Mystery Diagnosis

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Mystery Diagnosis
Narrated by David Guion (2005-2009)
David Scott (2009-present)
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 80 (list of episodes)
Running time 1 hour (approximately)
Production company(s) True Entertainment
Original channel Discovery Health (2005-2010)
Oprah Winfrey Network (2011-present)
Original release March 7, 2005 – June 29, 2011
External links

Mystery Diagnosis is a television program that airs on the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Each episode focuses on two or more individuals and their struggles to find out what ailments they suffer from. As the program's title suggests, doctors have a difficult time finding a diagnosis, often due to nonspecific symptoms, masquerading syndromes, the rarity of the condition or disease, or the patient's case being an unusual manifestation of said condition or disease.

The series debuted on Discovery Health Channel in 2005, and was continued when the Oprah Winfrey Network replaced Discovery Health on January 1, 2011; the current season premiered January 5, 2011.[1]


The episodes's opening titles once began with a voice-over narration that transcribed as follows:

That narration was later dropped in favor of on-screen captions that read:

What if
all the tests
told you NOTHING?

They study the symptoms.
They look for signs.
They find the cure.

Every story generally begins with a short description of the sufferer's life before they fell ill (or, in the case of a child patient, the parents' life before the child was born). Then the symptoms that the person experienced are described from their onset, usually becoming progressively worse; the progression is usually re-enacted by actors while the original sufferer narrates. The person will go from doctor to doctor and receive various misdiagnoses or may be told that there is nothing wrong with them at all. After some time of suffering, which ranges from a few days to several years (in one case, almost forty years), the person will find out about a doctor who is willing to get to the bottom of their case. The doctor reviews the patient's medical records, notices some symptom that his or her colleagues overlooked, does some testing, and finally reaches the correct diagnosis and gives the sufferer the proper treatment. This is followed by a brief explanation of why the disorder was so difficult to diagnose. The story ends with a description of what the person's life is like today. Usually, the sufferer is still alive. Some have died after the episode was taped or aired, and only one has died before the diagnosis (though his afflicted brother survived).

The series has no regular cast except for its narrator, David Guion, and since 2009 David Scott, who describes the patients' lives and the destruction their illnesses bring. The patients themselves, along with their friends and family help to narrate their story. Among the more common illnesses mentioned on the show are epilepsy, Myasthenia gravis, Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, Lyme disease, various uncommon or unusual cancers and various undiagnosed tumors. Other times it is just an infection of some sort.

A significantly large number of episodes revolve around autoimmune disorders, ranging from Pyoderma gangrenosum to Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration.

Other activities[edit]

In 2009, Mystery Diagnosis was named the program partner in organizing Rare Disease Day, an observance intended to raise awareness of rare diseases among the general public and policy-makers. Mystery Diagnosis worked with the United States coordinator, National Organization for Rare Disorders, to organize events across the country for observing Rare Disease Day at the end of February.[2]

All episodes formerly premiered on Discovery Health channel, The Learning Channel (TLC), and sometimes on the Discovery Channel. As of January 2011, new episodes air on OWN.


  1. ^ What You Need to Know about OWN
  2. ^ "National Organization for Rare Disorders To Partner With Discovery Health and 'MYSTERY DIAGNOSIS' for Rare Disease Day 2009". PR Newswire. 9 February 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2009.