Genetics

A Program to Study Mystery Conditions, TV Shows and Public Health, and a Genetic Counseling Webcomic

By Rhonda Reinhart

Image courtesy of Jonathan Bailey, NHGRI

NIH expands Undiagnosed Diseases Network: The National Institutes of Health has awarded grants to six medical centers to establish clinical sites that will contribute to a program that studies mystery conditions in people across the country. The Undiagnosed Diseases Network will focus on conditions that “even skilled physicians cannot diagnose despite extensive clinical investigations.” Eric Green, director of the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute, says genome sequencing will play a central role in the work of the expanded Undiagnosed Diseases Network, whose new sites are in Los Angeles; Nashville; Houston; Boston; Durham, North Carolina; and Stanford, California.

Study links TV medical dramas with inaccurate beliefs about public health: According to a new study in Human Communication Research, people who watched TV shows such as House and Grey’s Anatomy were less likely to rate cancer and heart disease as important health problems in the U.S., compared to people who did not watch the programs. House and Grey’s watchers were also more likely to be fatalistic about cancer.

Cartoonist tells genetic counseling story in webcomic: At four months pregnant, cartoonist Lauren Weinstein found out her husband was a carrier for cystic fibrosis. She already knew she was a carrier, so this news meant there was a chance their child would have the disease. To hear the rest of Weinstein’s story, read the emotional five-part webcomic she created for Nautilus.