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View Full Version : NY TIMES -Lou Gehrig may NOT have had ALS


Fenway
08-17-2010, 11:25 AM
His illness may well have been concussion related.

This is scary stuff

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/18/sports/18gehrig.html

doublem23
08-17-2010, 11:34 AM
I have a friend whose mom has a now advanced case of ALS. It might be one of the worst ordeals I've ever seen a family go through, watching the disease slowly advance upwards through her body. She is now paralyzed from the neck down. It's like a Death Clock.

hawkjt
08-17-2010, 12:38 PM
This is just another reason that Morneau should not play until next year.

soxfanatlanta
08-17-2010, 01:15 PM
Wow.

Ex-Chicagoan
08-17-2010, 04:01 PM
I have a friend whose mom has a now advanced case of ALS. It might be one of the worst ordeals I've ever seen a family go through, watching the disease slowly advance upwards through her body. She is now paralyzed from the neck down. It's like a Death Clock.

Exactly. Lost my mother to it - her "You have two years" turned into over five. The whole while, she was keenly aware of what she could and could not do.

For a brief while, it was suggested that it *may* have had something to do with a head injury, but that was considered a radical idea. An interesting bit of research.

TDog
08-17-2010, 04:16 PM
As I understand it, the research isn't concluding that Lou Gehrig didn't have ALS, but that concussions may have played a factor in Lou Gehrig's ALS.

But I didn't read the link, and my information is independent of the New York Times report. My understanding is that the analysis is still at the anecdotal stages and also points out that former NFL players are eight times more likely to be diagnosed with ALS than the general population, one of the factors in a football career taking 20 years off of a man's life.

Huisj
08-17-2010, 04:31 PM
As I understand it, the research isn't concluding that Lou Gehrig didn't have ALS, but that concussions may have played a factor in Lou Gehrig's ALS.

But I didn't read the link, and my information is independent of the New York Times report. My understanding is that the analysis is still at the anecdotal stages and also points out that former NFL players are eight times more likely to be diagnosed with ALS than the general population, one of the factors in a football career taking 20 years off of a man's life.

The way the article described it, it sounds like they think repeated head injures lead to something that acts very much like ALS in terms of symptoms, but is actually different below the surface as far as what is actually happening to the nervous system to cause the problems.

october23sp
08-17-2010, 04:33 PM
This is just another reason that Morneau should not play until next year.

Or another reason his injury is scary.

UofCSoxFan
08-17-2010, 04:53 PM
The way the article described it, it sounds like they think repeated head injures lead to something that acts very much like ALS in terms of symptoms, but is actually different below the surface as far as what is actually happening to the nervous system to cause the problems.

This is exactly right. As the article states, an autoposy of two NFL players and a boxer previously diagnosed with ALS, based on outward symptoms, reveals that they did not have the disease at all. They can tell this quite clearly by examining tissue on the spinal chord. What they think is happening with the cases of these three athletes is that concussions trigger proteins to migrate to the spinal chord and attack it in a similar way to ALS. They suspect that other factors are in play beyond head trauma (since not everyone with head trauma develops ALS like symptoms)...that there likely are genetic predispositions in play that are triggered by concussions.

When they then look at the rates at which NFL players, military vets, and Itallian soccer players are diagnosed with ALS compared to the public (6 to 8 times more often) the thought is that perhaps these players are being misdiagnosed...that they are contracting this other disoreder due to repeat head trauma, not ALS iteself (which has not scientific link to head trauma).

The article states that this could be the case with Gherig since he had 6 concussions documented by newspapers (and of course took no time off) and likely had more while playing running back at Columbia in college.

What I gather from the article is that the medical community will or at least should take into account a patient's head injury history when making ALS diagnosis...if the person does have a history of head trauma, more digging, such as a tissue biopsy, may be in order to confirm or deny the ALS diagnosis. Gherig may still have had ALS but there is a lot more evidence suggesting he had a concussion caused disorder that is often misdiagnosed as ALS.

This is pretty interesting and serious stuff. I've had two concussions from baseball in my life and on the secound one I missed only two days before returning to action. I still was having headaches and nausea but didn't want to miss my senior h.s. season. Looking back on it I realize how dumb this was and hope I don't have any long term health impact from it. Morneau should absolutely take his time coming back. Until you fully recover from a concussion you are extremely succeptable to catastrophic injury.

It drives me nuts whenever you hear someone questioning a guy's toughness when it comes to brain injuries. Guys like Wayne Chrebet and Eric Lindross were questioned throughout their careers as not being able to "play through it." These guys likely will have shortened lifespans and reduced quality of life due to their abundance of concussions Playing through a bad ankle or shoulder is one thing, playing through head injuries can kill you. The brain simply doesn't heal like the rest of your body.

It's good a lot of this is coming to light. We really are only beginning to emrge from the dark ages with this stuff.

GoGoCrede
08-17-2010, 05:33 PM
Or another reason his injury is scary.

Yeah. I'm genuinely worried. I'm comforted to know that he must have the best doctors available monitoring him.

Randar68
08-17-2010, 05:33 PM
Best friend's dad died of ALS just last fall and had less than 9 months from diagnosis to death. Terrible to watch and very hard on the family. Such a hopeless diagnosis. Glad they had as much time as they did together in retrospect, but still hard to watch/experience. No concussion history that I was aware of, BTW.

DumpJerry
08-17-2010, 10:28 PM
This is just another reason that Morneau should not play until next year.
He should play it safe and retire.

TDog
08-17-2010, 11:18 PM
Best friend's dad died of ALS just last fall and had less than 9 months from diagnosis to death. Terrible to watch and very hard on the family. Such a hopeless diagnosis. Glad they had as much time as they did together in retrospect, but still hard to watch/experience. No concussion history that I was aware of, BTW.

I've known a couple of people who died of ALS, with no sports or head injuries in their background that I knew of. It's a terrible thing to watch. Unlike Alzheimer's, with which I have more experience, ALS victim's know what is happening to them.

Of course, it is impossible to tell whether Lou Gehrig died of ALS or an injury-induced affliction that mimicked ALS. If this is a real problem, this country could outlaw youth football and prohibit high schools and state colleges and universities from fielding tackle football teams. When you consider all the little boys that are forced by their fathers to play football in youth leagues, the evidence could be point to a national health crisis.

DSpivack
08-18-2010, 12:53 AM
Friend of the family died of ALS, he made a documentary starting nine months into his diagnosis. I still haven't seen it.

http://www.indestructiblefilm.com/

PeteWard
08-20-2010, 12:17 AM
So you're saying Lou Gehrig did not have Lou Gehrig's disease?

Maybe it was Groat's Syndrome? :tongue:

Bob Roarman
08-20-2010, 07:50 AM
He should play it safe and retire.

Always that one guy. Always.

fram40
08-20-2010, 10:50 PM
He should play it safe and retire.

I wonder if he thinks about retiring? Because the was the first thought I had. But I am not an athlete in any realistic sense of the word.

Reading Telander's series in the SunTimes - almost every single one of those guys says the injuries and the associated long term risks were worth it.

It seemed like all of them would do it over again if they knew then what they know now