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Lou Gehrig Newsbeat

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Did Lou Gehrig actually die of ‘Lou Gehrig’s disease’? | PBS NewsHour

Virtually every American today, be they a baseball fan or not, knows Lou Gehrig’s “bad break” was his diagnosis with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fierce neurodegenerative disorder that robs one of muscle control, swallowing, breathing, and ultimately, life.

Two months earlier, on May 1, 1939, Gehrig gallantly took himself out of the lineup because he could no longer will his body to perform the athletic miracles that made him, arguably, the best baseball player ever to play the game. The Hall of Famer won the Triple Crown in 1934 and was the American League’s Most Valuable Player twice, in 1927 and 1936. He was a member of six World Series Championship teams (1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938) and during his 14-year career, he knocked out 493 homers and 2,721 hits, batted in 1,995 runs, and achieved a lifetime batting average of .340!

His history of so many head injuries may well have played a role in his rapid decline and death. Gehrig began experiencing his first neurological symptoms in 1938, right around the time of his 35th birthday. Desperate to find out the cause of his problems, he and his wife visited the famed Mayo Clinic, from June 13 to June 19, 1939. On the 19th, Gehrig’s 36th birthday, his internist, Dr. Harold Habein, certified his diagnosis of the poorly understood, rare and typically fatal ALS.
Today’s medical consumer would be shocked to learn that Gehrig’s doctors couched the prognosis in terms of a 50-50 chance of recovery, even though they knew this not to be so. Yet medical ethics and practice of this era often emboldened physicians to tell a patient partial truth about a lethal malady or, paternalistically, not to tell the patient at all, and, instead, only inform close relatives. Nevertheless, recovery was a belief Gehrig hung onto for the remaining two years of his life. In retirement, he took on an active role as a member of the New York City Parole Commission, but by spring 1941, he had lost too much strength to fulfill those duties. He died on June 3, 1941, just 16 days shy of 37 years of age.

Approximately 30,000 people living in the United States have the incurable and progressive ALS, most of them are men between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Many die within a few years of being diagnosed; others, such as the famed physicist Stephen Hawking, can live for years with their brains fully functioning even though their bodies and muscles have degenerated and wasted.

But was ALS the cause of Lou Gehrig’s death?

Maybe not, say a group of neurologists, physicians and pathologists at the Boston University School of Medicine Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy. These doctors are presently conducting landmark research on the brains of deceased former NFL players. In 2010, they presented convincing pathological evidence that “repetitive head trauma experienced in collision sports” may be associated with the development of motor-neuron disease. In other words, repetitive head trauma, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) may result in a syndrome that mimics ALS. (Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology. 2010; 69 (9): 918-92

Jim Furtado Posted: June 18, 2016 at 07:22 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: history, lou gehrig

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Jackie Mitchell (1913-1987) The Teen Who Struck Out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig

This is a story many here have heard before but this article has the first video I’ve seen of it.

John Northey Posted: May 04, 2016 at 07:26 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, lou gehrig, women in baseball

 

 

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