Alert
Close

Last chance – give now. Before 2014 ends, help struggling seniors. Donate

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP REALPAD

Introducing RealPad by AARP

AUTO BUYING PROGRAM

AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Misdiagnosed: What to do When Your Doctor Doesn't Know

Why patients suffer and what you can do to get help

Such was the case with Tom Hopper. At Massachusetts General Hospital he underwent another round of extensive testing, but nothing proved definitive. Then one internist, Michael Barry, M.D., noticed that as soon as Hopper switched from a liquid diet to regular hospital food, he got sick. Barry spent an hour at Hopper's bedside, asking detailed questions about his extended family's medical history, including where his ancestors came from.

A DNA test confirmed Barry's suspicions: Hopper had a gene marker that made him especially susceptible to celiac disease, a fairly common autoimmune disorder characterized by an inability to process gluten — despite having had previous blood tests come back negative. It turns out that the blood test for celiac is negative in about 10 percent of those who have it. " By then I had seen dozens of doctors and six digestive specialists," recalls Hopper, " but none apparently understood the importance of looking at my diet."

Hopper is not the only patient to benefit from DNA testing. At the National Human Genome Research Institute, scientific director Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., and his team of researchers have increasingly used human-genome sequencing techniques to identify new diseases.

In 1999 Kastner and his team observed several families whose members suffered with similar symptoms of fevers, severe abdominal and chest pain, and skin rashes. Using a DNA analysis of their blood, the team identified mutations in one gene that caused a host of previously undiagnosed inflammatory diseases. "It wasn't even in medical textbooks and no one had a name for it," Kastner says today.

Since then, with further advances in human genetics as well as in cell and molecular biology, hardly a week goes by without the discovery of yet another disease-associated gene or mutation. "For a practicing physician who's already incredibly busy, keeping up with this deluge of new information is like trying to drink from a fire hose," says Kastner. "There's just so much of it to take in."

Next: What you can do. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Grandson (8-9) whispering to grandfather, close-up

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

member benefits adt companion

Members save on new installation of a ADT Companion Service® personal emergency response system.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points