In 2006, and now on the eve of 2007, blogs--or, web logs-- have continued to penetrate the fabric of modern society.
Blogs have supplemented the current media and are no longer just the online journals and political punditry many still perceive them to be. They can be about anything or nothing at all, but the blogs that create the biggest media impact or generate the greatest readership typically focus on a particular subject or field of study.
A growing number of bloggers are focusing on the topic of health. Doctors and nurses and ambulance drivers are blogging about their on-the-job experiences. Patients are blogging about their struggle with a particular disease or condition, sharing their stories with friends, family and others with similar issues.
And some are blogging about recent advances in health care, trying to make sense of the increasing amount of medical news and information available online.
With so many blogs out there, finding good health weblogs may seem a daunting task, so we're searching the blogosphere -- the blog universe -- for you.
Today we begin a new series, introducing some of the most useful and informative health-related weblogs.
Here's a sampling of 10 health blogs to start you on your path to learning more about taking care of your health:
The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl: Everyone has read an article about losing weight, and anyone who has followed weight loss advice feels like they are alone in that journey.
Shauna, a.k.a. Dietgirl, chronicles her own personal journey so that other dieters know they are not alone in the process, and that no matter how difficult or easy an article may make losing weight sound, the journey for each individual is different.
Shauna has dropped from a size 28 to a size 14 over a course of five years, and still battles with her chocolate demons. Her humor and wit keeps readers coming back.
Diet Blog A less personal blog than Dietgirl, Diet Blog covers a much broader spectrum by posting about current news affecting our waistlines. Site author Jim Foster describes it best, "everything from body image to fast food" is covered here. The extensive Diet Review section alone may keep readers there long enough to forget they were hungry when they got there.
Livin' La Vida Low-Carb There are many who still follow Dr. Atkins' treatise on the low carb lifestyle, as evidenced by the cleverly titled Livin' La Vida Low Carb. Weight loss stories, recipes, and low carb products are featured on this blog by Jimmy Moore, who speaks from personal experience having lost 180 pounds in 2004.
The Health Care Blog Not every health issue is about diet. And issues are certainly not only on the personal level. The Health Care Blog is just what it sounds like, a blog that focuses more on the policy and corporate aspects of our health care system, with a bit of hospital business thrown in for good measure. Author Matthew Holt is a health care industry veteran, and may provide some insight you may not find elsewhere.
Diabetes Mine For someone suffering a specific disease, a blog may become a haven for information and experiences that may not otherwise be revealed. If the same blog can foster community through user comments, then blogging may really benefit the sufferer. This could go for any disease, but a good example would be Diabetes Mine, where Amy Tenderich shares her experience and contributes to the discussion on diabetes. There are even posts addressing the partners of those living with the disease.
Genetics and Health This blog is written by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei, an expert in genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease, and focuses on, you guessed it, genetics. Recent news items featuring genetics are discussed, as well as the latest auction of celebrity DNA on ebay (Jessica Simpson, if you really want to know).
Dr. Lei is also the author of the blog A Hearty Life, which concentrates on cardiovascular disease and heart disease.
NHS Blog Doctor Here's another blog by a health care professional, this time by Dr. John Crippens, a general practitioner who has been in the health care industry in the United Kingdom for 20 years.
He gives his opinion on the future of healthcare, and relates stories involving the day-to-day trials of running a medical practice.
Emergiblog Have you ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a real live ER nurse, and not just one that is a fictional television character? Kim from Emergiblog has been a nurse for 28 years. She shares anecdotes based on her experience and comments on the doctor/nurse dynamic existing in hospitals.
She is also working on a novel based on her experiences.
Nee Naw Here we have another insider blog, this time from an ambulance service dispatcher, relating his stories from the true front lines of the medical care industry.
Complete Running Network Diet and exercise are two key components to good health, they go hand-in-hand. Since the former has already been covered, why not visit The Complete Running Network? This blog covers training, injury treatment and prevention, equipment, motivation, racing and more.
The publishers have also created the Running Blog Family, which they claim is the most comprehensive list of running blogs (1037). That's a lot of blogs.
Blogs can be a great source of background information and community. They can help point you in the right direction and provide a valuable resource in your journey to good health, but please be sure to make any important medical decisions in consultation with your doctor.
Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.