A Northwest medical mystery — and the hunt for answers
Scientists don’t know why, exactly, autoimmune diseases are becoming more common. They don’t know why exactly we’re more prone to autoimmune diseases in the Pacific Northwest, or sometimes even how to quickly and accurately diagnose them. Which is why every Tuesday morning when Dr. Jane Buckner makes her weekly visit to her clinic in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, she braces herself for questions to which she might not know the answer. Starting with the very basics: “What’s wrong with me?”
Buckner is a rheumatologist and also the director of the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to researching the full suite of over 80 types of autoimmune diseases. By examining autoimmune diseases with particular attention to their similarities, rather than their differences, Benaroya has found its way to the cutting edge of immunology research.