A great thing just got better! The largest database of CFS and FM information on the Web, ImmuneSupport.com, has now become easier to use due to enhanced search abilities. Of course, the library tab of the site with its main category headings is often helpful, but what do you do when what you’re seeking is not covered in those headings? That is where the new and improved “Search Our Site” feature found on most pages in the upper left column comes to the rescue. The pointers below will help you best utilize this feature.
Multiple Words—Sample: sleep insomnia rest
Entering multiple words with only a space between is like saying ‘I want documents with most of these terms but I’ll also take those that just have one or two.’ In this kind of search its advantageous to use as many related words as possible. This is because similar words are often found in thorough discussions of a topic. The results with the highest frequency of most of your terms in the closest proximity will appear at the top.
Exact Phrases—Sample: “blood pressure”
If you are looking for an exact phrase you can indicate that by putting the phrase between quotation marks. Not doing so in this example could turn up documents that contain the word blood in one paragraph and pressure in another. This feature certainly can streamline your search project; searching “blood pressure” in quotes turned up 103 results whereas without quotes there were 438.
Including/Excluding Words—Sample: +”blood pressure” +high –low
The plus sign “+” in front of a search term indicates the search results must include that term. The minus sign “-” indicates words that should not be included. This is particularly helpful when you want to find a topic in a less common context. In our example if you wanted articles discussing problems when one’s blood pressure is high you may initially decide to run the query “blood pressure.” But then you may become frustrated when you see that most of the documents are discussing low blood pressure. You can eliminate that problem by using the minus sign to exclude the term “low” from the search results. Bear in mind you will be eliminating discussions of both low and high blood pressure since they would contain the term “low”.
Another option is just to run the search as “high blood pressure.” Just realize that may be too restrictive since a discussion on that topic may not always use that exact phrase.
Field Search—Sample: title:Sleep
This is one of the best enhancements to ImmuneSupport.com’s search service. Now you can search for terms that appear in certain places in the document such as the title as opposed to the body of an article. This can be a great time saver. For instance, by using our sample “title:sleep” you can find thorough discussions of sleep problems as opposed to documents that might just briefly mention that word.
But let’s say you want an article on sleep that describes particular medications like Elavil. You can do that by trying one of the following examples: “+title:sleep +elavil” or “+title:sleep +body:elavil.” The first example finds documents with “sleep” in the title and “elavil” anywhere else. On the other hand, the second example looks for documents with “sleep” in the title and “elavil” in the body.
Author—Sample: “Jacob Teitelbaum”
Although field searching, outlined above, will not work for articles written by particular authors, there are good options. As in the sample try running the name in quotation marks. This works as long as you know exactly how the name appears including whether to include a middle initial.
The query “Jacob Teitelbaum” will also bring documents where that name appears anywhere in the text and thus not as the author. But such results will be at the end of the list since lower priority is assigned when results are found towards the end a document.
If you are not exactly sure how the name appears, run the first and last name not in quotations. The reason for this is that running the exact phrase “John Doe” (in quotes) will not find documents where the author’s name actually appears at “John C. Doe.” Running the search not in quotes may also bring unwanted results. However the top documents in the results may have occurrences of the name as the author. This is because a higher priority is placed on multiple word query results where the words are close together at the top of the document.
This feature is useful in locating all variations of a term with “*” representing one or numerous letters. Thus searching for “sleep*” will find either “sleep” “sleeper” “sleepless” or “sleeping.” You can also place the asterisk at the beginning of a word such as “*tension” to find both “hypotension” and “hypertension.”
Additionally, the wildcard “*” can be used if you’re unsure of the spelling but you know how the word’s beginning and ending. Thus if you don’t have a clue how to spell amitriptyline, “am*line” is how you could run the search. This find words beginning with “am” and ending in “line” which in this case is only “amitriptyline.”
In the example above, the correct spelling for the drug commonly used for Fibromyalgia is “amytriptyline” (with a “y” after the second “t” not an “i”). However if your spelling is off by just a letter or two, a special “sound-alike” feature may help you find what you are looking for anyway. Consequently in this example misspelling the word did not result in any fewer search results. Likewise the brand name of that drug got similar results whether it was searched for as “elavil” or incorrectly as “elavel.” On the other hand, the spell-check feature cannot detect errors in someone’s name.
Be cautious of capitalizing words as this can produce limited results. Words capitalized in a search query only find occurrences of the terms that are also capitalized. Thus, “Hypotension” only finds “Hypotension.” On the other hand, the search query “hypotension” finds both “hypotension” and “Hypotension.”
This can be to your advantage, though, if you want to find only capitalized occurrences of a term. For instance you may want to find capitalized terms in the title or subheadings as this could indicate a more substantial discussion of your topic. Of course finding occurrences of words that are capitalized because they begin a sentence may not do you much good.
Capitalization may also be helpful in finding a discussion of a particular ailment using a common term in the name of the ailment. For example let’s say you want to find out more about “Neurally Mediated Hypotension” but you can only remember the term “hypotension” from the name. If you search for “hypotension” with a lower case “h” you will find all occurrences of that word. However if you capitalize it, you are more likely to find that term in the name of a condition since names of health conditions are often capitalized.