Biomedical Engineering and Design

Information specific to BME and BME/CBID design teams.

Article about Medical Device Security

A Brief Chronology of Medical Device Security is from "Communications of the ACM," volume 59(10), October 2016, pp. 66-72.

This article by Burns et al. reviews history and important legislation about medical devices. It is a review article, so also please note the  references at the end.


Background Information

Save your time! Use these search techniques:
  • Put quotation marks around PHRASES (two or more words), so that the words are searched together
    --- Example: "machine learning"
  • Put an asterisk at the end of words, so that you get all of the word endings
    --- Example: high* = high, highs, higher, highest
  • Start by putting your search words in the Title. If you get nothing, you can take them out of TITLE and move them to ANYWHERE.
Online Textbooks
  • AccessMedicine - A collection of medical textbooks (e.g., Harrison's Internal Medicine), with overviews of diseases and conditions, lab tests, drug information, images, and more 
    --- Wheeless's Textbook of Orthopaedics (Duke University) is not included in this database, but is also a good source of information
    Note: Always check a page's revision date to make sure that the information is not too old.
  • AccessEngineering and ENGnetBASE (which is part of CRCnetBASE) - Collections of engineering textbooks, including several about device design
    Note: Just use the search box on the top right.
Online Medical Dictionaries and Definitions

Most databases allow you to EXPORT citations to a citation manager, such as RefWorks or EndNote.

It's usually simple -- however, some databases need a few extra steps.

PubMed -- Pubmed's way of exporting articles is complicated, so here is the easy way:

  • Put the article title into Google Scholar
  • Underneath the article's citation, click "Cite"
  • At the bottom of that window are some citation managers, including RefWorks

Compendex and/or Inspec (these can be searched together)

  • Do your search
  • Check the citations you want to export
  • From the top of the page, choose "Selected Records"
  • Choose "Download"
  • You can choose RefWorks, and they also offer MyPC, Mendeley, Google Drive, DropBox, and YourFolders

In all databases as well as Google Scholar, always use "Advanced Search."

  • This will let you focus your search to get better results, as well as save you a lot of time









In all library databases plus Google Scholar, the FINDIT@JHU link will show you all of the ways that you can get an article.

  • On a Hopkins computer, Google Scholar automatically shows you FIND IT@JHU  links
  • But on a non-Hopkins device (like your laptop), you should either
    --- log in through the portal (, OR
    --- go to the library home page , choose "Articles and Databases," and use the "Google Scholar" tab

If you do not see "FIND IT" next to the citation, look below the citation and click on the little arrow. Usually, the FINDIT link will magically appear.

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To see links to our full-text articles:

Go through the library website this URL, which includes "jhum"):

Get to PubMed in any of three ways:

  • On the MSEL home page:  Articles and Databases --> Databases --> "Find a specific database by name" (the first box)
  • Or, use the second box after "Databases," which is "Find a database by subject," such as "Medicine" or "Public Health"
  • On the Welch library page, click on PubMed (on the left, under "Popular Resources")

Refine your searches, so that you get exactly what you want:

Use the choices on the left side of the page, including

  • publication dates
  • species
  • article types

Use "Show Additional Filters," also on the left of the page; these include

  • languages (e.g., English)
  • subjects (e.g., bioethics)
  • ages (e.g., adult:19-44 years)

Phrases - Put phrases in quotation marks, so that the words stay next to each other ("chicken pox")

Truncate - Save your time! Put an asterisk - * - at the end of your search word (for example,  transplant*   will get you "transplant," "transplants," "transplanting," and "transplantation")

Fields - How to put your search words in the TITLE of the article, or to search by "last author" or other ways

Use MeSH (for Medical Subject Headings) -- This is the thesaurus, and will give you other terms for your topic so that you get more results; e.g., "Developing Countries," "Neglected Diseases," "Cost of Illness"
-- You can also use MeSH to add subheadings, such as "instrumentation," "mortality," "prevention and control," and "therapy"

Subheadings -- When you use MeSH (the thesaurus), you can also choose subheadings to help focus your searches. For example, one subheading is "instrumentation," which is very helpful.

Use these pages to get Help and other information:

  • Use the Thesaurus (called MeSH, for Medical Subject Headings) -- This will provide more terms for your topic so that you get more results; e.g., Developing Countries, Neglected Diseases, Cost of Illness
    -- You can also use MeSH to add subheadings, such as "instrumentation," "mortality," "prevention and control," and "therapy"
  • Fact Sheets, Alphabetical or By Subject - These describe databases, tell the difference between PubMed and MEDLINE, and more
  • Fields - How to put your search words in the TITLE of the article, or to search by "last author," "place of publication," and more
  • Phrases - Put phrases in quotation marks, so that the words stay next to each other ("chicken pox")
  • Publication Types - On the left is "article types," such as "clinical trial, Phase IV." This link takes you to the definitions of all of those.
  • Textbooks - Online, searchable biomedical textbooks. For help, see "getting started," on the left.
  • Truncate - Save your time! Put an asterisk - * - at the end of your search word (for example,  transplant*   will get you "transplant," "transplants," "transplanting," and "transplantation")
  • Tutorials - PubMed offers lots of help. Try one of their tutorials.
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EMBASE is the world's other great database for biomedical topics. It includes articles, conference papers, and post-market surveillance reports, among other things.

  • It has greater coverage in some areas than PubMed, especially in the areas of pharmacology and toxicology
  • It has some specialized search features for medical devices, including "manufacturers," "comparisons," "economics,"

EMBASE also has content that PubMed does not have, so always search *both* databases.

Saving Searches -- To save your searches, you must register for a free username and password.

  • During the registration process, you will be asked to enter an "institutional key," which is Johns Hopkins University

To do a search, click on "Search" on the blue line at the top of the page, and pull down "Advanced Search":

Now you can do a comprehensive search with the limits that you want:

  • date -- the years during which articles were published
  • sources -- either EMBASE or MEDLINE (the *published* articles from PubMed, not those in press)
  • fields -- author, title, etc.; e.g., for articles with your search words in the article *Title*, add  :ti  to your search
  • quick limits -- limits such as "humans," "only in English" and a few others
  • EBM -- "evidence-based medicine"; choose "Cochrane review," "systematic review," "controlled clinical trial," "randomized trial," and/or "meta-analysis"
  • pub types -- for example, review articles, editorials, and a few more choices
  • languages -- choose from among lots of languages
  • gender -- male, female, or articles about both men and women
  • age -- choose from among given age ranges
  • animal -- "animal cell," "animal experiment," "animal model," and/or "animal tissue"

Your searches can also use:

  • AND -- Every article must include *all* search words (e.g., dog AND cat)
  • OR -- Articles must include at least one of the search words (dog OR cat OR bird). The articles do not need to have all of these words in them. 
  • NOT -- You do not want articles with that search word(s) in it (e.g., dog NOT cat)
  • NEAR/n – The words must be within some number of words of another word (e.g., e: symptom NEAR/5 headache gets articles with the word "symptom" within 1, 2, 3, or 4 words near "headache," no matter which comes first)
  • NEXT/n – Same thing as above, except the order *does* matter (e.g., symptom NEXT/5 headache will get articles with the word "symptom" *before* the word "headache," with 1, 2, 3, or 4 words between them)

There are two ways to focus on finding device information:

  1. Do an advanced search and then use the left column to choose *Device,* and narrow it down from there
    -- OR --
  2. Start with a "Device" search:

Device Fields includes

  • device manufacturers
  • device trade names

Device Subheadings includes

  • adverse device effect
  • device comparison
  • device economics
  • clinical trial


There are two ways to focus on finding drug information:

  1. SEARCH (word in the middle of the top of the page) --> Choose Advanced (word under the second blue line at the top of the page), then use the left column to choose *Drugs,* and narrow it down from there
  2. SEARCH --> Drug (word under second blue line at the top of the page)

Drug Fields includes

  • drug manufacturers
  • drug trade names

Drug Subheadings has 17 choices, including

  • adverse drug effect
  • drug analysis
  • drug dose
  • pharmacokinetics

Routes has many choices, including

  • buccal
  • inhalational
  • intramuscular
  • intravenous
  • intraspinal
  • oral
  • sublingual


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Compendex (Engineering), Google Scholar, and More

Best Database for Engineering --> Compendex

  • It is the biggest database for engineering, and for computer and IT topics
  • Use its features to focus your search (remember to put PHRASES in quotation marks)
  • Put some of your search words in the TITLE, and change the dates
  • If you get too many results, refine the list by using the choices on the left
  • All of the other Engineering databases are here, on "Databases by TOPIC"

More articles and other kinds of information:

To find other databases with articles about your topics:

  • Look at the lists for Medicine and for Engineering
  • Start with the databases listed under CORE -- these are the best and most relevant 
  • For a description about what kinds of topics the database covers, click the little round "i" next to each database

The Welch Library subscribes to some specialized databases that require a username and/or password.

  • If a medicine-related database asks you for a password, check this list.

UptoDate cannot be accessed through the JHU portal or VPN. It can only be accessed through

  • a Hopkins computer, or
  • a device using the Hopkins wireless network

Be aware of these things when using Google Scholar:

1) If the article title does not lead you to full text, click on "FIND IT"

2) If you don't see "Find IT" next to the citation, click on "More," which is *below* the citation. It will turn into "FIND IT."

3) You may also see BOOKS in the list, and Google Scholar will then lead you to Google BOOKS. However, copyright law prevents them from showing you the whole book. Search the library catalog for the book you want, because if we have it, you can see 100% of it.

Patents -- The patent literature can also supply information about companies. You can examine the patents assigned to a company, especially the recent patent applications, and perhaps gain insight into its plans for research and/or product development.

News -- Look at newspapers and the business databases for news about what's going on.

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