Searching medical sites like PubMed can be intimidating at the best of times. When you’re trying to find articles related to two very distinctive concepts — say, spina bifida and autism — it can rapidly get frustrating. There’s a new search engine from the University of Virginia School of Medicine that searches PubMed for medical literature by assigning relevance to results in addition to just looking for keywords. ReleMed, as the engine is called, is available at http://www.relemed.com/ .
PubMed generally gives the most recent articles first, searching for all the keywords you specify. ReleMed finds articles that close relationships between the search terms, so that (hopefully) your results are more relevant.
I did a search for folate autism. I got 13 results, starting with Autosomal folate sensitive fragile sites in an autistic Basque sample, followed by Cerebral folate deficiency with developmental delay, autism, and response to folinic acid. Meanwhile over at PubMed, the first result was Metabolic endophenotype and related genotypes are associated with oxidative stress in children with autism, which seemed possibly less relevant than the second and third results, Folate and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in psychiatric disease and Cerebral folate deficiency…, which was second on the ReleMed search.
ReleMed’s results include a relevancy bar so you can see at a glance how many results were considered at least half relevant. Extracts from the texts have your search keywords highlighted in bright, impossible-to-miss red. You don’t click on the result’s title to get to PubMed; look for the view PubMed record link at the end of the title.
Following the first search I tried a couple of wackier searches — Irish bifida (looking at the incidence of spina bifida in families of Irish descent) didn’t seem to have very different results from PubMed, while arthritis caffeine actually seemed to do a better job assembling relevant results than PubMed. If you need to search for multiple, fairly general keywords, try ReleMed.
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