Last night, my husband and I were glued to CBS’s 60 Minutes episode titled “The Hard Cases.” 60 Minutes highlighted a health vignette on the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Undiagnosed Disease Program in Bethesda, Maryland.
In February 2010, I wrote a column featuring this one-of-a-kind program The Undiagnosed Diseases Program which is under Dr. William Gahl.
In one week, the NIH program will conduct one to two years of testing on patients who have a disease which has been undiagnosed.
Did I mention this program is free once you are accepted by Dr. Gahl? Some of the patients have had their undiagnosed diseases for decades. Yes, decades.
During the segment, they featured a 19 year-old by the name of Matthew Parker. Parker was a budding tennis phenomenon and has been bedridden with joint pain since 15.
According to 60 Minutes, “Matthew was once a promising tennis player. Today, he can barely move, crippled by joint pain so severe it hurts to chew his food.”
I was absolutely dumbfounded by this handsome stalwart young man’s story and how he could barely move due to joint pain. I grabbed my laptop to research if teenagers could succumb to arthritis at such an early age.
In my research, the Arthritis Foundation revealed, “Juvenile arthritis (JA) is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.”
There are several types of juvenile arthritis. According to Arthritis Today magazine these types of JA include:
• Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
• Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis
If you have a loved one who is afflicted with JA, there is a book available which details the different types of JA, types of treatment available, as well as some background on medications available for those suffering with JA.