This was originally posted in the Mayo Clinic News Network.
Seventy-five years ago, on July 4, 1939, baseball legend Lou Gehrig delivered the famous speech bidding farewell to the ballpark and his fans. Two weeks before Gehrig had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Accompanied by his wife, Eleanor, Lou left Mayo Clinic with the devastating diagnosis on June 20, 1939, a day after his 36th birthday. He died in June two years later, not quite 38 years old, of the rare neurological disease that would come to bear his name.
ALS is a type of progressive motor neuron disease that typically strikes at middle to later life and causes nerve cells in spinal cord, brain stem and brain to gradually break down and die. These nerve cells are responsible for muscle function so eventually, ALS can affect the ability to control the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe.
While ALS still evades cure and effective treatment, researchers at Mayo Clinic are conducting Phase I clinical trial in the hope that they can guide newly grown stem cells to become protective of neuromuscular function.
Read the full post here to learn more about Mayo Clinic's advancements in ALS.