Tough Diseases Diagnosed at NIH Special Clinic

Clinic of Last Resort diagnosis the tough diseases.

When resources are scarce and doctors have no other solutions, the rare and elusive cases end up at the Undiagnosed Diseases Program begun in 2008 by the National Institutes of Health.

By early this year, the medical detectives had fielded 4,700 inquiries, reviewed 1,700 medical records, rejected 100 cases and accepted 400, with the rest under review, according to a summary by Dr. William A. Gahl, who heads the program, based in Bethesda, Md.
“The discovery of a new disease. That’s something that will stand forever in the scientific realm,” Gahl told

Louise Benge walks on a treadmill at NIH, part of the exams that helped diagnose the disease that allows calcium to build up in the blood vessels of her hands and lower limbs.
The program also dramatically expanded knowledge and descriptions of several other disorders in patients who came to what’s now regarded as the clinic of last resort.

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