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Web trawl
  1. Robyn Webber, Web Editor

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    In this month’s web trawl we look at two web sites whose subject matter is arthritis. The first is the official web site of the UK’s Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC), the second is a web site for patients suffering from gout.

    http://www.arc.org.uk This is a comprehensive web site aimed at both patients and healthcare professionals. It details the work of the Arthritis Research Campaign; a UK based medical research charity dealing solely with arthritis in all its forms. From the home page, the user can navigate to a large number of web pages, providing a wealth of information for patient and professional alike. Patient guides to a wide range of conditions are provided; the full text may be downloaded, or paper copies may be ordered. Likewise there are a large number of publications available for doctors and allied healthcare professionals. These are also accessible to patients, but a clear warning is given that some of the material may be distressing to patients and their carers. For those interested in researching into arthritis, ARC provides a number of grants. Detailed information with regard to the grant application process is posted on the web site, along with application forms for the various types of funding. As a charity, ARC is heavily involved in fundraising, and details are given of events being held throughout the UK and overseas. The web site seems to be updated regularly, and indeed I could find very little information that was not current. This is one web site that I would confidently recommend to anyone wishing to know more about arthritis in all its forms, and research into the condition in the UK.

    http://www.ukgoutsociety.org The Gout Society aims to educate both gout suffers and members of the public about this condition. From the home page, there are links to a patient information leaflet and to factsheets about diet and the treatment of gout, all of which can be downloaded free of charge. A list of links to web sites that may be of interest to patients is provided, one of which is to the ARC web site (see above). All these links are current. A feedback page allows users to comment on how useful they found the patient information leaflet, and to ask questions about the condition, however it is stated that it is not possible for any questions to be replied to individually. The web site is sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, however although this is clearly indicated, it is done in a non-promotional fashion. The web site was last updated in November 2003. There is nothing to suggest that the material available is in any way out of date, but the site would benefit from a simple revision, which would reassure users of the site that the material is still current. Nevertheless, this is a simple, easy to use site, which anyone requiring information about gout and no other condition, may find useful.

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