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Kosmix, Healthline Had Death Cap Cure

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Our earlier story about a doctor in California who turned to Google Scholar to find a treatment for death cap mushroom poisoning has an interesting coda: he wasted too much time on the Big G.

The tale of Dr. Todd Mitchell and his search for an antidote for six people who had ingested death cap mushrooms led him to Google Scholar. He spent several hours searching until finding the result his patients needed: milk thistle.

Five of the six patients survived thanks to the treatment, but the sixth died after the toxins in her liver spread to her kidneys. The survivors all faced the prospect of emergency liver transplants or dying until Mitchell found the cure.

Had he been aware of other search engines like Kosmix, that search would have taken far less time. I heard from Kosmix today, after their staff had seen my earlier story.

They invited me to visit the site, and search for death cap mushroom under the Health tab. The top result led to a Topic Page for death cap mushrooms, and located there under Drugs was a listing for silibinin, derived from milk thistle, which Mitchell was able to obtain for his patients.

Total time to find this on Kosmix: roughly five seconds.

I decided to try the same query on Healthline to see if that health-focused vertical search would deliver a similar result for death cap mushroom. Its top result was a doctor-reviewed article from the Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine about milk thistle; the link pointed directly to the death cap mushroom section of the two-page article.

Healthline did not provided an immediate reference to silibinin as Kosmix did, so Mitchell would have had to do a little more digging to find that. It probably would not have taken a knowledgeable physician like him very long to make that connection.

Vertical search has been growing in importance, but it hasn’t broken through to the mainstream like Google has. Hopefully more medical professionals will learn of and utilize options like Kosmix and Healthline to help round out the information they possess when faced with a difficult diagnosis.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Kosmix, Healthline Had Death Cap Cure
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