moss Reports.
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And if you want to do the legwork yourself, more
power to you. Here are a few tips from the experts to
get you started.
Hit the Books
The National Network of
Libraries of Medicine (800-338-7657) can help you
locate the library nearest you.
Surf the Net
The Medical Library
Association's website lists the top 10 most useful
websites for health consumers. And check out AARP's
Try a Trial
If you are interested in
participating in experimental treatments, you can search
for them at ClinicalTrials.gov.