"CDC Disease Detective" always sounded like a really cool job. Now the NIH is giving the CDC a run for its money with its "Undiagnosed Diseases Program," which will focus on baffling medical cases.
The program will draw on more than 25 senior attending physicians at NIH-- with specialties ranging from immunology, cardiology, genetics and dentistry-- in evaluating each patient. As many as 100 patients a year will be evaluated. More info is available here.
"We have developed a stringent referral process to ensure this program deals with those cases that have truly confounded medical experts," Dr. William Gahl, clinical director at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the NIH. "Our focus is strictly on conditions that have not been diagnosed."
To be considered for the program, a patient must be referred by a physician and provide all medical records and diagnostic test results requested by NIH. The lucky winners will then be asked to undergo additional evaluation during a visit to the NIH Clinical Center that may take up to a week.