NIH Program to Explore Most Puzzling Cases

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The National Institutes of Health has launched a new clinical research program to learn more about perplexing medical cases and provide better disease management for individuals with such conditions, according to an announcement this week.

THURSDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- The National Institutes of Health has launched a new clinical research program to learn more about perplexing medical cases and provide better disease management for individuals with such conditions, according to an announcement this week.

Under the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, more than 25 senior attending physicians from the NIH in specialties including immunology, endocrinology, dermatology and genetics will evaluate patients in the NIH Clinical Center, the agency's clinical research hospital in Bethesda, Md.

Two nurse practitioners will manage patient recruitment and logistics for the program. To be considered for the program, patients must be referred by a physician and provide all necessary medical records and test results. Up to 100 patients annually will be invited to the clinical center for up to a week of evaluation. The program's organizers will only accept patients with truly puzzling, undiagnosed conditions. For more information about the program, patients and physicians may visit the program's Web site or call 866-444-8806 with specific questions.

"A small number of patients suffer from symptoms that do not correspond to known conditions, making their care and treatment extraordinarily difficult. However, the history of biomedical research has taught us that careful study of baffling cases can provide new insights into the mechanisms of disease -- both rare and common," said Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., the director of the NIH, in a prepared statement.

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