Where can I find authoritative medical information about depression?
January 22, 2014 2:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm doing some research about how depression manifests itself as physical symptoms. Do you know any authoritative, academic sources that I should consult to research the link? I'm not very familiar with exploring medical databases, and I don't know what medical journals might carry more weight than others... Thanks, everyone!
posted by travisf to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to see what databases are available through your public library for free. It is frustrating to find an interesting-sounding journal and seeing the provider is charging $20-40 per article. If you talk to your public librarian (even over the phone, chat, or email) they should be able to direct you to the databases that contain peer-reviewed articles (you want peer-reviewed until you feel comfortable evaluating the source yourself).
posted by saucysault at 3:08 PM on January 22, 2014

Best answer: You're looking for the original research on the subject? PubMed is your best bet. After you do your search, you'll see an option on the sidebar to narrow down the search to "review articles" - look at these, view articles summarize the studies available on a given subject and how rigorous the studies have been. Here is a list of "impact factors" by journal for psychiatry. The higher the impact factor the more respected the journal, for the most part.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:15 PM on January 22, 2014

treehorn+bunny has it! came in to say pretty much the same thing. there are some good to great open source med journals out there now, though i'm not sure about the psych field (not what i deal with). so don't discount those just because they're open source if you come upon them.

also, if you are at a university you may already have access to ovid or accessmedicine or the like and just not know it if you're not in the med school.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 4:12 PM on January 22, 2014

A phrase that may help you look, or might pop up in your reading, would be the "somatic symptoms/manifestations/etc" of depression. Somatic refers to the physical body. (Sorry if you already knew this!)
posted by vetala at 5:14 PM on January 22, 2014

Google scholar is a good starter resource but not all journals will be free. But if you find something you can't access from home you can then look at other resources college, friend, public library. I do want to say your research question seems broad. What do you mean by physical ? Do you mean weight gain ? Do you mean sleep disturbances ? Do you mean somatic issues like pain ? There are most likely different mechanisms for those things.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:11 PM on January 22, 2014

Best answer: The Cochrane Collaboration, in addition to sounding like the title of a book you might buy at the airport, is a nonprofit that does literature review in medical sciences. Their findings tend to be among the most trusted. They look through large numbers of studies and determine both what those studies found AND the quality of those studies in terms of sample size, controls, etc.

This latter part is particularly important, because awful studies abound and get published in so-called "peer-reviewed" journals that are little more than credulous vehicles for the legitimizing of pseudoscience.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:12 PM on January 22, 2014

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