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Too Young to Die: The Tragedy of ALS

February 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Health

Durwin Cadeau - ALSTwo of Dr. Lorne Zinman’s patients die of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) every week. This rapidly progressive neuromusucular disease that is commonly associated with baseball legend Lou Gehrig, and more recently with the loss of former Canadian Football League star Tony Proudfoot, has no known cause or cure in most cases. “It’s a very complicated disease … it appears that an area of cells in the brain or spinal cord start to commit suicide, which then spreads to the rest of the body resulting in paralysis or death,” says Dr. Zinman, director of Canada’s largest ALS clinic at Sunnybrook Hospital. A fatal disease that affects between 2,500 to 3,000 Canadians, ALS is most common in individuals over the age of 55 and causes an array of symptoms from muscle weakness, cramping and twitching, to speech and respiratory problems. Read more