Patient Associations: A driving force for Rare Diseases research. Resilience: A driving force for Patient Associations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Until a few decades ago, Rare Diseases were relatively unknown. Their low prevalence made them invisible to public opinion, and were of little concern to researchers and pharmaceutical industries. Rare disease sufferers and their loved ones had become victims of the disease as their implications were overlooked. Consequently, some of these individuals formed associations and embarked on ways to change this situation of neglect they had found themselves, in finally having their rights recognized. These associations have over time gained important roles in planning public health and biomedical research, especially after the introduction of the Human Genome Project. Their active participation and awareness activities have been crucial in establishing reliable Rare Diseases Registries and related Biobanks, essential tools in fully utilizing the data and the new omics technologies derived from the Human Genome Project in the field of Rare Diseases. The founders and members of these associations have a high degree and considerable ability to face the difficulties of life, while also maintaining a positive attitude and a confident vision, best defined as resilience. Not everyone, and not always, is endowed with a resilience capability. However resilience can be improved or reinforced through appropriate training and intervention programs. This review points out specific programs centered mainly on mindfulness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalAnnali di Igiene
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Association
  • Genomics
  • Patients
  • Psychology
  • Rare Diseases
  • Registries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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