Ten top health mysteries that persist despite years of research
Some medical conditions that affect millions still remain a mystery.
Despite advances in research and healthcare, medical mysteries persist that seem to defy explanation. Scientists continue efforts into understanding how some diseases even develop. Surprisingly, some medical conditions that remain a mystery affect millions and occur on a global scale.
The inflammatory bowel disease is one of several autoimmune disorders. Crohn’s disease primarily affects younger people. Along with other autoimmune diseases like lupus, MS and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few, scientists don’t know why it occurs. Research efforts to pinpoint the cause have failed.
There are currently several theories about why Crohn’s disease develops, but none have ever been proven. The disease, which can be devastating and even deadly, is the result of the immune system’s attack on perfectly healthy cells.
We all grow older and we all accept that fact. But why we age in the first place is still a mystery to scientists. Researchers still can't agree if aging is simply in our genes and we're pre programmed to live only a certain number of years or if other factors are at play. Some scientists subscribe to the theory that our environment damages our genes. Controlling oxidative stress might help us live longer. Examples include exercise and calorie restriction as anti-aging interventions.
Aging increases our risk for a plethora of health problems including arthritis, cancer, dementia, diabetes and heart disease, just to name a few. Understanding how to slow down aging or even why we grow older would mean a longer life; free from diseases that are associated with aging.
Coronary artery disease
Researchers know that inflammation causes a variety of chronic illnesses and ailments. But what actually causes coronary artery disease that also seems to stem from inflammation has remained a mystery. The role of high cholesterol as an artery clogging contributor that leads to heart attack has recently been challenged.
Heredity may explain blocked arteries that lead to heart attack,, but not completely. Some physicians and researchers claim the culprit for heart disease is sugar and trans fats. Others say high cortisol levels from stress lead to heart attack stroke and other heart related diseases. We really don’t know why heart attacks happen - exactly. There are many contributing factors that “could, may, or might” cause coronary artery disease.
One of the most controversial neurological diseases being studied today is autism . Scientific evidence suggests autism cause is multi-factorial. Some individuals believe mercury in vaccines given to children is the cause of the disease. Science has yet to uncover what causes autism. The vaccine-autism link has been disproven and is nothing more than a myth.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are both mysterious, but common ailment. Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease that destroys the ability of the pancreas to make insulin. What triggers the body to attack healthy cells is not known however.
Researchers know there are many contributors to type 2 diabetes, but there is no pattern as to who will develop the disease. Risk factors that are known include age, obesity and heredity. The exact cause of diabetes remains a mystery.
Tourette’s syndrome is a brain disorder that affects 1 to two percent of people. The disease was first recognized in 1885. People diagnosed with Tourette’s may have the disease as a result of hereditary or environmental factors, but scientists have yet to pinpoint the cause. A recent theory is that Tourette’s syndrome could be the result of childhood infection, but many experts discount that theory.
Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.3 million Americans of all ages,, according to 2015 statistics. The brain disorder that is the most severe form of dementia is on the rise and expected to affect 7.1 million people over age 65 by the year 2025.
Researchers are diligently trying to find ways to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. There are known risk factors, but scientists have never uncovered the cause of the brain disorder that has no known cure.
Alzheimer’s disease was first recognized in 1906 by Dr.Alois Alzheimer. It is the sixth leading cause of death that usually stems from complications rather than the disease itself. People with Alzheimer’s disease are at high risk for falls, may become malnourished, cannot express symptoms such as pain and are prone to infections. Many experts believe deaths related to Alzheimer’s disease are underreported.
Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics, with the exception of those that have become antibiotic resistant. The same isn’t true about viruses.
Examples of viruses that are very common but cannot be cured include the cold that is caused by the rhinovirus, shingles and the flu.
Ebola has emerged as one of the most deadly viruses that has no cure. HIV is another example of an incurable virus. HIV that causes AIDS was first identified in 1983. Research has shown the virus can be suppressed.
Pica is another condition that no one understands and there is no cure. The condition causes an uncontrollable urge to eat substances that have no nutrition, such as dirt, feces, plastic, cigarette butts and other non-food items.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
CFS is the inability to recover from exercise. There is no test to “prove” a person has chronic fatigue syndrome but researchers are working diligently to help uncover biomarkers for the disease that could result in affirmative diagnosis.
Even the name “chronic fatigue syndrome” has been debate for decades.
Why don't we know more about aging and diseases that affect millions of people? Technology to find answers continues to evolve. There is also often a lack of funding for research. Clinical trials to "prove" which treatments work can take years and have to be conducted under strict guidelines.