Some months ago, I wrote about Juan Magdaraog who is blogging about his struggle with Pompe disease, a rare, but important genetic condition. He let me know about an essential problem: the diagnostic delay.
The diagnosis often poses a dilemma due to the rarity of the disease, the variable rates of progression and the unspecific phenotypic features… Just take a look at the diagnostic delay diagram, there are from 2 to 4 years between the first symptoms and the diagnosis!
Look, we can’t expect physicians (from any kind of medical specialties) to know everything about all the cc. 4000 genetic conditions. But we can help them how to find relevant information and quickly understandable material on genetic conditions.
I know that there are hundreds of great resources on the net, but here are my 10 tips, my 10 favourite sites:
1. Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (17 706 entries)
This database is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders authored and edited by Dr. Victor A. McKusick and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere, and developed for the World Wide Web by NCBI, the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Single gene disorders (SGDs) are a group of conditions caused by a change (mutation) in one particular gene. There are over 6,000 SGDs and although these disorders are rare individually, when grouped together they account for about 1 in 300 births.
3. Specific Genetic disorders at National Human Genome Research Institute
Sometimes, physicians are unable to put a name to a genetic condition. When this happens, physicians will say that a child or an adult has an undiagnosed rare or genetic condition. To learn more about how to deal with genetic or rare conditions that have no diagnosis, see this list.
4. List of genetic disorders at Wikipedia
The following is a list of genetic disorders and their origins. Beside most disorders is a code that indicates the type of fertilization and the chromosome involved.
5. GeneReviews (392 entries)
GeneReviews are expert-authored, peer-reviewed, current disease descriptions that apply genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients and families with specific inherited conditions.
Selected questions and answers are posted within 3 weeks. The confidentiality of all visitors to this site is respected according to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and Georgia and Alabama State law.
Many libraries, schools, universities, and hospitals subscribe to NORD’s Rare Disease Database for unlimited access to reports on more than 1,150 diseases.
A centralized facility that provides genotyping and statistical genetics services for investigators seeking to identify genes that contribute to human disease. CIDR concentrates primarily on multifactorial hereditary disease although analysis of single gene disorders can also be accommodated.
10. The best: OrphaNet
ORPHANET aims to improve management and treatment of genetic, auto-immune or infectious rare diseases, rare cancers, or not yet classified rare diseases.
The database contains 2000 diseases in 6 languages written by experts. More than 800 daily updates, 25 collaborate databases, 20,000 connections a day with a total budget of 1.3 million Euros. 20,000 daily users from 150 countries.
Alexa statistics of OrphaNet and Rarediseases.org:
Regarding my list, I hope you find at least some of the links useful. And I also hope that physicians could use these resources to know more about rare, genetic conditions and we can forget about the evil diagnostic delay in the near future.