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Apr 15, 2006 (Vol. 26, No. 8)

National Organization for Rare Disorders

URL:www.raredisease.org
  • Vast database
  • Unclear focus
The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is an organization with a title that provides no surprises. NORD hosts a database with information on over 1150 diseases that can be accessed in the free version (reviewed here) or in a subscription version that has more extensive reports. What I saw of the free site merited mention. Diseases are organized in hyperlinked fashion in an alphabetized index. Clicking on a disease name brings up the disease record containing data, including alternate names, subcategories of the disease, discussion, and links to organizations providing support relative to the disease. The site is a bit confusing in its aim, with technical descriptions apparently aimed at physicians and links to support sites aimed at patients and their families. While this spans quite a wide range of expertise, the upshot is that the needs of neither group is fully served, at least at the free site.
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*The opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and should not be construed as reflecting the viewpoints of the publisher, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., the publishing house, or employees and affiliates thereof.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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