When the Illness Is a Mystery, Patients Turn to These Detectives

The Undiagnosed Diseases Network takes on the toughest cases, patients whose symptoms have defied explanation

Sara Mason-Silva suffers from a condition in which blood vessels become blocked and inflamed, causing intense, chronic burning pain in her hands and feet. Doctors have not been able to identify the underlying cause of the disease and there is no cure. Photo: Bryan Meltz

By Gina Kolata

They are patients with diseases that mystify doctors, people whose symptoms are dismissed as psychosomatic, who have been given…

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