Singing is a given on "American Idol." But the popular TV show has also raised the profile of
several little-known diseases - by giving viewers a close-up look at contestants and their family members
who clearly prefer singing over suffering.
Keep clicking to meet Idol stars and the health problems they've faced...
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Even two separate neurological disorders have been no match for rocker James Durbin. In middle school, the Santa
Cruz, Calif. native, now 22, learned that he was suffering from Tourette and Asperger syndromes,
the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported. Tourette causes
repetitive, involuntary movements or vocal tics, affecting more than 200,000 Americans. Asperger,
essentially a mild form of autism, impairs language and communication skills.
How does James belt out
the ballads despite these disorders? "When I sing, it just all goes away, like I don't have a care in the
world." Durbin told Idol Judges during Idol Season 10.
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Season 10 finalist Casey Abrams, 20, was recently rushed to Cedars Sinai Medical Center for blood
transfusions to treat his ulcerative colitis, People magazine reported. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon's lining,
resulting in symptoms including abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and weight loss and raising the risk for
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Chris Medina made it to Hollywood in season 10, and - as he wasn't shy about saying - his great
performances were inspired by fiance, Julie Ramos, who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a 2009
car accident, ABC News reported. TBI symptoms range from headache, nausea, and dizziness to
severe symptoms including slurred speech and loss of coordination.
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In the years since her stint as a contestant on season five in 2006, Katharine McPhee has launched
a successful musical and acting career. But her spectacular voice was almost silenced by her five-year battle with the binge-and-purge eating disorder bulimia, People magazine reported.
Over time, bulimia can cause
everything from throat irritation to more serious symptoms including pancreatitis, dental problems, and
tears in the lining of the esophagus.
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Danny Gokey finished third on Idol in season eight - pretty impressive when you consider that his wife
Sophia died suddenly four weeks before his audition. She was undergoing surgery for a congenital
heart defect. Gokey recently founded Sophia's Heart Foundation in memory of his wife.
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Viewers who enjoyed Scott Macintyre's performances on Idol's eighth season knew he was blind. But he
kept secret his battle with kidney failure until after his eighth-place finish. "I actually remember a time
when I didn't have enough strength to even sit and sing and vocalize on the piano, my body was so
overloaded from kidney failure," he told Access HollyWood.
Macyntre spent two years on dialysis before getting a kidney transplant, according to People magazine.
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During his rise to stardom as winner of Idol's seventh season, David Cook witnessed his brother
Adam's battle with brain cancer, People magazine reported. Adam died in May 2009, and David now
serves as an advocate and fund-raiser for brain cancer. Each year, more than 35,000 people are diagnosed with brain cancer.
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Jackson has been a judge on every Idol telecast since the show's launch in 2002. That was one year after he learned he had diabetes, Newsweek reported. At the time he weighed 360
Jackson is one of an
estimated 25.8 million diabetics in the U.S., according to the American Diabetes Association.