According to a peer-reviewed paper to be published tomorrow in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology, Lou Gehrig might not have had Lou Gehrig’s disease after all. The paper suggests Gehrig’s demise—and that of some other athletes and soldiers given a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease—may have a different fatal disease caused by concussion-like trauma which erodes the central nervous system in ways similar to Lou Gehrig’s. These findings may lead to a redirection in the study of motor degeneration in athletes and military veterans, who are diagnosed with ALS at rates that are higher than normal. The finding’s relevance to Gehrig is less clear, but it’s possible the Yankee legend’s commitment to playing through injuries like concussions could have led to his condition.
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