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Source: As Seen on TV, a Medical Mystery Involving Hip Implants Is Solved – NYTimes.com.

As Seen on TV, a Medical Mystery Involving Hip Implants Is Solved

By GINA KOLATA” FEB. 6, 2014

By a strange coincidence, two leading medical journals on Thursday published case studies of the same arcane medical mystery. In one, doctors solved the riddle only after the patient, a middle-aged woman, got so sick she had to have a heart transplant. But in the other, a physician who teaches at the University of Marburg in Germany found the clues in Season 7,Episode 11, of the Fox television show “House.”

It turned out that Dr. Gregory House, the cantankerous, fictional diagnostician modeled on Sherlock Holmes, had used his powers of deduction to diagnose the very same ailment in a woman played by the actress Candice Bergen on an episode that first aired in 2011.

In this case of life imitating art — or at least television — a paper in The Lancet, a London-based medical publication, described how an ailing man in Germany had gone from doctor to doctor, seeking a diagnosis as his condition worsened.

His problems began about three years ago. He had low thyroid hormone levels, inflammation of his esophagus and fever of unknown origin. His loss of vision was so profound he was almost blind, and his loss of hearing so severe he was almost deaf. Most perilous of all, his heart had weakened so much it could not pump hard enough to supply blood to his body.

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Two case studies published on Thursday traced high levels of cobalt in patients in Colorado and Germany to metal-on-metal hip implants. Joshua Borough for The New York Times

Heart failure usually follows coronary artery disease, but this man’s arteries were fine. Doctor after doctor was stumped.

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