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Lou Gehrig may not have had Lou Gehrig's disease

Aug 17, 2010, 10:59 AM EDT

That’s the implication of a new study of head trauma and ALS:

A peer-reviewed paper to be published Wednesday in a leading journal of
neuropathology, however, suggests that Gehrig’s demise — and that of
some other athletes and soldiers given a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — might have been catalyzed by injuries only now becoming understood: concussions and other brain trauma.

Although the paper does not discuss Gehrig specifically, its authors in
interviews acknowledged the clear implication: Lou Gehrig might not have
had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

First thought: Head injuries are even scarier than we thought.

Second thought: If this is true, can we get ALS changed to “Charlie Mingus’ Disease?”

  1. BC - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Hmm. I don’t remember any stories of him getting a serious beaning or anything.

  2. Flup - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    Craig, sometimes you surprise with your cool. Yes to your proposal. Mingus > Gehrig anyway.

  3. Glenn - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    I thought it was already changed to Cal Ripken disease?

  4. YankeesfanLen - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Questions I don’t have answers for:
    Was there a trauma in any game immediately preceeding game 2130 that triggered or amplified previous injuries?
    Do players with concussions exhibit nerve damage as a sympton?
    I find it improbable, given 30s state of the art medicine, that only one doctor diagnosed this unique condition, given that many concussions that must have crossed his path before, with dissimiliar results.

  5. Simon DelMonte - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    1. How about Stephen Hawking’s Disease, for the man who has, as far as anyone knows, lived longer than anyone else with ALS. (Sorry, but my science geekitude is bigger than my baseball geekitude.)
    2. Sounds similar to what Muhammad Ali has, in that he has all the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but unlike in most cases the cause is clearly attributable to head trauma. In essence, the disease but not the same as the majority of cases.

  6. CapePorpoise - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    I am working on a similar study, that while not complete and not specifically related to Mr. Mingus, will quite definitively demonstrate that repeated vibrations from coiled cable-like metal fibers a couple of millimetres thick will deliver through the fingers to the brain a comparable brain trauma to that induced by blunt head injuries.

  7. The Real Shuxion - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Well if he never had that disease, the family guy bit will fall flat on its face.

  8. Glenn - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Since when do concussions cause one to slowly waste away and die as if one had ALS? What is the evidence that Lou Gehrig had repeated head trauma?

  9. G2 - Aug 17, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    Glenn- I completely agree. My very limited knowledge of the repercussions of head trauma is that it affects the brain and it’s ability at a far, far more rapid pace than it affects the body.

  10. Simon DelMonte - Aug 17, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    Adding that I just read Neyer’s take on this, and his emphasis on how little we will understand about head trauma is worth repeating.

  11. Old Gator - Aug 17, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    I played chess with Stephen Hawkings once. He beat me, but it took him two hours.

  12. JBerardi - Aug 17, 2010 at 1:53 PM

    I think Old Gator might be that guy from the Dos Equis commercials.

  13. G2 - Aug 17, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    so, only three moves?

  14. Tony A - Aug 17, 2010 at 4:48 PM


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