Kai's task this morning is to put together a presentation which involves talking about the "long tail" of diseases: for every common disease that pharmaceutical companies target, there are a hundred orphan diseases. Pharmaceuticals typically ignore these because the revenues from a drug targeting an orphan disease are necessarily small.
A good graphic for Kai's presentation would be a classic long tail graph, with specific incidence rates filled in: possibly lung cancer on the left with a high incidence, tuberculosis in the middle with a vastly lower incidence, and Ebola at the real tail end. But how do you fill in the numbers for incidence of these diseases -- say, for the US, for a given year?
- National Cancer registries cover only cancer incidence and mortality
- CDC Mortality data covers all diseases, but mortality instead of incidence (e.g. prostate cancer is very common but not a common cause of death)
- CDC tracks infectious disease incidence, but not incidence of most non-infectious diseases
- The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute publishes incidence of hemophilia
- The National Health Interview Survey counts things like anemia, and while you can find that page on the CDC site, the data are presented very different from data on cancer or infectious disease...