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ALS

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On the Fourth of July in 1939, Lou Gehrig said farewell to fans at Yankee Stadium because he had contracted a fatal disease. He added, “I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.”

Gehrig was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Regular Stateside contributor Dr. Howard Markel said there are some questions as to whether Gehrig received the proper diagnosis. If it wasn't ALS, then what could have killed the Yankee legend? 

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Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan taxpayers may soon be able to support Alzheimer’s and ALS research with just a flick of a pen.

Last week, the Michigan House passed a bill that would create a checkoff form supporting unpaid caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients, as well research and care for patients with ALS — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

By checking a box on their income tax form, Michigan residents could choose to give to the ALS of Michigan Fund, with money heading to research, patient services, and ALS clinics around the state.

The bill is expected to pass today in the state Senate.

But the provision supporting ALS research might raise some eyebrows, especially in light of Michigan’s contentious history with stem cell research.

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Of all the medical diagnoses a physician can make, the diagnosis of ALS--amyotrophic lateral sclerosis--is one of the most devastating. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, medical researchers are hard at work seeking a cure or at least a way to ease the symptoms of this neurological disease.

The University of Michigan is in the forefront of this research. Researchers are asking the question, can stem cell injections delivered directly into the spine lessen the effects of ALS?

Researchers at the U of M hospital have recently wrapped up phase 1 of a critical trial exploring just how these stem cell injections work in patients with the deadly disease, and they have gotten the go-ahead to proceed with phase 2.

The head researcher of this ALS project, Dr. Eva Feldman joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.