The Medical Sleuth; November 2011; Scientific American Magazine; by Brendan Borrell; 4 Page(s)
Who: William A. Gahl
What He Does: Tries to deduce the causes of diseases that elude diagnosis by other physicians
Where: National Institutes of Health’s Undiagnosed Diseases Program
Research Focus: Connects genetics with pathology to understand mysterious illnesses
Big Picture: Uses the most advanced medical technologies but is philosophical about the limits of what the healing arts can accomplish.
The patient had endured 20 years of pain: her calves had turned into two bricks, and she now had trouble walking. A slew of doctors had failed to treat, let alone diagnose, her unusual condition. So when her x-rays finally landed on William A. Gahl’s desk at the National Institutes of Health, he knew immediately that he had to take her case.