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Neurologist diagnosed with disease he fought (how bad does this suck)

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by BuckStocksHere, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. BuckStocksHere

    BuckStocksHere Semper Fi!

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6914650/

    SAN FRANCISCO - The shocking self-diagnosis dawned slowly but inevitably on Dr. Richard Olney, a top neurologist who dedicated his career to helping those afflicted with the fatal “Lou Gehrig’s disease.”

    <TABLE style="PADDING-LEFT: 15px" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=textSmallGrey vAlign=top align=middle><MAP name=Map><AREA shape=RECT target=_blank coords=230,233,288,242 href="http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/signup.asp?refer=MS300x250_NBCMSH-Feb09A99"><AREA shape=RECT target=_blank coords=9,215,292,231 href="http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/signup.asp?refer=MS300x250_NBCMSH-Feb09A6"><AREA shape=RECT target=_blank coords=11,187,291,203 href="http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/signup.asp?refer=MS300x250_NBCMSH-Feb09A5"><AREA shape=RECT target=_blank coords=10,160,291,174 href="http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/signup.asp?refer=MS300x250_NBCMSH-Feb09A4"><AREA shape=RECT target=_blank coords=12,131,292,147 href="http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/signup.asp?refer=MS300x250_NBCMSH-Feb09A3"><AREA shape=RECT target=_blank coords=11,101,288,119 href="http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/signup.asp?refer=MS300x250_NBCMSH-Feb09A2"><AREA shape=RECT target=_blank coords=8,75,288,92 href="http://www.shermanstravel.com/top25/signup.asp?refer=MS300x250_NBCMSH-Feb09A1"></MAP></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Three surgeries to relieve a compressed disk in his back didn’t solve the weakness that started in his right knee and spread to both legs. When his arms started to fail, he knew he was in the grips of a neurological disorder. Then his worst fears were realized: He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

    “I expected to live into my 80s like my parents did,” said Olney, struggling to get his words out through an amplifier resting on his lap in his motorized wheelchair at the University of California, San Francisco. “But I’ve done more in my 56 years than most people have done in their whole life. I can’t complain too much.”

    First human guinea pig in ALS drug trial
    Olney resigned last year as head of the university’s renowned ALS center, which he’d founded in 1993, turning it over to his protege Dr. Cathy Lomen-Hoerth. But he’s not giving up his struggle against the disease, which mystifies experts today as much as it did when New York Yankee slugger Lou Gehrig died of it in 1941.

    He’s signed on as the first human guinea pig in a trial of two drugs that slowed the disease’s progress in mice, and he’s also using the time he has left to raise awareness and money to combat ALS.

    Olney was famous for spending countless hours counseling patients, and that spirit lives on at the ALS center, where Lomen-Hoerth said she tries to summon the same soothing words and advice as she attends to her own patients — who now include Olney.

    UCSF has set up a fund in Olney’s name and he intends to continue his campaign — doing interviews and agreeing to stay in the public eye — until his strength gives out. Olney’s health has rapidly declined since he was diagnosed in June.

    “He spent his life trying to make a difference in this disease,” his wife of 30 years, Paula, said as Olney slowly worked his legs in UCSF’s specialized gym. “If this is the way it has to be done ... We’ll keep doing this until Rick no longer can. It’s what he wants to do.”

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD><SCRIPT language=JavaScript src="http://www.msnbc.com/modules/poptext/poptext_codeV2.js"></SCRIPT><SCRIPT language=JAVASCRIPT src="http://www.msnbc.com/modules/poptext/common_functions.js"></SCRIPT><SCRIPT language=JavaScript src="http://www.msnbc.com/d/ip/als/data.js"></SCRIPT><SCRIPT language=JavaScript>if (window.als) { //CUSTOM SETTINGSdisplayApp(als); }</SCRIPT><STYLE type=text/css> .appals { } .labelals { font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 65%;font-weight:bold; color: #FFFFFF; text-transform:uppercase;background-color:#7788aa:wink2:adding-right:10px; } .hedals { font-size: 19px; font-family:arial; font-weight:bold;font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 100%;font-weight:bold:wink2:adding-left:4px;background-image:url("http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Components/ColorBoxes/Styles/ColorBoxImages(globalonlyplease)/component_grey.gif");width:90%;height:25px; } .deckals { color:#666;font-weight:bold; font-family:verdana; font-size:11px:wink2:adding:5px 9px; } .subhedals { font-weight:bold;text-decoration:none;text-transform:uppercase:wink2:adding:3px 3px; } .colhdrals { color:ffffff; font-size:10px;font-weight:bold;background-color:999999; } .font1als { font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%; } .boxB_als { font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 70%; line-height: 140%;;border:1px #CCCCCC solid; ;width:100%; } .headlineals { color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold;color:#000000; } .headlineals:hover { } .headlineals:visited { color:#cc0000;font-weight:bold;color:#000000;} .captionals { undefined} #NoBg { background-color:transparent; } .navlinkals { color:000000;font-size: 10px;font-family:verdana;line-height: 130%;text-decoration:none; } .navlinkals:hover { color:cc3333; } .navlinkals:active { } .navCellals { width:100%;background-color:#EEEEEE;border-left:1px #CCCCCC solid;border-top:1px #CCCCCC solid:wink2:adding:2px;cursor:hand;width:100%; } .bulletals { color:CC0000;font-family:verdana;font-size:11px;font-weight:bold;color:cc3333; }</STYLE><TABLE class=appals cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=458><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=2><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%"><TBODY><TR><TD class=labelals noWrap> Q & A</TD><TD class=hedals noWrap>Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR><TD colSpan=2><TABLE class=boxB_als style="FONT-SIZE: 70%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD width=128 background=http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Components/ColorBoxes/Styles/ColorBoxImages(globalonlyplease)/component_dkgrey.gif><TABLE style="WIDTH: 128px" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD><TABLE class=navCellals id=navCellals_0 onmouseover="swapNavCell('als',0,1);" style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" onclick="Swapcopy('als',0);" onmouseout="swapNavCell('als',0,0);" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD align=middle width=12>•</TD><TD align=left>What is it?</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=navCellals id=navCellals_1 onmouseover="swapNavCell('als',1,1);" onclick="Swapcopy('als',1);" onmouseout="swapNavCell('als',1,0);" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD align=middle width=12>•</TD><TD align=left>What are the symptoms?</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=navCellals id=navCellals_2 onmouseover="swapNavCell('als',2,1);" onclick="Swapcopy('als',2);" onmouseout="swapNavCell('als',2,0);" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD align=middle width=12>•</TD><TD align=left>How common is it?</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=navCellals id=navCellals_3 onmouseover="swapNavCell('als',3,1);" onclick="Swapcopy('als',3);" onmouseout="swapNavCell('als',3,0);" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD align=middle width=12>•</TD><TD align=left>Who gets it?</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=navCellals id=navCellals_4 onmouseover="swapNavCell('als',4,1);" onclick="Swapcopy('als',4);" onmouseout="swapNavCell('als',4,0);" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD align=middle width=12>•</TD><TD align=left>How is it diagnosed?</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=navCellals id=navCellals_5 onmouseover="swapNavCell('als',5,1);" onclick="Swapcopy('als',5);" onmouseout="swapNavCell('als',5,0);" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD align=middle width=12>•</TD><TD align=left>How is it treated?</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE class=navCellals id=navCellals_6 onmouseover="swapNavCell('als',6,1);" onclick="Swapcopy('als',6);" onmouseout="swapNavCell('als',6,0);" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top><TD align=middle width=12>•</TD><TD align=left>Is it fatal?</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR>[​IMG]</TBODY></TABLE></TD><TD align=middle width=330><TABLE id=poptext_als style="PADDING-RIGHT: 3px; PADDING-LEFT: 3px; FONT-SIZE: 100%; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; WIDTH: 94.54%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's disease," is a progressive disease that attacks certain nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord responsible for voluntary muscle movement. As these motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send the impulses that normally result in muscle movement. Once all voluntary muscle action is affected, patients become totally paralyzed. Since ALS attacks only motor neurons, sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell are not affected and for the vast majority of people, their minds, too, remain unaffected. </TD></TR><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE id=poptext_als style="PADDING-RIGHT: 3px; DISPLAY: none; PADDING-LEFT: 3px; FONT-SIZE: 100%; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; WIDTH: 94.54%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially in the arms and legs. Speech, swallowing and breathing are also affected. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to waste away, or atrophy. Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue atrophies. As the breathing muscles waste away, the patient ultimately requires permanent support from a ventilation system in order to survive. </TD></TR><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE id=poptext_als style="PADDING-RIGHT: 3px; DISPLAY: none; PADDING-LEFT: 3px; FONT-SIZE: 100%; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; WIDTH: 94.54%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Over 5,600 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS each year. That's 15 new cases a day. It is estimated that as many as 30,000 Americans have the disease at any given time.</TD></TR><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE id=poptext_als style="PADDING-RIGHT: 3px; DISPLAY: none; PADDING-LEFT: 3px; FONT-SIZE: 100%; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; WIDTH: 94.54%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases do occur in people in their 20s and 30s. The disorder is 20 percent more common in men than in women. But with increasing age, the incidence of ALS becomes more equal between men and women. Ninety to 95 percent of patients with ALS have no family history of the disease; only 5 percent to 10 percent appear to have an inherited form of ALS. </TD></TR><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE id=poptext_als style="PADDING-RIGHT: 3px; DISPLAY: none; PADDING-LEFT: 3px; FONT-SIZE: 100%; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; WIDTH: 94.54%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>ALS is a very difficult disease to diagnose. There is no one definitive test or procedure to confirm a diagnosis — it is only through a clinical examination and series of diagnostic tests, often ruling out other diseases that mimic ALS, that a diagnosis can be established. A comprehensive diagnostic workup includes most, if not all, of the following procedures:
    • Electrodiagnostic tests including electomyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV)
    • Blood and urine studies including high resolution serum protein electrophoresis, thyroid and parathyroid hormone levels and 24-hour urine collection for heavy metals
    • Spinal tap
    • X-rays, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    • Myelogram of cervical spine
    • Muscle and/or nerve biopsy
    • Thorough neurological examination
    </TD></TR><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE id=poptext_als style="PADDING-RIGHT: 3px; DISPLAY: none; PADDING-LEFT: 3px; FONT-SIZE: 100%; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; WIDTH: 94.54%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>While there is not a cure or treatment available that halts or reverses ALS, there is one FDA-approved drug — Rilutek — that modestly slows the progression of ALS, as well as other drugs in clinical trials that hold promise. </TD></TR><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><TABLE id=poptext_als style="PADDING-RIGHT: 3px; DISPLAY: none; PADDING-LEFT: 3px; FONT-SIZE: 100%; PADDING-BOTTOM: 3px; WIDTH: 94.54%; LINE-HEIGHT: 140%; PADDING-TOP: 3px; FONT-FAMILY: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Half of all people affected with ALS live at least three or more years after diagnosis. Twenty percent live five years or more; up to 10 percent will survive more than 10 years. </TD></TR><TR><TD height=3><SPACER TYPE="BLOCK" WIDTH="1"></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><IFRAME id=txtframe_als style=\"DISPLAY: none; LEFT: 0px; POSITION: absolute; TOP: 0px\" name=textframe_als src="about:blank" frameBorder=0 width=329 height=152></IFRAME>
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR><TR vAlign=top bgColor=#ffffff><TD class=credit width=368></TD><TD align=right width=90>• Print this</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    Disease typically kills quickly
    Some 30,000 Americans currently have ALS, a small number when compared to other brain diseases. But that’s because ALS typically kills quickly, often within a year or two after diagnosis. (Astronomer Stephen J. Hawking, who was diagnosed with the disease 40 years ago, is a notable exception.)

    About 10,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. And while about 10 percent of the cases have genetic roots, it’s not known how the other 90 percent occur. The disease isn’t contagious, so Olney didn’t get it from one of his patients.

    With ALS, only the brain cells that control muscles die. The intellect remains intact even as the disease immobilizes the victim’s body.

    “That’s the internal horror for all of us working in ALS and who know Rick,” said Jeffrey Rothstein, a Johns Hopkins University ALS researcher who spoke at a December symposium held in Olney’s honor. “ALS and pancreatic cancer are probably the two worst diseases you can have.”

    There’s no real treatment for ALS. The one drug approved by federal regulators extends life by a few months for some.

    New treatments too late for Olney
    Rothstein is among a handful of researchers developing possible treatments using gene therapy. Later this year, he and his colleagues hope to test in humans a common virus they’ve engineered to carry a gene that produces a growth factor directly to the brain and spinal cord. This technique significantly extended the lives of ALS-afflicted mice. Rothstein and others also hope to turn stem cells into replacement brain cells.

    The latest technologies seem promising, but breakthroughs will probably come too late for Olney. He knows this, and has made peace with it.

    “In the last few months, I haven’t felt very sad,” he said.

    Such bravery keeps everyone around him going, Olney’s wife says. Still, to say these past months have been terrible for the Olney family is to do insult to just how bad it has been.

    Olney’s mother died last month. His mother-in-law succumbed to cancer under his roof last summer, while he was remodeling his home to add a wheelchair ramp and other equipment he would soon need.

    More than anyone, Olney knew the kind of storm that was brewing. He even purchased a bed that moves his body every 15 minutes. Now, his wife — a nurse — doesn’t have to get up every hour to turn him over.

    Still, other, smaller indignities have piled up for the Olneys as Richard, a former marathon runner, has became trapped inside an increasingly useless body. Even his decades of work helping others navigate the health care bureaucracy hasn’t saved him from insurance hassles, like the form letters badgering for doctor’s signatures and the date when he’ll return to work.

    A cherished family painting Olney’s mother shipped right before she died was badly damaged in transit, pitting Paula Olney in a Catch-22 bureaucratic battle with the shipping company to make good.

    “I’m so mad at God,” Paula says, spitting out a bitter laugh when asked if religion played any coping role. “How can he be so mean? This is such a royal shaft.”

    She pauses for a second, gathers her composure. The one-task-at-a-time coping mechanism that helps them get through the day kicks back in.

    She sighs:

    “All I want to do is get the painting fixed before he dies.”

    © 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
     
  2. AkronBuckeye

    AkronBuckeye Banned

    HMMM Very sad.....

    He said he did more in his 50some years than some did in a lifetime.....

    Yep he got that right.....
     

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