Using google as a medline tool does not make one feel on top of his /her field. Even google scholar which somewhat narrows the search to academia still gives you the sense that People Magazine or The National Enquirer might just pop up in the search results. But it is easy, real easy. Unlike PubMed that is. Probably because I never took the time to find out how the thing really works, I gave up on PubMed after many hours trying to get the "limitations" tool to help me rather than screw up my search.
Recently, however, while browsing the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, I came across an article about the new services at PubMed. It gives detail by example and if possible it's best to read through it while at your computer. (The article is restricted to subscribers on the net until 6 months after publication, so it won't be available on line until Oct. 07) After a short course with this article I am a re-born PubMedian.
Go to PubMed. Right away you can enter your search terms and get thousands of results, but if you are looking for clinical information, there are better ways. At the left, in the blue margin, select "clinical queries". You will then get a choice between clinical categories or systematic reviews. Once chosen you can quickly choose limits in the same box, such as etiology, diagnosis and therapy. Press go and you already have a much more manageable selection. To further shorten the list, select the limits tag and narrow it down further by choosing human, language, time frame etc.
As an example, I searched rheumatoid arthritis and prednisone. With the normal search I received 1517 results. Clinical queries reduced it to 66 and reviews to 7.
And there's more. PubMed has over 200 free full-text journals available by selecting PubMed Central, again in the blue margin. Unfortunately, rheumatology is not that well represented, but you never know when you might be in the mood to browse through the Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. Arthritis Research and Therapy privides six month old articles and Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases is three years behind. There are two open access journals, BMC and PLoS, but I haven't had time to look into them in any great detail.
The Gateway section, again in the blue margin is a great patient information site but only in English and Spanish. (Will America never forgive France).
And lastly, for the real search collectors, there is myNCBI. Kind of cute don't you think? Makes me feel like I'm back at google. At myNCBI you can create and save up to 100 searches. With a little work you can even arrange regular updates that will be e-mailed to you. The myNCBI does require registration but it is a minor procedure and I believe anyone can sign up with no charge.
So there you are. A comprehensive, user friendly service provided free of charge by the United States of America. Can't complain about that.