Lou Gehrig May Not Have Had Lou Gehrig’s Disease, New Report Suggests

Big news: Lou Gehrig may not have actually suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, known less commonly as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. That new speculation is reported upon in this recent report by The New York Times, which notes that soon to be published medical literature finds that the conditions of those previously thought to have suffered from the disease “might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma.”

What does this mean? The article goes on to say:

The finding could prompt a redirection in the study of motor degeneration in athletes and military veterans being given diagnoses of A.L.S. at rates considerably higher than normal, said several experts in A.L.S. who had seen early versions of the paper. Patients with significant histories of brain trauma could be considered for different types of treatment in the future, perhaps leading toward new pathways for a cure.

More significantly, [according to two doctors interviewed in the piece], the finding solidifies a long-suspected connection between A.L.S.-like motor disease and head trauma experienced in collision sports and combat.

According to statistics cited in the article, 30,000 Americans have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The study, authored by Boston University Associate Professor of Neurology and Pathology Ann McKee and several co-authors, will appear in the September issue of the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.

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