More PubMed Help

We've just completed our (approximately) annual update of the PubMed Tutorial – a bigger task than usual given the recent changes to the PubMed interface. If you're a little confused by  the new interface, or if you're a casual searcher who wants to learn more about effective PubMed searching (hint: there is a lot more you can do with it than just type a few words into the search box!), take a look. If you work through the tutorial in detail, doing all of the exercises and everything, it will take about one well-spent hour. Or, use the menu to pick and choose exactly what you want to brush up on. Spending a few minutes now can save you a lot of time and frustration later!

You can also check out our How Do I…? page of search guides and handouts for updated information about PubMed, including the new Advanced Search screen as well as how to import references to RefWorks and EndNote. And as always, if you have a question, Ask a Librarian!


UpToDate has recently released version 17.3, which now includes topic reviews in Adult and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. To quickly review important medical findings since the last release, select "What's New", found on the top left of the search screen. From there you can choose "Practice Changing UpDates" or updates by speciality.

Vietnam War Medical Evacuation Exhibit


OK, so it is a little late for Veterans Day, but I just found this website that tells the fascinating story of the Dustoff crews in the Vietnam War  These were the guys that flew medical evacuation helicopters and picked up the wounded in often harrowing and deadly situations. Here is a snippet that tells how the groups got the Dustoff name:

"In 1963 the 57th received their official call sign when their commander Major Lloyd E Spencer chose "Dustoff" from the Navy Support Activity’s call sign book. Eventually Dustoff became the permanent call sign for all helicopter ambulances despite the security protocols that require a unit to change their call signs periodically. The commanders argued that a permanent call sign would make asking for a medevac in an emergency easier by reducing any confusion over changing call signs."

The website belongs to the Vietnam Center and Archives, a project based at Texas Tech University.  The online exhibit recounts the history of the units in Vietnam.  Interspersed with this text are links to oral history interviews (text and audio), photographs, and digital copies of documents from the times, such as unit newsletters.  (One such newsletter has the logo "When You Care Enough to Call the Very Best.") The rest of the website includes information on the Archive's active program to reach out to additional Vietnam veterans, as well as the resources they have created and gathered about the Vietnam War.

A nice exhibit.  Check it out.

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes Today is World Diabetes Day, led by the International Diabetes Federation to raise awareness of diabetes issues – not a bad idea considering their estimate that over 344 million people worldwide are at risk for type II diabetes. And for the next few years these people at risk are going to be a focus with the theme Diabetes Education and Prevention, specifically know the diabetes risks and warning signs. There's lots of information on their website at, and you can find more about diabetes prevention and control from sources like MedlinePlus (a good place for patient information) and AccessMedicine (with content from medical textbooks).

Also take a look at the Empire State Building tonight, lit up in blue and white in honor of the day!

New: Human Gene Mutation Database

Hgmd Wouldn't it be nice if someone, somewhere out there decided to compile a nice big, searchable list of all the thousands of human disease-causing mutations that so many labs have been finding for so many years? So that instead of getting a googled list of websites, or a PubMed list of articles, you could just see a nice neat list of all the known mutations linked to Hodgkin Lymphoma or all the mutations in PTEN or NOD2 that cause inherited disease?

Here it is! Human Genome Mutation Database (HGMD) curators comb the literature for reports of inherited, disease-causing mutations and disease-associated polymorphisms in human nuclear DNA. Each gene record contains a list of published mutations organized by type (missense, splicing, regulatory, etc.), a list of diseases it is associated with, Gene Ontology terms and links to OMIM and other information sources. There's also a link to the PubMed record for the publication originally reporting each mutation. You can search the database several different ways: by gene, by disease or phenotype, by chromosomal location and more.

A few things to remember about HGMD: it contains published mutations in nuclear genes that cause inherited disease. No mitochondrial mutations (though there are links to Mitomap), no somatic mutations. And you may want to read about their criteria for inclusion if you are curious about what exactly "cause" means in "disease-causing", or just how "associated" a "disease-associated polymorphism" needs to be.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this new resource!