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49ers Mourn Receiver Who Made 'The Catch'

Dwight Clark, who was behind one of NFL's greatest plays, dies at age 61 after ALS battle

(Newser) - An ex-NFL player known for a play that pushed the San Francisco 49ers into a championship run in the '80s died Monday at the age of 61 after a battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, per ESPN . "I'm heartbroken to tell you that today I lost... More »

Playwright, Actor Sam Shepard Dead

He was 73, suffered from ALS

(Newser) - Acclaimed actor and playwright Sam Shepard is dead at age 73, reports BroadwayWorld . Shepard, who died at home in Kentucky, had been suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease. He leaves behind an impressive legacy in the arts as the author of more than 40 plays, including Buried Child, for which... More »

Suddenly Widowed and With Cancer, Mom Worries for Sons

'It's been scary'

(Newser) - Within the span of days, Tessie Sylvester lost her husband to ALS and was diagnosed with cancer. But the Minneapolis mother of two isn't focusing on the unfairness of it all. "I’m not ready to give into it," she tells WCCO . John Sylvester, a former Minnesota... More »

Sad Diagnosis for Creator of SpongeBob

Stephen Hillenburg has ALS

(Newser) - The man who dreamed up SpongeBob SquarePants announced a tough diagnosis on Monday: Stephen Hillenburg has ALS. The 55-year-old is in the early stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neurodegenerative disease often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, reports Variety . "Anyone who knows me knows that I will... More »

Don't Marry Mario: 'Locked-in' Patients Can Finally 'Talk'

They communicate by thinking yes or no

(Newser) - Four paralyzed patients unable to communicate for years were finally able to do so through a potentially groundbreaking brain-reading system. And it turns out that one of them really didn't want his daughter to marry her boyfriend. The patients all had advanced ALS and were unable to control even... More »

Fruits, Veggies May Help Slow ALS

Antioxidant nutrients and carotenoids are key

(Newser) - "It appears that nutrition plays a role both in triggering the disease and why it progresses." So says the lead researcher of a study out of Columbia University that per a press release is "among the first" to look at the interplay between diet and ALS near... More »

Ice Bucket Challenge Funds 'ALS Breakthrough'

Gene tied to the disease has been identified

(Newser) - The $115 million raised from 2014's Ice Bucket Challenge for the ALS Association's research and services helped fund what's now being called an "ALS breakthrough," per the Guardian : the ID of a gene linked to the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, which... More »

She Raised $800K for Those Battling ALS. Now She's One of Them

'I hope that my story will inspire others'

(Newser) - Over seven years, Virginia's Beth Prever raised $800,000 for ALS research because she "felt like having ALS would be a worst-case scenario diagnosis. It's like living in a glass coffin—your mind is intact, but your body is failing," she tells People . She now understands... More »

Your Essence Is Rooted in Your Character, Not Intellect

Who we are may have more to do with what we stand for than what we know

(Newser) - In an attempt to begin to tackle the age-old question of what shapes one's identity, researchers at Duke and the University of Arizona surveyed the caregivers of those with different neurodegenerative diseases to see which ones seemed most likely to strip away the essence of a person. Reporting in... More »

What's Happened Since the Ice Bucket Challenge Was Born

Looking back one year later

(Newser) - On July 15, 2014, Chris Kennedy posted a video to YouTube—one that's widely regarded to be the first ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video . From there, more than 17 million people followed suit, and 2.5 million people handed the ALS Association $115 million between July 29 and Sept.... More »

How Has Stephen Hawking Lived With ALS for 52 Years?

Experts call the 73-year-old physicist's long-term survival 'extraordinary'

(Newser) - An ALS patient's life expectancy averages just two to five years after diagnosis, and only about 5% make it past 20 years, the ALS Association notes. But Stephen Hawking, the 73-year-old theoretical physicist and subject of an Academy Award-winning biopic , has beaten the odds and lived with his motor... More »

Where All That Ice-Bucket Cash Is Headed

Among other things, the $115M will triple the amount devoted to research

(Newser) - The Ice Bucket Challenge ended up bringing the ALS Association some $115 million in donations; now the organization is faced with the task of figuring out what to do with all the money. What's clear so far: "We are tripling the amount annually that we spend on research,... More »

Romneys Opening Center to Fight Brain Disease

Will focus on Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments with no cure

(Newser) - Their legacy already established in politics, Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, are working to leave a lasting mark on neuroscience. Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital today will announce the launch of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases, a venture funded by the Romneys and their expansive... More »

'Ice Bucket Challenge' Helps Raise $13M for ALS

But some question its fundraising methods

(Newser) - In the few weeks since July 29, the ALS Association has gotten more than $13 million in donations. Over the same period last year, that figure was around $1.7 million, the New York Times reports. The big difference, of course, is the " Ice Bucket Challenge ," which calls... More »

NFL Players' Alzheimer's Risk Skyrockets

Or at least it looks that way; it might be CTE

(Newser) - This is going to shock you, but it turns out that repeatedly bashing your head playing football makes you more likely to develop mental problems—a lot more. Ex-NFL players are four times as likely to die of Alzheimer's or ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) as other men their... More »

Stephen Hawking Talks Health Care, ALS, and Life

Physicist offers advice for living with disability

(Newser) - When you can only speak by twitching your cheek toward words flitting past your screen, you don’t tend to do a lot of interviews. But Stephen Hawking sat down with the New York Times last month to talk about his life, aliens, and health care. Some highlights:
  • On aliens:
... More »

Lou Gehrig May Not Have Had Lou Gehrig's Disease

Study: ALS is sometimes misdiagnosed

(Newser) - A new study has found that some patients diagnosed with ALS actually suffered from a different fatal disease that affects the central nervous system—and implies that Lou Gehrig himself may not have had ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The study's review of the spinal cords of three... More »

VA Mistakenly Tells Hundreds of Vets They Have ALS

'Coding error' to blame for ALS mistake

(Newser) - Because of an error, the Department of Veterans Affairs incorrectly notified 1,200 veterans they had ALS, the fatal neurological condition also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, the AP reports. The letters alerted the veterans to disability benefits available to those who suffer from the disease. Thought the VA... More »

Dying Doc: Don't Keep Me Alive

ALS patient explains why he chooses quality of life over quantity

(Newser) - Martin Welsh considers himself a lucky man, with a loving family and innumerable friends. “Life has been truly wonderful,” the 55-year-old doctor writes in the Los Angeles Times. But soon, that life will end, and he doesn’t want his doctors to do anything to prolong it. Welsh... More »

ALS Patient Chronicled Her Struggle, Chose Her Death

'I choose not only how I will live, but if I will live'

(Newser) - When writer Catherine Royce became an ALS patient, she shared with NPR her passionate belief that she should be able to meet her decline and eventual death on her own terms. "Every day, I choose not only how I will live, but if I will live," she said... More »

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