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 TODAY.com.

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.

Conflict of Interest Guidelines Revised at the National Institute of Health

The amount of money considered to constitute a conflict of interest has been lowered at the National Institute of Health.

The 16 year old conflict of interest rules for medical researchers has been revised, expanding the required disclosures.

Concern about the integrity of research in the United States has grown since 2008, when Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley criticized prominent Harvard University psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Biederman and others for failing to fully disclose payments from drug companies.

In a more recent example, medical device maker Medtronic Inc came under fire over accusations that doctors paid by the company had failed to disclose major side effects from a bone growth drug in clinical trials.

Private sector funds have no place in policy governing the health of the nation.

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