Rare Diseases

Rare diseases may not be common, but they are no less painful or difficult than conditions you've heard of. Learn about the causes and symptoms of rare diseases as well as how patients can find treatments for their unusual conditions.


Naming a disease after a person makes it more memorable than giving it a bland technical moniker. It's also a good way to pay tribute to its discoverer. Who were the people that gave their names to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other diseases?

In 1998, a panel of doctors at the National Institutes of Health surmised that Joseph Merrick's affliction may have been caused by a condition known as Proteus syndrome. Find out what it is and what causes it.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on nerves throughout the body. Learn more about neurofibromatosis here.

We'll look at the top 10 rare diseases, some of which you may never have heard of -- and others which you hope you never will again.

There are many diseases out there you've never heard of. We've put together the top 20 diseases you've probably never heard of that are rare and unusual.

Joseph Merrick, the "Elephant Man," was the most shockingly disfigured person in history. Parts of his body were grossly enlarged. Check out these images of the Elephant man.

Let's say you have a collection of baffling physical symptoms. You know something is very wrong with your body, but no one seems to be able to figure it out. Welcome to the doctor's visit of someone with a medical condition you've never even heard of.

What if you were the only person in the world with a disease, and scientists used your name to classify it? How would doctors know what was wrong?

There are times when it feels like a pretty lucky thing to be living in the 21st century -- diseases like polio and smallpox took countless lives before a cure was found. Read our list of 12 diseases that were cured in the 20th century.