Nutrition is extremely important in clinical medicine. It plays a key role in fighting disease and promoting health. Healthcare providers are encouraged to empower their patients and help them implement nutritional changes to their lifestyle, which can supplement or even substitute pharmacological treatment.
Many studies have shown that a wide range of diseases and medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and dozens of other conditions can improve dramatically with diet changes.
Knowledge of the vital relationships between diet and these diseases is essential for healthcare providers and medical students.
However, nutrition is often a neglected topic in medical school curricula. Most medical schools fail to deliver the recommended 25 hours of nutrition education and more than half of medical students feel their nutrition education is inadequate or focused on the wrong aspects of nutrition, for example, learning the chemical structure instead of diet changes to prescribe a patient with a particular condition.
This results in patients presenting to their providers with important questions about their nutrition and clinicians not comfortable with answering those questions.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) tries to solve this problem by providing reference and resources with an aim to empower patients to prevent and treat diseases through their lifestyle and diet changes rather than only via medications.
PCRM published a book called "Nutrition Guide for Clinicians", which is now available online as a free nutrition curriculum for healthcare providers.
This guide is also available as a free mobile app called Nutrition Guide for Clinicians on Android and PCRM's Nutrition Guide on iOS, which offers some of the content from the paper book and an online guide.
The app is a comprehensive guide on nearly 100 diseases and medical conditions, providing basic information about each disease, such as risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment, but it also provides nutritional considerations, i.e. evidence-based information on how nutrition help in prevention and treatment.
Additionally, the app provides detailed information on general nutrition, including the roles of macronutrients and micronutrients in health and disease and specific nutritional requirements for all stages of life.
Upon downloading and opening, the Nutrition Guide app requires users to log in or register an account if they don't have one by providing the username they want to use, as well as their email address.
Users can also add their profession choosing from a wide range of medical professions, including the dentist, Emergency Medicine professional, physician, nurse, nutritionist-dietician, and many more.
Upon completing the registration, the app will try to connect to the server automatically to download the latest updates to your device. Be sure to have an Internet connection enabled. Once the updates have been downloaded, all the content would be available offline.
The app's homepage contains several sections, including Favorites, Notes, Introductory Topics, Conditions, Resources for Patients, and About the app.
My starting point was Introductory Topics section, which contains several topics explaining the basic concepts, such as teaching your patients good health practices, the role of micro- and macronutrients in health and disease, nutritional requirements throughout the life cycle, and nutrition in clinical medicine.
The information is provided as a text. There is no multimedia (photos or videos), which would certainly emphasize the content and improve the user experience.
There is a lot of text to scroll through, but you can tap on the icon in the bottom right corner of the screen to collapse the content and view it as a ToC, which makes the navigation a lot easier.
This, however, isn't explained anywhere and I scrolled and scrolled until I found it by accident acting as Dee Dee from Dexter's Laboratory (Oooh! What does this button do?). Imagine my joy when I found the cure for my aching thumb.
Jokes aside. Nutrition Guide provides high-quality content, especially in Conditions section where the most common diseases and medical conditions are listed alphabetically, each providing comprehensive information on risk factors, associated conditions, diagnosis, treatment, orders, what to tell the family, and of course nutritional considerations, i.e. what to eat and not to eat when being diagnosed with a particular condition.
High-quality content means it is well-referenced and interlinked. All references are listed at the bottom and can be explored further, which means that users can open their summaries in the app (PRIME PubMed articles) or view them fully outside the app on the source websites.
Resources for Patients include the links that also require a browser to lead users to several web resources, such as PCRM, Dr. John McDougall's, VRG, and other websites and QuickStart PDF Guide on a plant-based diet, as well as health and nutrition books, cookbooks, and films.
Users can add content to the Favorites section for easier and faster access, as well as personal notes available in the Notes section.
Overall, the PCRM's Nutrition Guide for Clinicians is a great comprehensive and free resource containing a plethora of high-quality nutritional information for providers and their patients. The use of multimedia would refresh the content, but it's nevertheless an invaluable resource worth a recommendation.
Benefit: Healthcare providers, medical students, and patients who want to know more about the role of nutrition in prevention and treatment of various diseases and medical conditions