Turning to a suite of programs of a more serious nature, the Home Doctor series from Eastmead Computers is designed to educate and advise the user on a comprehensive range of medical topics.
There are six cassettes in the series which cover Basic Medicine, Mainly For Women, Mainly For Men, All About Children, How Healthy Are You and 101 Home Nursing Tips. Each cassette contains an average of 18 programs.
On loading the first cassette - Basic Medicine - you are first asked some general questions about your health, e.g. any recurrent pains, unexplained bleeding, etc, and if the answer of any of these is 'yes' you are told to seek medical advice. A similar routine each program in the series.
The Basic Medicine program than lists 17 sub-program names - abdominal pain, accidental injury, bleeding, etc, from which you load the program you wish to use. This format is used throughout the Home Doctor series and means that unless you have previously located the start of each program with a digitiser, you are likely to spend considerable time waiting for your selection to be found and loaded. Let's hope your injury does not cause too much discomfort in the meantime!
The method of giving advice is also repeated throughout the series. You are asked a sequence of questions, the answer 'yes' almost invariably advises medical help. 'No' sends you to the next question and so on, until you have been through all the manifestations of your chosen sympton in gory detail. You will probably find yourself cured by the very relief of being free from the main horrible agonies you *could* be going through.
There are few subprograms where this yes/no question format is not used. On the How Healthy Are You program, for example, Memory Test displays a card containing words and numbers which you are asked to memorise. Disappointingly, there is no indication from the result whether your memory is good, poor or how it might be improved.
I am certainly not qualified to question the advice given. Generally it seemed sensible and appropriate. I was a little concerned about the advice to skinny persons wishing to gain weight; eat quickly and you will be able to cram more food into your stomach before feeling full - and make you sick into the bargain, I shouldn't wonder!
The whole series costs over £30 and I couldn't help feeling that the amount of money would be better spent on a good book on medical matters.
The Home Doctor cassettes costs £6.75 plus 45p postage and packing each, or £35.75 post free for the complete series from Eastmead Computer Systems Ltd, Eastmead House, Lyon Way, Camberley, Surrey.