Many healthcare websites provide valuable information that can help prepare you for the next doctor's visit. But some serve up misinformation that just might land you in the hospital. Here's how to tell the difference.
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Most physicians are much too busy to keep up with all the latest medical research and innovations, and even their online reference tools can sometimes be outdated or too narrowly focused to cover every patient's unique situation. Unfortunately, some clinicians can also be quick to dismiss potentially helpful therapies that are unfamiliar. If your doctor has exhausted all treatment options and you're still suffering, perhaps it's time to think about looking for a clinical trial.
The federal government keeps an online database called clinicaltrials.gov, which lists federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the United States and around the world. It provides information about each trial, including its purpose, who may participate, locations, and phone numbers for more details. The site, however, also cautions: "This information should be used in conjunction with advice from health care professionals."
A search for trials for patients suffering from fibromyalgia--a mysterious disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and localized tenderness--revealed several studies testing the value of acupuncture, and another study examining whether vaccinations play a role.