Lou Gehrig Might Not Have Actually Had Lou Gehrig’s Disease

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Photograph of major league baseball players Babe Ruth (C) batting, Lou Gehrig (L), kneeling on deck, and John Quinn umpiring during the 1934 U.S. All-Star teams tour. REUTERS/John Sommers II

The disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the baseball player who famously suffered from it. Or so we thought.

The New York Times reports on a study in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology which has found that brain injuries can cause symptoms similar to those of A.L.S. Though the study doesn’t directly dispute that Gehrig suffered from the disease, the Times reports that the authors of the study mentioned the possibility in interviews.

The study does specifically refer to other athletes who had been diagnosed with A.L.S. and who were later found to be suffering from a “different fatal disease, doctors said, caused by concussionlike trauma, that erodes the central nervous system.” Although the truth was discovered after those particular athletes had already passed away, this discovery could effect the future treatment of athletes suffering from A.L.S.-like symptoms. (via the New York Times)