Discovery Health's DISEASE DETECTIVES Follows a Real-Life 'Dr. House' Inside the NIH's Undiagnosed Disease Program
--World Premiere Special Airs on Rare Disease Day, Sunday, February 28, at 8 PM (ET/PT)--
SILVER SPRING, Md., Feb. 1 -- More than 30 million Americans suffer from rare or undiagnosed medical disorders -- and for many, these mysterious conditions are life-threatening. When physicians and medical experts are left baffled, there is one last place to send the most puzzling and dire cases -- the Undiagnosed Disease Program (UDP) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH). On Sunday, February 28, at 8 PM (ET/PT), Discovery Health brings viewers inside the UDP for the first time with DISEASE DETECTIVES, an hour-long special following a real-life "Dr. House" and his team of experts as they attempt to solve real medical mysteries and help desperate patients in just five days.
DISEASE DETECTIVES profiles Dr. William Gahl, the head of the UDP, and his multidisciplinary team of dedicated experts as they attempt to solve riddles that have perplexed other medical researchers for years. Though thousands of cases are submitted to the UDP each year, only a fraction can be accepted for examination. Admitted patients journey to NIH headquarters in Bethesda, Md., for five full days of round-the-clock testing and analysis by Dr. Gahl and his team in what often represents their last hope for a resolution.
In the special, Dr. Gahl and his team take on two extremely different but equally perplexing cases. The first involves Jayden, a 7-year-old boy who travels to the UDP with his young parents. Jayden's developmental delays have led some doctors to believe that he could be autistic, but the fear also exists that he could be suffering from a potentially life-threatening condition. DISEASE DETECTIVES also follows Jon Page, 52, whose life has been severely disrupted by a strange condition involving a constellation of symptoms -- from shaking, to muscle weakness, to chronic gastrointestinal issues. Working against the clock, Dr. Gahl and the UDP team struggle to find real answers for both Jon and Jayden's perplexing conditions.
"You see 'racing for a cure' plotlines every day on scripted TV and in major motion pictures, but with DISEASE DETECTIVES, you're seeing the genuine article," said Alon Orstein, executive producer for Discovery Health. "This is an extremely dedicated and talented team of medical professionals whose mission is to find answers to questions that have haunted patients for years."
DISEASE DETECTIVES premieres on February 28, which also is Rare Disease Day 2010, a global event aimed at raising awareness of the millions around the world living with rare and undiagnosed conditions. In the United States, Rare Disease Day 2010 is presented by NORD, the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Discovery Health is serving as media partner for the event for the second consecutive year. More information on Rare Disease Day and NORD can be found at www.rarediseases.org.
DISEASE DETECTIVES is produced for Discovery Health by Discovery Studios. For Discovery Health, Alon Orstein is executive producer, and for Discovery Studios, Robin Sestero is executive producer.
About Discovery Health:
Discovery Health Media includes the Discovery Health and FitTV television networks and online assets including www.discoveryhealth.com, as well as its Continuing Medical Education (CME) business and Discovery's first stand-alone VOD service, Discovery Health On-Call. Discovery Health Media is part of Discovery Communications ( DISAD, DISBD, DISCK), the world's number one nonfiction media company, reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks.com. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.