Table of Contents Medical Mysteries 2014


If you get talking to a doctor, you’re bound to hear stories of how his or her detective work solved a patient’s bizarre ailment. In this special issue of Discover, we collected some of the strangest riddles from the exam room as told by the doctors who solved them. Odd smells, mysterious silences and even a mustache are all clues that lead to unexpected diagnoses in this collection of stories.

In addition to medical oddities, you’ll also explore the experiments, tools and breakthroughs that changed the face of medicine. We talk to the doctor who gave himself an ulcer for science, and the man who’s using the genome to revolutionize health care. From cover to cover, you’re sure to gain an appreciation for the men and women on the frontlines of solving today's medical mysteries.

This special issue is not part of the subscription package and won't be posted online — it's exclusively available for purchase here. 


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Quiz: Are You a Symptom Sleuth?

Take our medical mini-quiz to find out if you can match symptoms to the correct medical condition.

14 Tools That Changed Medicine

We shaped the instruments. Then they shaped us.

Patient's Strange Diet Leads Doctor Down a Rocky Road

Confronted with the unusual cause of his symptoms, a secretive patient stonewalls the doctor.

10 Breakthrough Moments That Changed Medicine

Ideas and innovations that solved some of medicine's most confounding mysteries.

What Percentage of Diagnoses Are Wrong?

According to a review of several studies, up to 30 percent of medical errors are errors of diagnosis.

10 Innovations That Will Improve Health

The medical methods and machines with improve health and health care at exponential rates.

10 Weird, Wacky And Worthwhile Experiments

Unexpected and offbeat discoveries sometimes yield the most startling advances in medical science.

How Much Do You Need To Tell Your Doctor?

A checklist to ensure you and your doctor are on the same page.

Q&A: Leroy Hood, Doctor Who's Mining the Genome to Simplify Medicine

First Leroy Hood made a machine that can read DNA at lightning speed. Now he wants to reach into the genome to revolutionize medicine. Discover speaks to the man advancing the genomic revolution.

Q&A: Barry Marshall, the Physician Who Gave Himself an Ulcer for Science

Barry Marshall, called the "guniea-pig doctor," drank an infectious broth, gave himself an ulcer and solved a medical mystery. He spoke with Discover and told his story. 


When A Simple Sickness Goes Awry

Why is a woman's heart suddenly failing? 

A Mustachioed Medical Mystery

Channeling Sherlock Holmes, an attending physician unravels a hairy situation.

Why Am I So Tired?

A young doctor's complaint seemed straightforward, but finding the cause was anything but.

Over The Counter, Into the Hospital

An old Discover article helps solve the mystery of his strange altered states.

When Your Brain Presses the Mute Button

A 6-year-old girl cannot speak outside her home. Is she just shy, or is some bigger problem keeping her silent? 

"We Can Take His Heart Out..."

A cardiac tumor is all but inaccessible. The only way to deal with it: operate on the heart outside the body.

Of a Wife and a Whiff

When the faintest clue is overlooked, a watchful spouse is a patient's best advocate.

Son's Intuition Saves His Mother

When his mother's health is on the line, a physician's objectivity might vanish — but not his powers of observation.