Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ALS - Did Lou Really Have It

A report has surfaced that Lou Gehrig, the face of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, might have had a different motor neuron issue, and not the dreaded ALS afterall.

Autopsies performed on three athletes who were similarly diagnosed with ALS showed that the indicators of neuronal death did not occur. While symptomatically the patients had ALS, histologically, they did not.

Whether or not the patients did or did not have ALS is irrelevant to my post. I'm not a PhD researcher or M.D. (yet) but what catches my mind is this:

If it were able to be shown that Lou Gehrig did not in fact have the disease, would that lessen the interest in trying to find a cure for it?

Currently, having a big name attached to a fatal diagnosis has helped create awareness and interest in curing it. Thankfully, in my opinion, the Mayo Clinic has stated that it will not release the medical records of Gehrig since he is not able to sign, and left no heirs able to sign a medical release for him. Likewise, he is not able to be exhumed and autopsy performed because he was cremated.

ALS is an incidious neuronal pestilence for which I pray research continues at full steam. Robbing the body of its ability to move, the mind stays intact and fully coherent, cognizant of everything that occurs.

The article that prompted the post is here:


Old MD Girl said...

Honestly, I don't think having the title of "Lou Gehrig" attached to the disease will make a difference in funding whatsoever. It's a terrible disease regardless of who gets it.

It may however, make a difference in how head injuries are perceived and treated among athletes.

A Doc 2 Be said...

I can see your point. Rather than dismiss as concussion with rest, etc, take a more proactive stance against head injuries ala requiring helmets that are better insulated? research in neck injuries during sports or accidents?

I just hate to see any detraction from ALS and honestly, if one mentions ALS rather than Lou Gehrig, a blank stare is returned in response.

Good point, OMDG!

(BTW, where are BOO Stories?!?)

Old MD Girl said...

I had one the other day, but got practically no comments!

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